Is it just me or is anyone else completely overwhelmed by Batman v Superman and the birth of the extended DCU? As a self-professed DC and Batman super fan, it is a cross I am more than happy to bear with joyful exaltation. Although partial to a Marvel film, I feel it is high time that DC steps out from the shadows like the aforementioned caped crusader and demonstrate on the widest canvas of them all, an extended universe, the glut of source material DC has in its cannon.
Nor is it the plethora of marketing we have had of late with Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad and our first sneak peak at Wonder Woman – which is currently slated for late 2017. In the limited days that remain before the 25th of March, I will require zero effort on behalf of Warner Brothers in the way of coaxing me to part with my hard earned cash. No, instead I refer to the mounting disdain and outright dismissal from moviegoers and DC fans old and new.
This came to the forefront a few weeks ago during a moment I had long anticipated, my first viewing of the Batman v Superman trailer upon the big screen. As I strapped myself in, giddily drawling over the operatic overture of the newest trailer in all of its IMAX glory, I am saddened to report that my significant moment was ruined somewhat by those around me. Calls of Wonder Woman being too skinny and Doomsday being used too early were two popular lamentations from my fellow spectators, and don’t even get me started on the Batfleck heckles.
As I sat there desperately trying to savour the moment, fingernails digging into the armrests, I envisioned the scene from Ridley Scott‘s Gladiator and almost sprang up from my seat wanting desperately to recite Maximus’s cries of “Are you not entertained?”
Why does this topic send me into such a foaming frenzy I hear you ask? Well to truly answer that, I need to go back to my earliest memory. Picture if you will, a four-year-old about to have the rest of his life defined by the screen of a television, the passionate embers of a lifelong passion and unrelenting dedication beginning to smoulder. As I sat watching Tim Burton‘s Batman, I found myself yearning for more stories from this character. Especially whilst transfixed by Jack Nicholson‘s archetypal performance as the Joker, unaware of the fact that Michael Keaton, who in my humble opinion is the definitive live-action Batman, very nearly missed out on the part due to the 50,000 odd deluge of fan complaints upon the announcement of his casting.
Luckily, as a child growing up in the nineties I was spoiled: Batman Returns, Batman: The Animated Series and endless re-runs of the jovial, yet always entertaining 1960’s series starring Adam West. I was exposed to various incarnations and plots. I take this opportunity to establish that I tend to file other portrayals within this innovative decade within the darkest recesses of my mind; for example, the memory of a confused seven-year-old quizzing his parents even then on the aesthetic need for nipples on body armour. But alas, I digress.
I register and understand people’s fears. Those who seek to compare Batman v Superman and the birth of the DCU with Marvel’s extended catalogue, those who say Warner Brothers is unfashionably late to the notion of an extended universe, and finally, the fear that the film is too crowded, too much, too soon.
To those people I have this to say: like the symbol upon Superman’s chest, gather whatever visages of hope you harbour, and get behind the film. Yes, Marvel is established and has monopolised the market somewhat. But like a young child compared to that of an older sibling, we should embrace and welcome the competition. Actively contribute to the growth of the DCU; we should revel in its successes and lament its losses. Like a teenager, the DCU has to go it alone. It will be uncertain of itself, yet willing to try new things out. It will make mistakes, just as Marvel has done, but it will ultimately find its way in the world. After all, it is DC and Warner Brothers who first birthed the genre, convincing us that a man could fly and that an Oscar winning actor could deliver a captivating performance through layers of prosthetics as he went toe to toe, mano a mano, with that 5ft 8 inch comedian from Mr. Mom. So back the bat and wear your capes with pride come the 25th of March. No matter the outcome, just remember, it can’t be any worse than a Bat Credit Card… at least I hope.
So are you with or against me? Advocate of this bold new reimagining of two classic characters or a defiant non-believer? Let us know in the comments section below or send us your opinion on Twitter!