While MARVEL’s Phase two in the MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE ends with 2015’s Ant-Man and PHASE 3 begins with CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. MARVEL’s comic book rival DC (known for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc) is playing catch up with MARVEL in trying to create their own cinematic universe. However after the release of 2013’s Superman reboot Man of Steel, the movie met with mixed results ranging from people who really like to those who really hate the movie. Granted I found the movie to be okay at best.
However here is the kicker. The movies that are being released after Man of Steel, are getting a lot of backlash even though the movies haven’t come out yet. Why are people getting upset at the DC Cinematic Universe even though it hasn’t really got off the ground just yet? I think the problem people are having with the DC cinematic universe is the direction its going. Unlike the MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE where they have several films to introduce characters and story lines. For example the kick off to Phase 3 of the MCU is CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. The story of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is about how several international incidents due to the amount of superhuman activity going on in the past several films. This leads to the Avengers to develop a schism over how to deal with future situations, which escalates into an open fight between those who side with Iron Man and those who side with Captain America. This works for the MCU since we have had the time to know and love these characters were as the DC cinematic Universe is starting off with 2016’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. We only seen superman in one film so far while this will be Batman’s first appearance in the DCCU. See the problem? While MARVEL is 13 films in and introduces conflict between allies, DC instead of building up each of these characters is trying to play catch up with the MCU.
Which leads me to talk about how the DCCU is getting set up. The first movie to kick start is Man of Steel. I like the idea of having a superman reboot to kick start the DCCU, it made sense since superman is a flagship character of DC comics along with batman. However the results like I said earlier were that the movie got mixed reviews. The movies to come after that on the other hand are all over the place in terms of chronological and what elements they plan to add in each film.
For example the 2016 film Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, this is going to be the first time Batman and Superman meet on the big screen for the first time. Let’s think about this, these are the two most well-known superheroes from DC or comic books in general. Each has appeared in a lot of movies from Superman appearing in 6 films (including Man of Steel) while Batman has appeared in 8 films. This is going to be the first time these characters appeared in film together (not counting animated films) on the big screen. So what are they going to do in this film? They are going to fight each other. WHAT!? Out of all the possible things to do, why did DC decide to introduce these characters in this fashion instead of teaming up to fight against super villains like Lex Luthor and The Joker like they did in World’s Finest?
This is what Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice should of been like:
Actually let’s take a look at the The Batman Superman Movie film above. This was a 3 episode arc of the animated Superman series from the 90’s where Superman and Batman (from BTAS) first met spliced together into a 90 min film. In the TV show (or film), both heroes teamed up to fight against super villains Lex Luthor, The Joker, and their henchwomen Harley Quinn (Joker) and Mercy Graves (Lex). It worked out well in terms of setting up the Justice league cartoon since each hero had their own TV show beforehand and slowly after The Batman Superman Movie, both superman and batman started to have a few more crossovers along with introducing characters that would later appear in the Justice League from Flash, Supergirl, Steel, Doctor Fate, Zatanna and Etrigan to name a few. When the Justice League cartoon came out it started with a three episode arc (later turned into a movie). In said arc, batman and superman already know each other and join forces with other superheroes from Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Flash, and Hawkgirl to fight off an alien invasion. To give you an idea of how the TV show was the first two seasons focused on these seven superheroes battling various super villains in the form of two episode arcs.
Sometime later the show itself would bring in a lot more superheroes and turn into one episode arcs focusing on misc. characters like Green Arrow, Black Canary, The Question, Booster Gold to name a few. As far as tone goes it ranged from being serious but has the sense of fun a show about superheroes should have along with having some great humor. Granted this was a TV show so they had time to plan out the DC Animated Universe. Well if you really want to get technical about it started with Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995) followed by the Superman: The Animated Series (1996 – 2000), and The New Batman Adventures (1997-1999) which all leads into the Justice League cartoon (2001-2006) with Batman Beyond (1999-2001), The Zeta Project (2001-2002) and Static Shock (2000-2004) taking place in between.
So now you see that with the right amount of care and proper story telling the DCCU could be good and fun like the MCU. However DC wants to basically go in a different direction than what MARVEL is doing with the MCU. DC wants their DCCU to be dark and gritty. Now I don’t mind having some elements being dark and gritty but to make a whole franchise dark and gritty. I feel that DC doesn’t need to go in that direction since they already had the Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight trilogy. With The Dark Knight films, Christopher Nolan basically toned down the comic book aspects which basically turned those films into more crime dramas than actual comic book movies. Out of the Nolan films Batman Begins is basically is the closest thing we were going to get for a batman film to be like a comic book film. Granted Batman Begins wasn’t quite like a comic book film since there are some elements that are toned down for that film like taking away Ra’s al Ghul’s immortality and making the Scarecrow just a f***** with a potato sack instead of an actual scarecrow (But that is a topic for another day). With the rest of the Nolan films, they basically are crime dramas that just happen to have Batman in them.
