In just over two weeks, audiences will finally have their say with regard to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Despite featuring three of the most famous superheroes of all time and a massive marketing campaign, featuring numerous trailers, posters, and TV spots, the project has been dogged by rumors of massive cost overruns, skepticism of what may be an overly dark tone, and concerns about its actual box-office potential — with the fate of the entire DC Extended Universe potentially hanging in the balance.
Now, co-writer Chris Terrio has joined the chorus of stars and filmmakers stumping for the feature, insisting BvS is more than just another superhero brawl.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve arrived at a point where a movie that aims to settle the age old question of whether Batman or Superman would win in a fight could be considered anything but a seismic pop-cultural event. But with the near-decade head start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the 11-hero throwdown of the also heavily advertised Captain America: Civil War in the offing (managing to dominate another day’s news cycle with today’s reveal of Spider-Man), director Zack Snyder’s ambitious feature has been (fairly or not) portrayed as an unlikely underdog for almost a year of pre-release hype.
But Terrio, an Academy Award winner for Affleck’s Argo who came aboard to re-write David S. Goyer’s draft, insists that the film is more than just another superhero movie — and that the DC Extended Universe can distinguish itself from the Marvel-dominated superhero field through the mythic nature of its characters:
“In superhero stories, Batman is Pluto, god of the underworld, and Superman is Apollo, god of the sky. That began to be really interesting to me—that their conflict is not just due to manipulation, but their very existence.”
“If you told me the most rigorous dramaturgical and intellectual product of my life would be superhero movies, I would have said you were crazy.”
The writer went on to praise the performance of Gal Gadot, explaining that Wonder Woman’s BvS acknowledges the character’s existence prior to the events of the film, which makes it easy for the filmmakers to eschew something as time consuming as an origin story.
“If you bring in a character in a kinetic way, then you accept the reality more easily.”
Warner Bros. president of creative development and worldwide production, Greg Silverman, is similarly bullish on the production — and offered a quote to the same Wall Street Journal piece praising the looser, less pre-planned approach that the studio has taken to developing their DC superhero properties. The quote can’t help but be read at least in part like an unsubtle dig at their rivals at Disney/Marvel, who pioneered the Cinematic Universe concept by plotting out their continuity almost a decade in advance.
“The artists are all communicating with each other. I think if you have a studio dictating where you’re going to be in six or seven years, the movies lose some of their magic.”
At this point, the film’s fate is in the hands of audiences. A hefty box-office haul is predicted, with little competition on its opening weekend, save for the counter-programming release of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and few significant potential blockbusters set to be released in subsequent weeks until Disney’s live-action Jungle Book hits theaters on April 16. However, one week prior sees the release of the R-rated Melissa McCarthy comedy vehicle The Boss and the offbeat indie actioner Hardcore Henry — both of which have been heavily hyped to their respective audiences and could well come out on top if for whatever reason the expensive superhero feature were to underperform post-release. Regardless, Warner Bros. is already in production on Wonder Woman and is scheduled to begin shooting Justice League in April.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 16th, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19th, 2020.
Source: The Wall Street Journal