Now that the cat is well and truly out of the bag and DC Entertainment have announced that the sequel to ‘Man Of Steel’ is going to be called ‘Superman/Batman’, I’m quite surprised that the internet hasn’t gone on a three month sabbatical to try and recover from this news as well as Kate Middleton successfully pushing something horrible and pink out of her va-jayjay.
Geeks and other people who take a moderate interest in popular culture have always found a high level of interest in Superman and Batman; between the two of them they have clocked up fifteen (sixteen if you include ‘Supergirl’ which you should always do) and are two of the most recognised members of the fictional DC Universe. If you showed a random person on the street a picture of Superman, Batman and Animal Man, there’s no way that they would manage to pick out Animal Man. Their origins are widely held as archetypes for decades of inspiration and homage, and have laid ground for almost every comic’s creator to work on in one way or another.
So it makes sense that DC have eventually wanted to join them together in one super amalgamation of awesome, especially after Marvel Studios, in association with Disney, released Marvel’s Avengers Assemble and it turned out to be the best selling film of all time or something unfathomable. It was sort of obvious that the other company, of which a rivalry has always been encouraged, would follow suit with their biggest franchise. It’s a decision that has as much shock value as saying that Phil Mitchell is going to either relapse or get involved with a wrong’un. Whoever came up with the plans first, and who is copying off the other, it doesn’t really make much difference. Are you really bothered as long as the films are good? Exactly.
But stringing two of DC’s main characters together might lead to some really terrible mistakes being made, mistakes that are easily avoided if the people who make the films follow this dead easy guide (also, if Geoff Johns is reading this: I’d do literally anything to be a Star Sapphire). So, without further ado:
1. Don’t Pander To Fanboy and Fangirl Rivalries
The decade long rivalry between who can win in a fight between Superman and Batman has been played out too many times. Every time a bit of drama needs to be injected into a Justice League comic the two heavyweights go at it like one of them is holding the last cheesy chip after Superhuman Pride and Wonder Woman is lying slumped in a gutter; thinking about that time I-Ching almost fingered her. Invariably these fights always end in a stalemate of sorts. Batman had a chunk of green Kryptonite pre-Infinite Crisis to act as a back up plan in case Supes ever went a bit neck-snappy-happy, and Superman, well Superman could always just knack him with a swift punch.
To be quite honest, there’s not a chance in buggery that Batman won’t go toe to toe with Superman at some point in this film; perhaps Batman is trying to take down Superman for all of those peeps that he totally mushed up in ‘Man Of Steel,’ or maybe Supes dissed Batman’s stupid voice. Who knows? But what we do know is that, by the end of the film, the two will have ended up teaming up to take down another force, cementing their bond, as well as laying the foundations for the Justice League (a film which has been rumoured to be released in 2017, just after The Flash).
It’s a boring and cliched ending that has become as irritating as knowing that, in comics, dead doesn’t mean dead, it just means that there’s a greater story to tell that will talk about their rebirth. It’s boring and done to death. Maybe we should have Batman and Superman go at it until they eventually realise that it’s just sexual tension before Batman goes back to live with Robin and Superman retreats to his Fortress of Solitude with this month’s Gay Times.
2. Don’t Use Christian Bale
Please, people who are hard of hearing are begging you not to use that mumbling minion of misery to portray Batman. His stint as Batman for Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of films some might say was seminal, whereas I would say it was semen-al (i.e., it was a pile of wank). It’s lucky that the series’ action sequences saved from the confusing dialogue and wanting to use subtitles to understand what was actually going on. For a long part of the first film we weren’t sure whether Liam Neeson was Ra’s Al Ghul or just part of a Gandalf tribute act.
Get someone chirpier and can see the funny side of their girlfriend getting blown up by a freak in make up. Maybe one of the Chuckle Brothers perhaps. I’d rather see Paul Chuckle scaling a building as Superman chases him with a train than Christian Bale mooding up the joint ‘emoting’ his ‘feelings.’ He’s just really, really miserable.
