Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Batman vs. Superman"and "Star Wars VII" - avoiding the open-ended questions

I've already gotten one or two "hey, whaddayathink about the new Batman/ Superman trailer?" messages from people who know me, know I like me some Superman and Batman, and who know I was not a fan of the last Superman adventure by the same creative team.  And, likewise regarding Star Wars, which I've not been all that into for the last decade, I guess.

So, with the HD trailer now released for Batman and Superman are Going to Punch Each Other in the Rain and the certainty even my dad will now have seen the trailer - rather than answer the same open ended question in short bursts of tweets or Google Hangouts or whatever, here we go:

Ah, man.  We know you're doing your best, buddy.

The DCU that WB is working on for the movies does not jive well with the overall DCU I've liked for 30-odd years of my life (or 37 if you want to want to count when I got into Superman: The Movie and Super Friends - or, heck, before that if you're partial to Adam West, and I am).

There are pretty obvious lessons the WB execs believe they learned from the success of the Dark Knight trilogy and failure of Green Lantern and Superman Returns (although any kind of thoughtful evaluation that didn't require execs saving face just wasn't going to happen on the WB lot).   And in that lesson-learning, much like DC Comics believed with the New 52, everything had to be Batman.  And not just Batman, but the same Batman that shows up in Arkham Asylum video games.

Anyway, I tend to think that the point of Superman and Batman running up against each other is not just a question of the the tone of the characters coming into conflict - it's also the world and worldview colliding and reflecting off one another.  And this isn't that.  This is someone mistaking grim'n'gritty as an ends unto itself.

Hey, WB, if that Green Lantern movie didn't work out for you, keep in mind - you kind of made a terrible movie.   No one is under any obligation to enjoy a generic superhero movie dripping with studio-driven decision making writ large (Blake Lively.  Really?).  And, I have to say, trying to continue the Chris Reeve Superman franchise 20-odd years after the fact may not have been, tactically, the greatest decision making.

There's a long history of Superman not moping his way around Metropolis - but that doesn't mean he's a character without conflict.  It just means he doesn't sit in his basement and pout/ brood and go around telling everyone else they're stupid for not also being sad.  And it doesn't mean Superman can't get mad, or tear up a robot or whatever.  He does tend to get mad when the bad guys put innocents in harm's way (which, you know, they kind of screwed up a bit in MoS).

And don't get me started on how dumb it is to put Batman in his endgame armor from DKR up against Superman in their initial meeting (he was trying to fail, remember?).

Anyway, whatever.  We all knew this was coming, and it'll appeal to people who like the idea of two action figures smacking against each other, and it'll really appeal to people who have that weird belief that Superman is somehow picking on them by not being Batman, and who don't quite get the irony that they're more or less confusing Batman with Lex Luthor.

As always, I'm a little baffled and bummed that DC/WB aren't interested in selling Superman and Batman to young kids.  Superman, in particular, is intended to be an all ages character.  I can confirm that it is interesting to see the character pushed into genres or worlds a bit darker than his own while retaining his Superman-ness to drive story.  But nobody at WB seems to have any idea how to do that, which, I think, is an interesting note about who is making movies at the studio these days.

Meanwhile, the trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Shakes and Bakes was released, and, you know, this is the best I've felt about Star Wars since standing in line prior to The Phantom Menace.  It's got spaceships and robots and Chewbaccas.

Here, take a look:

I'm actually not much of a JJ Abrams fan, but this at least looks passable as a Star Wars movie.  Maybe even... it looks good?  We'll find out when the reviews are released - but, man, I have a hard time believing this is going to be the same boring mess that was the Prequel Trilogy.

Anyway, I get the irony that I'm interested in Star Wars and bummed about Superman, but there you are.  It's a funny world.


RHPT said...

Can you add your thoughts on the new FF trailer?

The League said...

Somehow it looks even more perfunctory than the previous FF movies, and I don't know how that's possible. I have to say, de-aging the team is a really dumb idea. It was dumb when they did it in the Ultimate comics, and it's dumb here. At least The Thing isn't a guy in a crummy-looking suit.

Simon MacDonald said...

I watched the trailer for Bats vs Supes and it confirmed what I suspected, that I don't want to see this movie. However, I would see this movie

Also, when my 10 year old daughter saw the trailer she thought it was a joke. She basically thought it was a parody of Batman and Superman. I'm not sure if that is what Snyder wanted but if it was mission accomplished.

On the other hand, I really did enjoy the Star Wars trailer. I'm actually getting a bit excited for this one. Did you check out the live action BB-8 video from Celebration? Pretty amazing.

The League said...

Yeah, I saw that BB-8 video! That was totally amazing. These days I don't ever get all that excited by trailers, even for Star Wars, but I can say I'm kind of amazed it doesn't look like a melodramatic mess.

One thing that's really true these days of certain kinds of films - it's going to get people out just because. Kind of like when all you needed was Arnie to sell tickets.

Matt A. said...

I thought that the Daredevil vs Superman movie looked alright. If they could only get Kevin Smith and Matt Damen to make appearances, I'd think they have a winner.

But, really, the DKR suit was a bit much, but I guess if your selling the sups and bats are going fisticuffs, you might as well pull out all the fan favorite toys.