I love comic books, a quick glance at my bookshelf would tell you that. The Dark Knight is my favourite film of all time. The telling of stories to do with people greater than humans, heroes, is one of the oldest forms of narrative, it dates back to around the 8th century B.C, where Greek poet Homer tells of Odysseus blinding the Cyclops in his epic poem The Odyssey. Heroes are fascinating, stories immediately become more interesting when the protagonist isn’t bound by normal human qualities, and investing in them is therefore a most effective form of escapism. Heroes will never go out of style. Despite what you may think, heroes are for adults as well. A ‘hero’ is a nebulous term, a typical image of a modern hero is either Superman, Batman, or Green Lantern, but these aren’t just heroes. Any adult who liked Die Hard liked it for the hero. Anyone who rooted for Ripley in Aliens enjoys heroes. Batman and Superman are superheroes. They’re the best kind. Superhero films and comics often abandon any attempt to tell stories that could be perceived as some kind of reality in this world, whereas regular narratives depicting heroes tend to at least retain an element of possibility. Superhero tales can therefore be exploited, because since the characters and settings often differ from the real world, some writers choose to disregard essential real world qualities for convenience, like logic and character motivation.
I must have been the only soul on the planet that didn’t really like The Avengers. It was trite. It followed a formula that has been stretched out almost as much as Mr Fantastic himself, and the only motive Loki had was that he had a British accent and sometimes guys with British accents are antagonists. I didn’t feel anything coming out of that movie. It didn’t have any impact on me. I’ve seen it time and time again, an antagonist conveniently gains an army in the first act, the team of heroes appear divided in the second act, giving the illusion of mistrust which never actually amounts to anything, and there’s a fight of massive scale in the third act giving way to a possible climax of one or more romantic relationships and a completely expected and illogically fortunate ending. Oh, yeah, and Stan Lee probably makes an appearance somewhere.
I mean, it’s alright. It’s not that bad, it’s just you walk in to The Avengers expecting to see goodies prevail over baddies and, well, you walk out having seen exactly what it is you expected to see. It’s boring. There’s no surprises, no internal consequence, no real weight to it. Batman is always shaking up the formula. I loved The Dark Knight so much because Batman doesn’t win. Batman loses hard. Batman gets destroyed. And it’s the same with Arkham City. At the end of the day, he stopped all of Hugo Strange’s chaos, but in doing so he walked a path that he vowed never to go down. Batman stories never cease to entertain me. Batman has no superpowers (although he is a superhero because of his place in the DC universe) and it is because of this that he tends not to stray from the path of logic and consequence that most others do. His stories feel more real, somehow. That’s a good thing, if done under the right direction. This is why I am both excited and worried for Zack Snyder’s upcoming blockbuster.
Now, after that semi-coherent arbitrary ramble, this is what I want from Dawn of Justice:
Difficulty on Who to Side With
It is abundantly clear that Superman and the Bat are going head to head. What isn’t abundantly clear is the reason. The only ideas put forward so far is that Batman sees Superman as a threat to mankind. I hope this is not the only reason, as if Batman were to solely condemn Superman based the amount of destruction that he’s caused, this would be a pretty big double standard on his part. He inadvertently destroys buildings and allows villains to kill just as much as Superman does. A good moral dilemma would really go along way for this film, and would amplify the effect of fight scenes.
An Original Plot
There isn’t much source material on fights between Batman and Superman in terms of the comics, except Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. This is where Superman’s loyalty to the government means he has to fight Batman under American orders. As a hipster contrarian, I also didn’t like The Dark Knight Returns so much, and to translate this to the film completely would be boring to see again.
Zack Snyder Not to Mess This Up
Watchmen being my favourite book of all time, I wanted to behead Snyder after seeing that abomination of an adaptation he did. I wasn’t too fond of Man of Steel either, but perhaps the characterising elements of Superman I hoped to see in that film were deliberately withheld for this film. Just don’t mess this one up.
An Impact from Every Character
The problem with The Amazing Spiderman 2 was that the roster of characters was so large that most were relegated to superfluous two-minute spots where they were advertised as main characters. There is also a large amount of characters in this title, and I hope the run-time is long enough to mean that every character has relevance, impact and development.
No Sequel Bait
Every title in Nolan’s trilogy was a separate and distinct addition to the overall arc. I don’t want to walk out of Dawn of Justice with a multitude of loose ends swimming around my mind afterwards. I want an independent title that sustains itself, with a clear beginning middle and end. This is a particular worry of mine, as I am aware of the countless other future titles that Dawn of Justice could easily allude to if not awkwardly shoehorn in references to during the movie.
An 18 Movie Inside a 12A Certificate
What was great about The Dark Knight was that it didn’t shy away from mature themes or shocking events, it didn’t succumb to the safe ground of cheesy one-liners and kid-friendly content. The Dark Knight worked around the 12A certificate rather than work with it, which is why the story was a mature, dark, beautifully gritty one.
That’s what I want from Dawn of Justice. What about you? Have a thought? Comment below!