So the latest Dawn of Justice trailer was released earlier this week. We got to see more of Batman, his motivations and his battle with Supes, as well as Lex Luthor and a quick glimpse of Wonder Woman in action. Fans were raving, theatres were rubbing their hands at the inevitable cash load they’ll get come 2016. Me? I was sat in my chair saying “meh”.
It looks like it would be quite entertaining. A huge blockbuster with massive action set pieces is on the cards, of that I have no doubt, but in terms of the more substantial things – I’m thinking story and characters – I can imagine that’s where this one will fall short.
Let’s talk about the sheer number of characters being introduced here. First comes Ben Affleck’s Batman. It’s looking like we’ll get a decent back story for him. We got a brief snippet of a boy screaming in an alleyway, which we can assume will be young Bruce Wayne after his parents are killed. This alleviates some of the worries I had from the trailer, as I thought things might go a completely different way when it mentioned Bruce’s family being killed in the Metropolis battle.
However the alleviation of one fear merely adds to another, which we will get to later. Someone Bruce is close to was obviously killed in the battle, which leads to his vendetta against Superman. Which means that unless it’s just some faceless randomer (which wouldn’t really have the emotional punch it would need to justify Batman’s crusade), we’d need to have a set up for a character in Bruce’s life. Keep that in mind as we go on.
Next we have Lex Luthor. He’s going to be a new character in this universe. We so far aren’t sure what his motivations for taking on the Man of Steel are, but I’m sure they too will (hopefully) be explained. He’s also going to be the villain of this film (presumably), so we need to set up a battle between him and the Justice League.
And this is where my issue might start to raise it’s head. Wonder Woman, Aquaman and possibly Cyborg need to come into the story somewhere. Anyone clocking on to the problem yet? The aforementioned fear is how rushed this film is going to be. Let’s rattle off what needs to be covered. Batman origin story, new Bruce Wayne relationship to be destroyed in Metropolis, the BvS battle, introduction of Lex Luthor, introduction of Wonder Woman, introduction of Aquaman, possible introduction of Cyborg, assembling of the Justice League, battle with Lex Luthor.
That’s a lot to cram into one film, leading to a rushed story or a very, VERY long film, and this is assuming that Lex will be stopped on the first encounter, which wouldn’t do justice to the villain at all. Or they could extend this and make him a real threat to the League, which would make the film even longer, or make everything else so rushed.
So what could have been done? The answer is simple, we need only look to Marvel. They had the good sense to give each hero their own film (or in the case of Hawkeye and Black Widow, appearances in other films) BEFORE the epic team up. This allowed them time to establish characters and origin stories individually, and devote more time in the Avengers to focus on putting the team together. Even the villain in the first Avengers was pre-established! Come Age of Ultron, the team is already together, okay, let’s bring in a new villain!
Am I biased towards Marvel? Yes. Does that make this post biased towards Marvel? No. The reason I am biased is simply because Marvel have done a better job setting everything up, allowing for comfortable amounts of time to be dedicated to each character. I’ll probably go see Dawn of Justice, but I’m nowhere near as pumped for it as I would be if things were handled better. Personally, I say roll on Suicide Squad and Deadpool.