Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ★★★

Zack Snyder is on fire here, which is to say that he's always been bombastic but Man of Steel was inert, pompous bombast whereas here he's back to being manic and excessive, genre-hopping like in Sucker Punch (Bruce Wayne gets a suave James Bond interlude, then there's a martial-arts fight pointedly shot in a single take, as if Ben Affleck were Jackie Chan). The first act is excitingly structured as a series of discrete sequences - jaunty music gets a smash-cut to a fist-fight, we're beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean then suddenly in "Nairomi, Africa" (?) then suddenly in the Wayne mansion - while the climax is pure sensation, all shooting flames and rousing music (Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL may be the film's MVPs) and a sense of near-abstraction instead of the punishing stridency of Man of Steel's endless climax. The big problem is that Batman has no need to fight Superman, and in fact the villain's plan to facilitate said showdown is quite obscure (something to do with Man defeating God; Eisenberg's twitchy performance doesn't really help); this is a film designed to disguise a gaping hole at its centre, Batman vs. Superman being a gimmick to attract attention to the studio's intended platform for its own Avengers franchise (other "meta-humans" appear on the sidelines), the fight itself being irrelevant. Also way too long and exhausting, also who really cares at the end of the day, etc. Snappy dialogue offers some compensation - "You must be new to the 'let them eat cake' beat" - Eisenberg quotes Lolita at Lois Lane, and even the battling duo have their amusingly bombastic moments. "Tell me, do you bleed? [Superman flies off without replying] You will!..."