Batman and Superman. Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. Two heroes that are considered two of–if not the most popular–in comics and even possibly the planet. Two film franchises that began with critical acclaim and successful box office numbers. Then 1997 Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin and 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace happened. Those bombs caused such a DC cinematic explosion that it was almost a decade and more before we saw their return to the big screen in the 2004 Superman Returns and the 2005 Batman Begins. With Batman vs Superman just a little than a month away, have the stakes ever been higher? This isn’t just the first live action Batman/Superman cross over, but the foundation for the next decade of the DC cinematic universe.
Man Of Steel was a very solid and different Superman flick that went on to rake in box office sales, but came with its own controversy. Specifically, the ending scene where Superman gives his best Solid Snake impression of snapping a neck with a loud war cry. Some Superman fans screamed foul and claimed that this was not their Superman that they have known and loved over the past decades.
Then there is Ben Affleck. When casting was announced for The Dark Knight, the world was a buzz with both optimistic and “this is the end” talk from Internet boards to media twitter accounts. To be fair, Affleck has come a long way since his portrayal as Daredevil back in 2003. Personally I am intrigued to see for the first time, a live action proven and seasoned Batman on the big screen.
That said, the success of Batman V Superman has a lot of weight on its shoulders. Unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Cinematic Universe has only one film under its belt with the 2013’s Man Of Steel to solidify this Justice League live action launching pad. By comparison, prior to the live action Avengers blockbuster that destroyed box office numbers and received world-wide acclaim, movie goers had multiple summers of solo Marvel films that built up the excitement for The Avengers. It will be interesting to see if DC’s “throw everything and the kitchen sink in” strategy will pay off at the box office. We have never met their Wonder Woman. Never met this Batman. Never been introduced to this Aquaman and the other cameos this film will be sure to throw at us in a two and half hour film. Being a DC guy, I am keeping my fingers crossed it works.
What is even more nerve-racking, are the rumors around the camp fire that is being whispered throughout the Internet and comic shops around the country. Word has it that pre-test screenings of the film haven’t exactly thrilled the suits over at Warner Bros. Studios. Some have even whispered that Zack Snyder’s job may even be on the line if Batman V Superman is not only a box office success, but a critical success as well. Some might even speculate that the entire DC line up outside of Wonder Woman (which is already moving forward in production) might be in jeopardy too. I don’t think even Batman or Superman himself has felt the kind of pressure Snyder must be feeling right about now.
The good news? We will all know in just about two weeks. Being a huge Batman fan, I am optimistic that I will walk away satisfied and excited for the DC future at the box office. After all the tragedy of 1997’s Batman and Robin and 1987’s Superman: The Quest for Peace can only have lighting strike once…maybe twice…well definitely not three times …right?