Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Thoughts on the upcoming Superman and Batman movie

Apparently a new movie featuring both Superman and Batman is in the works, according to an announcement made at Comic-Con. When I first heard the news, I had a brief moment of excitement, and then boredom set in almost immediately. I thought the recent Dark Knight trilogy was okay but seriously overrated, Superman Returns was just bad, and I haven't bothered to see Man of Steel yet. But I've had some time to think about it, and I think that a crossover movie might actually be pretty cool, depending on what direction they take it.

This post contains spoilers for the Dark Knight trilogy. Coming right up, in fact.
The Dark Knight trilogy ended with Bruce Wayne hanging up the cowl and disappearing to go live with Anne Hathaway. I haven't seen Man of Steel yet, but based on the trailer it looks like the movie is about Superman coming to terms with his powers and learning to use them to be a hero. I am going to assume that it ends with Superman taking on the role of Earth's savior/champion. That sets up both characters for interesting interaction in the film, if the writers choose to go that route.

I don't know what continuity the new film will have with any of the preceding films, but I think it would be cool if the film used ideas from the previous films to start the film with Bruce Wayne being a somewhat cynical former hero, now middle-aged and with no intention of ever putting on the costume again. The film could contrast that with Superman, who would be young, in the spotlight, and taking on the mantle of Earth's guardian.

The story could focus on Bruce Wayne discovering a threat to Superman and trying to protect Superman from it. There has already been speculation about who the villain is going to be, but I think that, since the film already has these two larger-than-life characters, having a more low-key enemy would be a good idea. What if, instead of some superpowered bad guy, the enemy were an agency in the United States government? That way, the writers could tap into the current events surrounding freedom and privacy in America.

Picture this: the United States is happy to have Superman protecting us, but they don't quite trust him. He's not even human, and he's from another planet. So the government puts together a group to monitor Superman and to create countermeasures should he ever get out of control. In the comics and the Justice League cartoon, there is a group called Project Cadmus that does something similar, so the writers could tie into that.

Batman, as the world's greatest detective, would find out about this threat to Superman and warn him. The film could then explore the two viewpoints of their heroes: Superman is courageous but naive, while Batman is cynical and has given up on ever being able to make a difference. So when the two of them work together, they balance out each other's weaknesses and win the day. There can be a big fight at the end against whatever Superman knockoffs the US government creates, which, of course, go berserk when the government is not able to control them, and it's up to our boys to save the government goons from their own creations.

I've heard that the teaser at Comic-Con implies that Superman and Batman will fight each other. I can see the temptation for that, since it makes for instant drama, and heroes tend to be better developed and more interesting in comics than villains. But I think that, in order to be more than a dumb popcorn movie, the script should focus instead on building a bond of trust between Supes and Bats.

What do you think, Superfans and Batfans? Is there anything you're hoping for in the upcoming movie, or anything you're dreading?

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