ByPeter Flynn, writer at
An advocate for understanding the phenomenological wonder of the moving image. Also Tremors is the best.
Peter Flynn

A quick preface to this article. This is not meant to be read as Greg Silverman liquidating the entire practice of interpreting source material. He is quite clearly appealing to a fan base that is growing tired of continual superhero movies. My interpretation, as always, is something new entirely!

Let's take just a brief moment to talk about all superhero movies ever! Back in the days of your Richard Donner Supermans or your Tim Burton Batmans, there was the sense that these movie adaptations were simply adding towards an established product. Did you like reading Superman your entire life? Great! Now you can see him moving and talking on screen! Only recently, with directors like Bryan Singer and Christopher Nolan, and that little thing known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe have we developed the notion that movies are a siphoning of a much greater wealth of content behind them.

Imagine if you will an entire hot air balloon full of chocolate milk. That represents the entirety of our comic book consciousness, full of every character storyline and contradictory arc. Now imagine the tiniest hole in that balloon that only once in a while lets through the tiniest drop of chocolate milk. That's Hollywood right there. What with its rarity, we're expecting that drop to taste pretty damn good, and that of course brings me to [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870).

Few movies before it have seemed so singular and courageous as the upcoming Batman vs Superman. I'm not just suggesting that there's a lot riding on this film (though there is), but this is one Hollywood product that, much like The Avengers before it, is set to be less a single drop, and more a straight up torrent from that tortured chocolate milk balloon I made up two seconds ago. Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is set to be one of the biggest leaps for superhero movies. There's just one problem. One of its executive producers insists it isn't one.

Greg Silverman on Batman vs Superman

Greg Silverman, the WG exec who's overseeing the current cultivation of the DCCU seems to insist that Batman v Superman is not in fact a superhero movie. He's quite clearly saying that the filmmakers involved have compelling and cohesive films as their core priority, yet this statement got a fair few pundits annoyed at the man. I can see what he means, but the idea that a well-rounded moviegoing experience and the trappings of superheroes are mutually exclusive is simply nonsensical. Worse still, it risks suggesting that these kinds of movies should distance themselves from the superhero aesthetics we're now used to, which is one of the most harmful attitudes to befell these types of movies.

But what if we give Greg Silverman the benefit of the doubt, and read him as simply saying that Batman vs Superman will not be a superhero movie in the traditional sense of being a slave to the source material? Zack Snyder is quite openly doing "his own thing" with Batman vs Superman, but that doesn't mean fans aren't still holding him accountable against the entire heritage of both of each character. If this movie turns out to be a hit, maybe we should stop doing that altogether!

Batman and Superman on screen!

Let me get down from here first...
Let me get down from here first...

Internet culture has always been quite bad at seeing superhero movies as something other than adaptations. You get the sense that many fans are judging rather than watching, and considering that very few comic properties have completely unbroken, clean continuities, why do movies get such harsh treatment? Perhaps it's because they display comparatively less content in their shorter runs, pander to completely new audiences, and reach a generally larger viewership than their comic counterparts.

Still, wouldn't it be nice if we could return to the days where a Superman movie didn't mean an attempt to adapt something, but rather a case of more Superman to be enjoyed? Not to bring up the annoyingly showboaty MCU once more, but theirs is the first model for a movie iteration of certain heroes to spawn comic adaptations and not the other way around. What a positive and creative nerdscape we would have if content simply flowed both ways!

I don't think he's convinced!
I don't think he's convinced!

That brings up questions of just where we as the fans would draw the line. Would there be an outcry if Batman's origin was changed? Genders and sexualities were toyed with, or if the powers of the most well known superheroes of the 20th century were changed completely? In a world where a new movie was no different from a new comic book arc, we wouldn't have much ground to complain. Any outcry against changes a movie makes is usually a case of assuming movies have inherently more legitimacy than comics, which should be the ideal we fought against right from the start.

What are your thoughts, hopes and fears for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Write a post about it here on MoviePilot, vote in our poll, or leave a comment below!


Should filmmakers be able to do whatever they want with superhero movies?


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