In this week's edition of On Camera: spoiler-free reviews of the latest appearances of superheroes on the big screen (Batman, Superman, Po the Panda) as well as on the small screen (Netflix's 'Daredevil' season two). We also round up some of the more interesting bits of movie and TV news for you.
In Cinemas: 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' (2016) + Kung Fu Panda 3' (2016)
2016's latest superhero film came out in UK cinemas today. 'Batman V Superman' currently sits at a meagre 30% on Rotten Tomatoes. Zack Snyder returns to the director's seat for the follow up to the mixed 'Man Of Steel' - which finished on 56% on RT, for comparative purposes. Indeed, his new film soon harks back to the events of 'Man Of Steel', as seen from Bruce Wayne's (Ben Affleck) perspective, breeding resentment for Superman's (Henry Cavill) perceived lack of concern for collateral damage.
This pits the two superheroes on a warring path with one another, with Jesse Eisenberg's madcap Lex Luthor egging them on from the sidelines. Snyder opts for an action-heavy and mercilessly serious approach, although the emotional backbone that the film proposes from the outset feels a tad insincere until much later on. There are also confused motivations and incoherent moments, partly explaining why many critics have taken the film to task. However, Snyder brings a boldness to proceedings that feels propulsive, while delivering a Batman that is as compelling as any we've seen thus far on the big screen.
As far as near universally loved superhero films go, recently released 'Kung Fu Panda 3' is a more suitable fit, and perhaps unexpectedly so. It's a sequel we perhaps didn't need, and yet it's arguably the finest of the trilogy. Jack Black's Po the Panda returns, again on a quest to find his inner self but this time with added panda support.
The animation of 'Kung Fu Panda 3' is incredibly vivid, but it's certainly not a case of style over substance - there is a strong emotional core and some nice supportive messages for youngsters, particularly with regards to having two fathers. There are plenty of laughs to be had for audiences of all ages, equating to one of the finest family films of the past decade. Hats off to directors Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni, and their team.
At Home: 'Daredevil' Season 2
The Devil of Hell's Kitchen returns in the second season of Netflix and Marvel collab 'Daredevil', following a widely acclaimed debut season last year. The new season doesn't change the formula massively: 1) superhero (Charlie Cox) finding his feet 2) frequent bursts of brutality from all sides 3) overly murky cinematography. There are some changes however, in particular the beefed up parts for Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) - both more impressive than the previous season, where they felt more like scene dressing.
Unfortunately, there is no charismatic villain (as Vincent D'Onofrio's magnetic Wilson Fisk now finds himself in prison, on account of Nelson and Cox's Matt Murdock) this time around, and the series does suffer as a result. Jon Bernthal's compelling birth as The Punisher, however, allays the negativity, and while more dubious plot points and characters emerge later on in the season, this can be considered a successful return for 'Daredevil'.
TV & Movie News
There will be an 'Indiana Jones 5'. For some reason. Although Harrison Ford seems remarkably positive about the idea.
Peter Serafinowicz has been cast as The Tick in Amazon's reboot of the show. The cartoon version of the show (perhaps also the live action version) is well worth seeking out.
ICYMI, here's my top ten films of 2015.
'The LEGO Batman Movie' just released its first trailer:
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