It seems what started out as a ‘Man Of Steel’ sequel is slowly turning into a Justice League film. Is that a good thing? Only time will tell. Comic book fans are clearly anxious over the handling of what has tentatively been called ‘Batman Vs. Superman’, and with good reason.
You have only got to look at how Marvel successfully handled the lead up to ‘The Avengers’ and compare that to how DC are handling their own movies to see why fans are getting nervous.
Marvel made the smart move of giving the main characters from ‘The Avengers’ their own films. At the time critics claimed movies like ‘Thor’ and ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ were nothing more than extended trailers to promote the upcoming ‘The Avengers’ movie. This was disproved by the successful handling of the film by director and writer Joss Whedon.
What those films managed to achieve was introduce Marvel’s characters to a brand new audience. We got to see where they come from, who they were and what they are like. Neither Iron Man, Thor, Captain American, hell even Loki were big draws at the cinema before these films were made, now they are all successful franchises in their own right.
As a result, when ‘The Avengers’ movie did come along, the film makers were able to dispense with the multiple character introductions and focused purely on the important elements like the story and plot, safe in the knowledge that the audience was already familiar with these characters.
DC doesn’t seem to be following Marvel‘s successful strategy. Instead DC has decided to introduce two new characters into the ‘Man Of Steel’ sequel. Why is this a mistake?
Firstly, fans were not shown the complete Superman in ‘Man Of Steel’. Clark Kent is just a much a part of Kal-El as Superman is, but audiences were only show a brief glimpse of Kent in the recent movie. We need at least one more standalone sequel for this new Superman to be fully bedded in (and to learn causing the mass destruction of a major city and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people is a bad thing, as this is something our new Superman hasn’t already worked out for some reason).
Secondly, if Christian Bale was still Batman then introducing him into the new ‘Man Of Steel’ sequel wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Audiences are already familiar with Bale‘s Batman and would accept him instantly, but we have a new Batman in Ben Affleck (whom I think will be excellent). Affleck needs to take on the Batman role in his own film first, before throwing himself into a ‘Man Of Steel‘ crossover. Affleck is bound to bring different elements to the Batman character, and we, as an audience, need to get to know this new Batman in his own right.
Thirdly, to add to the problem, Wonder Woman is also going to be in the new ‘Man Of Steel’ film. At least Batman is a well-known character played by a well-known actor. To mainstream audiences Wonder Woman isn’t the most well-known character in the DC universe and Gal Gadot isn’t the most well-known actress. If any character deserves their own standalone film to reintroduce themselves to cinema goers, it’s Wonder Woman. Cinemas are full of comic book films with male leads but there are no comic book films with female leads. With the current success of ‘The Hunger Games‘ it’s clear both men and woman want to see strong female characters starring in their own films.
So whereas Marvel took the time to introduce old characters to new audiences it seems a shame that DC are not showing their own heroes the same kind of patience.
Hopefully Zack Snyder will prove the critics and naysayers wrong. There are millions of Superman and Batman fans out there who want nothing more than to see their heroes in an amazing film.
Hopefully in the summer of 2015 we’ll get just that.
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