Clunky and heavy footed, Warner Bros' 'Batman v Superman' is nothing to marvel at

Newstalk's resident film critic Philip Molloy also takes a look at Disney's delightful 'Zootopia'

Philip Molloy, Movies, Picture Show, Batman v Superman, Dawn of Justice, Review, Film, The Right Hook

British actor Henry Cavill's joyless take on Superman continues as he pulls back on the costume for a second time [Warner Bros]

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (12A)

In 2013, the rebooted Superman movie, Man of Steel, was supposed to launch a relationship between DC Comics and Warner Bros. that would, somehow, rival the production partnership between Marvel and Disney. The movie was moderately successful at the box office with gross of $660m on a budget of $225m.

The follow-up, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, makes the idea of a successful partnership seem even more problematic – with a budget this time of $250m and an alleged promotion purse of $150m. The movie will have a following but on the basis of what it offers, it will only be a success if it fares at least as well as Man of Steel.

That said, it is difficult to disagree with this morning’s Daily Telegraph which describes it as a “meatheaded, humourless mess that squanders its cast and makes little sense.” It is a dark, witless muddle with none of the main characters seeming fully or properly motivated and a narrative that clunks along, heavy-footed and uninterested in telling a story.

The premise – as outlined in the title – is that Batman blames Superman for the deaths and the damage he caused in his climactic confrontation with General Zod at the end of Man of Steel. On the other hand, Superman considers Batman to be a vigilante who is forever taking the law into his own hands.

Writer/director Zack Snyder slivers plot twist after plot twist into the two-and-half-hour running time without ever seeming to know where he is going and what he wants to accomplish – once again ending it all like Man of Steel in a tiresome display of mayhem and destruction porn.  

The cast includes Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons and Holly Hunter. Hunter, an Academy Award winner will join me on this Saturday’s Picture Show on Newstalk from 6pm. Tune in live or listen back to the podcast here.

Zootropolis (PG)

Zootropolis is the 55th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classic Series that goes back to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 and is, quite frankly equal to the best of them. It is a well-written, beautifully animated and energetically performed and while it provides a subtext of social commentary, it is never preachy or over-emphatic.

 It is a classic buddy comedy set against the background of a unique animals-only fantasy world where predator and prey live in harmony.

The heroine is Judy Hopps, an energized bunny with 275 siblings and a lifelong dream of becoming a cop. She graduates from the police academy but when she arrives in Zootropolis, she is overshadowed by her larger-than-life colleagues – rhinos, elephants, hippos – and summarily dismissed by the police chief who appoints her to meter-maid duty.

Judy then gets a lead in the case of a vanished otter and she joins up with a conman fox to solve the case in the allotted 48 hours. 

Visually, Zootropolis is an inventive, eye-filling, feast of colour, design and detail – the city has twelve different eco-systems, enabling Judy and her pal to visit a vast array of distinctive locations in their search for the otter and the rendering of the varied cast of animals is delightfully vivid. Don’t miss it, it is sure to be a hit with parents and kids. 

Every Wednesday on The Right Hook, Philip joins George to talk movies and TV. Listen back to the podcast below:

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