July 21, 2013 by Devin
One of the big announcements at Comic Con this year was the fact that Warner Bros is working on a Batman vs. Superman movie. The reveal is below.
All in all, a pretty cool reveal. For those unaware, that quote that Harry Lennix* read is from The Dark Knight Returns, the graphic novel that had Batman and Superman fight it out and, though the film is not an adaptation, it will serve as inspiration for the new movie.
However, I find myself incredibly apathetic about this movie. Part of that is that I have just been burnt out by Batman and Superman lately: Batman because he has been everywhere and Superman because I was not a huge fan of his last outing.
So even though the movie is not coming out until 2015, I do find myself asking that question I often ask myself about movies: is it going to suck? I obviously do not know the answer to that, but I think there are several red flags that make me worried about the quality of this movie. For example…
It seems like this upcoming movie is going to have the exact same people behind it as Man of Steel, and to a lesser extent, The Dark Knight Rises. This is a problem for two reasons. The first is that I am tired of David S. Goyer, a screenwriter for all the new Batman films and Man of Steel. He comes from the same school of thought as Christopher Nolan, and I do not want to get another film with a Superman that is morally confused, ambiguous, and all over the place. I also want a Batman that does not feel like he makes every effort to hide his comic book roots. I do not want DC to just ape Marvel, but if they could ape their own animated series, which are consistently excellent portrayals of the characters, then I would be a happy camper.
The other problem with keeping the same crew around is that the same ideas, motifs, and styles keep coming up over and over. I do not mean to always compare DC to Marvel, but right now Marvel is the only company doing similar things, and I love the way they cycle talent. Joe Johnston, who directed Captain America: The First Avenger, brought a sense of nostalgia and wonder that was not present elsewhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kenneth Branagh added a sense of Shakespearean gravitas to Thor that would not have fit Iron Man or The Incredible Hulk. And Marvel is continuing to do this, getting talent like James Gunn, Edgar Wright, and Shane Black to keep adding their spin on their properties. Heck, look at what happened when Matthew Vaughn got a hold of X-Men with X-Men: First Class.
With DC, however, we got Batman, serious and gritty edition, and then Superman, serious and gritty edition. I feel like the next movie will just be Batman and Superman, serious and gritty edition. And I have already had my fill of that.
There’s nothing there
For this reveal, we got a logo. There is not a script ready. We do not have any idea of the story. The cast and crew are presumably whoever was in Man of Steel who is still relevant, but beyond that, this announcement was seriously lacking in substance.
And that worries me. Up until this point, it seemed like DC was planning a Justice League movie in 2015, but they never seemed to have anything planned.
And now they have this. This is from the company that owns rights to the biggest superheroes in the world and has only gotten decent movies out of 2 of them. Granted, I would argue that some of the Batman and Superman films have been among the most influential superhero films ever, but I say that knowing that some of their films have also been some of the worst examples of superhero films. When taken as a whole, DC’s track record is shoddy at best.
If DC really got its act together, this would have been the moment to show that off. This would have been the moment to really emphasize how they are making the movies fans want to see and have wanted to see ever since there have been superhero movies to see. Instead, we got a logo and promises of a good movie. I’m sorry, DC, I’ve been burned by you before.
It reeks of desperation
Why release a Batman vs Superman film now? Seriously, this is one of the worst times to release such a film. Christopher Nolan’s Batman clearly is not coming back but is still fresh in people’s minds. Man of Steel did well but not nearly as well as DC would have liked (and a lot of that has to do with the troubling interpretation of the character). They don’t have an established Batman and barely have a Superman. People have been clamoring for this film for years, so why now?
The answer is, of course, Avengers 2.***
DC is in danger of being completely left out of the comic book movie conversation. Marvel is giving people a lot more to talk about, showing off properties like Iron Man, Captain America, and soon Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. They needed some reason for people to still care about Batman and Superman, and apparently they could not get a Justice League movie together, so they pull out the last trick in their sleeve.
And that is ultimately the reason why I am nervous about this movie. This movie is not a tour de force of comic book icons and creators. It exists only because DC was incompetent with their franchises, unable to give even their strongest icons a decent film, and I simply do not trust them anymore.
*I know he already has a role in this universe, but him reading that quote made me realize he does have an awesome Batman voice.**
**And now I’m thinking about what would happen if Batman was black. Unlike other cases where the race does not play a pivotal role, it would definitely change the situation with Batman considering he, in a lot of ways, reflects the upper class elite. There’s a fan fiction in there somewhere.
***Or as it is known now, Avengers: The Age of Ultron (insert geek-out here).