Batman v. Superman is the Truth


So, at least until WB gets it pulled from everywhere, there’s a leaked trailer for Batman v Superman. In case you haven’t seen it, here you go (UPDATE: it looks like the link has automatically updated to the actual trailer, after removing the leaked video):

Anyone who’s familiar with me or my work probably won’t be surprised to discover that I’m all sorts of hyped about this. When Man of Steel came out a couple years ago, many people were seriously ticked off that Superman didn’t…well, act like Superman. He trashed Metropolis. He snapped the shit out of Zod’s neck. Many said that director Zack Snyder went too far, and lost sight of what Superman is.

My argument is that if you want old-fashioned, Boy-Scout-from-the-start Supes, that material is all still there. The original Superman movies stand the test of time. Smallville’s been finished for nearly five years, but is still highly regarded–not to mention it’s lasting influence on comic-based television programming. And of course there’s the comics. But the origin story set forth in Man of Steel rings true to me.

How much dumb shit have we seen young people doing, immortalized on video, and in photographs and on social media? Most people my age or older have thought at least once in our lifetimes, thank God we did all our really dumb stuff before the invention of camera phones. Bottom line is, growing pains are a fact of…growth. Spider-man’s origin story is iconic, and is anchored by Peter screwing up shortly after getting superpowers and learning an expensive lesson that stays with him for life.

Now, the appeal of Spider-man is that he’s a very human character. It goes without saying that Peter is much more vulnerable and mortal than Clark. Losing his uncle was enough for Spider-man. Superman, though, isn’t as street-level, and really can’t be. He’s not from this planet. He can’t be injured by most anything on this planet. I’ve even gone as far to say in conversations that Superman’s not really a hero, because there’s nothing at stake for him when he fights.

It makes perfect sense that someone with as much power as Superman would make a huge mistake early in his career as a hero–especially when he likely doesn’t feel connected to Earth and it’s people thanks to his origin being revealed to him, and after watching his father figure die early in his adolescence. The Kents were a huge part of the reason we had that Boy Scout Clark in the source material and earlier adaptations, and their influence was cut in half at a critical time for Clark. That’s why he wasn’t as grounded in humanity during his battle with Zod. And I doubt we’ve seen the last of those consequences–near the beginning of this trailer, it looks like Supes is setting himself up as a God!

So, the lessons Clark has to learn in the upcoming movie are going to be much larger than Peter’s. What better teacher than Batman? The one concern I have about this film is that with everything that’s being packed into it–the rivalry with Superman, of course, but also Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, etc.–that the movie might end up short-changing the backhistory on Batfleck. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy as hell we’re not getting yet another origin story (something that pissed me off about Spider-Man, since we’ve already mentioned that franchise). But I hope we’re able to relate with and understand him.

In the end, I see no reason why Superman has to remain damaged goods by the end of Batman v. Superman. One of the best things about superhero stories is that they’re able to tell human stories with larger than life plot devices and archetypes. Real people conquer their pasts and recover from their mistakes all the time. I think we’re going to get a kickass hero and crusader for Justice (as in League) out of all this.

The difference is, instead of him basically being “born that way,” something that made perfect sense when Superman was originally created in 1938, we’ll get a hero who makes sense for the time he’s currently living in.