We got a new trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice last month to coincide with the sprawling media crush of San Diego’s Comic-Con International.
I’ll admit that the movie looks impressive on its own terms. While Man of Steel had potential as a riff on the superhero genre with a heavy sci-fi bent, however, it was a terribly misguided Superman film. Based on the footage and conversations regarding its sequel, Zack Snyder continues to be at least as far off target in translating DC’s oldest, greatest icons from page to screen as he was in adapting Watchmen a half-dozen years back. (Read my non-spoiler post or my longer review of Man of Steel, and my detailed review of Watchmen, for more.)
Snyder et al. have jumped right to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight — a possible future extrapolating from the comics of the time in which a weathered Batman comes out of retirement and tangles with a godlike Superman whom he views as too powerful and too simplistic in the embrace of justice and the American Way — and set up that dichotomy in the characters’ first meeting. Huh?
I don’t understand introducing a graying Batman. I don’t like losing Superman’s primacy as the first, defining superhero — the one who served as inspiration for those who followed — and not only because it reminds me of how Smallville took that to ridiculous extremes. I don’t want a “DC Cinematic Universe” Batman who’s that paranoid, that absolutist, that fascist, nor a Superman who’s as reluctant as he was in Man of Steel to expose himself to the world, outed by despotic, genocidal members of his birth planet and understandably feared by the people of Earth in the aftermath of having hid among them for so long and thoughtlessly causing so much destruction.
Those are potentially interesting alternate interpretations to explore. But the Marvel films have given us an unbelievably straight transferral of the general feel of their source material, all things considered, whereas I have been waiting my whole life for a big-budget, silver-screen rendition of the DC mythology on a par with the Superman, Batman, and Justice League animated series of recent decades, and this is hopelessly far from that at its very foundations. The way Batman’s insignia has been distorted to be able to fit Superman’s inside it makes is hilariously symbolic.
Defenders of Snyder’s approach may counter that I don’t have to want, like, or understand what he’s created. Uh... well, yeah. I know I’m not alone how this is eating at my soul, though, and I do have a right to my lamentations. Trust me when I say that
I find no joy in finding so little joy here.
Hey, Wonder Woman seems cool.
Screencap © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment. Batman elements TM/® DC Comics.
Related: The Heroic Versus • Supermannus Horribilis • Doomsday
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