First off, let me say that I think everyone’s opinion is important and valid, and to me, when speaking about The Bat, that especially applies to the staff here at darkknightnews.com. I’m new here and the last thing I want to do is start any kind of animosity, but when I was editing Mia’s Elia’s recent opinion piece about her aversions to the upcoming Batman/Superman movie, I found myself having a real hard time taking my personal opposition to her position out of my editing process. I succeeded, but only in as much as I resolved to save all my own opinions on 2015’s Man of Steel sequel to an entirely separate article. This one. (So please read Mia’s article first, I may disagree, but it’s great writing none the less)
Alright here we go.
Batman Vs. Superman. Man of Steel 2. Trinity. Justice League. Let’s be clear on one thing that is an actual fact here, this movie does not have an official title. We know it’s a sequel to MOS, and we know that WB has given us this image:
That’s actually it. Which makes writing about it a little confusing, so from here on out, I’m just going to call it Man of Steel 2 because I think that’s what It’ll probably be called (albeit with some kind of subtitle).
So I guess to start let’s take a look at the other things we know are facts:
- All the main cast from Man of Steel will return.
- Batman will be in it, played by Ben Affleck.
- Wonder Woman (Or at least Diana Prince) will be in it played by Gal Gadot.
- Zack Snyder will direct.
- Chris Nolan will produce (along with about six others including both Nolan and Snyders’ wives).
- David S. Goyer will write it
- It comes out in 2015 (the most jam packed year in movie history apparently).
- The Flash is probably in it, but has not been cast.
Take a look at what we got there. We’ve got multiple Oscar Nominees, A Winner, the guy who wrote the Dark Knight Trilogy, the Guy who Directed the Dark Knight Trilogy (And The Prestige and Momento), and The Guy who directed The Watchmen, 300 and Dawn of the Dead. Apart from that most of what we’re hearing is rumour. But personally I think we’re probably going to see most of the JLA in some form or another, as well as a fair number of villains. And Mia’s definitely right about one thing, having that many characters is a distinct challenge. If The Avengers hadn’t been as good as it was I wouldn’t have had high hopes for it. But fellow nerds, that’s the thing, we’ve seen the light, we’ve seen the potential of a superhero team movie met with critical and finical success. Sure some of us weren’t huge fans, but I think the majority of us all thought that at the very least The Avengers is one of the good ones.
And for us DC people, us sovereign supporters of the Justice League (International, Of America, Society, Xtreme, take your pick), we all wanted something at least that good (preferably even better) to be for us.
But in order to get there. Someone’s got to do some heavy lifting. With the announcement of Man of Steel Warner Bros. made it perfectly clear that this new superman was NOT going to intersect with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy (they still haven’t said anything about the monstrosity that was Green Lantern, which I guess is…good…?), and that is WAS going to be the starting point for a brand new DC:CU (DC Cinematic Universe), in short, this was DC’s Ironman. It was going to be the movie for which all future DC movies depended on, both in terms of quality, but also cash. Put simply if MOS flopped, there’d be no plans moving forward with MOS:2 or anything else DC for a while.
And what happened? Man Of Steel was the 5th highest grossing film of last year bringing in a positively Lex Luthor-ian sum of cash.
That brings us to where we are now.
Warner Bros. wants Justice League and don’t I think that they don’t want to put out 3 or 4 more movies to get there. They can’t either, by that time Marvel’ll be on… probably Avengers 3 (or maybe finally gotten around to doing Hugo Strange) and the world won’t want any other team keeping them safe. So DC has to move quickly.
…But, In my opinion I think they’ve got all the right pieces to do it.
I’ll make no bones about it, I loved Man of Steel. On the complete opposite side of the spectrum from Mia, I dug this flick super hard. Hans Zimmer’s score alone is worth an oscar nod, humble, and inspiring, whilst powerful and hopeful (just…. just listen). I also loved the acting, I thought (again totally contrary to Mia) that Amy Adams made a killer Lois Lane. Much more than a screamer, Lois in this movie, drives a large portion of the story, (especially in the first half) and actually rescues Superman, for once (Although, yes, he does save her…twice…). The action was dynamic, in a way we’ve never seen supes work on film before, truly, other worldly. As for the mass destruction and the… controversial ending, I thought that it was about more than just levelling Metropolis, it was about Superman learning about the devastating effects his powers can have if he looses control or makes a wrong choice. It’s something that I hope haunts him in the next film and something he clearly is in anguish over at the end of the final fight with Zod.
But, yes, it does bother me that they made Jimmy Olsen a girl…who’s also incredibly under-written…
And I think the reason this movie is so great is all because of the guys behind this movie (and Man of Steel 2). Zack Snyder, Chris Nolan and David S. Goyer. Mia and, for that matter many of you, may not be big fans of Snyder’s past flicks, but I am. I think his visual style is both, one of the most unique among prevalent filmmakers today and truly beautiful. Sure he may not be the strongest when he’s in the writer’s chair, (See: Sucker Punch) but even when his story lacks his visuals are fantastic (See: Sucker Punch). His story isn’t great when he writes his own but when the man works from a source material I think he hits the nail on the head, like in 300, Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen (actually if you want to really dive down this rabbit hole, I recently reviewed Watchmen on my blog, spoiler: I love it). But story won’t be a problem as he’s got the guys who came up with The Dark Knight Trilogy writing his story. Don’t forget that. Goyer and Nolan, they’ve both got great track records when it comes to storytelling, and together with snyder’s visuals, it makes for a pretty great team. Also it helps that Snyder and Goyer are massive comics fans (As is, surprisingly, Amy Adams, if only Superman).
