* * C
Warning: I am not a fan of Superman. I actually liked the “Man of Steel” Superman reboot. Yes, it rehashed the second movie from the original franchise, but it was much grittier and played up the science fiction aspect of the material, and so was, in a sense, original. This film is a sequel to that one, with Henry Cavill reprise the role of “Supe”. Due to Supe’s ridiculously OP nature, there are only three possible plots: kryptonite, kryptonians, or evil superman. This film goes with a combination of the first two.
Ben Afflick does a good job as old Batman, with Jeremy Irons as his trusty butler Alfred. He has gotten nasty in his old age, branding criminals, which leads Supe to righteously shut him down. Supe comes under criticism for collateral damage (reminiscent of the crap premise of “Captain America: Civil War”, but not handled nearly as hamfistedly), and his arch nemesis Lex Luthor, well played by Jesse “Zuckerberg” Eisenberg, uses the anti-Supe sentiment to get access to the crashed Kryptonian ship.
Batty steals Lex’s kryptonite and uses it in the fight against Supe that ensues. They are reconciled in time to save Supe’s mom from Lex’s clutches. Lex then unleashes the Kryptonian version of the cave troll from Lord of the Rings. “Flying cave troll with laser vision rampages through Metropolis, film at eleven”. Joined by the mysterious Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Supe and Batty take on the beast.
I liked old Batman, thought that the foreshadowing of other X-men (sorry, metahumans), Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, a character I’m unfamiliar with, was good, and found Wonder Woman interesting. One Marvelous trick that DC neglected was to give her her own origin story film before introducing her, relegating her to minor character status. They’ll be fixing that soon.
The parallels between DC’s justice league and the Avengers are many. Superman and Thor, Batman and Ironman, and now, Wonder Woman and Captain America. Marvel was wise to have Thor and Hulk, their two OP heroes, sit out the Avengers civil war. Sadly, Superman will continue to hurt the DC franchise, removing any doubt that the Justice league will ever fail. Henry Kavill and Zack Snyder do a good job with the material, but there’s only so much you can do to build tension when your character is an indestructible god.