San Diego Comic-Con is the masterful geek event of the year that reminds millions of guys out there that having a girlfriend is highly overrated. Wondrous things were cooking again last week-end at Hall H when the two master of ceremonies – Marvel’s Joss Whedon and DC’s Zack Snyder – made some major announcements that were simply too big to ignore. The one from Whedon was a movie title and a villain reveal – one that would have meant more had Whedon also hinted at a specific comic book storyline being adapted. He is very much going in his own direction with the character, however, and only the foolish would seriously complain about ‘Whedon doing his thing’.
On the other side of the spectrum, the next step in the DC Universe has been announced: The Man of Steel sequel WILL BE featuring a new Batman. It isn’t the Justice League movie that so many fanboys have been hoping for, but it is a step in the right direction, and quite frankly, a very necessary one. Snyder has already confirmed that he will offer his own fresh interpretation on Batman, meaning Christopher Nolan’s Bat-Universe would probably have little, if any, ties to this new DC Universe. Almost certainly, this new Batman will comfortably spin into his own franchise and Christian Bale is not going to be in the same room or non-past tense sentence as Batman ever again. Since the SDCC announcement, bookmakers have already favored Joseph Gordon-Levitt to star as the new Dark Knight. As much as we would LOVE to see a baby-faced actor play one of the darkest super heroes ever created, casting JGL as Batman essentially means Dick Grayson takes over the mantle of Batman and Bruce Wayne will cease to exist in the new franchise. While that might have been my suggestion regarding the demise of Hal Jordan and the introduction of John Stewart to properly reboot The Green Lantern, Bruce Wayne is and will always remain the only true caped crusader.
Having a World’s Finest movie is definitely a bold move because Warner Bros. needs the spotlight back on them and start taking risks if they want to build the foundation of a franchise that could yield billions of dollars for them. In my last piece, I discussed the prospect of individual movies like the Flash, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern to establish the franchise, but that became insignificant when Christian Bale essentially rejected the notion of playing Batman again. Superman and Batman are the two most marketable characters in the DC Universe and you need the two anchors to be fully established in a shared DC Universe to make the other complementary characters work. Just imagine if Robert Downey Jr. had rejected the contract to play Iron Man in the next Avengers movies. He’s the glue that holds the team together! Batman is that character to the Justice League.
Many feel that Man of Steel was “too big” of a movie – meaning the fight scenes through buildings, Krypton, and the world engine were an absolute overkill of eye candy (and actual killing if we want to take that one literally). While it’s hard to supersede that much action in a sequel, this Batman vs Superman flick will surely deal with the emotion and weakness of Superman in order to properly adapt and scale it back down. Unlike Zod and the gang, Batman can be murdered by Superman with the flick of his pinky, and thus we can all agree that the action should be on a much smaller scale in this sequel. This is a good thing though, as the audience will get to connect with Kal El on a more personal basis, making him even more marketable.
But what about Batman? Will Warner Bros surely risk the foundation of a billion dollar franchise on a lesser-known celebrity? My gut tells me that Armie Hammer was virtually trying out for this role with Lone Ranger, to see if he could carry a movie with Johnny Depp as his sidekick. Boxofficemojo.com has been quantitatively reporting to us that he can’t. It is so important for WB to have a big-time celebrity play the new Dark Knight because Marvel’s Avengers has Robert Downey Jr. as the main guy – an actor we fell in love with all over again but already had admiration for a long time ago. The new Bruce Wayne will have to put a Justice League movie on his back and guide a new Batman franchise to stardom, just as RDJ did as Iron Man. Who can go head-to-head with RDJ as Iron Man? Maybe George Clooney, but sadly Joel Shumacher ruined his shot at it. I would personally go with Michael Fassbender. Recently rose to fame, already respected in the comic book genre, incredibly talented and undeniably dark in his demeanor.
Zack Snyder has already stated that he will not adapt the Dark Knight Returns storyline by Frank Miller in the sequel, but hinted that he will use it as potential inspiration. What does this mean? Probably the type of Batman we will see, as well as the rivalry between the two superheroes. How this rivalry will spawn the Justice League, however, will be very intriguing and interesting to predict. We probably won’t see the Flash, Wonder Woman or Green Lantern in this flick, as its main purpose is to reintroduce a new Batman to the world and make Superman more personable and even perhaps relatable.
Fanboys and general audiences alike loved the bonus credit scenes that Marvel incorporated into their movies. If DC does anything like that, they will be labelled copycats and that’s not very nice now, is it? Nevertheless, we did enjoy the little easter eggs in Man of Steel, such as Christopher Reeve’s face against the World Engine, the LexCorp logos on the truck and building, and the Wayne Enterprises satellite. Keep this up, DC! Maybe have Superman walk around STAR Labs and pass by a green Martian. Or have a bolt of lightning strike in the background as Superman flies through Keystone City. These will help connect little dots between the movies and make your core fanbase crave for more.
The bar is set so high to replace Christian Bale as Batman. We will all be excited to see a new Batman and can expect to see one even grittier than Nolan’s considering Snyder’s affinity for violence and antihero types. Have no fear, I am fairly confident we won’t be seeing a Clooney Batman pulling his “Bat-Credit Card” in front of his nemesis and utter such unfortunate words as “Never leave the cave without it.” Curse you Akiva Goldsman! We’re still mad at you for that line!
– The Silent Shark