Movies & TV / Columns

Are We Still Excited for Batman v Superman?

July 4, 2015 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Let’s make something clear up front. I’ve been hoping for a Batman and Superman movie for years. Way before Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was announced back in 2013. I was hoping for something along the lines of a World’s Finest trilogy, with the two of them teaming up, establishing a relationship with one another, introducing some tension, and then coming together for the greater good. Something that drew on their long history with each other, that showcased a larger world over 3 movies.

Instead, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has fought against negative buzz over casting, having too many heroes and villains, questionable creative decisions, and lack of patience. I’m fully aware that this movie gets its inspiration from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. But that book was more of a ending where this movie should feel like a beginning.

Make no mistake, this movie will have a huge opening weekend but the question will be it’s staying power. My frustration doesn’t come from me being anti-DC but rather a fan who wants to see things done right. It’s telling when the adult parody Batman v Superman XXX is getting better buzz than the real thing. Even the trailer is more entertaining and does a better job of getting you excited than the teaser for Dawn of Justice we got a couple of months back. Don’t worry, it’s safe.

The director, Axel Braun, is a huge comic book fan and it’s obvious in his superhero parody work. From costumes to characters, he works a lot in. I interviewed him a few years ago and the man knows his stuff. But I digress.

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Entertainment Weekly was on the set of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for their Comic-Con preview and they released a bunch of new photos and some quotes from Ben Affleck and Zack Snyder. The photos, to be honest, were lackluster. Starting with the cover. When will magazines learn that placing the majority of superhero costumes on the cover with professional glamour shot lighting is a horrible idea. The white background? Even worse. Nothing about the shot got me hyped for what’s inside and had the opposite effect. I opened the magazine, cringing.

Affleck spoke to EW about where Batman is in his life and why he wants to fight Superman. “He’s on the verge of being swallowed up by the anger and the rage that we see haunt this character in the other manifestations of it,” says Affleck. “But this guy is further down the line and has become more embittered and cynical.” Affleck also spoke to EW about where Batman is in his life and why he wants to fight Superman. “He’s on the verge of being swallowed up by the anger and the rage that we see haunt this character in the other manifestations of it,” says Affleck. “But this guy is further down the line and has become more embittered and cynical.” Why do I get the feeling that this movie will be TELLING us about what has happened in the past instead of SHOWING us?

The shot of Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince at some fancy function doesn’t feel right. The quote from Affleck didn’t help: “I love the fact that there was this Thomas Crowne Affair, Bond-y sexy scene that they wrote about two people who are pretending to be two different people who each know the secrets of the other person.” When Gal Gadot was announced as Wonder Woman, I held my tongue. The criticisms from fans were justified but I was willing to give her a chance. Wonder Woman has a commanding presence. She is an equal, according to comics, to Superman and Batman, a necessary part of the DC triumvirate. Nothing about the photos of her says iconic. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of people in the comments offering a defense but up to this point, the concerns about Gadot are legit. Yes, I know the history of comic book casting and the reactions to Michael Keaton, Heath Ledger, and so on, but I’m basing my opinion, to this point, on the materials we have. Materials that were carefully chosen to release to hype the movie.

Speaking of concerns about casting…

This picture made me walk away. Lex Luthor in a silly wig.

Casting Jesse Eisenberg in the role of nemesis Lex Luthor was yet another announcement that caused outrage among comic book fans. I’m well aware of his acting chops but this is Lex we’re talking about. Another villain who has a commanding presence, especially against Superman. I have to be fair. As much doubt and dismay I’ve thrown at the Fantastic Four over Doctor Doom being a blogger, I have to carry over here. This version of Luthor looks like he came straight from The Social Network.

There’s a lot riding on Batman v Superman. Even with all the negative I’ve poured on, I want to see it do well. It’s success will open the door for future DC books (hopefully for the Legion of Super-Heroes). “It’ll be five years by the time the movie comes out,” says Zack Snyder “And then if everything goes to plan it’ll be another five years of Justice League. I’ll be 10 years of superheroes by the end of this.”

Fingers-crossed on March 25, 2016.

Until then…

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