That’s why I’m not dismissing Man of Steel 2 yet, and neither should anyone. We don’t know what it’s going to be, yes there’s a lot of characters, almost all of which need to be introduced for the first time, but plenty of movies do the large team thing well, Ocean’s Eleven, The Magnificent 7, Serenity, The Longest Yard and of course The Mighty Ducks (actually now that I think about it, superhero movies have a lot in common with sports movies…). Even films that tackle super-beings, like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (although totally not what the comics are about at all, it’s still a good movie) X-Men, X-Men 2, X-men: First Class, and obviously, The Avengers. The reason why a lot of us are freaking out about it is that they’re characters that so many of us hold dear. They’re big characters, It’s DC’s big three and then some, But it’s not an impossible thing for this to be good, or even great. In fact I have high hopes for this thing.
I think, though, many fans’ view of this movie depends very heavily on how much they enjoyed the first movie and from what I’ve encountered the opinion seems to be split right down the middle. It reminds me a lot of when Batman Begins came out. Remember that? About half of us loved it, the rest thought it was pretty meh. But, then The Dark Knight hit us, and BOOM, instant mega hit. Also remember the guys who wrote both of those movies are writing this next MOS instalment, and that the Director is there helping produce, and it’s the same studio, with the same composer, some of the same producers, similar crew… The boys are back in town.
As for the Batman himself, Ben Affleck caused a huge stir when it was announced that he was cast, but I think he’ll do a great job. Snyder and co. have said they’re going for an older more grizzled Batman who’s been around for a while and I think Affleck’s got what it takes, seriously go pick up The Town or Argo. That dude is totally the kind for older Bruce Wayne. He’s dark, mysterious, handsome…. uh… I mean, he’s got the chops. He’s for sure gonna knock, Clooney’s Batman out of the park, and I think he’s probably got the edge over Keaton. Val Kilmer’s Batman wasn’t super great, and I think Affleck can definitely give Bale a run for his money, so long as he doesn’t try to copy that voice. He’s going to be the Batman we didn’t know we deserved not the one we thought we needed.
But Batman aside, there are a lot of characters in this thing. Even only with the ones we know about. It’s going to be a tough nut to crack, and characters like Perry White, and the rest of the Daily Planet will see even less screen time than in the last MOS. Which, admittedly is unfortunate. There’s some great story potential there, but at the same time audiences are pretty used to seeing Clark Kent bumble around and act like he’s totally unaware of what’s going on in the midst of Pulitzer Prize winning journalists who can’t work out he’s Superman. Like, I mean Smallville. Personally I think I got all the Clark Kent not being Superman I need, thanks. No, what I want, and I think what a lot of people want is for Supes to encounter some massive baddies who are either stronger or smarter than he is, and force him to work with the rest of the JLA and slowly form a bond.
And that’s something that’s actually super do-able. Because of one simple, overlooked fact.
We don’t need to do Batman’s origin again. Maybe not even Wonder Woman’s.
I know, it sounds weird, because this is the first time we’re going to see them in the new DC:CU. But just because it’s they need to be introduced does not mean there needs to be an in-depth origin tale that eats up your time on screen. Look at The Avengers. Hawkeye was barely seen in Thor before just completely joining up with the team. We didn’t see his origin, but we understood who he was anyway, because he was introduced to us well and his character felt like it belonged. We don’t have to see the moment he picks up the bow to believe that he did. It’s the same for Batman and Wonder Woman. We don’t need the pearls dropping in the rain again, or to see Diana Prince’s entire journey from Themyscira to her integration into “Man’s world” they just need to be characters who we can believe. Save their origin for stand alone films (Which I think Wonder Woman desperately needs, come on DC, and WB. I’m tired of the excuses. Make that movie. I’m tired of trying to decide which is the better female superhero movie with my only options being Catwoman, 1961’s Batwoman, Elektra and Supergirl). We don’t need a total team origin orgy to tell a story about who they are. In fact the less we know, the better. Don’t believe me? Pick up Justice League Volume 1: Origin. They do 1 origin. 1! And It’s Cyborg’s, who’s only getting one because he’s the only one without a solo book, and even if you take that out the story still works wonderfully. Why? Because in times of crisis heroes emerge. Then work together without stopping to figure out everyone’s entire backstory beginning to end first.
Or make it like a buddy cop movie! Superman and Batman getting to know each other and this crazy new woman that’s entered their sphere, all while trying to take down evil by punching it in it’s turkey mouth.
I’m a big fan of the creative team behind this movie. It’s filled with some real pros, who are really passionate about doing this right. And if you think that they don’t want to make a great Justice League thing happen, then I think you need to re-assess how you’re looking at this franchise and the people who are involved. Gone are the days of Catwoman and Elektra. Now reign the years of The Dark Knight. I can’t say I know where they’re going to take us with this movie, or how they’re going to make it work. But, they’ve got one heck of a team to make it happen, a multitude of ways to make the story work and much like the real Justice League, they’re going to have to pull together if they want to pull this off.
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