Deep Purple once made it into the Guinness Book of Records for being the world’s loudest rock band. The last forty-odd minutes of this stupendously awful movie make Ian Gillan and the boys sound like Marcel Marceau. It’s an aural assault beyond human endurance. But what else is there to say? The CGI is fantastic? Of course it is, but is that enough? Sadly, the box office says it is for the majority of punters.
To an outsider (ie, anybody who does not belong to the target demographic of the 18–25-year-old male) the title is intriguing, in a no-brainer way – Superman (Henry Cavill, looking more like Buddy Holly than Clark Kent when he’s in mufti) would surely win because he’s got superpowers, whereas Batman (Ben Affleck), apart from being kitted out in a more stylish outfit that does not necessitate his going public with his underpants on the outside, has only the Batmobile as his special thing. And why are they at each other’s throats anyway? It’s because the evil Lex Luthor (played by a jabbering Jesse Eisenberg) has set in train a plan to rule the world by framing the two great champions of Metropolis and Gotham as megalomaniacal vigilantes. For the briefest of interludes, the movie wants you to take it seriously by asking questions about why society creates infallible heroes and gods (and monsters), but pompous philosophising is not what the mob has come to see.
Cavill is a good Superman – he looks cute in tights – but Affleck doesn’t quite cut it as Bruce Wayne. He is never menacing or edgy enough, in the way that Christian Bale was in the far superior The Dark Knight, and his 24/7 stubble seems out of character for the debonair philanthropist.
The only other thing worth commenting on is Jeremy Irons as Wayne’s tech-head sidekick (Robin is a distant memory) – I’ve always argued that Irons would have made a marvellous Bond, but maybe he doesn’t have the pecs. Give it a miss – life’s too short to needlessly shatter your eardrums.