05 Sep, 2013
Posted by Raphael in Opinion
The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer, and not Midtown Comics.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Snyder, Ms. Nelson, Mr. Goyer and Mr. Meyer,
Hello, I am writing to you in response to your attempts at making a Superman/Batman movie. I am a longtime fan and enthusiast of these two characters, dating back to early childhood. My earliest memories involve seeing Adam West and George Reeves on television as Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, respectively, as well as their alter egos, thanks to the magic of television syndication. I am the floor manager of the Times Square location of the largest comics retail entity in the world, Midtown Comics, and that’s in no small part thanks to the actors that have portrayed Superman and Batman. I have taken great interest in your project, but have some reservations. By no means do I want you to discontinue your project, but I would like to bring up some points for you to consider.
I can’t deny the box-office impact of Man of Steel: it’s the third highest grossing movie in America, and internationally did almost $649 million dollars (according to Box Office Mojo). The movie was a visual feast, but halfway through, it lost its emotional core for the sake of bombastic, impressive and overwhelming fights that surely gave Michael Bay fits of jealousy. These things are nice and all, but Superman is not just about big fights: he’s about defending humanity. Did Superman save the human race? Yes. Did he destroy the majority of Metropolis and injure countless thousands of innocent bystanders? Yes.
With all that said, a sequel should focus on paranoia and mistrust over this person who is supposed to represent hope. You didn’t give Superman an easy journey in Man of Steel; continue to put pressure on him. To have a world embrace him after the events of the first movie is unrealistic, and in my opinion, insulting to our intelligence. This brings me to my next thought.
THE BAT AND THE LEGACY
There is a persistent rumor that Christian Bale is being offered $50 million USD to wear the mantle of the Bat one more time. I understand now it’s just a rumor. There’s another thing that bothers me.
Frank is arguably responsible for the dark tone in comics with his book, The Dark Knight Returns. In it, a geriatric Batman has come back to save Gotham from punkers, and eventually faces off with a Superman cowed into obedience by the US government; in other words, a very topical piece and one with a very heavy, cynical bias, in other words, the total opposite of Superman. The total opposite of hope, which is what Jor-El claims their family crest represents. The rumors involving Christian Bale and Frank Miller seem to revolve around the idea that an aging Batman and Superman should meet, and possibly fight?
Let me say this right now: It’s a terrible idea. Please do not go further with this.
Why? Simple: for this DC Movie Universe to stand any chance, Superman must be your first hero. You must cut ties cleanly with the Dark Knight trilogy, despite the money potential.
I may speak for myself, but I do not need an aging Batman beating on Superman. Christian Bale himself has said that he’s done with being Batman, and I can respect that: three movies and nearly a decade of work on the character is enough of a legacy, and Batman must carry on.
Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney… they did not sell Batman. Batman is a fictional character whose legacy will stand forever. There’s no need to rely on Christian Bale to sell Batman, Batman will sell Batman.
So with all of that said, you are now asking, “Well Mr. Big Fan of Superman, with your high and mighty ideas, what’s YOUR idea for this movie?”
I’m glad you asked.
SOME IDEAS TO TRY OUT
Here are some nonspecific points you can work with, and I think they are plausible. While I am not a writer with the credentials of Mr. Goyer, I humbly submit these for your consideration:
- Working back on the mistrust angle, create a coalition between Wayne Enterprises, LexCorp and the US army to create weapons (and people) who would be considered anti-Superman deterrents.
- Superman must feel some sort of remorse for the actions of Zod (and himself) during their battle which devastated a great deal of Metropolis. The result could be Kal-El secretly helping with construction sites around Metropolis.
- Have Batman, the World’s Greatest Detective, discover Superman’s identity and confront him, to deduce if he is indeed a threat, or a friend of humanity.
- Lex Luthor along with his Army liason, General Sam Lane, will take an aggressive initiative to capture the alien, which will reveal our movie’s action villains.
- Perhaps Superman and Batman WILL fight each other, only for [Parasite, Metallo, Bizarro, enter action villains] to jump in and capture the alien. Batman will of course retreat to protect the idea that he is a myth, a symbol (a subtle link to Nolan’s films).
- Batman will discover Superman is indeed on humanity’s side and will assist him
- The rest of this movie can now devolve into the usual action fest, with more explosions and destruction than the human eye can stand. I must stress that in contrast to Man Of Steel, that Batman and Superman must work to SAVE LIVE while simultaneously FIGHTING THE BAD GUYS. Heroes save people. Firefighters throw themselves into danger all the time to help people, and Superman should do so as well, especially since he can’t be hurt by flames.
- At the conclusion of the movie, Superman should now be trusted by the world to be its protector. In order to lead into Justice League, it could be suggested to Superman by Batman that they should look for other people to help. Partners, a league perhaps?
I wrote this post a few days before Ben Affleck was announced as Batman, and Bryan Cranston was announced as Lex Luthor. I just wanted to add in my quick thoughts, and try to present two sides of the coin.
BEN AFFLECK IS BRUCE WAYNE/BATMAN
Despite the internet’s rage over this issue, I’m actually not too upset with this. Of course, this isn’t what my gut reaction was, but I have a general dislike of Man of Steel as is. As I stated previously, I disagreed with the idea of an old Batman, a la Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns version, but Affleck is young enough to make me believe he can handle the physicality of the role. Daredevil aside, Ben has crafted a career that has been noted not only for his writing ability (Good Will Hunting) but his directorial skills, (The Town, Argo). I really think that if Zack and Ben treat this not just as a relationship between director and actor, but as two directors sharing a vision for the characters, they can provide us with a well nuanced, layered Bruce Wayne, as well as a Batman.
The complaint I have is this: Could we cast Ben from 10 years ago? Even though he doesn’t look it, Ben Affleck is in his early 40′s… how believable is it that a late 30′s/early 40′s Batman can hang with a 33 year old Sun God? Are we really looking at doing Dark Knight Returns for Justice League 2 or Man of Steel 3? That’s not what I want to see. I also a teensy bit annoyed they didn’t go with a relative unknown in his early 30′s or younger: according to interviews with David S. Goyer, Superman is the first public hero. Yes, Batman could’ve been operating in the shadows for years, but I don’t want to see that. Again, the shelf life of Batman now is severely limited. Unless you’re planning on killing this one off, and replacing him with a Robin or something, how much more can we get of Batfleck? It’s a similar problem facing Marvel and Robert Downey Jr., except Mr. Downey is much older, and has now only signed up to do Avengers 2 and 3.
Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor
This might be a great coup, if it’s actually true. Cosmic Book News reported it as being confirmed, whereas Huffington Post has said no. If it is the case that Cranston is Lex Luthor, he will be the most menacing Luthor since Michael Rosenbaum’s. If you haven’t watched Breaking Bad, Cranston’s Walt Weiss is another alliterative villain who descends into some really dark places. Subsitute out the meth and put in a corporate powerhouse with worldwide assets and the charm that Cranston shows at times, and Lex Luthor is a beloved citizen of Metropolis and a total sociopath who will stop at nothing to destroy Superman.
My only caveat is the same one I had with Affleck: age. Cranston is in his 50′s. Lex doesn’t necessarily have to throw down with the Man of Steel, and in fact, being a behind the scenes villain might work better and allow our Superman to be frustrated, but how many movies could he do before the Downey effect rears it’s ugly head?
There are lots of questions still, and not many answers. Still the move is two years away.
And these are my humble suggestions and thoughts for Batman vs. Superman. I personally doubt that anyone at Warner’s will take this or myself seriously, but I believe in one thing: hope.