Years ago my mutant power manifested itself. I discovered I had an uncanny ability to over-analyze things. This past summer the news broke that the sequel to Man of Steel was going to feature a battle between Superman and Batman. Let’s not kid ourselves here. Warner Bros/ DC did not make the money they were hoping to with that movie, but Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy made the studio billions. Since Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale cared enough about the franchise to let it end before it was destroyed the way it was in the 90s, they decided that Dark Knight Rises would be their final chapter. Well, this obviously didn’t set well with studio execs who were really hoping for a Justice League ensemble movie a la Marvel’s The Avengers. Green Lantern was a dud, but The Dark Knight was their um… Knight in black Nomex armor. They needed to find a way to bring Batman back to the big screen, and their previous attempt to make a Justice League movie crashed and burned. So they decided that they would take their biggest star and shoehorn him into the sequel of a mediocre star. And (in my best Jeff Goldblum) they didn’t require any discipline to attain this idea. They read what others had done, and took the next step. They didn’t earn the knowledge for themselves, so they don’t take any responsibility for it. They stood on the shoulders of Joss Whedon and Christopher Nolan to accomplish something as fast as they could and before they even knew what they had, they patented it, packaged it, and will undoubtedly make some shitty plastic action figures of it by next year!!
In Man of Steel, we are given an updated version of Superman’s origin story. The movie TRIED to highlight the emotional journey of an alien being introduced to mankind. But halfway through the movie the film makers realized that this was supposed to be a Superman film, so they slapped a costume on him and put him in an epic one on one battle that levelled an entire city. And suddenly, no more story to tell here, folks, we’re just going to make him fight for an hour. Well, what we got was a Superman with only ONE day on the job before the end of the movie. His new home city is destroyed, and his physical equal is dead. Where else could they possibly go? Well, they COULD make a sequel that delves deeper into his character. How does the world react to having one of its largest cities destroyed by an indestructable alien whom we don’t even know if we can trust? Are there any evil geniuses out there who begin to study him to learn his weaknesses so that they can exploit him for their own greedy agendas? (Lex Luther, anyone?) Can we maybe have a Superman who, because of these exploitations of his weaknesses finds himself under the control of an evil corporation or the government even though in the first movie he brags that he CAN’T be controlled? We barely KNOW this guy!!! I mean, sure, we know Superman, but we don’t really know THIS Superman yet. However, Iron- Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor were all introduced to us one at a time over the course of four years while the excitement for Avengers built until we were finally given the payoff in the form of one of the coolest movies ever.
Warner Bros., unable to be patient and give their characters the development they each need, as decided that instead of giving us a proper sequel to Man of Steel, are going to make another Batman movie that so happens to have Henry Cavill reprise his role as Superman. And in an attempt to pander to fanboys who love themselves some Dark Knight Returns, Batman will be an aging, battle-scarred 40-something played by Ben Affleck. Now this is where I contradict myself, and where Warner Bros. is going to ruin their precious Justice League before it ever even gets made. I actually cannot wait to see Affleck as Batman. We all know Batman’s origin, so Batman’s next appearance in film does not need to revisit that. A movie about an aging Batman would be awesome. A Batman who is old and becoming disillusioned that his war on crime still rages on and the grim reality striking him that he can’t do it forever. Maybe a final showdown between Batman and one or some of his most famous villains. Maybe a story about the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin, and Batman’s mental breakdown after that until he is able to recruit a new sidekick. Gasp!! You mean a hero REALLY having to deal with the repercussions of his actions and facing the demons he thought he had already found a way to be rid of? It could be amazing!
What we are getting instead is an older Batman we really know nothing about facing a younger Superman we still know nothing about in a movie that will pit two people we don’t really care about against each other. All of this just to test the waters to see if there is any interest at all in the Justice League. There are rumors that Wonder Woman might actually be in this movie. So we will have a rookie Superman against an old Batman and they will meet another major hero we will know nothing about because, well, let’s face it, nobody wants to say it so I guess I will: Nobody really cares about Wonder Woman getting her own movie. So they WON’T give her her own movie, either. They’ll just shove her into this Batman Vs Superman movie while we are already trying to get to know Superman and Batman.
Now let’s just say, for sake of argument that this movie is a HUGE success. Let’s say that it actually is more successful than that year’s sequel to The Avengers. I know, it’s hard to imagine. But really, let’s just say that this thing is a huge hit, and Warner Bros. finally green lights Justice League. Batman is old and has just fought friggin’ Superman. Do we REALLY think he’s going to be up to the task at this point to help the Justice League fight what will probably just be an Avengers-like alien invasion of earth? And what about all of the other members? Green Lantern, Flash, Martian Manhunter, and yes, even Aquaman. We will know nothing about them either if they all make their first appearances in this movie. Maybe instead of one or two big mediocre films, Warner Bros. should learn a lesson from Marvel and make several smaller, excellent films. I’m starting to see this Batman Vs. Superman thing as more of an insult to my intelligence. I’m hoping for the best, though. In theory, a showdown between Batman and Superman on film sounds awesome. But doesn’t Man of Steel deserve, or at least require, a chance to continue the story of Superman before he has to share the spotlight with a much bigger star?