Tag: Batman V Superman

Batman: Savior of Gotham and Now the DCCU

Batman: Savior of Gotham and Now The DCCU

As opening weekend grosses roll in for Captain America: Civil War, Warner Brothers executives might be staring longingly up to the stars, wondering what could have been. The resounding critical and fan applause for Marvel Studios’ newest blockbuster was supposed to be for WB’s own superhero mash-up a few months previous—Batman v Superman. Compounding the DC Cinematic Universe’s choppy waters, The Flash movie just lost its director Seth Grahame-Smith. Once that bomb dropped online, rumours swirled. Was Aquaman director James Wan leaving the DCCU too? Luckily for fans of Wan and a healthy DCCU, the director issued a pic online cementing him still to the project. Yet, one thing is clear. Doubt has crept into the DCCU—something that could derail the movie slate to come.

But fear not WB execs. With all this uncertainty, there is a dark knight swooping in to save the day. It’s DC’s most popular commodity—the Batman.

One thing fans and critics can agree on with Batman v Superman is the unilateral approval of Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader. When it was first announced that Affleck would don the cowl, the internet erupted—the majority fans shrieked in horror. Yet, as the first images of Bat-Fleck were released online, fans cooled their vitriol. Interest was heightened with the teaser trailer and blossomed into a love fest with each successive trailer. Everyone wanted more of the Batman. And once BvS came into theatres, the verdict was in—Affleck had defied the odds and actually worked incredibly well as a grizzled, world-weary Batman.

Batman: Savior of Gotham and Now the DCCU 1Emerging from that, Warner Brothers smartly chose to announce a stand-alone Batman movie starring, co-written and directed by Affleck. Batman has once again become Warner Brothers’ hottest commodity and will save the wounded DCCU. Having the public accept Affleck as Batman has become far more advantageous than the hotly anticipated standalone film. WB has begun crossing the Dark Knight over into as many DCCU properties as they can manage. Most notably, Batman has made his way into the Suicide Squad trailers. And focusing on the second trailer, the Batman is more than just sprinkled in—he has a significant impact on said trailer. Going further, the cast of Suicide Squad benefits from knowing Batman. Deadshot, Killer Croc, Katana, Harley Quinn, and, of course, the Clown Prince of Crime himself, The Joker, all had their origins with Batman in one way or another. Even without being a central figure in the film, Batman casts a wide shadow over his rogues gallery.

Any chance WB has of tying their DCCU movies to Batman in the future is a shrewd move. With a plethora of DC superheroes for audiences to consume in years to come, it’s Batman leading the way once more. People desperately want to see more of Affleck’s Batman. Whether Bat-Fleck has a major part in Suicide Squad or a smaller, flashback role, WB knows that Batman is a formidable draw and putting him out there as much as they can will only enhance box office results for the supervillain flick.

As for the upcoming Justice League Part One and Part Two, Affleck will not only be donning the cowl once more, but also be an Executive Producer on the films. It’s unclear what power Affleck will wield in such a role, but odds are he’ll be more hand-on than just watching from the wings. WB is going all-in with Affleck, and rightfully so. Batman V Superman broke WB executives’ hearts by being unable to cross 1 billion in worldwide grosses, underwhelming the DCCU potential heading into the future. How to counteract that insecurity? Simple, apply more Batman. And it’s a formula that has a proven track record.

Batman: Savior of Gotham and Now the DCCU 2Batman made his inroads into popular culture in the 1960’s television series, but it wasn’t until Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 that Warner Brothers understood the power of the Bat. Prior to that year, Christopher Reeves’ Superman was the only significant DC character flying across the silver screen. But with the dismal sequels, Superman III and Superman IV, Warner Brothers needed something different. And when you think different, you think Tim Burton. Burton’s Batman was not only a financial success; the film also brought the character into the collective psyche of a generation. Batman saved Warner Brothers from the fledgling Superman franchise. Yet it would take another promising director to rekindle interest in the Bat once more.

In 2005, Christopher Nolan removed fans’ memories from the underwhelming Batman and Robin and rebooted the franchise with Batman Begins. This Batman breathed life into the DC universe as well as an influx of money to Warner Brothers. Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy took superhero movies to new heights not only at the box office and with character-driven plot, but also kept interest on superheroes long enough for Marvel Studios to begin their amazing run beginning with Iron Man in 2008. Ever since Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, Marvel Studios has dominated superhero films. Batman v Superman was supposed to be the antidote. Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to script, and WB has responded in the right way—double down on the Bat.

What will the future hold for the DCCU? That, no one can foresee. But it will have a better chance of succeeding with Bat-Fleck in the driver’s seat. Batman v Superman might not have soared to the heights as expected, but one thing it did do was solidify the need audiences have for Batman. And at least in the next few years, fans will be getting their much-deserved fill of the Caped Crusader.

