FILM: Much Ado About Nothing (12A)

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Joss Whedon, the creator of the long-running TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel and director of Avengers Assemble, changes pace with this adaptation of Shakespeare’s comical battle of the sexes.

Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) returns from battle accompanied by his brother Don John (Sean Maher) and young officer Claudio (Fran Kranz), who instantly falls under the spell of Hero (Jillian Morgese), the beautiful and virginal daughter of Leonato (Clark Gregg), governor of Messina.

Claudio and Hero agree to be married, passing the time by conspiring to match-make confirmed bachelor Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and his verbal sparring partner Beatrice (Amy Acker). Benedick and Beatrice are unable to express their feelings and resort to barbed insults and name-calling.

Their friends are driven to frustration by this mock hostility, since they can see how much the pair clearly like each other. Meanwhile Don John plots revenge on his brother and young Claudio by accusing Hero of infidelity, providing his brother with the necessary (falsified) evidence to back up the damning claim.

Released: June 14 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas), 108 mins