Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Thoughts on Batman and Superman

I won't be seeing the ludicrously and cumbersomely titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie. The critics give it mixed reviews but the fan press is crucifying it. Even if that wasn't happening, I would not be there.

One of my earliest favorite comic books was WORLD'S FINEST. Many of you will recall I did an entire blog detailing every issue, nearly all of which highlighted the friendship and teamwork of Batman and Superman. Among other things, that taught little me that people from very different backgrounds and methodologies could work together, laugh together, and be good friends in spite of their differences. 

Then came the changes.

Watchmen is dark. Watchmen is brilliant. Dark Knight Returns is dark and many find it brilliant as well. And the Killing Joke. One of the reasons all of those stories worked is that they were unique looks at superheroes. If EVERY superhero story before them had been dark, then they wouldn't have stood out at all. And now nearly every superhero story IS dark so what stands out is the rare exception. Like I said, we live in a dark world, these days. We don't need a reflection of that. We need hope and that's something superheroes have almost always been good at! Until now.

Maybe the old stories were hokey. Maybe we're too "sophisticated" now as a people to handle them. But then who's teaching the lessons? Who's teaching our kids that hope and peace and friendship and kindness, life, and cooperation are worthy goals even if they don't see them every day in their own lives. What are we teaching them NOW with superheroes? Anger, violence, destruction, power trips, and relentless fucking DARKNESS!

On TV, DC gets it right with Supergirl and Flash but on that dark big screen, they've already mapped out a decade of upcoming films that will seemingly continue to deconstruct heroes. They don't get it. Any kid who grew up in the sixties could tell them. Comic book heroes are REAL in that they make a difference, even if its not always obvious. The world needs heroes now perhaps more than ever. Kids need heroes. Without them, there may be no hope for tomorrow.

  


6 comments:

Doug said...

Here, here, Steven. I could not agree more.

Maybe in a year or so I'll catch this on Starz while I'm on a treadmill. But I don't believe I'll be seeking it out.

Doug

Craven Lovelace said...

I hear you. I'll go see it — because my nephew wants to see it, and going to see movies with my nephew is one of my favorite things in the world. But it's not the characters I grew up loving. Somewhere along the line, comics started substituting power fantasies for imagination. All I want is a Bottle City of Kandor, but what we get nowadays is crippled Barbara Gordon.

Rick L Phillips said...

I agree with you. The ones on hope and friendship are what the world needs. Not this darkness that Zack Snyder and DC want the movies to be about. But even if the movie flops Hollywood won't understand. They probably would think it just means we don't want Ben Affleck as Batman and just recast his part in the next movie.

Eric Stettmeier said...

I saw it on Monday night (advanced screening.) If you saw it, you would hate it. A lot of people will hate it, both comic purists and non-comic knowledgeable viewers. I didn't hate it, in fact I enjoyed it, but I just take it as one interpretation in a world full of interpretations. A multiverse if you will.

That said, I am getting a bit sick of the godlike status of Frank Miller. He written, what, four Batman stories in the 77 years of Batman's history. Hey Batman scripts writers, there have been at least one or two (maybe three or a flippin hundred) other people who have written Batman stories. Look 'em up!

My only real concern about the film is that it lacked accessibility to the common viewer. That's it's biggest sin.

That said, Wonder Woman's thread was strong and hopeful, and left me wanting more. So there is a bright point.

Rip Jagger said...

I'm eager to see it. Loved the Superman movie and I hope this one has some of the pizazz. Getting to see a Justice League movie is a dream I have and we're almost there. It's not ideal, but we take what we can get sometmes.

Rip Off

northierthanthou said...

It does seem like dark is becoming a forgone conclusion. You see it in cable shows as well. Not everyone can be Game of Thrones. I wish so many weren't trying.