The superhero or comic book movie (CBM) has had a long and tainted past of horrid attempts to merely make money off of a franchise name, and in the end, barely showcased any decent writing in the screenplay. They were rushed and treated poorly.
But the genre of the CBM started to change as Christopher Nolan delivered a solid piece of work with his vision of Batman in The Dark Knight. And Marvel Entertainment came along with a multi-year plan, and started that plan with the 2008 Iron Man movie.
In each case, they had a far-reaching plan beyond the first movie which helped temper and shape the development of those movies. What’s the saying, a man with a goal goes farther than the man who does not?
Man of Steel was heralded as both a movie with flaws and to some, one of the best superhero movies of 2013.
Unlike some superhero movies that are nothing but all flash and little substance, which makes them perfect candidates to be called popcorn movies, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (MoS) could be seen as a movie with a message. Still entertaining, delivered a message of sorts, yet could still be defined outside of the realm of the “art of film,” because it was just fun.
MoS showed the character of Clark/Superman in various layers. It showed how he became who he was, growing up and dealing with his loneliness, frustration and the restraint needed to keep who and what he is under wraps.
Later, we saw how deep he had to go to defeat Zod by doing something that was not part of his nature. He went above and beyond to protect the people of Earth.
It showed how a “man” with super power could do the ultimate task needed, to defeat an enemy that potentially, was undefeatable. He showed the human military how dark he could go if he had to, to get a job done. Thus, the continual military mistrust of the alien who had the potential to smite the planet.
Iron Man 3 came out with a story. The story of Tony Stark not depending on his armor, but on his intellect to get through various challenges. If one pays no mind to the butchering of Stark’s long time nemesis, The Mandarin, it was a good story.
Thus both movies took a hard look at the main character. Though there is some argument that an invulnerable man does not make us worry for his well being. But beyond that… there was more to Clark Kent than the usual child or teen.
But in MoS, I saw the Easter eggs through out, particularly the Wayne Enterprises satellites and the LexCorp vehicles and what not. But an Easter egg, a plan does not make.
I went into MoS at the theater, feeling confident that Snyder was directing a film from Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. And I was hoping that the powers of the executive producer would help make this film much like the Dark Knight films. Or at least a well written story.
And I believe we did get that.
So yes, I enjoyed MoS, even if I’m not the biggest fan of the character.
But I have to wonder if the next Warner Bros superhero move, Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS), will be as good as MoS? For one, despite it being the next movie with Superman in it, it’s technically not a sequel to Man of Steel. It’s just the next movie in an odd lineup of DC’s idea of superhero movies.
According to movie news sources banking on a report by one Nikki Finke, here’s what DC has planned:
• May 2016 – Batman v Superman
• July 2016 – Shazam
• Xmas 2016 – Sandman
• May 2017 – Justice League
• July 2017 – Wonder Woman
• Xmas 2017 – Flash and Green Lantern team-up
• May 2018 – Man Of Steel 2
Second, the release date for BvS has already been pushed back one year. There may be a valid reason for this and it may work out, but to be honest, I have always felt that when a release date is moved, that means something is going wrong on the production side of things.
Third… the second part of the movie title, Dawn of Justice, when you look at the list of characters that will be showing up, feels like the first Justice League movie developing, or the prequel to it, rather than a Batman/Superman movie. And I’m not sure how you can have a great story when you pack it full of other characters you’re trying to get off the ground. It sounds cluttered, much like the case in point about how Webb’s Spider-Man 2 had a pile of characters tossed in and diluted the story.
My other mild concern is that though Zack Snyder has taken up the mantle for WB’s DC Cinematic Universe, Christopher Nolan is not. He is not involved in BvS. Instead, our executive producers will be Charles Roven (Dark Knight franchise) and Deborah Snyder (300, Watchmen).
Roven has a mixed history of hits, while D Snyder tends to be a side product of Zacks. I’m not saying anything bad about this team, but I don’t get the warm fuzzies looking at the production team.
The screenplay is penned by David S. Goyer. Again, depending on who you talk to, meh or wow.
I hope this next DC Entertainment/Warner Bros movie matches up the hopes of fans. But they have a lot to face up to. They have the success of the MCU and how well they’re doing, and how they’re doing it. So WB can’t copy the process, as best they can.
They have invulnerable characters that need to be developed to the point that fans care.
They have characters that have never truly taken off on the silver screen.
This is the era of the superhero movie. They’re more accepted these days because of the efforts of C Nolan and Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios.
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice will be a fascinating chapter in the seemingly beleaguered DC universe. (They’ve gone through various versions and visions of the Justice League for quite some time.) And maybe they can match up what Marvel has done. But then again, as Marvel fires through their A-class players and origins and such, how much of a foothold can Marvel keep as they start reeling in their B-class players (that they still retain the rights to)?
On Amazon: Justice League products