Movie reviews: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Disorder

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2/5

Movie reviews: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Disorder

A follow up to Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel but, confusingly, not to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, Batman v Superman (12A) is set up as a flagship movie for a new franchise to rival the Marvel’s Avengers series, introducing Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and more in the process.

It is, frankly, a mess.

Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) arrives in Metropolis to witness the collateral damage and deaths caused from the battle between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) at the close of Man Of Steel.

Wayne/Batman, along with Senator Finch (Holly Hunter), believes that Superman cannot go unchecked and sets out to rob him of his power, while a young Lex Luthor (a jittery Jesse Eisenberg), harbors secret plans to create his own super villain…

The problems are legion.

The absurdity of the premise can’t be outflanked by the serious, downbeat tone — this idea might work in a comic but finding a reason for these two superheroes to become enemies was always going to be difficult for the screen.

Batman’s motivation (people were killed as Superman attempted to save the world) isn’t strong enough to drive the whopping two-and-a-half hour long narrative, which would be a lot shorter if not for Snyder’s style; the flashy slow motion hampers momentum and his tendency for close ups of unimportant objects is distracting.

The belated shoehorning of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and other future heroes into the mix come at the most silliest moment: just as the audience gear up for the titular showdown, Snyder cuts away to her on the internet.

Indicative of the bizarre decision making throughout.

But there are gems to be found: Affleck’s Bruce Wayne/Batman is a more haunted figure than before — unshaven, empty and lost, and the theme that to be all-powerful means one cannot be all-good is a weighty one to explore for what is essentially a kids movie. Bloated, joyless, and noisy.

A full 14 years since Toula (Nia Vardalos, who also writes here) married Ian (John Corbett) and her family are still in a state of perpetual chaos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (12A).

The nuptials this time refer not to Toula and Ian, although they have allowed the lust creep out of their marriage, but to her father Gus (Michael Constatine) and mother Maria (Lainie Kazan) who discover the priest never signed their marriage certificate.

But Maria refuses to marry Gus proper unless he proposes in a matter befitting their love…

But that’s just one subplot in a myriad of subplots that include Toula and Ian’s daughter Paris planning to move away to college, finding a date for the prom, Gus tracing his ancestry back to Alexander The Great, and Toula and Ian reigniting that elusive former passion.

Director Kirk Jones (What To Expect When You’re Expecting) can’t find a way to give one narrative precedence, however, and allows the script’s broad sit-com humour full reign.

Disorder (15A) opens with French soldier Vincent (Matthias Schoenaerts) recently returned from a tour of Afghanistan and suffering from PTSD.

Moonlighting as a security guard for Lebanese businessman Imad Whalid (Percy Kemp), the pill-popping, paranoid Vincent begins to believe that Whalid is engaged in a dirty arms deal that involves public figures in the upper reaches of French politics.

Left alone to guard Whalid’s wife Jessie (Diane Kruger) and son Ali (Zaïd Errougui-Demonsant) for a weekend, Vincent finds himself once again on the front line when Whalid’s business rivals mount a military-style attack on Whalid’s palatial mansion in the south of France.

The story, which is directed and co-written by Alice Winocour, is as old and as timeless as The Iliad, exploring as it does the necessity for brutish violence if the innocent are to sleep easy in their beds.

What makes it a compelling tale is Vincent’s tortured understanding of his propensity (and perhaps even his need) for said brutish violence: Schoenaerts has built a career on his ability to convey a sleepy-eyed malevolence, but here his hulking presence, constantly on knife-edge, is given a poignant undercurrent of self-awareness (the tattoo of ‘chaos’ on his forearm is simultaneously a warning and a cry for help).

Meanwhile, Diane Kruger provides subtly layered support as the abandoned Jessie who craves support and affection, although Jessie is a mother too, and instinctively understands, for the sake of her son, that Vincent is a barely tamed wild animal who needs to be kept at arm’s length.

Ambiguous in tone right to the very end, Disorder is both an absorbing drama and an insightful exploration of how foreign wars can impact on the home front.

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