Movies to watch this week at the cinema: Zootropolis, The Club, Welcome To Me, more...

Out on Friday 25 March

Jason Bateman voices a fantastic fox. Pablo Larraìn shines a spotlight on the Catholic Church. Kristen Wiig gets a chat show. There's also a certain clash between Batman and Superman Yes, here's this week's new releases. Click on for our reviews of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Zootropolis, The Club, Welcome To Me, Speed Sisters, Disorder, Iona, Mojave, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, and Court. For the best movie reviews, subscribe to Total Film.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

This year, two heavyweight pop-culture titans are going head to head. Yep, Marvel and DC are both releasing sequels featuring a clash of their own superpowered good guys. Captain America and Iron Man have at least bickered on screen before, but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice marks the first time that these title characters (arguably the most famous in comics) have shared space in a live-action film. This creates the instant aura of a must-see, regardless of what you thought of Man of Steel, director Zack Snyder's first Superman film and the starting point for Warner Bros' expanded Justice League-centric universe. Structurally similar to its predecessor, BVS:DOJ takes its time establishing its reality-grounded sci-fi setting ahead of the main-attraction dust-up. If the title clash ultimately disappoints, the world-building that leads to it has plenty to offer. In the black (or very, very dark grey) corner is Ben Affleck's grizzled Caped Crusader, a vigilante grown weary of the thankless, Sisyphean task of trying to clean up Gotham's underworld. In the red-and-blue corner, Kal-El/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) is holding down a job at the Daily Planet (tasked with covering sports when he'd rather be writing an expose on the Bat), while global opinion is divided on his alter ego, Superman: do his heroic deeds justify the collateral damage he causes? In the second prologue, after the obligatory recap of Bruce Wayne's tragic childhood, a Wayne Financial building (containing several storeys of employees) is destroyed during Superman's previous climactic battle with General Zod, an event replayed at ground-level in a thrilling new perspective on the destruction. From the wreckage, Bruce makes it his mission to prevent the extraterrestrial émigré from causing any more damage, by neutralising the threat. Jumping ahead 18 months, Snyder continues the story at pace, with Lois Lane (Amy Adams, given more to do than you might expect) chasing a story in Africa, while Lex Luthor Jr. (Jesse Eisenberg) has a particular interest in the Kryptonian vessels lying dormant in various crash sites worldwide. Meanwhile, the enigmatic Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) begins turning up at all the fancy soirées that Bruce finds himself snooping around. Jeremy Irons and Holly Hunter are strong additions to a cast already teeming with gravitas. Christopher Nolan's Batman films aren't part of this canon, but that doesn't mean their influence is not keenly felt (Nolan and Emma Thomas again exec produce here). Largely sticking with the grounded approach that made the Dark Knight trilogy so compelling, this isn't a radical new interpretation of the Caped Crusader, so it's a credit to Affleck – and the enduring popularity of the character – that it doesn't feel too soon to have him on screen again. Aided by Snyder's visual verve, its an extremely faithful take on the character, and, alone, he's responsible for many of the film's best moments: from taking on a roomful of goons in a hand-to-hand scrap, to an explosive Batmobile chase. In fact, what's perhaps most surprising is that BVS is at its best when its heroes are apart. When it comes to the clash itself, there's an inescapable feeling of anti-climax. Not only does the animosity between the pair never feel fully earned, but the eventual bout doesn't quite justify the pre-release hype, or make the most of its historical significance. Goosebumps are inevitable when the two icons finally face off, and there are some spectacular clobberings dispensed, but it doesn't feel like, as Lex pitches it, “the greatest gladiator battle in the history of the world”. And if it sounds like Batman's vengeance mission is in part to atone for the criticism towards Man of Steel's destruction-porn finale, it's not; BVS ends with a similarly numbing CG overload. As in Iron Man 2, there's a sense that Dawn of Justice (as that subtitle implies) is a bridging device, a platform to launch a bigger cinematic universe, and as such it might work better when viewed as part of a 10-film collection than it does as a standalone. Even if it is at the cost of its central conflict, BVS does work as a promo for films yet to come: there's no one who won't want to get to know Gadot's kick-ass Wonder Woman better after the credits roll, while Eisenberg's conceited Lexcorp heir is riddled with daddy issues, and feels ripe for further exploration. So while Batman v Superman has no trouble quickening the pulse, it's less effective when it comes to making you care. There's plenty to gawp at and Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL's score electrifies, but the emotional punches never really connect, and the gritty realism occasionally draws attention to some forehead-slapping plotholes (even in the face of giant coincidences, no one twigs Clark's secret identity). It won't win over staunch Man of Steel haters, but for anyone giddy at the prospect of seeing DC's flagship stars together at last, big-screen viewing is pretty much mandatory. THE VERDICT: Ben Affleck's Dark Knight and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman make welcome additions to the newly forged DC Universe, even if the title fight doesn't quite do justice to its comics heritage. Director: Zack Synder Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg Theatrical release: March 25, 2016 Matt Maytum

