Bat of Gotham v Man of Tomorrow: Dawn of the Super Frenemies

batman v superman ben affleck henry cavill man of steel dc extended universe zack snyder david goyer

I think that the title of the movie is slightly ridiculous, in case it’s not obvious. Hence my own title! The joke is that my title is long and overstuffed, much like the movie itself will be.

In any case though, I am somewhat worried about this movie. (It is worth noting that I may well discuss spoilers here, based on trailers and pre-released materials. No leaks or anything like that, but certainly I can imagine there are things people would want to avoid.)

So, here’s the thing: I was one of those people who hated Man of Steel. It just doesn’t work for me at all – the only thing I can appreciate about it is Hans Zimmer’s score, actually. “What are you going to do when you’re not saving the world?” is one of my favourite pieces of film music ever. Beyond that, though, I see little merit to the movie.

I’d like to think, though, that I gave Man of Steel 2: Too Man Too Steely a reasonable chance before pronouncing any snap judgements. No problems with Batfleck, nor with Jesse Eisenberg – they both sounded to me like really interesting casting choices. (Particularly Jesse Eisenberg, actually, since I was more familiar with his body of work than Affleck’s.) And as well as that, I did quite like the initial trailer – it seemed to be a direct response to the things I took objection to in Man of Steel, and making a conscious effort to follow through on the events of that film in an interesting and compelling manner.

But, obviously, that’s not to be: we’ve got our trailers with mass destruction once more, levelling surrounding cities and so on and so forth. I suppose this is now just an aesthetic complaint of mine – it’s not ever going to be treated as something that’s story relevant (seems like they’re already retconning the destruction of Metropolis into something less extensive) so I will have to just accept it and get over it. My new problem, in any case, is revealed in this trailer-y sneak peak type thing: Batman and Superman are trying desperately to be grimdark and intimidating, and it is setting me on edge somewhat. I just really, really dislike their interpretations of these characters.

Still, though, that remains something of a personal complaint, which is ultimately very subjective. And, hey, I am still basing it on trailers, so it’s possible we’ll see another side to these characters I might find more palatable in the movie.

What does worry me though, and I think I can make this argument a little more objectively, is that the film may well be extremely busy and overstuffed, to the point at which it’s so bloated that nothing really has the time to develop properly. I mean, let’s take a moment to go over what’s going to appear in the movie (and again, this is where there will be spoilers):

  • They need to establish the status quo for Superman, following the events of the previous movie. Also, something something Lois Lane.
  • Batman needs to be introduced, and judging by the trailers, we’re going to see the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne again. I also imagine we’re going to get a bit of backstory as to why Bruce Wayne gave up being Batman, and then seeing him take up the cowl once more.
  • We need to see Batman and Superman meet (in both superhero form and their secret identities), fight, and then establish an alliance.
  • Wonder Woman is in there, playing an important role – presumably as a catalyst for Batman and Superman getting over their issues.
  • Lex Luthor is in there, and… well, spoilers, but he’ll play a significant antagonistic role.
  • It’s confirmed, I believe, that Aquaman is in there, as well as a cameo from Flash; it’s currently rumoured that Green Lantern will show up.
  • Doomsday; his creation, a fight with him, and his defeat.
  • A secondary antagonist; they’re saying that Doomsday isn’t the final big bad, and I have an idea as to who it might be. (Again spoilers.)

It’s a pretty busy movie, as you can see, and the movie is going to be 151 minutes – so two and a half hours, pretty much exactly. I’m trying to figure out something of a structure in my head; presumably it’s the Batman vs Superman stuff for the first act, then Doomsday and Wonder Woman in the second, and then some Lex stuff in the third? Likely overlap here and there too.

In any case, though, it’s looking to be a very crowded movie, and I’m worried that they won’t be able to get it right; something Man of Steel suffered with was its pacing, and the development of certain aspects (like the Lois and Clark relationship). One worries that this movie is going to be rather more superficial than the trailers indicate; fight scenes interspersed with plot, rather than vice versa.

Still, though, I would like to remain cautiously optimistic. As much as I have taken a dim view on this DC cinematic universe, I do desperately want them to be good movies; I’ve always erred more towards DC than Marvel, and “more good movies” is just something to aspire to anyway.

We’ll see, I guess. Either way I’ll be watching it, I suppose. I just hope it aims higher than its predecessor reached.

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