Superman/Batman movie: why we should be wary

This image shouldn’t be reassuring anyone just yet.

Yup, it’s happening – the Superman/Batman movie was announced this weekend at San Diego Comic Con.

Man of Steel director Zack Snyder is at the helm, and is co-writing the story with David S. Goyer, who is slated to write the screenplay. Henry Cavill is back as Superman, and is bringing Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane from the MOS cast. No word on Batman yet, but it won’t be Christian Bale.

I’m approaching the whole thing with some trepidation. Why?

1. Man of Steel was a mess. Yeah, it’s taken in more than $630 million at the worldwide box office so far, and it did do some things right in terms of casting and special effects – but it was overlong, badly paced and had some glaring problems. Just ask Mark Waid.

2. It’s a rush job. Clearly, DC/Warner is trying to get a summer blockbuster out there to compete with Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, which is also set to drop in 2015. They can’t be blamed for that – the Avengers movie was a license to print money, and no doubt DC wants some of that business for themselves now.

But Marvel carefully set up The Avengers through three other franchises. DC has one Superman movie under its belt and a successful Batman franchise that has been put to bed. The setup is pretty bare by comparison.

3. It’s looking like the film will be a half-assed adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns. At SDCC, Harry Lennix read this line from the Frank Miller classic: “I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.”

That’s the most iconic line in the book, just after Batman takes down Superman in the streets of Gotham. Which would be great movie fodder, except Snyder followed it up with: “We’re not adapting this thing, but it is the thing that will help us tell that story.”

So instead of plumbing all the great material in The Dark Knight Returns, Snyder and co. are just using that iconic line to rile up fans – when the more likely scenario based on that quote is they’ll have Batman and Superman fight a bit before teaming up against someone. In other words, the most overused superhero cliche of all time.

It’s not that long until summer 2015 – so audiences will know how this thing plays out soon enough.

Here’s Warner’s original statement on the film:

On the heels of the worldwide success of Man of Steel, director Zack Snyder is bringing together the two greatest Super Heroes of all time —Batman and Superman —for the first time on the big screen.  The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution,Warner Bros. Pictures.

The current hit, Man of Steel, has taken in more than $630 million at the worldwide box office to date, and climbing.  Along with its star, Henry Cavill, the upcoming film brings back Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.  The new Batman has yet to be cast.

Snyder is co-writing the story with David S. Goyer, who will then pen the screenplay.  Production is expected to begin in 2014, with an anticipated release date in Summer 2015.

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3 comments

  1. Anthony Noel

    I always thought “I see a reflection, Harvey. A reflection.” Was the most iconic line in the book.

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