I keep on seeing trailers and features on Batman vs Superman and I keep on wondering who exactly the film is for. It looks ponderous rather than full of gravitas, dull rather than serious and shows a bewildering lack of understanding of what makes a good super hero movie. The “I thought she was with you?” quip when Wonder Woman turns up is so terribly outdated, it makes you groan inside.
It’s Marvel’s fault obviously. They’ve made some good superhero movies (Iron Man, Guardian’s of the Galaxy, Ant Man, Thor, both Captain America films), as well as some duff ones (both the Avengers, the latter two Iron Mans) but pretty much all of them have been box office gold, so everybody else is now obsessed with making superhero movies. Sony have tried and failed too with their rebooted Spider-Man, Fox have failed with their unholy mess that was the new Fantastic Four film (on reflection, perhaps their last attempts back ten odd years ago weren’t that bad) but the X-Men movies have been pretty good throughout (Last Stand excepting).
As a comic book fan generally and a superhero fan specifically, I’m enjoying the medium’s time in the limelight while I can; it won’t last forever but while it does there should be some fun to be had. There are apparently 8 comicbook movie adaptations out this year based on Marvel and DC IP, these are, in no particular order: Deadpool, Sinister 6, Suicide Squad, Gambit, Bats vs Supes, Captain America (Civil War), X-Men Apocalypse and Doctor Strange.
Given the fact Warner Brothers actually own DC comics, it’s odd that there are at least three (Deadpool, X-Men Apocalypse and Suicide Squad) with the probability of two more (Doctor Strange and Captain America) that I’d rather see before Bats vs Supes. Or, the other way around, it’s only the “it’s bound to be terrible” Sinister 6 and Gambit that I think will be worse.
Part of the problem is the inherent Superman problem. When he stopped being a chap who could leap tall buildings with a single bound, and was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and instead became indestructible and more or less unbeatable, that stops the fun. It looks like this is an issue they try to address in the film with the campaign against him to vilify him etc but we all know that’s just the first act before the trite “put their differences aside to unite against a bigger foe” trope that’s being trotted out.
Deadpool looks like it will be great fun and properly violent, just like the comics. I could be wrong of course, the car chase scene that’s been cut differently for every trailer might be the only decent action sequence in the film but it looks and more importantly feels like Deadpool- the fourth wall is broken, the wise cracks are there, it’s not a film inspired by the comic character, it’s the comic character in a movie. If it’s a bad movie, it will be because the film hasn’t been well made, not because it’s badly captured the essence of the characters it features.
I can’t get past the gratuitous shots of Margot Robbie’s arse in Suicide Squad and I do worry that Deadshot will have an excessively prominent role because he’s played by Will Smith but the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer has given me hope, and baffled me that it’s the same studio responsible for Supes vs Bats. Really? Anyway, Margot Robbie has a lovely arse. It’s a shame the trailer lingers on it so much but I’d be a hypocrite to complain.
The newest X-Men trilogy has been solid enough, and Apocalypse looks like continuing that. I’ve read a lot of X-Men over the years without ever being particularly interested in them, and can’t help but think a Gambit stand alone is a big mistake.
I’m hoping Doctor Strange will repeat the quirky success of Ant-Man, my favourite super hero flick from last year. It will be nice to see the Sorcerer Supreme on screen but as many have commented, we’ve reached Peak Cumberbatch and we’re all slightly reticent to re-watch our holiday videos in case he’s got a cameo.
With Captain America 3 looking exactly like a typical Marvel movie, it should at worst be solid (depending on how well they deal with Spider-Man), we’re left with Bats & Supes close to the bottom on the interest list. I am of course assuming that the Sinister 6 will be as appalling as the last Spider-Man film, which doesn’t seem unlikely as Sony appear to be getting more and more clueless with regards to their super hero property.
How has it come to this?