Much to the chagrin of myself and most true fans of Superman, Zack Snyder’s scene-chewing, overblown and depressing destruction-porn, Man of Steel, was a hit. Half a billion dollars later, DC is salivating over the idea of what’s next. In a time that is all Marvel, DC wants in on some of that lucrative franchise action. At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Snyder and his team announced that in lieu of a Man of Steel II, he’s going to be crafting and directing a movie involving both Superman and Batman.
Wow. What a stupid idea.
I’m not a hater. I despised Man of Steel, but I figured perhaps Snyder and DC would repair the film’s problems in the sequel. Instead, we get a cash grab. A desperate swing at franchise glory. Upon hearing the news of a Superman/Batman film, my mind raced with all the reasons why this was a bad move. I managed to get them into a list of Ten Reasons The Superman/Batman Movie Is A Bad Idea.
Sweaty Palms and Anxious Bean Counters Do Not a Franchise Make
DC is in desperation mode. Green Lantern failed, the Wonder Woman show was laughed out of existence, and their much-lauded Batman trilogy ended with a whimper, not a bang. Marvel is gearing up to begin the second wave of their franchise juggernaut, and DC feels the heat. They need a win, they need a franchise, and they need it badly.
Problem is, when you allow nervous executives and anxious accountants to make creative decisions, it always leads to trouble. Might I point out the sickening Die Hard sequels, or perhaps the way independent film has become has become a predictable diet of “life affirmation through quirky?” When executives and accountants get involved, things become about the quick buck, not the creative process. Shoving two marquee heroes into one film makes zero sense outside of the money that could be made. A watered down Batman crammed into a Superman film without a defined Superman is a disaster waiting to happen.
Flash? Wonder Woman? Seriously?
Okay, let me get this straight. Zack Snyder and his band of merry men want to put Superman and Batman together, but give Flash and possibly Wonder Woman their own solo movies. Good move. Smart thinking. Let’s give one peripheral character his own film, while two staples of the comic book world are forced to jockey for screen time. That worked so well with Green Lantern. What could go wrong?
A Wonder Woman film might be more recognizable than Green Lantern or Flash, but it needs to be done in tandem with a solo Batman film and a Superman sequel. In comparing the franchise structure to Marvel, Superman is Iron Man, Batman is Thor, Wonder Woman is Captain America and Green Lantern is Hulk, but Ruffalo Hulk. A Flash solo film will tank, which leaves another hole in a successful Justice League film.
Awesome, Another F!#%ing Origin Story
We all know this Superman/Batman film will include Batman’s origin. Hollywood can’t let it go. There is no way the blood-sucking liars from Tinseltown will ever create the first superhero film without an origin. So while we’re still trying to figure out this new interpretation of Superman, we’ll be stuck with another re-hash of how Bruce Wayne became Batman. Imagine that slammed into a film that’s also supposed to build the relationship between two iconic characters. The audience will be unsure of both heroes, and yet asked to involve themselves in a plot concerning both. I’d love to believe this Batman could go sans origin, but Hollywood will never do it.
How much money is being thrown at this movie? Man of Steel, all on its own, cost two hundred and twenty five million dollars, and that’s only if you believe what the studios and DC are claiming. The six hundred and thirty million dollar box office helped ease that pain, but how much will have to be spent to make Superman and Batman in one film. If Superman alone cost two hundred and twenty five million, it’s safe to say Superman/Batman will cost almost, if not more, than four hundred million. Based on the Man of Steel ratio, Superman/Batman would have to rake in nearly a billion dollars to seem as much a hit as Man of Steel alone.
If you make a Batman film, it’ll cost less. Remember, Batman has no super powers to bring to life. If you make a Batman film for one hundred and fifty million, and it does the same business ratio as Superman, that’s four hundred million dollars, give or take. Make another Man of Steel for two hundred and twenty five million that makes back six hundred million, and you have a billion dollars easily made with two films instead of trying to cram it all into one. The bonus here is if one doesn’t do well, you haven’t sunk the entire franchise.
Too Many Villains Spoil The Soup
If Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 taught us anything, it’s that too many villains makes for a crappy film. Batman has one of the largest rogues' galleries in comic book history. They’re all iconic. Superman has fewer true nemeses, but the ones he does have are no less iconic. Who will be the bad guy focus here? Lex Luthor? The Joker? Brainiac? Penguin? Riddler? Each of these comes with its own set of problems.
Lex Luthor. Outside of a few trucks with LexCorp on them in Man of Steel, we have no idea who the new Lex Luthor will be. The character, the most important Superman villain ever, has no definition in the new Superman world. We also must remember that the last Lex Luthor we saw was Kevin Spacy’s awful turn in the forgettable Superman Returns.
The Joker? Good luck trying to make people forget Heath Ledger’s brilliant turn as the clown prince in Dark Knight. Brainiac? It might work, but the filmmakers would have to redefine the character or risk trying to explain who Brainiac is and why Kandor is important. Penguin? Could be, but he’s not a great villain to hang a whole film on.
Whoever the villains are, the film would have to spend a great deal of time establishing their backgrounds, motivations, and how these two villains got together in the first place. Pushing the running time, the film would have three hours. That’s a lot for non-comic book audiences to digest, and way too long for a superhero movie. I’ve heard the claim that it’ll be more Superman vs. Batman, having the two squaring off against each other. Interesting idea, but people like to see good guys against bad guys, not heroes fighting each other. It’s too early in both reboots to throw that kind of monkey wrench into the works.