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Wednesday, September 09, 2015 

Batman overshadowing Dawn of Justice's cast

Forbes argues that the filmmakers in charge of new DC-based movies are putting too much emphasis on the Masked Manhunter:
It’s not that I don’t think Affleck will be fine as Bruce Wayne/Batman (although this is the same Hollywood that saw Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and wanted to give Demi Moore’s villain a spin-off movie), but rather that there is no need to beef up the presence of the Dark Knight in what will be the kick-off movie to the DC Expanded Cinematic Universe. Batman has been, and probably always will be, something of a crutch for those developing DC Comics properties both on the page and on the screen. He is the most popular hero in the stable by a wide margin, and thus it is all-too-easy to stick him in someone else’s comic book or someone else’s movie to boost interest. And that’s certainly why the executives at Warner Bros. thought to add him to the next Superman movie. With Man of Steel doing well ($668 million worldwide on a $225m budget) but not really captivating the general audiences, tossing in the Dark Knight, played by an honest-to-goodness movie star no less, was the ultimate added-value element to ensure interest in whatever came next.

[...] Beefing up Batman’s role at the expense of everyone else is the exact opposite of what you want to do over the long run. Fans will show up for a Ben Affleck Batman movie no matter how much screen time he has in Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, or the two-part Justice League movie. But if fans don’t take to the introductory appearances of the other characters prior to their solo runs, those franchises will be potentially imperiled. And stomping on Superman to give Batman a bigger spotlight basically kills a Superman franchise for the future while realizing the worst fears of actual Superman fans who supported Man of Steel towards a massive $128 million opening weekend and/or vigorously defended the film against grouches like myself who didn’t care for it.
He's right that Batman alone is not the reason to see this new tentpole movie. And fans will most likely turn up to see the film despite all the vapid complaints they made on the web over the past year, proving how incredibly stupid some were to make a fuss for nothing. But if they do turn up, it should be based on whether they think the screenplay and acting is any good, and not be predisposed to liking the movie just because of what it's based on. In fact, giving Batman first billing is a telling sign they're already putting too much emphasis on Bruce Wayne, and it's honestly troubling if Batman's popularity surpasses the other DCU members by such a distance, no matter the merits of writing. I don't think it's helping when we value the hero whose world is darker over the one whose world is lighter.

To make matters worse, Cinema Blend says Batman's becoming a "crown jewel" for the movie division, and there'll be far more emphasis on the Masked Manhunter than the Man of Steel. Also:
...though Zack Snyder’s 2013 Man of Steel was a hit, it proved hugely divisive to fans and critics, and it feels like they are having a more difficult time figuring out precisely what they want to do with the character, and how to fit him into that dark, gritty mold they’re going for with their films (while still remaining true to the character). With Batman, on the other hand, it feels like they know exactly what they’re going for and what they want. They also want more of it.
See, in the long run, that's just the problem. Do they have to force Superman into a dark mold? Of course not, and putting him in a story with a lighter vision will not make it impossible to focus on serious issues or perceptive character drama. If darkness is all they want, I think that's a terrible mistake, and we as the audience shouldn't be giving them the idea we're only interested in darkness.

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I wonder if the test audience is too used to the tone and style created/used by Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan to consider any other possibility?

I still wish this would have been Nolan/Bales's Batman instead of Affleck's. I did like Man of Steel, although Goyer/Snyder ruined Jonathan Kent. Kevin Costner could have done so much more in that role. I thought Superman's interaction with the military was realistic and a helluva lot more sensible than the crap that's been written in the comics for the past decade. Still, I hope Snyder portrays a lighter Superman this time. A Superman who will smile, or at least look like he enjoys using his powers. It'd be waste to have both Batman and Superman sulking at each other.
My biggest beef with the movie is casting Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I can't get over that wimpy, sissy voice. An that line he has in the trailer "The red capes are coming, the red capes are coming" just emphasizes how annoying that voice is. Forget the ridiculous hair he wears, it's the voice I can't get past. THIS is going to be Superman's arch-enemy?

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