They say when it comes to superhero movies you’re either a Marvel person or a DC person. I try to be both, but, man, DC makes it really difficult sometimes. While Marvel certainly has the upper hand right now when it comes to formulating a cohesive cinematic universe, this is a crucial time not only for DC and Warner Bros., but possibly for all comic book movie fans.
“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” hits theatres on March 25th. It cannot suck — it just can’t. Here is why.
First of all, let me be clear. Despite my sometimes negative attitude towards DC, I really, really want “BvS” to succeed. Count me among millions of fans who have dreamed since childhood of seeing Batman and Superman on the same movie screen. Throw in Wonder Woman, and wow, I’m in heaven. Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash, too? It almost seems to good to be true, and that’s really where the problems begin.
Until recently, WB and DC have made every effort to ensure their universes do not connect, which makes the sudden inclusion of all these cool characters, in what was supposed to be a “Man of Steel” sequel, a little sketchy. Somewhere in between the release of “MoS”, which didn’t put up “Batman”-type numbers at the box office, and was drubbed by both critics and fans for being to bleak and boring (hey, I kinda liked it, here’s my review); the decision was made to forgo introducing each character individually through their own movies as Marvel did with Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor.
So, here, in my opinion is why “Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice” absolutely can not suck:
DC is all-in with “Dawn of Justice”.
DC is anxious to get to their “Justice League” and we’re all more than anxious to get to it. For better or worse, Zack Snyder is the head-man-in-charge of the DCCU and he’s pretty much putting all of DC’s eggs in one basket for “BvS”. After introducing their Henry Cavill as their Superman in “Man of Steel”, DC is using the sequel to not only introduce Batman, but they are also giving us the first big screen appearances by Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash. Think if Marvel had followed “Iron Man” up with “Civil War.”
Obviously, we’re heading to super hero team up movie and fast. “Justice League”, with Snyder behind the helm, is supposed to start filming in April and be released next November (2017). Yikes, that seems quick.
If it sucks, DC and WB could lose any all momentum — and worse, fan interest outside of the die-hards — in developing a continuing series about these characters, with these same actors. Ben Affleck is having a hard enough time getting fan support. Dude, if this movie sucks, it’s not going to be pretty.
Overexposing The Batman.
If DC can’t get audiences to buy into another character as a franchise, we’re all in trouble. As cool as “Batman” is, the last thing WB and DC need to do is cram the caped crusader down our throats because they’ve got nothing else. Establishing a universe through multiple single character films is crucial to sustaining a long-running cinematic series.
Granted, “Wonder Woman” starring Gal Gadot is already filming and has a June 2017 release date, but as mentioned, “Justice League” is coming next year and will be followed (finally) by “Aquaman” and “The Flash” (no relation to the TV series) in 2018. So, the individual flicks are coming, but will it be too late?
The fear is that Warner Bros. will just continue to lean on the caped crusader like a crutch. In fact, it’s already happening. In addition to “Batman v Superman”, you’ll see the Batman in “Suicide Squad” in July and his own solo movie (expected in 2017). Plus they are working on a “Lego Batman” movie starring Will Arnett (who voiced Bats in “The Lego Movie”.) Then there is the animated adaption of the graphic novel, “The Killing Joke”, which will reunite Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and the Joker. Conroy and Hamill (yes, Luke) have served as voice talents for the characters in video games, animated series, animated movies, etc. and are generally considered “the fan favorites” in the roles.
Don’t forget about FOX’s “Gotham”, which has one thing in common with all of these other variations of Batman that are heading our way and that is they have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other.
Which is all fine and good, again — Batman is cool and all — but nothing is worse than a one-trick pony.
Marvel will get lazy.
If “Age of Ultron” was any indication, it might already be too late to prevent this. If DC blows it with “BvS” in a monumental way, their cinematic universe will begin to crumble before it’s even established. Marvel’s movies have been far from perfect, but they have succeeded in telling a cohesive story that has spanned over a dozen films at this point. Competition is good. Marvel needs DC to crank out some kick ass movie to keep them on top of their creative game. We can have both. We need both.
Marvel is in a perfect situation with their cinematic universe. They have set their characters up to where they can reboot and recast characters and keep telling a continuous story — e.g. there have been other Captain Americas and other Thors and Hulks, etc. — it’s all in the comics. Their TV shows are in the same universe as well, as they’ve expanded to ABC and Neflix, with varying degrees of success.
If “Batman v Superman” sucks, Marvel, already on cruise control, can afford to sit back and count their fat stacks of cast. That’s bad for everyone, folks.
Too many R-rated comic book movies.
Of course, if “Batman v Superman” sucks, DC could also go full-bore into producing R-rated super hero movies. Actually, this also is happening already, but it could get out of control. They’ve already announced plans to release an R-rated version of “BvS”, which seems stupid and reeks of desperation, but whatever. “Suicide Squad”, which will be rated PG-13 this time around could shoot for an R for the obligatory sequel, and it would make a little more sense as those characters and their storylines will naturally be a little darker and mature in nature..
Warner Bros. (and Snyder) have had success with R-rated super hero fare in the past with “Watchmen” (2009), but strictly focusing on making R-rated movies simply because “Deadpool” had a box office great run is foolish. Sure, there are plenty of “Batman” books (and plenty of other DC characters), aimed at adult readers — and that’s fine if it makes sense for the character, as it did for “Deadpool” — but simply throwing in a bunch of F-bombs and going hardcore violent and bloody isn’t going to suddenly make a super hero universe more appealing. And guess what? This will get old too.
We deserve it.
I left this one for last, because it’s the most selfish reason, but it’s also the biggest, the most important, and the one that I think everyone in charge is over looking. Let’s be honest, we’ve suffered through more crappy super hero movies in the last 40 years than we should have. We’ve pretty much seen Marvel’s bag of tricks. All that’s left is mixing and matching characters for different movies, new characters, etc.
But we haven’t seen this yet. Batman. Superman. On the big screen. Together. Seriously. As comic book fans — and I am a fan, not just a critic (that is a real thing) — we need this. We deserve to see a Batman and Superman movie that kicks a little ass. We need competitive and equally strong (even if drastically different in tone) — franchises to challenge each other and themselves to tell compelling, dramatic and relate-able stories about our favorite heroes.
If “Batman v Superman” sucks, the comic book movie world might as well come to an end.
So, talk to me. Consider this a pre-game therapy session. What are you excited about? What are you worried about? High expectations? Low expectations? NO expectations?? Bring it on. Let’s talk this out. It might make us all feel a little better.