ZOOTROPOLIS

Disney's noble tradition of cartoon anthropomorphism stretches all the way back to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. So there's something comfortingly circular about having another bunny – Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a rookie cop from the back of beyond striving to make her mark in a mammal-only metropolis – at the heart of its latest animated caper, even if it does owe just as much to DreamWorks and Aardman as it does to such House of Mouse faves as The Lion King and Robin Hood. The latter, incidentally, was possibly the inspiration for the movie's male lead, a wily fox – snarkily voiced by Jason Bateman – who reluctantly joins forces with Judy to solve a case involving mysterious animal disappearances. The results take them all over an impeccably realised alt-world that encompasses bustling city, icy-tundra and Amazonian-rainforest zones, not to mention a miniature enclave for rodents that provides the location for one of the film's most inventive set-pieces. That these include a subway car chase reminiscent of Speed and a rope bridge escape in the vein of Indiana Jones is testament to the film's admirable ambition and relentless momentum. It's so fast-paced, in fact, that there's barely time to register all the visual and verbal gags that pepper the screen: advertisements for 'Hoof Locker' or 'Urban Snoutfitters' for example, or a poster for a musical called Rats. There's even a meta-gag involving pirate DVDs (Wreck-It Rhino, anyone?) – though perhaps directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore are being a little too self-indulgent when they have Judy's buffalo police chief (Idris Elba, gruffly warming up for his voice roles in The Jungle Book and Finding Dory) namedrop a certain Frozen ear-worm. It's fair to say, too, that a carrot-shaped recording device has rather too much input in a noir-ish plot whose existential quandary (can predators and prey co-exist peacefully?) is the same one that motored the first Madagascar. (It also gives rise to scenes involving snarling, claw-baring beasties that might be a touch too intense for very young children.) But overall, Zootropolis is a witty, creative and entertaining romp with literally endless sequel potential and the biggest collection of four-legged critters this side of Noah. (The sloths who run the 'department of Mammal Vehicles' are… a… scream.) In Goodwin's Judy meanwhile, it has a heroine so plucky, resourceful and a-doe-rable we can even forgive her when she's doling out parking tickets. THE VERDICT: No instant Disney classic, but a fast and furry-ious caper with endless gags, a fizzy fox-bunny double act and Shakira as a singing gazelle. Directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, J.K. Simmons, Bonnie Hunt, Octavia Spencer Theatrical release: March 25, 2016 Neil Smith

THE CLUB

If Pablo Larraìn's piercing satire No (2012) played like a Chilean double of Ben Affleck's Argo in its keen riff on recent history, his latest resembles a darker sibling to Spotlight. A journalistic angle steadied Tom McCarthy's take on child abuse in the Catholic church. Yet Larraìn's terrifically tense, boldly mordant chamber piece does something more unsettling: he ventures inside both a penitential house and its occupants' minds, grappling with areas murkier than the fog choking its coastal setting. Keeping histrionics at bay, Larraín – refining the concision of his Pinochet-era fables Post Mortem (2010) and Tony Manero (2008) – lays out his themes with vice-tight assurance. symbolically loaded shots of daily routines and roads to nowhere imply cycles of irresolution as we meet four disgraced priests living under the rules of sister Mónica (Antonia Zegers); they keep themselves low-key, though proof of repentance is scarce. But routine splinters when a fifth priest arrives, recognised by fisherman Sandokan (Roberto Farías), a heartbreakingly troubled and vocal victim of the newcomer's crimes. When violence erupts, Marcelo Alonso's father García visits the house to contain the crisis: perhaps even to shut it down. A series of two-handed interrogations follows, transformed under Larraín's watch from talking-heads torpor into electric bouts of chafing loyalties – to church, faith, the self. His flair for directing actors stokes full-bodied performances from regular collaborator Alfredo Castro as a self-preserved priest and Zegers, who spikes Mónica with icy poise. The dialogue is charged, the cinematography expressive: DoP Sergio Armstrong makes claustrophobic work of the widescreen frame. Tension mounts for a grimly knuckle-gnawing climactic sequence involving dogs, where a core theme of judgement deferred is steered to ambiguous ends. With forensic focus and black humour, Larraín guides us towards a fearless examination of unresolved tensions between suffering, guilt and the closed ranks of institutional impunity. THE VERDICT: With stinging wit, Larraín shines a spotlight on crime and non-punishment in the Catholic church and emerges with a tale free from hysteria yet fraught with human complexity. Director: Pablo Larraìn Starring: Alfredo Castro, Roberto Farías, Antonia Zegers, Jaime Vadell Theatrical release: March 25, 2016 Kevin Harley

