Heroes at war.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (3D)
Cert 12A, Running time 151mins
The headline act may be the Caped Crusader versus the Man Of Steel but the real test will be whether these DC comic book characters can match the box office might of Marvel's all-conquering superheroes.
The action begins with a young Bruce Wayne attending the funeral of his parents, gunned down in a street robbery, before we fast forward to modern-day Metropolis, the home city of Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill), whose battle with alien invaders leaves the skyline in ruins.
The collateral damage prompts people to question if the Son Of Krypton truly is a force for good. As a result, the Caped Crusader (Ben Affleck) makes it his mission to bring down the man in the sky, despite dark warnings from his loyal butler, Alfred (Jeremy Irons).
And if that weren't enough, Superman also has to contend with paranoid billionaire Lex Luthor (played by a twitchy Jesse Eisenberg) who's trying to obtain Kryptonite, the only thing on Earth that can wipe him out.
Zack Synder's movie, a direct sequel to his 2013 Superman flick Man Of Steel, is packed with stunning action set pieces, from toppling tower blocks to the Caped Crusader gunning through the streets in his Batmobile, and a terrific early scene where Superman rescues his girlfriend, Lois Lane (Amy Adams), from terrorists in the Sahara.
But no amount of crash, bang or wallop can conceal a muddled and ungainly storyline. You're never quite sure whether the action's taking place in Metropolis or in Batman's fiefdom of Gotham City. Meanwhile, the Caped Crusader's grudge against his fellow superhero feels as if it's been contrived solely to set up an encounter that's less an iconic fight and more an exhibition match.
Unfortunately for DC, there's only one winner in the battle of Expectations V Reality.
THE REEL LOWDOWN
BEST QUOTE "He has the power to wipe out the entire human race. If we believe there's even a one per cent chance that he's our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty."
BEST BIT Affleck confounds his detractors with a solid turn as Batman.
WORST BIT A murky, confusing storyline.
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