It can be more than just a little disconcerting to see Batman with jowls oozing from the sides of his mask. The sight doesn’t sit well with the image of super-hero virility, but none of us are getting any younger, including Ben Affleck. Although, given that Batman is not really a super-hero per-se – he is just an extremely rich bloke in a cape – it is probably not entirely inappropriate that we might notice him ageing.
Jeremy Irons, the doddery old nerd at super-hero headquarters, gets the gang back together to save the world from yet another threat from a distant galaxy. There is Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Moama), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Superman (Henry Cavill), whom they first must somehow bring back from the dead. The villain is Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds), a hideous piece of work who has a flotilla of winged assassins at his disposal.
It is entirely stupid and thunderously boring, of course, but the current trend to lace the super-heroes’ dialogue with pithy retorts and self-deprecating jokes does make the journey marginally less arduous – The Flash gets the best lines and Miller delivers them with precision and sharpness. Costumes are good, but tend to the conventional rather than the innovative, the smash-ups and brawls, of which there are countless, are executed with admirable expertise and an unrestrained lust for violence, and the blitzkrieg soundtrack never lets up.
The story drifts away from the major crisis at hand when it attempts, but fails miserably, to breathe some life into the Clark Kent/Lois Lane (Amy Adams) romance, but this is a movie strictly for devotees of the genre. Throughout the dreary two hours, I was tormented by trying to think whom it was that Moama reminded of. It came to me during the final battle, as Steppenwolf was getting hammered. It was the late Marc Hunter. Happy to have solved that nagging problem, I sang Are You Old Enough all the way home.