In terms of the direction the DCCU is going so far, it’s all over the place. With Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the films seem to have a dark tone while bringing some elements from the comic books that the Nolan trilogy toned down. But the main story arc that Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is going to be based on the comic book miniseries Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller (also known for writing Sin City, 300, and creating female ninja assassin Elektra Natchios from MARVEL’s DareDevil), in this arc, Bruce Wayne is in his mid-50’s and has retired from crime-fighting for a decade. However new levels of crime are rising which forces Bruce to become Batman once more fighting off against super villains from Two-Face and The Joker, a crime gang called The Mutants, to fighting friend and ally Superman with help from a girl named Caroline Keene “Carrie” Kelley who becomes the new Robin. The fight with Superman in the comic, we see that Batman wearing a exoskeleton of sorts making him more like what if Ironman from MARVEL decided to make an Ironman suit that looked like Batman. With the upcoming movie we see how the influence of Frank Miller’s comic since the Bat suit looks more like the one that appears in Miller’s comic and thought various trailers and promotional images we see Batman wearing a suit similar to the exoskeleton suit seen in the comic.
While Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is mainly based on Frank Miller’s comic, I also notice some other story arcs either being hinted at for future movies or will be a part of the actual movie based on some of the other trailers. The three story arcs that come to mind are as follows: Batman: Under the Redhood,The Death of Superman, and the 52 Justice League: Origin. With Under the Redhood hint, we need to know the story of the origin of the Redhood first. In Batman: A Death in the Family, (Some time before the actual Redhood arc) The Joker kills off the Jason Todd incarnation of Robin (Since Jason Todd became unpopular with people reading Batman comics). In the Redhood arc, one way or the other Jason gets resurrected and take up the alter ego of an anti-hero called The Redhood (the second person to take up the Redhood alter ego with The Joker being the first) who wants nothing more than to rid Gotham of crime by killing all the criminals and have his revenge on The Joker. This all leads into a three way face-off between Batman, Redhood, and the mob ran by Batman villain Black Mask.
In the various trailers for BVS:DOJ, see Bruce Wayne looking at what appears to be a damaged Robin suit with graffiti on it saying “Ha ha ha, joke’s on you Batman!”, a newspaper with a note saying “You let your family die”, and the mention of The Joker in the most recent trailer with Bruce Wayne saying “Maybe it’s that Gotham City and me have a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns.” Granted most of these are hints of the Jokers existence in the DCCU, but what really makes me think of the Redhood arc is the combination of the damaged Robin suit, “You let your family die” note, and the rumor of there being a tombstone for Robin. The only problem that I have with that rumor is the person’s name on the tombstone. Instead of saying Jason Todd, the tombstone says Dick Grayson. For those of you who don’t know Dick Grayson, he is the first person to take up the Robin identity and the most well-known of the Robins. The reaction to this rumor has been generally negative since people don’t like the idea of Dick being dead and not setting up a possible Nightwing (the new alter ego that Dick takes up after outgrowing the Robin persona) movie.
The next of the arcs being hinted at is the The Death of Superman, the story of how superman “died” while battling a deadly monster named Doomsday. OK this one isn’t really a hint is more like the recent BVS:DOJ trailer showed us the first appearance of Doomsday. The reaction of Doomsday appearing in the trailer has been generally negative. I can understand why people have a negative reaction to him for a number of reasons. The first being that DC played their card way too early. I like the idea of Doomsday at some point appearing in the DCCU, but I feel that there needs to be more build up to him. Like having some hints about his existence in the DCCU and having him appear in 2017’s Justice League Part One. At least this would of given a reason for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and other DC superheroes to form the Justice League and fight Doomsday together. After all this is Doomsday we are talking about. The monster that “killed” superman. When we look at other Superman villains most of them are people who relied on technology and intellect to oppose superman, some natural advantage over superman like Metallo (a robot that runs on kryponite) and the Parasite (a creature able to temporarily absorb the energy, knowledge and super-powers of another being by touch). Doomsday on the other hand doesn’t reply on intellect or having some advantage over superman, he is a physical match for the Man of Steel next to someone like Darkseid (a god like being).