WELCOME TO ME

What would you do if you won $86 million? If you'e an Oprah obsessive with borderline-personality disorder, you'd probably buy your own chat show – something Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig) manages to do at a failing TV studio that is all too happy to take her money. Re-enacting painful scenes from her childhood, neutering dogs and sobbing loudly about masturbation, she delivers a televisual car crash that no one can stop watching. Veering suddenly and wildly between sharp comedy and sharper tragedy, Shira Piven's bold indie rests almost entirely on Wiig, who offers up a fearless performance. Director: Shira Piven Starring: Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Wes Bentley Theatrical release: March 25, 2016 Paul Bradshaw

SPEED SISTERS

Whenever women manage to break into the macho world of car racing it's a cause for celebration. But when they do it in Palestine, it’s borderline revolutionary. 'The Speed Sisters' are an all-female, all-Arab racing team that tear around the West Bank wearing helmets instead of hijabs – not because they want to start a political debate, but because they’re mad petrol-heads who are really good at what they do. Director Amber Fares finds a frankly astounding subject for her first feature-length doc, using the story of a few brave sportswomen to shine a bright headlamp on lives lived under occupation. Director: Amber Fares Theatrical release: March 25, 2016 Paul Bradshaw

DISORDER

Suffering from – we presume – PTSD, recently demobbed soldier Matthias Schoenaerts finds himself prone to bouts of rage and tinnitus squeals in French co-writer/director Alice Winocour's moody thriller. Between tours of Afghanistan, he scratches a living as the bodyguard to a shady businessman and family, although mostly this involves perving over bored wife Diane Kruger, while repeatedly endangering them with his paranoid delusions. Schoenaerts is intense as always, and Winocour puts us in his place with nervy bursts of too-loud electro, but the pace is so slow-burn it's often just slow. Director: Alice Winocour Starring: Matthias Schoenaerts, Diane Kruger Theatrical release: March 25, 2016 Matt Glasby

IONA

With no explanations and not many more words, the eponymous protagonist (Ruth Negga) and her 15-year-old son (Ben Gallagher) take the ferry back to the suffocating Scottish island where she grew up, burn their car, and move in with the adoptive father (Douglas Henshall) she left behind years before, sending shocked ripples through the tight-knit community. Scott Graham's (Shell) confident drama features a strong central performance and a believably bleak sense of place, but it's almost comically taciturn in places, its secrets unravelling slowly amid an atmosphere of quiet trauma. Director: Scott Graham Starring: Tom Brooke, Michelle Duncan, Ben Gallagher Theatrical release: March 25, 2016 Matt Glasby

MOJAVE

This curious drama from The Departed screenwriter William Monahan sees Garrett Hedlund's lost-soul artist Thomas going walkabout in the desert. There, he confronts devilish psychopath Oscar Isaac – babbling away like Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now in a can't-take-your-eyes-off-him performance. Monahan adeptly captures an air of faded, stinking decadence – but after an unforeseen murder, the third act never really materialises, while the cod-philosophical whimsy leaves you dehydrated. Shame. Director: William Monahan Starring: Mark Walhberg, Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund Theatrical release: March 25, 2016 James Mottram

COURT

In Mumbai, elderly teacher and radical folk singer Narayan Kamble (Vira Sathidar) finds himself arrested on trumped-up charges of abetting suicide. Chaitanya Tamhane's debut feature takes well-aimed pot-shots at the creaking, hidebound Indian judicial system, where antiquated laws are still trotted out with reverence. (Not so unlike Britain, perhaps…) but the film also leaves the courtroom to paint a wider picture of Indian society, where prejudice and tradition hold sway. The deliberate pacing risks trying our patience, but it's an accurate reflection of a system in stasis. Director: Chaitanya Tamhane Starring: Usha Bane, Vivek Gomber, Pradeep Joshi, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Shirish Pawar, Vira Sathidar Theatrical release: March 25, 2016 Philip Kemp

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2

Fourteen years since Nia Vardalos' comedy became a big fat hit comes the belated sequel, again produced by Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. With the original cast back, and Vardalos scripting again, it doesn't stray far from the 'overbearing family' formula that dominated the original. Vardalos' Toula must now deal with her parents getting hitched (don't ask) and her daughter (Elena Kampouris, one to watch) going to college. Michael Constantine, as Toula's father, nabs the best of the precious few funny lines. Director: Kirk Jones Starring: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Lainie Kazan, Gia Carides, Joey Fatone, Elena Kampouris Theatrical release: March 25, 2016 James Mottram