At ComicCon 2013 this week, Warner Bros. and Disney officially declared war of the superheroes. The eventually winner will be us, the viewers, by 2015.
Marvel’s news was primarily some spit shining on the next Avengers movie. It’s official title gives it away for the dedicated comic readers (I’m not one of them nowandays for either universe): The Avengers: Age of Ultron. A quick look up on Ultron’s comic-book history tells me enough: crazy killer robot.
Hm. Sure. I’m pretty familiar with crazy killer robots. Joss Whedon, currently invulnerable with his success with the first Avengers movie, teased the crowd at ComicCon with star appearances from the many satellite movies that will form up before the next Avengers film. My personal love is Captain America as shown on-screen, coming soon in Captain America: The Winter Solder next spring.
So what could Warner Bros., owners of DC Comics, do to match, if not outdo the Disney/Marvel announcements? With the exception of the critically acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy from Christopher Nolan, the WB’s attempts to launch a counterpart superhero cinematic universe for DC has been lackluster at best. The 2011 Green Lantern movie, intended to be the first of a series of films to kickstart that universe, wasn’t terrible, but was far from well-received. Christopher Nolan stated that his Batman was in a universe where other superheroes didn’t exist. Thankfully, this summer’s Man of Steel film did well enough at the box office for a sequel to be announced.
With the Superman sequel, DC played the one card it could play that would get everyone’s attention.
Zack Snyder, director of the latest Superman film, announced at ComicCon that the Batman would be in the next Superman film.
Wow. It’s a bold risk but one that fans will come out to see. There’s no other iconic superheroes in any comic book universe that’s more compelling than Superman and Batman in a team-up. (There are many Superman/Batman animated films and graphic novels to illustrate this.) However, Snyder notes that this won’t be a pair-up but something more adversarial, perhaps like Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel of a older, future Batman.
As if Batman stood a chance in that mode for long, the fan’s love of Batman’s crazy-preparedness notwithstanding. The film must show the two working together in the end, as the comic universes clearly show, for they really are the best of friends over time. Also, as clearly illustrated in the first film, in a fight between human versus Kryptonian, human loses unless very lucky. Not even the non-powered but brilliant Batman can keep up in a prolonged fight with a determined Superman.
If Warner Bros. can pull off this team-up, they’ll get their cinematic universe in a good position. When you think about all the other attempts to get any of their characters to the big screen with any measure of success, a Superman/Batman film was WB’s strongest, and probably the only card they had left.