Thursday, 22 May 2014

Forming the Justice League #4

Okay, confession time; I originally wanted this column to be a regular feature that discussed everything to do with Batman vs. Superman. Well, I've dropped the ball a little and haven't added anything to this column since...well, since before Batffleck. Yeah, my bad.

So, given that a week doesn't go by where we don't here SOMETHING about the sequel to Man of Steel, I figured I'd do a round-up of my thoughts on everything we've been drip fed about this film thus far.

The Title - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

The most recent news on Batman vs Superman was the official title announcement this morning; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As we expected, the title confirms that we'll see Bats and Supes go toe-to-toe, akin to The Dark Knight Returns. The subtitle, I gotta say, is a little redundant. Dawn of Justice? I can see what they are trying to hint at, but dear me is it bland. It kind of feels tacked on the end, and suggests that this film will essentially be a two-hour long trailer for a Justice League film. But we already knew that, right?

At the end of the day, no-one is going to walk up to the box-office on opening weekend and ask to see "Dawn of Justice" - they'll ask for a ticket to see Batman vs. Superman. It's just an unnecessary addition. The release date is scheduled as May 6, 2016.

The Suit

Last week, we got out first sneak peek at Ben Affleck in his new Batman costume, stood ominously in front of a re-imagined Batmobile. 

Now, pretty much every blogger/vlogger on the planet has given their two cents, so you've most likely heard every pro and con a thousand times. That ain't going to stop me however, so here you are.

In my mind, it's pretty good. I like that Affleck is stocky and a more 'weathered' Batman than Christian Bale, and that the suit draws a lot of its cues from The Dark Knight Returns and the New 52 comics, especially Detective Comics. The bigger bat symbol, the shorter ears and less defined cowl, it all looks the part that for sure. And hey, at least there aren't nipples on this one. The battered aesthetic looks awesome, and the new Batmobile is a good balance between Burton and Nolan, from what we can see. I never really thought the Nolan tumbler was all that cool, so I like the middle ground Snyder and co. have struck here. 

The Cast

Ben Affleck as Batman

Ahh, Batfleck. What an uproar this casting news caused back in August last year. Outraged that Affleck had been chosen to step into Batman's boots instead of actors like Josh Brolin and Jon Hamm, comic-book fans near enough broke the Internet by taking to Twitter in their millions.

A divisive movie star after the disastrous Daredevil movie (as well as Gigli), Affleck is a very left-field choice for Batman. He's quiet, hardly an action hero and fairly good-natured in real-life. Nowhere near the method, no-cost-is too-great Christian Bale, on the face of it.

After sitting back and thinking on it however, Affleck may not be the worst casting decision ever made. Warner Bros. and DC aren't crafting a origin story here, so Affleck, at 41 years old, fits the bill. He'll be a weathered, seasoned Batman who has taken his fair share of knocks. He's certainly got the chin for it too, always a key ingredient in casting Batman.

At the end of the day, Affleck will only be able to prove his worth to audiences on-screen, as the majority of people won't be convinced until they see the movie. He's already recovered from his career nadir (Gigli, Pearl Harbour) through a run of successful directorial work (Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Argo), so why not take the lead in a big blockbuster? I think that DC could have gone with a less divisive actor for the sake of safety, but maybe they know something we don't.

Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman

A relative unknown to anyone who hasn't seen Fast and Furious through 6, Gal Gadot is an Israeli fashion model, former Miss Universe contestant and actress.

And, in December last year, DC announced that Miss Gadot would be the actress to play Wonder Woman/Diana Prince in a supporting role in Batman vs. Superman.

The first sticking point that many people had with this casting choice was that Gadot doesn't have the 'body shape' for Wonder Woman - as in, she's kinda thin, not bulky or muscled like the Amazonian warrior princess is depicted as. Personally, I don't care either way. She's got the good looks, and is no doubt going to be hitting the gym to bulk up. At the end of the day, very few (read: zero) women have the ridiculous body-shape that female comic-book characters are afforded, so she's as good a choice as any.

Personally, I would've loved to have seen Jaime Alexander (Sif from the Thor films) get the role, but alas, she's tied to Marvel. Gadot isn't that bad of a choice, assuming she can bulk up and convey that sense of power and strength Wonder Woman is known for.

At least we know one thing for certain; she's a billion times better than Megan Fox would've been...

Jesse Eisenberg is Lex Luthor

Another very odd casting choice for this film was that of Jesse Eisenberg as Superman's arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor. Strangely absent from Man of Steel, Luthor was last played in a Superman movie by Kevin Spacey in Superman Returns. He was hit and miss, a very over-acted and uncharismatic version of the character.

With Eisenberg, the biggest thing I noticed was his age. He's a lot younger than the character is typically depicted as, something that is glaringly obvious to comic-book fans.

Clearly what DC are going for with Eisenberg is a new, re-imagined Gen-Y version of the ambitious tycoon, similar to that of Eisenberg's role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. The only question is, is this the right direction to take? My initial reaction was no, but like Affleck and Gadot, I've warmed to the idea and can totally see it now.

No doubt, a lot of fans will be disappointed, and will continue to whine that Bryan Cranston didn't get the role from now until May 2016. To them I say, use your imagination. Do you want every superhero film to rigidly adhere to the image you have in your head, or have that image challenged? In my opinion, I'd have been more disappointed if they'd cast someone completely 'Lex Luthorish' to begin with as it suggests the film-makers lack imagination or ambition.

Of course there is every chance that Eisenberg will completely screw it up, and these words will come back to haunt me. That's the beauty of hindsight!

So there we have it, a complete catch-up on everything Batman vs. Superman - I'll endeavour to keep this column running as more news comes along in the lead-up to the film's release. In the meantime, be sure to leave me a comment with your thoughts on the title, costume and casting - excited or underwhelmed? Thanks for reading!


  1. Lovely post. What i still fail to understand is that why is film titled Batman vs Superman. Will they be made to lock horns in the film?

    1. That's my understanding, yes. They appear to be drawing a lot of inspiration from Frank Miller's classic comic-book The Dark Knight Returns in which Batman and Superman face-off against one another. They've also used elements like this in other comic-books, like Jeph Loeb's Hush storyline. Check them out, they're really cool stories :)



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