Warner Bros. & DC shouldn't be doing a Batman/Superman crossover.
Not yet anyway.
Because it's just plain stupid. It's a greedy move that cares nothing about the success of the franchise. Not that they really cared all that much about the properties in the first place. If Warner Bros. did, then those horrible Joel Schumaker Batman films would have never been made. The Bat franchise wouldn't have been sunk. And there would have been no reason to try to take our minds off of it by jump-starting the Superman franchise with Superman Returns (an overall decent film, but wrong time, wrong place).
If it wasn't for the critical and commercial success of Christopher Nolan's Dark Night films, Warner Bros. would have effectively killed off two of their most lucrative superhero figures, arguably the two largest superhero icons in American popular culture history, and for what? To get a hasty buck? George Clooney as Batman! Why? Because Clooney is big! Bobblehead Batman! No thank you.
But now it seems they are at it again.
Instead of correcting the problems of the major fan-flop film Man of Steel, Warner Bros. is just ignoring the extremely polarized reaction of audiences, as if half of movie viewers didn't hate it, and are going on with the next one in the cheesy crossover film Superman vs. Batman.
Moving forward is a good thing, and I'm sure the Supes/Bats movie will make a billion bucks, but it won't dominate like The Avengers movie did. I can practically guarantee it.
Marvel took lesser known characters like an aging Iron Man book, an oft neglected Thor book, and resurrected them and made them huge money makers by doing their movie adaptations right.
None of that rubber-bat-nipple crap. None of that Superman professional home-wrecker poppycock.
Marvel treated its characters with respect--and the fans responded by going to the movies in droves. Even non-fans were drawn to the films because of the quality and justice done to the source material. It's no secret, Superhero movies are basically untapped sci-fi fantasy stories with virtually unlimited storytelling potential. It's why sub-genre films like Kick Ass, Super, and Hancock keep cropping up.
But until recently Hollywood couldn't afford to tell such grandiose stories on meager budgets and too many technological restrains. Now the technology has caught up, and with the proved money making potential of Superhero blockbusters, Hollywood is fully in the corner of Superhero films.
But I still can remember this much, before Robert Downey Jr. was Iron Man, hardly anybody was reading the comic book.
Marvel always emphasized its X-Men books, Wolverine, the Hulk, and Spiderman. Avehngers was always a mess. A fun mess, but a mess none-the-less. Before 2008, Iron Man was just some character floating in the background of it all going on over at Marvel. Captain America had just had a massive story-line, one in which he died no less, and the X-Books were selling well, hot on the heels of three solid X-Men movies (but then again, the X-books have always sold well, which is why the X-Men movies came before Spiderman and anyone else).
It wasn't until the Mark Miller and Brian Hitch's The Ultimates (2002) that the Avengers even became cool again. But this was pre-Hollywood. While I totally enjoyed Warren Ellis' "Extremis" story in Iron Man, we have to realize the whole reason Ellis was brought on board was to try and revitalize and re-invent the Iron Man series. Nobody had seriously read the book since the whole War Machine saga back in the 90s. At least not to the same chart topping numbers of the X-books.
After the success of the Iron Man movie however, my all time favorite Marvel character became the flagship for the whole Marvel Universe! How cool was that?
I can't help but think this movie success may have helped influence the whole Civil War story-line (also written by Mark Miller) and rekindle interest in the Iron Man character. Why use Iron Man as a central figure? Because he was popular. The movie was popular. And Marvel went with it.
Probably more than this, the Iron Man character was now familiar to non-comic book fans--which is hugely important. Also, the movie version was nearly identical to the comic book version, because both the comic book versions (the Ultimates and Civil War versions) of Iron Man for which the movie version is based were written by, you guessed it, Mark Miller.
It's a case of gaining name recognition through familiarity. The character had gone from his obscure troubled days having to compete with all the X-books, all twenty of them, half a dozen Spiderman books, a few Wolverine and Hulk books, even Daredevil and Electra books, to being the book everyone looked for before any of the rest--and that's all thanks to the faithfulness of the film version to the source material.
In fact, those who have been following it all know that Phase One was such a big success that it spawned a television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as a new Avengers cartoon series.
Pretty cool, if you ask me.
Now we hear Warner Bros. is doing a big crossover movie Superman vs. Batman, but what they should be doing is making lesser known characters (to non-comic book geeks) like The Green Arrow, The Flash, another Green Lantern film (and hopefully a better one), and most importantly a goddamn Wonderwoman movie.
They should be taking a page from Marvel's playbook and saying, we need to make these relatively little known characters (to non-nerds) major players, give them worthy film adaptations, so that the Justice League movie will be at least as big as Avengers.
Needless to say, with no Wonderwoman movie in the works (the next logical step after Man of Steel) and only a hammy crossover movie (with a major shakeup--Christian Bale handing over the reins to Ben Affleck) fans have a bit of uncertainty as to the direction the DC heroes will take in the movie world.
After the Bat/Supes crossover it looks like Warner Bros. may very well go ahead with the oft rumored JLA movie, but without the benefit of anyone recognizing most of the main cast of characters, apart from maybe Superman, Batman, and Wonderwoman (who makes up the trinity of best known heroes in the DC universe), and maybe even Green Lantern (because of the crappy movie he was in a couple years back).
Other than that, the Flash, Martian Manhunter, the Huntress, Hawkgirl, and many more will be but little known cameos. If anything, a JLA movie will have to focus on the Holy Trinity of Heroes and perhaps have Lex Luthor as the villain, to stay in tune with the Man of Steel Superman reboot. It wouldn't make much sense for anything else to happen at this juncture.
Too bad I say.
It would have been awesome to introduce, say, Brainiac in a roundabout way through a Green Lantern film. Then have a Wonderwoman movie which reintroduced Batman at the very end, in a teaser clip after the credits. Only to cross over Batman and Superman, reintroduce the Brainiac threat, and then have a full on JLA movie. But no. Because that would be wishful thinking--and a whole lot of silly talk.
Here's the bottom line. Warner Bros. and DC are going to royally screw the pooch if they don't at least follow Marvel's lead in how to honor their characters and the story telling potential that falls out of having good writers and good films based on these characters.
My forecast: The Superman vs. Batman movie will be big. The subsequent JLA movie will ride the wave of success following this movie. And then, unless Warner Bros. gets its act together, we're going to see these beloved characters have a slew of bad movies, to the point where they bomb at the box office, like Superman Returns did, and fall dormant again in a cocoon of pure shame. Meanwhile, Marvel and Disney will be onto Phase Three by then--still going strong.
By day I am an educator and a cultural ambassador. By night I entertain notions of being a literary master. In reality I am just a family man and ordinary guy who works hard and loves writing just about as much as I love my family. Just about.