Batman V Superman came and went earlier this year surrounded by controversy and good old fashioned complaining from a large batch of moviegoers and just when you thought the film had left public consciousness the ultimate cut gets released. I enjoyed the theatrical cut but had my fair share of problems with the bloated script and I doubt an extra thirty minutes will rectify all my issues but I’m looking forward to seeing the movie again for the bombastic action (and that awesome Wonder Woman theme) if nothing else. Like it or not BVS laid the groundwork for the future of the DC Cinematic Universe although from the recent set reports and the Comic-Con tease it seems Warner Bros are backtracking on the tone BVS, and Man of Steel before it, enthralled their dark and dreary storylines in. I however think it would be interesting if they didn’t go down the more popular ‘Marvel route’ of snappy one liners and colourful adventure but instead went down its own path.
Batman V Superman was anything but subtle. It tried to use the philosophical debates and ideas that worked in Man of Steel but failed spectacularly and resulted with a tangled mess of ‘realistic’ debates on whether Superman can be trusted and character analysis instead of an intricate web. The only thing that worked were the action sequences which were absent for large periods of time so we could have Superman mope around. My argument is therefore there should be no backpedalling from this position and the follow-up movie – Justice League – should just run with being a crazy action spectacular that doesn’t need to try and psycho-analyse its protagonists.
My favourite sequence of BVS was Batman’s dream/vision of a post apocalyptic future. Batman was shooting people in the head, Darksied symbols were burned into the ground, crazy looking Parademons were flying around and Superman was a bad guy because, as time-travelling Flash tells Bruce Wayne, something happened to Lois. Looking back over that last sentence makes me realise just how crazy it all sounds and they should run with that craziness, throwing what little subtlety remains out the window.
Mad Max Fury Road was one of the best summer blockbusters for years by skimming the fat off what usually appears in such films and giving us a streamlined crazy action chase movie that embraced what it was and didn’t try to be anything else. This is what Justice League needs to do; embrace the crazy and not try to follow the example Marvel has laid down over the years. The film could be set entirely in the post-apocalyptic world, a world decimated after the bad guy won giving us something we haven’t seen before. Of course with The Flash the heroes would be able to turn back time, save Lois, stop Superman turning evil and stop Darksied before he destroys life on earth. Resetting the timeline for more straightforward films in the future but still managing to make one crazy, different superhero film just like Justice League should be.
On the subject of Justice League, in the Comic-Con teaser we see Bruce Wayne asking a room full of people about where he can find Aquaman before revealing he is in that very room. Surely the other people in the room would be interested why Bruce Wayne is asking about a metahuman, and getting into a fight with him, and then a few weeks later seeing Aquaman hanging round and saving the world as a member of Justice League. From this information those people would be able to work out that Bruce is something to do with Justice League, if not Batman himself. Is Bruce no longer caring about maintaining a secret identity or is it just bad writing? I guess time will tell.
What do you want from Justice League? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about all those crazy costumed heroes on Twitter @kylebrrtt.