Slides of Doomsday:
The second problem with the movie version of Doomsday is his physical appearance. He doesn’t look anything like his comic book counterpart. The movie version of Doomsday looks more like a cave troll from the first Lord of the Rings film and the comic book version of the character looks like a gray behemoth covered in sharp crystals. The third reason is Doomsday origin for the film. In the comics a geneticist who arrived on Krypton several hundred thousand years ago when lethal and deadly monsters roamed the planet of Krypton. The alien was obsessed with creating a creature that could survive any environment and even cheat death itself. Though a series of experiments, the alien created the ultimate killing machine and though a series of events like battling Darkseid (a god like being). The monster was was chained in a ship and cast back to the stars from which he came. The ship crashed down on Earth and lay dormant for some unknown amount of years until he reawaken and did battle with Superman. His origin for the film (or at least what people speculate) is that Lex Luthor got his hands on General Zod’s dead body from Man of Steel,some kryponite and somehow mixed the two together to create Doomsday.
As for the last hint about which I believe to be the 52 Justice League: Origin. In this origin of how the Justice League was formed. In the context of the story over the course of a night, people from various cities like Gotham, Metropolis, and a few other cities are disappearing. Superheros like the Green Lantern and Batman discover that a race of winged monstrous aliens called Parademons are behind the strange abductions. Other superheroes like Superman, wonder woman, and others join forces to fight against the alien threat lead by the god like being called Darkseid. With how BVS:DOJ will in cooperate this arc in the DCCU. Throughout the trailers we see Bruce Wayne wearing a desert batman getup fighting some soldiers believing this to be a nightmare sequence for Bruce Wayne. In the most recent trailer, while batman is fighting off some soldiers there appear to be an army of weird winged creatures. Most people believe that the winged creatures are the Parademons which might be a set up for the 2017’s Justice League Part One.
After knowing the information we have now from various promo pictures and trailers. The movie feels like the studio took 5 different scripts for this film put them into a blender. Gathered the pieces and put them back to together. That’s my overall feeling about Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I mean look at the recent trailer for the movie, it looks like there is 5 movies put together. One is focusing on Bruce Wayne, one focused on Superman, another being the nightmare with the desert batman, the fight between Batman and Superman, and the fight with Doomsday.
The biggest problem that I have with the movie is the casting choice of Lex Luthor. The actor they decided to play the role of Lex is Jesse Eisenberg. Out of all the actor, why him? When I think of Lex Luthor, I think of someone who is big and powerful (in a intellectual sense). Bryan Cranston would of been a good choice to play Lex Luthor instead of Jesse Eisenberg. Eisenberg just doesn’t look or act the part of Lex Luthor. Also Lex in the most recent trailer bugs me for one reason. The scene that I’m talking about is the part were Clark Kent (Superman) and Bruce Wayne (Batman) are having a banter about their alter egos (without them realizing each others identity). Lex shows up to talk to the two of them. It appears that Lex knows both Bruce and Clark. Lex Luthor knowing who Bruce Wayne is makes a lot of sense to me since each of them own a big business organization (so in a sense they could be business rivals). Lex knowing who Clark Kent is, this rises questions. Why does Lex know who Clark is? Clark Kent is nothing more than a news reporter. Does Lex know that Clark is Superman or in between Man of Steel and BVS:DOJ, Clark Kent just became a well known reporter? Something just seems off about Lex knowing who Clark Kent is as a person.
The more I look at anything related to BVS:DOJ, I start to get Vietnam flashbacks of Spiderman 3. However here is the difference between Spiderman 3 and BVS:DOJ. With Spiderman 3, we had no idea that the movie was going to be bad until we saw it in theaters. BVS:DOJ on the other hand is showing us everything that making us not want to go see the movie. Granted the movie hasn’t come out yet, so I will wait till the movie comes out to see if it’s any good. I look more excited about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows movie even though I haven’t seen the first 2014 TMNT yet, but the latest trailer for BVS:DOJ does show us a nice screenshot of the big three.
Another question that I have about the film is how is this going to affect the DCCU. The list of films to come out after this are Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League Part One, The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam, Justice League Part Two, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps and a few others. I can see how this can lead into Wonder Woman since this will be her first theatrical appearance in film which also mean that it will be the first time that the big three (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) appear in a film all together. So this makes sense to me, but Suicide Squad on the other hand confuses me. To be Continued….