3. Have as much interconnectivity with other DC characters
We all know that Superman/Batman is going to feed directly into the Justice League film, whenever it gets released, so it’s obvious that there aren’t going to be any huge repercussions that really shock the audience. There wasn’t that many in Iron Man, or Captain America, or even Thor, and it wasn’t until the final few minutes that there was a hint that there was something more inventive going on. Remember how thrilling it was when Samuel L. Jackson popped up at the end of Iron Man and talked about the Avengers Initiative. It was brilliant, and unashamedly so. Having a cliffhanger at the end of every film really set up a precedent that Marvel really exploited. Now people are trying to guess what the post credits scene will be; there was even talk of Iron Man going into space and crossing paths with the Guardian Of The Galaxy (another upcoming Marvel release) but it turned out it was only a chat between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner about nothing in particular. If DC manage to pull of even a sliver of brilliance with their films, it’d be a massive improvement on whats gone before.
But why stop there? There is a mine of possible characters that could be referenced in relation to Superman and Batman. We’ve already seen Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, but with a new Batman comes a new take on existing concepts. Perhaps we might finally see a Robin that isn’t a total wet dream in spandex. Perhaps even a female Robin?
Playing with conventional concepts and changing them is a great way to get people debating how great, or terrible they are. If the idea of a female Robin fills you with horror, you’re bound to tell someone when they ask you about the film. Which is what DC needs. There’s no point in having no momentum with this film, especially when they’re are, inadvertently, going up against Marvel in Superhero Movie Stakes.
Push the boat out. Throw in a Wonder Woman, or a Black Canary. Or Hell, why not even one-up Marvel and make some female characters that aren’t just attached to a male and can stand on their own?
4. Make Batman Bat-awesome
We’ve been ruined by a maudlin anti-hero with Christian Bale’s Batman who only reacted to things that happened to him and never really took the steps needed to make himself something more than a reactive twat in a hat. But the Batman that’s been around for over 70 years isn’t like that. He knows things. He’ll know the best way to defeat Superman long before Superman has managed to brush his hair out of his eyes and blast him with that heat vision. Batman has frequently had his own plans on how to thwart the superpowered stolen from under him and used for nefarious plots. In fact it’s happened so often that he probably just writes ‘Green Lantern = Yellow?’ on a Post-It and sticks it on the Bat-Puter, for all to see.
Whereas Superman is practically invincible and can only be felled by magic and the dark, Batman is a lot more fallible and, as a character, works much harder than Superman or Wonder Woman needs to. The worst that Wonder Woman needs to put up with is finding the Invisible Jet, and making sure that she doesn’t fall back into the S&M world that she was spawned from. They don’t have that much to worry about. Although where Wonder Woman finds the money to fuel the Invisible Jet is beyond me.
Batman isn’t perfect, and he’s prone to mistakes. He’s had three youths die in his care, and life for the other two didn’t end that swiftly (one had their family murdered, and the other has a penchant for a red head who he just can’t have), he’s plotted against his own friends and family countless times and had these plans pulled up from under him like a poor magician pulls table cloths from under table settings, and he’s even managed to finger his way around the supervillainess World more than once. Him being kind of a dick sometimes makes him more likeable.
5. Don’t Make It Flash-centric
Although DC seem intent on forcing The Flash down our throats like how porn told us blowjobs should be done, he’s nothing more than a two dimensional asshat. He can run fast; big whoop, so can Usain Bolt but he doesn’t get countless comic books and a whole film dedicated to him essentially just doing that.
With the new Flash film hot on the heels of Superman/Batman it looks like Geoff Johns’ current wunderkind will finally be getting the same level of interest that he did when he was last relevant, some 30 years ago, when he died or something. It says a lot when a major character dies in the opening issues of a massive event.
Don’t buy into DC’s obsession with The Flash. Let’s treat him like we treat Billy Zane’s The Phantom; with derision and nose-turned-upedness.