Why Batman V Superman Needs To Be A Little Stupid

It’s peculiar to me that moviegoers aren't counting down the days until the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice in the same way that they anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I mean, this is Batman and Superman fighting on the big screen. Two of the most beloved pop culture icons from any medium, both of which have a long and storied history in movies. Yet, with just over 3 weeks until the blockbuster is in cinemas, there seems to be a malaise and a wait-and-see attitude about Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice’s release.

But what are moviegoers waiting to see? Because the trailers and TV spots for Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice have provided us with all of the information that we need to know about the film. They’ve suggested that Zack Snyder's film is going to be packed with rollicking action that unfolds in a standard Hollywood fashion, while at the same time being loud, relentless, and, hopefully, a little stupid. And that's exactly what it should be.

Why do I want Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice to be a little stupid? (And I mean that in the nicest way possible.) Because to overthink this film with ambitious themes, motifs, analogies, and other pretentious cinematic bullshit would be a complete waste of time. Sure, I want that in Oscar winners and more serious fare, but not now. And especially not when the two most popular superheroes who have ever been created are going to fight. Just let them at it. To borrow from Ken Watanabe in Godzilla:

For me, I want Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice to be akin to an installment from the Transformers franchise. Seriously. Obviously, I want it to at least be bearable, and be edited, acted, directed, written, and shot in a more competent manner than anything Michael Bay has ever produced with Megatron. But I also want to come out of the cinema following Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice feeling overwhelmed, as if Hollywood has just forced fed me the cinematic equivalent of a turducken washed down with a glass of gravy. I want to be dazed, and to need a few hours to digest and evaluate what I just saw because it all passed by in haze of relentless explosions and action.

In the end, the main appeal of Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is that we’re going to see Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent's alter egos going up against each other with all their might. The cherry on top of the icing of the cake happens to be that it will all be orchestrated by Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. Delicious. Every other trait in the blockbuster is mute, and to try and complicate it would border on redundancy.

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice will also have the perfect opportunity to get the best out of both characters. Superman films are in their pomp when we get to see Krypton’s most famous son performing super-human stunts in his battle to do good. I’m thinking of the thrilling space shuttle save in Superman Returns, and the battle of Smallville in Man Of Steel. While Batman has always been at his most intense, stubborn, and captivating when he’s had a superior foe to try and tackle, i.e. The Joker in The Dark Knight. The raw ingredients are there for them to hate and despise each other, which is why watching them fight should be so enthralling.

It’s also still too early in Warner Bros.’ DC cannon to try and overcomplicate the plot and characters. Captain America: Civil War is the first time that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is forcing us to decide between superheroes that we love, and they’re 13 films into their cannon.

Thankfully the Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice trailers have suggested that the hero feud won’t be too long, as they've shown us that they come together alongside Wonder Woman to tackle Lex Luthor and Doomsday. Hopefully, before the start of their kinship, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice will be full of turn-off-your-brain style action. Especially since, in order to get audiences fully invested in DC’s universe, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice has to prove that the Warner Bros. team can create a movie that has entertainment and fun as its priority, with a little bit of heft and mood thrown in, so that it’s unique to Fox and Marvel’s cinematic universes.

The immense popularity of these iconic characters, which seems to both transcend and embrace high- and low-brow culture, means that a good chunk of you won’t feel the same way. Rightfully, you are hugely protective of both Batman and Superman as if they were members of your own family. But with their promotional push for Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Warner Bros., who had a terrible 2015 at the box office, have almost decided to bypass the concerns of the bona-fide comic-book fan and appeal to as wide and as mainstream an audience as possible.

That’s why the release of their trailers have had more in common with Transformers (showing us as much action and spectacle as possible while just about not giving everything away) than Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which teased and hid most of its plot because Disney already knew that audiences were going to flock to see it). This ploy hasn’t worked as well as Warner Bros. had hoped, though. In fact, over the last few weeks rumors regarding just how concerned Warner Bros. are with Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice have emerged, while there has even been speculation about an alleged smear campaign to blot the release, too. All of this hasn’t been confirmed, but the fact that these stories have even been alleged and could conceivably be true is concerning.

Even before Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice was announced, movie fans seemed perturbed by the expansion of Warner Bros.’ DC Universe. Man Of Steel, and its controversial ending, had left fans angry with director Zack Snyder, while the casting of Ben Affleck and the unveiling of Warner Bros.’ DC schedule all the way up until 2020 seemed more overwhelming than exciting.

The release of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice’s trailers failed to lift the mood. Fans have once again taken umbrage with how Superman has been treated in the trailers, as well as the constant rain, depressing mood, and even the revelation that Doomsday is actually in the film was met mediocrely.

All of which means that Warner Bros. are now worried that Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice won’t be the success that they had envisioned. That’s unsurprising considering that they’ve spent at least $200 million on Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice’s production (according to reports), probably the same on worldwide marketing, and have 9 films in the pipeline that are reliant on this film's success.

We now only have a few more weeks to find out if Warner Bros. were right to worry about Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, as it will finally be with us on March 25. My advice is to turn off your brain, sit back, relax, and just enjoy the ride.

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Gregory Wakeman