As we count down the remaining weeks until Justice League's release, the DCEU's second installment, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice remains a hotly debated subject a year and a half after it was screened in theaters. While the movie drew in over $873 million worldwide and has its share of passionate fans, it was met with many negative reviews. Various criticisms have been directed towards Batman v Superman, but if you ask Dave Gibbons, the man who illustrated Watchmen and has written several Superman stories over the years, his main complaint was that the movie bathed in too much darkness, especially when it came to the Man of Steel. As he put it:
I think, as I said earlier, the trend in entertainment now is to actually come up with something which is more entertaining, which is less dark, which is much more full of hope. And I think probably the failure of the Superman-Batman movie was that it was really too dark, and that Superman was made as dark as Batman. And to me, that really doesn't work, I thought that's the perfect opportunity to contrast the two characters.
Superman turns 80 years old next year, and like most DC Comics superheroes, this means that numerous writers and artists have put their own spin on the Kryptonian protector in the comics. However, Dave Gibbons did make a good point in his interview with Comicbook.com. While Superman has had his share of dark moments over the decades, he's generally presented as a brighter and optimistic hero in the DC mythology. Batman, on the other hand, has been depicted as a brooding and suspicious vigilante in the years since the '60s TV series and the Silver Age of Comics concluded, much like his first comic book stories. The juxtaposition of Superman and Batman's different personalities in this regard certainly would have been interesting to see in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but director Zack Snyder and the rest of the creative team decided to take a different approach.
Like 2013's Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opted to take Superman in a darker direction compared to the Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh Superman movies. A year and a half after he donned his costume and stopped General Zod from terraforming Earth, the Kryptonian was still serving as Earth's defender, though he struggled with humanity's mixed reaction towards his presence; some seeing him as a deity, others believing he posed a threat. His conflicts with Batman and Lex Luthor drove Superman to an even darker place, but in the end, he died a hero when he sacrificed his life to stop Doomsday. But as most of you already know, Superman will be resurrected in Justice League, so we can look forward to him continuing his heroic duties in the DCEU.
We'll see Superman and Batman back together when Justice League is released in theaters on November 17, and once that story has concluded, maybe will lead to the two characters have a dynamic more in line with what Dave Gibbons talked about.