(There are HUGE spoilers for 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' below.)
[Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) has quickly become one of the most polarizing films in recent memory. A lot of the controversy stems from the stylistic and story choices made by director Zack Snyder, with his new aggressive interpretation of DC Comics on film. However, a project as big as Batman v Superman has many people contributing to the decisions made in the film, so he surely was not alone in the creation of the movie.
The most dramatic story decision in Dawn of Justice, was the choice to kill Superman during his battle with the monstrous Doomsday. However, Snyder did not make the decision to kill off the iconic hero in a vacuum. He explains to Collider, that he discussed the notion with executive producer Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) during pre-production of the film:
“It was pretty early, and [Christopher] Nolan and I had long conversation about it, a really great, sort of philosophical conversation about it. He was really cool because he played an amazing devil’s advocate about why not to do it, and then in the end was like, ‘No you’re right, it’s better to do it.’”
'The Death of Superman' run is one of the most monumental stories from the comics in the '90s and the plot point being adapted in the movie was one of the film's big surprises. It was even more surprising because most were expecting Superman to headline the upcoming Justice League movie. It will begin filming in just two short weeks and Snyder explained why he wanted to take the Man of Steel out of the equation:
“We had a version that we talked about where [Superman] just—this isn’t it, but where he got frozen and shot into space or something, so he’s kinda gone. Because one of the big things I wanted to make sure of was that as we went into Justice League, Bruce Wayne was the one who was gathering the Justice League."
Ben Affleck has been the hands-down highlight of the Batman v Superman and audiences have been eagerly speculating about the character's eventual solo film. However, Warner Bros. and Snyder have a different approach to Batman —that will see him as the focal point of the next film. Snyder feels that the presence of Superman assembling the Justice League, would render Batman useless:
"I thought it was really important to have Bruce Wayne be the samurai who goes and finds the other samurai, that to me was important. And with Superman around it’s kinda hard, because Superman’s Superman so it’s kinda hard for Bruce to be like, ‘Yeah I wanna put a Justice League together’. It’s like, ‘Okay, but maybe Superman should be doing that. You’re just a guy. You’re a cool guy, don’t get me wrong, but you’re just a guy.’”
The notion of Bruce Wayne traveling the world and assembling the Justice League, like the Seven Samurai, feels like a solid approach to the first installment of the two-part story. In the flashback at the beginning of the Dawn of Justice, the Wayne's can be seen leaving a movie theater showing Excalibur. The 1981 film is a retelling of the legend of King Arthur, in which a boy goes on to become a king, while assembling the Knights of the Roundtable. It's clear the framework is in place for elements of both of those movies during Batman's journey in Justice League.
One of the larger criticisms of Batman v Superman, is how Snyder mishandles the character of Superman. Some argue that the he is an ineffectual and weak interpretation of the iconic hero. The fact that his death will remove him from the future plot could add credence to the argument that the director doesn't appreciate the hero. However, his absence will create an even larger obstacle for our newfound heroes to eventually overcome within the narrative. This is what Snyder had to say about the arc that he has in store for the Man of Steel:
“I’m gonna say this: the second you do the first part of it, the death and resurrection are the same thing in a weird way. You have to know. The reason I wanted to do it the way we did it is because I don’t want the audience completely off the hook with it. They still have to go like, ‘What the fuck? Are you kidding me?’. There’s a way to signal towards a more definitive resurrection concept, but I didn’t wanna do that because I want that to be real for them when they see it, I want the experience to be real and then the sort of need to be real later on. Suffice it to say there is a plan, but that’s gonna be—you need to wait and see.”
The final shot of the movie shows the dirt on Superman's coffin gently rising. The same effect on gravity is shown in Man of Steel before Superman's first flight and the recall signals his eventual resurrection. With so much attention and negativity focused on Batman v Superman, every decision will be made under a microscope. There are lots of directions Snyder and screenwriter Chris Terrio could take the character's resurrection in the next movie — including: a loose adaption of the comics where multiple imposters show up to fill the void, an evil Superman, or they can make the focus of his resurrection to be solely in the other character's quest. While there has been mixed reactions to Dawn of Justice, there seems to be genuine excitement for where the larger franchise will go. With shooting right around the corner, details should be emerging soon.
'Justice League Pt. 1' opens on November 17th, 2017.
What do you think of the decision to kill Superman? How do you think that they should handle his return in Justice League? Let us know in the comment section below!