With Marvel’s Age of Ultron coming out May 1 and a whole assortment of superhero movies nipping at its heels, it seems all anyone is talking about these days is costumed crusaders.
About a week ago, Warner Bros. released a trailer for the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the sequel to the 2013 film Man of Steel. Those who have read my past articles know how much of a superhero nerd I am, which is why I feel qualified to say this movie doesn’t look all that good.
Man of Steel wasn’t a good movie
Man of Steel’s 55 percent ratings on Rotten Tomatoes says a lot about fans’ overall reaction to the film. Audiences went in expecting a great Superman movie but instead got a lackluster movie that felt like it was barely about Superman at all.
The plot was all over the place, the fight scenes were so-so and the directors tried to make it an epic movie by starting off the first 20 minutes on Krypton, but that just made everyone wonder why a super-advanced alien society would need phallic spaceships.
Superhero films aren’t meant to be paragons of writing, but they should be coherent at least. If Batman v Superman is going to be anything like the jumbled mess Man of Steel was, then I’m not looking forward to it.
The creators don’t understand why fans love these characters
If Superman was just called Normalman, nobody would waste two hours to see him puttering around Metropolis, being a normal journalist. Fans love Superman because he represents the power to make the world a better place; his power just happens to manifest as the ability to fly and punch stuff really hard.
But recent movies have turned him into a gritty, brooding mess.
That’s not to say change is always bad. Many darker Superman storylines before have achieved great success; the Justice League cartoon is just one example. But you can’t show me two hours of Superman fighting with no regard for anyone else’s safety and actually killing a man and still tell me this is the Supes we all know and love. The directors and scriptwriters don’t understand his character on a fundamental level, and that worries me.
The market is oversaturated
There are more than 30 superhero movies scheduled for release over the next ten years. If each ticket was around $10, it would cost around $300 just to see them all in theaters. Few have that kind of money.
Last year, Marvel proved they can do two different kinds of superhero movies by releasing the spy thriller Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier and the space-opera-esque Guardians of the Galaxy. However, in general, most superhero movies end up fitting the “get powers, make enemies, save the world” formula that has become all too common.
Batman v Superman can’t even say it’s treading new ground because Watchmen already handled the political ramifications of superheroes in society when the comic came out in 1987 and, in theaters, in 2009. As a matter of fact, most Marvel movies on a smaller scale.
From what I’ve seen so far, there is nothing in this movie we can’t get from somewhere else.
Batman and Superman have had their turn
I’m not even going to bother listing the ridiculous number of Batman and Superman adaptations that have been made in the past couple of decades.
The origins of these two characters have been burned into the collective memories of the public. Nearly everyone knows how Krypton fell and nearly everyone knows how Bruce lost his parents. There is nothing to be gained from telling those stories again.
Give me Wonder Woman reconciling her past in a matriarchal society with her present in this patriarchal one. Give me Aqualad feeling conflicted about his villainous parentage. Give me young superheroes trying to figure out what it means to be a hero in this new digital age.
Superman and Batman are great archetypes that will be around for many decades, but our generation deserves new heroes to look up to. As long as companies keep treading the same ground over and over, then we will never truly get the heroes we deserve.
Rosie Brown is a sophomore prospective journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.