Dawn of The DC Extended Universe

Henry Cavill Batman v Superman
Henry Cavill in
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

It is upon us.

Warner Brothers and DC Comics are about to embark on the beginning of crossing over characters and events from film to film. Constructing a film universe of superheroes and villains in one singular world. Yep, they’ll all be playing in the same sandbox, which will allow any character to potentially appear in any upcoming DC movie. Not to mention uniting DC’s major players into a two-part Justice League film.

And it’s all going to start with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Well, technically this DC world building started with 2013’s Man of Steel, but we know that’s not exactly true. They never had any plans to use that movie as a launchpad into a full-blown DC cinematic world. But since it already introduced a new Superman they were kind of stuck with it, so they had to think up a way to expand on what happened in that movie.

I’m always going to believe had DC/WB not decided to get into the Cinematic Universe game, all the climactic destruction in that final battle of Metropolis in Man of Steel would have simply been ignored and never would have even been mentioned in a Man of Steel followup.

At the time I think it was just an eye-candy big superhero fight that Zack Snyder thought fans wanted to see. It was only later after hearing fans complain about it and WB wanting to get an expanded universe started as fast as possible they reworked it into a jumping off point for a Batman v Superman movie. But hey OK, maybe there will be some good that can come out of that prolonged catastrophic ending to that movie.

Hey, isn’t it somewhat ironic DC and WB have set out to construct their cinematic universe on the ruins of the demolished Metropolis?

Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor Batman v Superman

I find it hard to believe it was only four years ago I was writing about the question as to whether we would ever see a Justice League movie get made! Pretty crazy how fast things can change.

Fans have been talking about Batman v Superman since it was first announced. Every little update about it has generated oodles of reactions – and there’s no way that will end when the world finally gets to see the movie on March 25th. It has just been the tip of the iceberg. Endless discussions, critiques, praise, box office analysis, cape measuring bragging and bullying will inevitably go on and on. Maybe it will subside slightly when Suicide Squad and upcoming DC movies start to get their shot in the limelight, but however the movie turns out this will be one of the most talked about superhero movies of all time.

So after seeing the trailers my reaction has been pretty consistent since it all began – I’m curious to see it, but I’m not hopping up and down on the sofa in anticipation for it.

I just don’t want it to turn into a hollow exercise. I would like Cavill’s Superman to get some personality. I want to see a good story. It’s not enough for me just to see these superheroes onscreen together. They have to be doing something interesting for me to feel the wait has been worthwhile.

Ben Affleck always seemed like a predictable kind of choice to play Batman to me. I figured he would be fine. And the clips of Bats fighting a group of bad guys did look really cool. Jesse Eisenberg was a strange choice as Lex Luthor from the start. I think fans will either really like him or really hate him in his interpretation of the character. I don’t think there will be much middle of the road reception for him.

Gal Gadot Ben Affleck Batman v Superman

Gal Gadot will probably go over well as Wonder Woman. They’ve really been giving her heavier promotion in this and that kind of worries me. She could end up being a distraction to a potentially solid Bats/Supes story.

I think the biggest concern is she not having any other reason to be there other than to hurriedly introduce her, set up her solo movie and help fight the big villain in the epic finale. Her inclusion could be very clunky. But I think most people will like her and it will succeed in generating excitement for her stand alone movie. In fact, the brief clips I’ve seen of the currently filming Wonder Woman got me more interested in watching that than Batman v Superman.

I’m most worried about Henry Cavill. Man of Steel did not warm me to his Superman. I like Cavill. I thought he was really cool in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., but as Superman he hasn’t carved out a memorable niche on the character. I’m wondering if they’re going to flesh this guy out and give him more personality this time out.

Henry Cavill Batman v Superman

I was thinking about it this way, if they nixed the costumes for the actors and had Affleck and Cavill play their superhero characters just with script in hand, sort of do a costume-less reading of this story on a vacant stage for us, I wonder if Cavill’s Superman would make an impression. Would I like the guy, understand who he is, know what he believes in, want to see more of him?

I don’t want Cavill’s Superman to become the least memorable character in this. And I worry he’ll most likely be the one to get shortchanged in comparison to all the new characters and actors that are going to be showing up. I just hope that doesn’t happen and this time he’s able to play a good Superman, the one that I think he could be and not just be there to fill the costume.

