Batman vs Superman Comi-Con Trailer

I’ve been quietly optimistic about this movie. Man of Steel, whilst getting lukewarm reviews, was actually a pretty good Superman movie. It received a lot of negative feedback for the level of carnage wrought on Metropolis but I thought it was pretty representative of what would happen should two super humans decide to knock seven bells from one another. I also think Henry Cavill did a top job of portraying a character many think is quite bland and uninteresting. Sure there were things I didn’t like about the movie and sure there was some casting question marks but overall it was enjoyable enough. I’ve also been vocally confident about Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight. He’s a massively underrated actor. Yes Daredevil was shit but he’s the first to admit it. Equally an actor is only as good as the script and the direction.

I didn’t like Christian Bale. I expected him to do the job but, for me, he didn’t deliver. His Batman came off as a pouting, entitled child. Nothing of the cool, calculating, genius, master detective I know from my large (and growing larger) Batman comic book collection. Ben Affleck is a huge comic book fan and, specifically, a big Batman fan. Which means he understands the character far better than someone who does some reading in the interests of researching a character. In Bale’s defence he was let down by Nolan’s determination to make Batman ‘real’. Which meant bulky ill-fitting suits that prevented fight scenes from being anything other than awkward brawls. Also, little known fact, the hats (they weren’t cowls dammit!) were so tight in the Dark Knight and the Dark Knight Rises that Bale couldn’t breath through his nose.

Equally Zack Snyder is a huge DC Comics fan. For me Christopher Nolan fell far too wide of the mark when it came to a base understanding of the world he was depicting, either by ignorance or by design. Whichever is the answer it’s a massive middle finger at the fans. However one must not be ungrateful. Batman Begins was okay and its grit and grime is what sparked – I believe – the new era of comic book movies (and action movies in general). People get hurt. A lot. Buildings get torn down. A lot. And not everyone makes it out alive. I’ve had this debate a lot with friends – Batfans and non-Batfans alike. I’m told off regularly for wanting the movies to be far more meta than perhaps would appeal to the broader audience but I think when it comes to Batman it needs it. Not because Batman is a particularly complex character (although there are a lot of layers to him) but because the villains are. The thing about Batman isn’t that he wins every time, it’s that he wins in the end. He gets his arse kicked regularly but he regroups, figures it out and then brings down dark winged ruination on his enemies. All without crossing that all important line. That line, by the way, Nolan ignores in all three of his movies and is just one of many reasons why I don’t like them.

The decision to make the sequel a Batman vs Superman movie and, essentially, a Justice League origins movie was a bold move and one I wasn’t sold on. However, on reflection, and having seen the trailer below I’m entirely more behind the idea. A) Because Batman and Wonder Woman make Superman an entirely more interesting character. Bruce and Clark become akin to brothers over time despite their differences. Superman considers the entire world his to protect but even he grudgingly respects Batman’s sovereignty over Gotham City. Equally Wonder Woman balances Superman in other ways. Aside from (in the current continuity) being sole survivors of their respective civilisations which makes them kindred spirits, they are super humans in an un-super world. Without each other there’s an inescapable loneliness to their lives. But when it comes to matters of world saving and general arse-kickery they approach issues from different perspectives so they complement each other nicely. Plus she’s pretty much the only one who can deal with Superman when he loses control.

More over the order in which the DC Movies are being released starts to make sense as well. There’s an Easter egg in the trailer which relates to the Suicide Squad starring the delectable Margot Robbie…and some other people. Apparently. Combined with the rest of the release schedule – and the increasing likelihood that the new Green Lantern movies is going to be more like the Green Lantern Corp, the actual Justice League movies are going to be utterly bonkers. In the very best spandex clad ways.

Anyway, watch the trailer and see what you think. There’s lots of influence drawn from The Dark Knight Returns which, whilst non-canonical, has some epic Batman/Superman fisticuffs.

I’m Batman

Okay, I’m not. Apart from when I play the Arkham games then I am. But generally I’m not. But it would be cool if I was.

The Dark Knight Rises was unleashed on the world to increasingly mixed reviews, mine can be read here, bringing an end to the Nolan trilogy. This begs the question, will Christian Bale reprise the role of the caped crusader in the inevitable next film?

If I’m honest I don’t think he should. Having re-watched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight in the last few days I’ve come to realise that although the films were very good, they gradually watered down Batman to the point that he was the alter ego rather than Bruce Wayne by the time The Dark Knight Rises comes along.

I actually had a long discussion over this with a guy at work who is a proper comic book nerd and he made some valid points about The Dark Knight Rises that I hadn’t considered but it still comes back to the same problem for me – it just wasn’t Batman enough. Apparently there’s a lot ‘The Return of the Dark Knight’ comic book arc in the film which follows a very similar plot but the big difference is that in the comic Batman wrestles with being Bruce Wayne full-time whereas in The Dark Knight Rises Bruce Wayne struggles with not being Batman any more. A very important distinction.

My feelings have been further compounded having just played the DLC for Batman: Arkham City, Harley’s Revenge. Whereas the horror, violence and general gritty unpleasantness is all around you in B:AC, it really only seemed to be about when Bane was on-screen and Batman was off blubbing into his cape. It’s amazing how different Rocksteady and Nolan saw the material they were working with.

So it boils down to this; who should be Batman if not Christian Bale? I’ve actually been thinking about this ever since I left the cinema two weeks ago. I’ve surprised myself at how much it’s bothered me but I think that’s because Batman has always been one of my greatest heroes and I was left disappointed.

Having racked my poor battered brain I think I’ve hit on a winner. It is none other than the Terminator Salvation co-star, Sam Worthington.

He’s certainly got the look and the resume for physical roles. Whether or not he’s got the chops for playing such a complex character remains to be seen but I think, hand on heart, we may have the new Batman.