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Film review: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ plods from one smash-up to the next

Zack Snyder’s follow-up to ‘Man of Steel’ pits Batman against Superman with Lex Luthor as the meddler.

Gotham is another name for New York City, as is Metropolis. The fictitious homes of two of the most iconic American comic book characters merge into one playground for grown-ups in Zack Synder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This ponderous, humourless and overlong movie is in the vein of Synder’s Man of Steel, his immensely stylish and unfeeling reboot of the Superman franchise. Starring the blank-faced Henry Cavill as the Son of Krypton, the 2013 film ended with images of Metropolis’s skyscrapers being reduced to rubble as Superman battles the evil Zods.

Batman v Superman opens with a ground perspective of Superman’s rampage as seen by Batman’s alter ego Bruce Wayne, now grey-templed and heavier around the waist and looking less like a vigilante than a dried-out banker. As Wayne (Ben Affleck) watches his office building crumble and his employees die or be maimed, he is outraged at Superman’s sense of entitlement. At that moment, he is not too different from the cost-conscious residents of the fictional city in Brad Bird’s animated film The Incredibles, who force superheroes to go into retirement because they are tired of paying for their ruinous romps.

Batman’s simmering resentment and possible envy at Superman’s gifts are exploited by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), the kooky and crooked billionaire businessman who has been played by Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey in the past. Eisenberg, behaving as though he is in a Woody Allen tribute rather than a money-spinning franchise, is the one spot of levity in another rhetorical debate on the place of superheroes in post 9/11 America.

The beautifully designed artificial universe that has been created to squeeze the last drop of ink out of the DC Comics titles includes Amy Adams’s worrywart Lois Lane, who is Superman’s mortal love. The movie also introduces Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), a mysterious seductress who swaps her deep-cut and backless gowns for the fitting armour and thigh-baring skirt that has fired the imagination of young boys over generations. Wonder Woman is both surprise package in a climactic battle with a monster that threatens to destroy Metropolis all over again as well test balloon for the spin-off movie featuring Gadot’s character that is scheduled for 2017.

Snyder’s movie is influenced by Nolan’s grown-up reboot of the Dark Knight phase of Batman’s comic book history (the British director is one of this film’s producers), but his heart isn’t in the ethics v entertainment debate. Snyder really wants to watch the world burn, and his ability to create a credible world that mirrors the layers and light-and-shadow play of the densely illustrated comic books is perhaps unmatched. Shot by Larry Fong, who also worked on Snyder’s 300 and Watchmen, Batman v Superman is an eye-popping visual experience in which the action moves from destruction porn to poetic abstraction.

The brow-furrowing over vigilante justice is as pointless as the back story of Batman that opens the movie, and the characters are as light as they would be on the page. The movie ends where it begins: with the annihilation of half of Metropolis, the suggestion of a sequel that will feature other characters from the inter-textual DC Universe, and the promise of further seductive mayhem.

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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

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Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.