I have no idea how significant a role Amy Adams’ Lois Lane will be in this. My guess would be Lois will move from Cavill’s co-star from Man of Steel to a supporting player here. But I have no idea. The character hasn’t been focused on much in the advertising, so I’m anticipating her not having a major part. But who knows. I’d predict Lois will show up more than she did in Superman III though.

The big worry, the one that trumps everything else, the thing that I cant shake is this being directed by Zack Snyder. Yep, it’s the same concerns so many others have voiced. I won’t bother repeating the same issues about him, but basically I don’t have much confidence with him behind the camera. David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio are the writers, and Affleck apparently helped along the way, but it’s going to Snyder leading the charge. I would be much more enthusiastic for Batman v Superman if Snyder wasn’t involved.

Ben Affleck Bruce Wayne Batman v Superman

It’s true, there have been Snyder films that I’ve liked and I’m sure there will be some great visuals on display that fans will cheer. But I also think there’s a good chance his visual aesthetic will come before the story and characters. As I said before, I don’t want the movie to become a shallow exercise. Plus, the movie is looking pretty gloomy.

I haven’t mentioned the ‘M Word’ at all – Marvel. Fans have fueled a competition between DC and Marvel for years, and now it’s their superhero movies that are dueling. Whose movies are better, or make more money and all that stuff.

I’m rooting for both. I just want to see a good superhero movie everytime I sit down to watch one. I don’t want it to be lousy or it be an embarrassment to the characters or the company, even though that’s what sometimes happens.

It’s pretty strange how Batman v Superman has picked up such a vocal backlash so early on. This has gone on since it was first announced. Usually a backlash happens AFTER the movie comes out. But with this movie it’s been a consistent thing. I don’t know what it is. The idea that it was rushed? The impression Warners and DC are trying to jump on the Marvel superhero bandwagon? Snyder? The aftertaste of Man of Steel? A combination of all of them?

I’ll admit I haven’t been completely behind this movie and as time worn on instead of getting psyched to see it I’ve gotten more skeptical, but it’s almost become some fans genuinely want this movie to be a disaster! They’re getting ready to pounce on it as soon as they can. You can hear the sound of knives being sharpened as it gets closer to its release. It’s really strange.

The most recent negative reactions have been about how there will be an R-rated version when it hits DVD. Then, the latest box office predictions for its opening weekend are being touted as lower than expected. Nowadays people have this mindset that if every big movie doesn’t break box office records in its first few days of release it’s deemed a failure. The way they’re making it sound the movie is already a disappointment!

Batman v Superman Wonder Woman DC trinity

Once upon a time a movie could play for months and earn it’s money in a slow, but steady way. Now that narrow window has become it’s first weekend. So unless Batman v Superman shatters the box office the first hour it debuts or at least be able to trumpet it now holds some bizarre box office title like, ‘The Biggest March Opening For A Movie With Two Leads Wearing Capes That Has The Letter ‘V’ In The Title’ it will be categorized as a bomb. It is kind of crazy.

I’m not really thinking about any of that stuff. I don’t really care how many versions of it they’re going to release on DVD six months from now. If the movie stinks I’m not really going to be geared up to watch a more explicit version of it. These ominous box office predictions that are being talked about, well, we’ll find out about that when it comes out.

I still have plenty of reservations about some of the decisions that have been done, and if it turns out to be one big expensive lousy flick I’ll certainly enjoy hearing fans tear into it. But really I’d love to be pleasantly surprised and to be walking out of the theater saying, “Gee, that was pretty good!”. I’m not banking on that to happen though. I just haven’t been able to gather up a great deal of optimism for this. I’m trying to have some hope for it, but the optimism is escaping me. It would be great if all those worries were for nothing and it turned out to be a well done start to future DC movies.

Here’s hoping! (as much as I can muster)

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1 Response

  1. Signs are not looking good. So far the majority of critics have given this a thumbs down. Going by the diminishing returns from the Marvel movies and from Man Of Steel we, the audience, have very little invested in seeing superheroes smash each other up if there is little or no risk of damage or death. What is the point given that all we see is collateral damage and even with all collateral damage, we do not see anyone dying, in pain, amputated or suffering from post traumatic stress. We just see CGI. It is so sterilised from real life that we feel empty, not even a sense of schadenfreude. Just boredom.

    The reason why video games find it extremely hard to build character empathy is because we know it means nothing. No one is really dead, no one is really injured, nothing really matters because none of it looks, or feels, real.

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