Zack Snyder's Batman vs. Superman movie will include a number of controversial choices - the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor being two of the most common. Yet, as more and more Justice League characters are confirmed or rumored for the project, skeptical fans have started to wonder how so many iconic heroes can fit into a single film - especially since Warner Bros. has positioned the movie as a sequel to Man of Steel (not an Avengers-style superhero team-up).
It's certainly possible that Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, along with potential appearances from Aquaman and/or Cyborg, could be short cameos that help establish the DC Entertainment shared movie universe but, even if that is the case, Snyder still runs the risk of distracting viewers with future setup at the expense of a core Superman, Batman, and Lex Luthor story. But what does the man who is responsible for that story, David Goyer, have to say about balancing all of these high profile heroes in one film?
Previously, Snyder claimed that Batman vs. Superman would take the character's respective universes and "explode them," so Goyer has been faced with a tough challenge: ensure the filmmakers don't sacrifice quality in their follow-up while also balancing any requisite threads for future DC Entertainment movies.
According to the writer, who recently spoke with Collider, it all comes down to honoring the characters - even if that means ruffling a few fan feathers:
I always try my best to honor every character. When you’re dealing with big iconic characters, there’s a lot of fan pressure to get it right, and I respect that and admire that passion enormously. At the same time, you can’t let your creative process be too crowded by that or distracted by it. It’s not always one uniform opinion of how you should portray this character or that character. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of walking that razor’s edge. You just have to do your best and know what’s out there, but at the same time, follow your own muse.
Many comic readers have already dubbed Batman vs. Superman a "Justice League Lite" movie, considering that appearances from further heroes will generate added interest in the film, before the studio even announces a full-on team-up. Essentially, in addition to the Batman vs. Superman story, Snyder's movie could serve as a sneak peek at other Justice Leaguers - without giving anyone but the Man of Steel and Caped Crusader anything tangible to do.
That said, Goyer makes a smart point. Repeatedly, we see readers flood the comment section of superhero movie articles to criticize an upcoming adaptation for not portraying a character or their story correctly. However, many of these heroes (including both Batman and Superman) have been re-imagined and refreshed for decades - meaning that even if Goyer was entirely faithful to comic source material, other fans would still decry the chosen version as inferior (based on their personal favorite). As movie fans, it should actually be encouraging to hear that the writer is, first and foremost, attempting to honor the iconic characters (without being a slave to any particular version) while also surrounding them with worthwhile human drama and exciting action set pieces - as part of a modern movie experience.
Some might take Goyer's comments as a slight, but given how much disagreement there is among fans at any given time, the writer is probably smart to keep his head down and follow his "muse." Still, potential viewers who feel as though Goyer's muse has led him astray in past efforts (and could again) should take some comfort in the fact that Batman vs. Superman isn't being written in a bubble. DC and Warner Bros. have significant interest in seeing the film connects with fans and casual filmgoers alike - which is likely a reason the studio hired Argo writer, Chris Terrio, as a second set of eyes on the screenplay.
Fans initially scoffed at the idea of Terrio consulting on the screenplay - as if it meant that Goyer had dropped the ball. However, maybe part of honoring the DC characters also (smartly) means asking for a second opinion from time to time.
Batman vs. Superman hits theaters on May 6th, 2016.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on Batman vs. Superman, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.