Who’d win in a fight between Superman and Spawn? How the f*ck old is Cable? And what in the holy hell is a Megatron? When the tough questions arise, Panels on Pages will gather the facts, but it’s up to the PoP!ulation to draw its own conclusions. So come on… Riddle Me This!
When it was announced at last summer’s San Diego Comic Con that the sequel to Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel would feature the first onscreen live-action meeting between Superman and Batman, the two most recognizable superheroes on the planet, nearly everyone in both the comics and movie communities uttered a collective squeal of excitement. In the months that followed, we’ve been privy to a whirlwind of announcements regarding additional characters such as Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor, as well as the filmmakers’ official choices to play these characters, which have resulted in endless debates among cinephiles and comic fans regarding whether they were the right choice. Given DC and Warners’ constant additions to this movie’s already large cast of characters, it is obvious to pretty much everyone that they are priming everyone for an eventual Justice League movie that will team up many prominent heroes of the DC Universe onscreen much like Marvel did with their mega-successful 2012 film The Avengers. The question to ask though is whether it is a good idea for DC to develop their newly-integrated movie universe this way. Just because it worked so well for Marvel does not necessarily mean it will go the same way for their Distinguished Competition.
Of course, DC is not emulating the Marvel Cinematic Universe completely, as they are bringing their heroes together on the big screen much earlier than Marvel did. Some will argue that DC actually has a leg up on Marvel in building up their onscreen superhero universe in that the three heroes featured in the still-untitled Man of Steel sequel are far more recognizable to the general public than any of the individual members of The Avengers were before they were given their own movies. While that may be true, most of the major Avengers did get their own solo film before Marvel brought them together as a team so that their audience would have a decent grasp of who each character was and what their motivations are. It was this attention to detail that was one of the reasons that the Avengers movie was so successful and well-loved by the majority of the moviegoing public. The solo films introduced and endeared us to each member so that when The Avengers came out, we were ready to see these distinctly heroic personalities work together. With the Man of Steel sequel, we’re already going to get the three most prominent members of the Justice League together in one movie, but of these three, the only hero we’ll have been allowed to really get to know as an individual is Superman. Batman of course is no stranger to moviegoers, but Ben Affleck has the unenviable task of having to live up to the five previous actors who have donned the famous cowl in a feature film. Gal Gadot could potentially have an even more difficult situation, as she is the least experienced of the three stars and is playing a character in Wonder Woman who has never been portrayed in a movie. By throwing Affleck and Gadot into a movie with Cavill’s Superman without testing the audience’s acceptance of them in their own solo films, Warner Brothers is taking a considerable risk and seems to be relying more on the public’s existing knowledge of the characters to bring them into the theater.
It’s easy to see why Warner Brothers wants to fast-track their superhero movie universe, given how much money it’s brought to Marvel Studios and The Walt Disney Company, but it remains to be seen how successful the Man of Steel sequel will be with so many larger than life characters being introduced to moviegoers for the first time. In addition to the three main heroes, this film will also include most of Man of Steel’s supporting cast (minus Kevin Costner and Michael Shannon, of course) as well as Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth and Jesse Eisenberg as Superman’s arch-nemesis Lex Luthor. If DC and Warner Brothers continue to add characters to this film before its May 2016 release, it would have to have a running time of four hours or more to truly do justice to all of these characters, all of whom are among the most important to the DC Universe. Another big question to ask is whether Zack Snyder, a director who is less known for memorable characters than with big-budget spectacles, is really the right director to reintroduce these characters to movie audiences? I mostly liked what he did with Superman in Man of Steel, but I’m still not completely convinced that he’s the right filmmaker for Batman and Wonder Woman. Time will tell whether my misgivings are justified.
Like it or not, DC is going to unleash their Super Trinity on the moviegoing public in two years. The big question is whether the movie’s target audience is confident in their ability to do right by these characters. Do you have faith that Warner Brothers will give us characters as beloved as the ones in the Marvel Studios films? Is Zack Snyder the right director to bring the Trinity to life, or is there someone out there who could potentially do a better job? Would you prefer these movies to introduce their individual characters more gradually, or do you think that lumping them in one big movie is the right move? Share your thoughts in the comment chain below.