At the time of writing this, director Zack Snyder’s highly anticipated Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is some seven months away. Not only is this movie important for superhero fans because it’ll be the first time live-action versions of Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) will share the big screen, but this film will also be a critical step in building Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe.
While the first chapter of the DCEU, Man of Steel, earned more than $668 million at the box office, it was a polarizing experience for both fans and critics. Despite that, WB appears to have a lot of faith in Snyder’s BvS, reportedly giving the film a standing ovation after a screening. Executives were allegedly very impressed by Affleck’s performance as Batman; so impressed that they may want to give the actor even more time on-screen.
Batman v Superman is currently in post production and, according to Heroic Hollywood, WB wants the final version of the movie to have more of Batman, and less of Superman. According to the report, Affleck’s performance as the iconic hero is “blowing Henry Cavill’s Superman right off the screen.” While Affleck’s initial casting announcement was met with a lot of negativity – often from people citing his older work, like Daredevil and Gigli – a noticeable amount of fans have been won over after seeing Affleck in costume and getting a glimpse of him in BvS trailers. Throw in Batman’s immense popularity and it’s easy to understand why WB would potentially want to see more of Batman on the big screen.
Affleck’s career – both as a director and an actor – has been especially impressive over the past few years; Argo, The Town, and Gone Girl all prove Affleck can impress whether he’s in front of the lens or behind it. Because of that, it should come as no surprise that he might be co-writing and directing a Batman solo movie. Yes, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is still fresh in many minds, but Batman is without question the biggest DC character, so it’s understandable that WB/DC wants him to play a noteworthy role in this new cinematic universe.
Based on BvS trailer footage and images, it looks like WB is already crafting a version of Batman that is unlike any previous live-action versions. (Comic fans could immediately see this version is blatantly inspired by Frank Miller’s work.) After getting a look at Robin’s costume, it appears the Dark Knight’s mythos could be very different from what has been seen in theaters, too. Affleck as Batman has the potential to make the studio a lot of money down the road and there’s a lot of potential story to explore. Thus, it makes sense that WB/DC want his debut to be a memorable one – one that makes sure fans want to see a potential spinoff movie (instead of groaning “Not another Batman reboot!”).
It’s also important to note that Snyder’s BvS is obviously taking notes from Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, and that is all about Batman’s journey. Even though BvS is using Man of Steel’s events to build its own story, trailers have revealed much of this film is about the world reacting to Superman’s debut. The idea of a man dressing up as a bat and fighting armed criminals isn’t exactly grounded (to a vast majority of people, that is), but seeing how someone acts when they’re left feeling obsolete or forced into facing a seemingly impossible task could be a more compelling – and relatable – arc in the movie. The DCEU may include a Demi-God and an Atlantean, but it’s Batman – a mere human reacting to these surreal events – who can better sell the “serious and non-cartoonish” tone.
Batman’s big future in the DCEU and Affleck’s performance aside, Snyder’s movie is still a response to Man of Steel – it’s all about reacting to General Zod’s invasion and the emergence of Superman. Given the fact a lot of Superman’s arc in MoS had him conveying emotion physically instead of verbally, it’s important to have BvS showing Superman gain more confidence and respect as a hero. Man of Steel showed his journey to becoming Superman, and now it’s time to show audiences how he’ll act as Superman. This may not be Man of Steel’s sequel, but, given what we know, it’ll be crucial to the development of Cavill’s character.
Superman is known for confidently inspiring others and giving them a sense of hope. While WB is of course allowed to craft their own version of the character, the ability to inspire others is one of Superman’s defining qualities. With his powers, anyone could find the courage to fight evil. But could they also earn humanity’s trust? To many, it’ll be disappointing if Cavill’s hero doesn’t begin to show more confidence and uplifting qualities by the time the credits roll. After all, he’ll come off as foolish if he can’t hold his own with the brilliant Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) in a conversation, or a debate about morals with Batman.
At any rate, it’s important to remember that this is just a rumor, and only time will reveal whether or not Batman receives more attention than Superman. Batman is an important character for WB’s future, but giving Superman an equal amount of insight will show they’re dedicated to building these characters, and not just boosting ticket sales. Even if Batman does receive more time on-screen, it doesn’t have to come at the cost of developing Superman.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020. Untitled Batman and Superman solo films will be coming at dates TBD.
Source: Heroic Hollywood