Tuesday, July 23, 2013
The sequel to Man of Steel is now going to be a Superman/Batman movie.
This is absolutely huge news. Monumental. I've given some thought about how to adequately respond to this, and I've decided to voice my reaction in animated GIF form.
I am very happy.
Now, many have voiced concerns about this move by WB. Among these concerns are:
-It's just a desperate cash grab by Warner Bros.
-This is bad for Superman because:
-It robs Superman of another solo movie, thus diluting his story
-WB apparently doesn't respect Superman enough to believe he can support his own solo series
Personally, I don't agree with any of these points. Yes, it's a move designed to make money, just like every other high-budget movie ever made. That doesn't mean it's going to be bad. On the point of how it affects Superman and his solo film series, that gets into a gigantic conversation.
Some have pointed out that Batman got three solo films under Christopher Nolan, meanwhile Superman is already crossing over with another hero in only his second film. However, I don't believe it's fair to compare the Man of Steel series with the Nolan Batman films—rather, it's better to compare it to Marvel Studios' cinematic universe.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe began with Iron Man, which ended with a direct reference to the fact that Iron Man would be crossing over with other characters. A mere two months later, Tony Stark showed up in the post-credits scene of The Incredible Hulk. The next Marvel film, Iron Man 2, featured Nick Fury, Black Widow, and War Machine in addition to Iron Man—hardly a true solo film for Tony at all. Until Iron Man 3 (five years after the first film's release), no Marvel hero got more than one solo movie before teaming up in The Avengers. If Warner Bros. is following Disney/Marvel's pattern (and they certainly are), it's no wonder we're getting a Superman/Batman movie before a second Superman.
This also helps WB speed up the process of gearing up their shared universe. Batman doesn't need his own movie to reintroduce him, even if it's an entirely-new version of the character; everyone knows the modern Batman by this point. By introducing Batman in a Superman movie, WB can give the new Batman a proper introduction while also creating the shared universe while also serving the story of Superman.
That's the other thing that I think many people entirely miss here: Superman and Batman strengthen each other; they don't dilute each other. They're each others' perfect complement: philosophically, physically, mentally, and tonally. They strike a balance and they test one another in the perfect way. Each time they meet, they come away from the experience the better for it. In the Man of Steel sequel, Superman will be dealing with the fallout from the first film while also trying to establish his new role in Metropolis. The arrival of Batman on the scene will further help define Superman's character, as he'll have the Dark Knight to be contrasted against and to be tested against. Conversely, the same will happen for Batman.
Were I to speculate, based on what little we've been told about the film, it seems that Batman is going to be treated as an oncoming challenger, somewhat like how the Nolan Batman films treated new villains. Batman is essentially getting the same treatment for this new film that the Joker got in The Dark Knight. Of course, unlike those villains, Batman will inevitably end up teaming with Superman at some point to lay some justice-smackdown on Lex Luthor and his evil schemes. (Lex has been basically confirmed for the film at this point)
This is a good thing. It makes my heart sing with glee (but, like, steely, dark, masculine glee).