Friday, August 23, 2013

Batman vs. Superman: How To Save The Movie

 Batman vs. Superman: How To Save The Movie

So, I just got back from a cabin in the woods with no internet, and I’m just now finding out that Ben Affleck is Zack Snyder’s Batman. Like a lot of people, I’m disappointed. Some people fear this will be as bad as Daredevil’s first Hollywood attempt, which Affleck starred in. Personally, I don’t really have high hopes for a Batman vs. Superman movie anyway. It just serves the purpose of showing once again that DC Comics is still embarrassed of Superman, who used to be their biggest hero. Now it looks like they’ll be beating him up in his own sequel.

    So, then they will try to make a Justice League movie. And that’s fine by me. It just seems like they’re rushing to catch up to The Avengers, and rushing leads to bad decisions. In the DC movie Universe so far, we’ve barely gotten to know Superman, and although his debut film was just okay, (Fans of this site remember my initial reactions.) it certainly wasn’t inspiring or heroic, but I don’t think that justifies beating him up so soon.

    The one to blame for that god-awful idea is Frank Miller, whose 80s plotline The Dark Knight Returns makes Superman a government stooge who overreaches his power and tries to arrest Batman. Fans of this site will also remember that I hate Frank Miller’s insistence on praising fascistic anti-heroes, using too much red, and droll noir narration. My point is Ben Affleck is not the worst to happen to this movie. It was messed up when it was announced.

      That said, I can think of two ways to save the movie. Either bring in a good villain or introduce secondary characters like Wonder Woman. In Greg Rucka’s graphic novel “Sacrifice“, it wasn’t Batman who stopped a rampaging Superman, but Wonder Woman. That would be a big surprise for the audience to see Batman defeated as well as provide a good entry point for a Justice League movie, with the big three finally together. It would also end this ridiculous Batman vs. Superman debate. Who would win? Throw a curveball: Go with Wonder Woman…and then do an “Infinite Crisis” storyline for a Justice League movie.

     Alternatively, I would introduce Barry Allen, AKA The Flash into the movie Universe. He has a real chance to be a guide throughout the movies’ universe, just as Iron Man was for The Avengers. They both have the same attitude, and both were geniuses who’s powers were gained by accident. Flash was struck by lightning, Iron Man was captured. The tragic aspect would make his character relatable, as would his mortality, just as it does for Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, who can laugh off Nordic gods and supersoldiers because he’s one radical dude. That attitude would work with The Flash, and give audiences a comedic character to relate to, in what has so far been a dark and gritty universe. There is also one last option in my mind, to save this movie.

      Cast a good villain. The Dark Knight is mostly remembered for Heath Ledger’s Joker. In the 80s, before anyone knew that Michael Keaton was a viable Batman, Jack Nicholson was probably the main draw for that Batman movie. A good villain can make all the difference. I hear Bryan Cranston is maybe taking the role of Lex Luthor, but that sounds too good to be true. Especially fresh off his success with Breaking Bad, I suspect he won’t take a big risk by being in a Zack Snyder comic book movie. If it happens, I’ll be thrilled…he can play a good psycho. But, I don’t have high hopes from the guy who ruined Watchmen, consulted Frank Miller for a Superman story, and made Superman a bland angst summer movie. In my mind, a good Superman movie is something that reaches for the heavens and inspires heroism, as Richard Donner did.

     Lastly, I’ve been asked who my picks would’ve been for Batman and the villain, if not Ben Affleck and someone else. That’s easy: I’d do a live action Batman: The Animated Series. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are THE voices of Batman and Joker, and have done voice work for them as recently as Arkham City. Casting them would be a wonderful way to keep Batman and Joker familiar. The Arkham game series has proven  The Animated Series can work well with a dark atmosphere. I know Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are both older (and busy!) but it would’ve gotten a better reaction than Ben Affleck, whose last superhero performance in public memory was the failed Daredevil.

   Well, it may be too early to judge, but those are my initial thoughts on Ben “Batman” Affleck and how to save a Batman vs. Superman movie! I’m no Hollywood executive, but those are the two courses that would best appeal to me. Whatever appeals to Hollywood, I have no idea, but they ruined Green Lantern and Daredevil, so let me say I don’t have that much confidence. However, I’ll be satisfied if at least one of my speculations entertains my audience!    

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