When you go to the cinema, what type of movie do you decide to watch? Action? Comedy? Romance? For years now, I’ve been told by countless friends and avid movie-goers that the film industry is running out of movie ideas. Seemingly everything has already been thought of, done, re-made and done again. Fresh and original storylines have been replaced with novel adaptations and countless remakes. In recent years, movies such as Harry Potter and the Twilight series have enjoyed remarkable success on the back of well-written books.The same can be said for the comic book genre, which has seen superhero movies enjoy somewhat of a renaissance.
Hollywood blockbusters such as Iron Man, Transformers and the Avengers have set the tone as to how popular comic book characters are modernly adapted to the big screen. These movies have had tremendous success at the box office – raking in billions of dollars and creating a new legion of fans. You can probably imagine the hysteria at the San Diego Comic Con in July 2013 when it was announced that Warner Bros. and DC Comics were teaming up to make “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice”.
Images of a Superman logo with a Batman logo in the background triggered an all-out nerd feeding frenzy. Certain scenes from The Big Bang Theory come to mind. Both creations of DC Comics, Batman and Superman have, quite literally, lived entirely in their own universes for over 75 years. The thought of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent ever crossing paths remained – up until now- unicorn rare. Now on the surface, this movie may seem like a new concept. But rest assured, this idea has been thought of a long time ago. The movie is adapted from a four-issue, comic book miniseries titled “The Dark Knight Returns”, which was written by Frank Miller in 1986.The comic centres around Bruce Wayne and how his passion for being the Batman has been reignited. His enemies including Joker and Two-Face have resurfaced to wreak havoc on Gotham City.
In this series, Batman is now 55 years old and has been retired from crime-fighting for 10 years. Superman also features – as a government agent. His true identity is now publicly known. His days of bumbling Daily Planet reporter are over. An animated film version of this miniseries was released in two parts. The first part in September 2012 followed by a part two in January 2013. One of the main talking points of this big screen remake has been the decision to cast Ben Affleck in the role of Batman. Recent roles of his have been nothing like playing Batman.Affleck may not seem to be the popular choice to play the caped crusader, but staying true to the original script of “The Dark Knight Returns” required an older actor in the role.
For this movie to be an accurate adaptation of Miller’s 1986 comic, director Zack Snyder has done extremely well by not bowing to fan pressure. Snyder, who also directed Watchmen and produced 300: Rise of an Empire, told French magazine Popcorn that “Affleck has the experience necessary to paint the picture of an older and more advised Batman”. Fans and Christian Bales alike may not agree with him, but movies of this magnitude can be a make-or-break for a young director in tinsel town. Ben is a very talented actor and has had directorial success as well, with Argo winning the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2013. But for Affleck, fans can’t help but look back at his 2003 film Daredevil, a film which critics – and Ben himself – were not very impressed with.
In an online interview with screenrant.com, Ben claims that Daredevil “missed a lot” and that superhero movies are now “A grade movies with more dedicated focus and resources”. And in a way, he is right. Marvel Comics only gave Daredevil a $78 million budget to work with – $180 million less than what Spiderman got. The big question is not Ben Affleck though. It is whether these comic book giants can work side by side on the silver screen. The thought of putting these two beacons of justice against each other seems like a gut-wrenching reality for their respective diehards. Both are pop culture icons capable of standing on their own.
This movie is also certain to open up a Pandora’s Box of comic book mash-ups in the future. The thought of Catwoman squaring off against Poison Ivy seems inevitable and the possibilities are endless. Who knows what they will come up with next? Nothing is off limits in this new age of cinematic conceptions. The movie will premiere on May 6, 2016 and with only weeks to go before its release; fans will have enough time picking sides – and costumes – in what is sure to be an epic battle.