 

Marvel, DC and the Art of Darkness 5

Marvel, DC and the Art of Darkness

This year marks a significant change of course for Marvel movies. With the release of Deadpool on February 12th, audiences were entertained by a comic book character unlike anything Marvel has put on celluloid before. Sure Kick Ass hit all the profane and violent marks, but it certainly did not come from the most successful comic book movie brand. Vulgarity and ultraviolence is presently ruling the box office and this will undoubtedly usher in a new era of comic book movies. Both comic titans, Marvel and DC, are moving more and more into the art of darkness—taking us on a pop culture ride fitting for our shadowy times.  

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Recently, Marvel’s partnership with Netflix has opened the door for this newer brand of dark storytelling. On April 10th, 2015, Daredevil came to life on Netflix and brought a grimness never before seen in Marvel live-action stories. Fast forward to November of the same year, Marvel’s Jessica Jones streamed on Netflix and pushed the boundaries even further. Edgy, profane, sexual, and fresh, Jessica Jones brought Marvel’s storytelling into a brave new world. This world full of supercharged profanity echoes what Deadpool has brought and audiences are lining up for in droves to buy tickets for.

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So, what about DC? Where do they stand in this new era? DC’s foray into art of darkness began where it always has—with Batman. In 1989, Tim Burton brought the Caped Crusader to the big screen. Even with its humour and cartoony look, Burton’s Batman was dark for the times. So much so that in the sequel, Batman Returns, the film wasn’t received as well as first because of its dark tone. Fast forward to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. This Batman was far more brooding and violent than his predecessors. His villains were the most menacing that DC audiences had ever seen; his storylines echoed the real life threats experienced by society at that time. Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy was a fitting world for the Dark Knight.

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But it wasn’t until Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in 2013 that DC ushered in the newest and darkest version of the DC universe. On the surface, this doesn’t seem to fit Man of Steel. Its themes were of hope and faith more than the heart of darkness. Yet, there is a poignant moment in the film’s climax that signals the new darkened DCU. This is Superman who does the unthinkable—he kills. Sure, it was a necessary evil for Superman to eliminate an otherworldly threat, but still, no other Superman went this far on film. And it brought with it not only tremendous controversy but also a new shadowy tone.

This event, and aftermath of Metropolis’s destruction, leads directly into the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. The movie trailers tell us the mood and tone will take Superman fully into this new cloak of darkness falling on the film version of the DCU. Batman was already there—he only needed to nudge the son of Krypton over the edge. Further, Suicide Squad opens this August. By bringing the Joker into the fold as well as a gang of supervillains, it furthers DC down this morbid rabbit hole. Audiences will be cheering on the bad guys—the grittiest interpretation of a team since The Dirty Dozen. DC’s own brand of darkness is congealing on their film universe. As of yet, it’s not headed down the vulgar path that Marvel has, but DC films of 2016 are pushing the envelope of violence, bloodshed, and citywide destruction. And into the future, who knows? They may get to the levels of Deadpool and Jessica Jones yet.

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All in all, this new dark tone set by both Marvel and DC makes it a great time to be a comic book movie fan. And the best part is, the more care filmmakers and TV showrunners use in creating these grim and edgy stories, the more box office returns they will generate. Leading to more films produced and for audiences to consume. Heck, if Ant-Man didn’t burst the comic book movie bubble, perhaps nothing will.

At least not in 2016.

Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice (Movie) Review

Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice (Movie) Review

Alright nerds, it’s finally here: the movie that you’ve been doubting with dread for three years (or that you’ve been quietly excited about, but won’t admit to it in mixed company). Batman V. Superman. The one where the Superfriends become Rock Em Sock Em robots. Warner Brothers and Zack Snyder’s attempt to jumpstart an entire DC cinematic universe. A dark, brooding, super serious counterpart to all that fun going on over at Marvel/Disney. You’ve whined, you’ve pined, you’ve dreamed, you’ve had anxiety attacks. But all that’s over now. The movie is here. You can finally feast upon this 2.5 hour epic of superhero depression. And the verdict? It’s fine. Could be worse. Not a disaster and certainly not a great or even particularly good movie. It’s a mess in all the ways the internet predicted it would be before shooting even began. However, Zack Snyder’s greatest strength is creating massive comic book panels come to life. So whenever icons are punching each other on an IMAX scale, there is some fun to be had. There’s a whole lotta sloppiness leading up to and during those big old brawls, but there’s no denying that seeing old Batty and the Boy Scout duke it out with a $250 million budget has its charms. Whoever thought that would happen? Even in a disappointing movie.

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