Fireside Chat: Batman vs. Superman

With the recent announcement of a Batman/Superman movie, I sat down with The Geek Cave Podcast’s Darrin for an admittedly nerdy chat about the film, and DC’s franchise as a whole. Darrin: Topic is some of the big movie news from Comic Con?

Jeff: Yeah. Specifically, the Batman/Superman movie.

Darrin: Well, it seems now it’s the Batman VS. Superman movie.

Jeff: I saw that.

Darrin: Which to be honest annoys the crap out of me. I get it, superhero tropes and all — “hey, you’re super powered, and I’m super powered, so one of us must be evil. Let’s fight about it.” It just seems silly.

Jeff: Yeah. Before we get into that, what did you think of Man of Steel, since that’s the launchpad for this universe?

Darrin: Oh, I enjoyed it. It’s not without flaws — Jonathan Kent feels like they got his character wrong, what with that whole “yeah, just let the kids die next time” speech, and of course, the fight in Metropolis could’ve probably been shortened a bit, but overall, not a bad start. I gave it an A- back when it premiered, went back a couple of weeks ago, and I stand by my grade.

Jeff: I’d probably give it a C+/B-, based on that scale.

Darrin: Why is that?

Jeff: It felt too overbearing. I liked the bold new stuff, such as Krypton’s look and how Clark and Lois meet, but it didn’t exactly feel like Superman.

Darrin: I guess I can see that, but a lot of people went in expecting Christopher Reeve’s grinnin’ Superman, and that’s why people said it didn’t feel right. It could definitely have used some more humor SOMEWHERE.

Jeff: There’s definitely room for dark in a Superman movie, but this felt like it went further than I care.

Darrin: I think what Snyder and Goyer were trying to do was to make sure Superman’s loudest critics had no room to complain — you know, they usually say nothing’s a challenge for him (this time, there was plenty of challenge), things always work out meaning it’s not realistic (not that way here), he’s corny (no jokes)

Jeff: I read an editorial about the influence of The Dark Knight, and how studios seemed to think “dark and cynical” was the new money maker, especially in superhero films. The Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel, for example.

Instead, it was a tragic, post-9/11 tale of fear that, for all the darkness, didn’t lose its character. When The Dark Knight made me smile more than Man of Steel, that’s something of a problem.
Darrin: It’s Hollywood. Batman worked, so everyone decided “be like Batman” while Marvel, smartly, ignored that for the most part.
Hopefully DC and WB will be better at it in the sequel.
Jeff: Well, they put Batman in it, so I don’t think they got the right idea.

Darrin: Hopefully he’ll be Batman so Supes won’t have to.
 Jeff: Haha, that’s a great point
Darrin: I think the cynicism part is, unfortunately, a reflection of our current world. We want our heroes to be as flawed as we are. Superman’s not like us — he’s better, literally, in every way — and that makes people uncomfortable nowadays. We don’t like being reminded we’re flawed. We demand our heroes not be better, in some ways, than what we think we’d do.
Superman – the iconic version of the character – is the ultimate good guy. People can’t live up to that, and instead of taking inspiration from it as we have in the past, the more vocal of us choose to tear it down.
Jeff: Superman is absolutely flawed, though. Superman 2 is all about his flaws.
And that still retains the fun, optimistic Reeve Superman.
Darrin: That’s an excellent point, and one people tend to miss.
Superman has this perception of being perfect, but he’s not.
JeffSuperman as an icon can be inspiring, but he can be just as inspiring as a character. He still stumbles, but never stays down.
Darrin:  A great Superman story is “Whatever happened to truth, justice, and the American way?” as it examines where Superman relates to this modern generation. His values may be old-fashioned, but that’s what makes him such a stand-up guy. Unfortunately DC thinks movie audiences want dark, gloomy, SUPER SERIOUS because hey, Batman worked and Green Lantern didn’t. (There are plenty of reasons GL didn’t work) That storyline shows just why Superman is the best, and why we should never “outgrow” what he stands for.
In order for Batman/Superman (or Batman VS. Superman) to work, DC needs to portray them as different, not just in the abilities perspective.
If I were to write it, I’d have Batman investigating something in Metropolis, and Superman – as a reporter, having heard of this caped lunatic in Gotham being described as a menace by the press and police – taking issue with that.

Jeff: That’s totally the World’s Finest special from the Superman Animated Series.

Darrin: I KNOW.
Jeff: Haha.

Darrin: Seriously, the DC Animated Universe did a lot of the work for them already. Just adapt the stories.

Jeff: I think the events of the first movie will be what draws Batman to Metropolis.

Darrin: Agreed. He’ll probably be hunting to take down the last of those dangerous, city-destroying aliens.

OR, since we know Lexcorp exists in this universe and we’re dealing with Businessman Lex instead of Psycho-obviously-evil Lex, Luthor convinces Bruce Wayne of Superman’s evil and Batman comes to stomp it out.
Later both find Luthor played them against each other, badda-bing, badda-boom, team-up.
Jeff: I don’t see Batman being taken for a fool like that, but they absolutely will find middle ground in this film.
If not, how would the Justice League movie happen?
Darrin: Not taken for a fool per se, but he IS human, despite what the Internet would have us believe, and does make erroneous judgments from time to time.
But yes, they’ll have to team up in some way or else Justice League is going to be short one Batman, because Internet be damned, it’s SUPERMAN for crying out loud.
Jeff: I don’t see a reason why Luthor would be contacting Bruce, to go along with your idea, too. Not unless it’s an unrelated business arrangement.
Darrin: It’d be an unrelated business thing. They both have hands in multiple industries, and would thus interact with one another. Could be something Lex says in passing.
Jeff: What was your reaction to the announcement? I was surprised that they’re adding Batman so quickly, and using Superman’s movie to do it.

Darrin: I was both excited, and a bit disappointed, if that makes sense. I’m happy they’re moving quickly to establish a shared DCU — I think at one point they’ve hinted that the TV show Arrow takes place in the same universe, which I’m fine with because I love that show — but I fear it’ll come at Superman’s expense. Everyone will show up for Batman, he’ll get top billing, and if the movie fails, it’ll somehow be Superman’s fault.
Jeff: I sort of see that. It’s awesome that they might pull in Arrow, though.
Is there too much Batman?
Darrin: GOD YES
We’ve had a trilogy that just wrapped up, and we’re going to have a new Batman in Batman vs. Superman.
I’m a bit Batmanned out.
Jeff: Not to mention two new games this year, and a new animated show.
Darrin: I get it, he’s their #1 character, but come on. Enough with the Batman.
Wait, two? I know about Arkham Origins.
Jeff: The portable game, Arkham Origins: Blackgate.
Darrin: Ah. I usually just lump the portable versions in with their brethren. There’s also Scribblenauts Unmasked, but thankfully it has everyone in the DCU. Literally everyone.

Jeff: That’s pretty awesome.
Darrin: After Arkham Origins, though, I’m good without doing Batman for a while. Really. My bat-meter is full.
Jeff: That sounds like a gadget from the ’60s show. But that’s a discussion for another time.
Darrin: yup.
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