04 December 2015

The Case of the Dueling Hero vs. Hero Blockbusters

I'm not sure why it never really dawned on me until now, but I find it really really weird that Marvel and DC's biggest 2016 flicks both feature their two biggest leads going after each other. Both of these films have also dominated non-Star Wars related news lately. In one corner we have the hotly anticipated but awkwardly titled Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). In the other we have Captain America: Civil War. In the wake of both of these flicks dropped some nasty trailers over the past week, let's take a closer look at what we have on our hands.

Marvel and DC have been running neck and neck for years, obviously, but this is the first time their films have seemed so similar, and if you recall, they were once slated to open the same day, which would have been perfect. In 2008 we saw dueling billionaires over the summer in the form of Iron Man and The Dark Knight, which both proved to be game changers for the industry. I also love the 2013 battle between the Man of Steel, the Man of Iron, and the Man of Adamantium between Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, and The Wolverine. Nothing has been like this year, though.

In every way, both these films are totally emblematic of where their parent companies are trying to push the superhero genre. Civil War is the culmination of a lot of movies. Twelve, in fact. This simultaneously extracts some of its novelty as it's just another entry in a never-ending series of repetitive films, while also signifying something a little more. On the opposite end of the cynical statement about cookie-cutter Marvel movies is the important opinion that every recent Marvel movie has been very different, usually resulting in them being pretty good. 2014 gave us The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, which were both incredibly fun films unlike much else that had come before. 2015 has been relatively forgettable, but Civil War as the capper to a conflict boiling between Captain America and Iron Man since their first meeting in The Avengers (2012) is an intriguing prospect.

Dawn of Justice is coming from the opposite angle. It has the benefit of heavy exposure to the heroes and characters, although it's only the second film in its explicitly shared universe. Instead of a collapsing friendship it moreover showcases the contentious first meeting between comic icons Batman and Superman. The relationship and conflict of ideologies there is backed more by shared cultural knowledge along with a slew of recent movies that has demonstrated the characters, even if they haven't necessarily bumped into each other yet.

With that bit of prep, check out each trailer:

First, Civil War

Now, Dawn of Justice

What do you notice?

They're pretty damn similar. Director Zack Snyder, as completely tone def he is as a storyteller, certainly has a knack for crafting visually enticing pictures, which rise above the look of Joe and Anthony Russo's Civil War. Justice teases something brainier and more steeped in character, but with each director's respective track record, is there any possible world where Snyder doesn't blow this? Let's jump down his throat for a second.

Based on the previous trailer and this, the entire plot of Dawn of Justice is easy to figure out. You could consider this spoiler-y, but this is all stuff I've gathered from the whopping six minutes of footage we've seen so far. The film will pick up at the end of Man of Steel, with Bruce Wayne witnessing what Supes and Zod can do. He'll freak out, and Luthor invites him and Clark to the same party where they chat about ideological differences. Things come to a head and they tussle, while Luthor, with the same concern as Bruce, reanimates Zod into Doomsday and sicks him on Supes and Bats, which causes them to unite and form an uneasy alliance that will balance the Justice League for the next twenty years or whatever.

It's time and time again Snyder just missing the damn point. The interesting part of this film is Batman fighting Superman and them overcoming whatever problems they have on their own. Obviously they can't kill each other, but they need to reach a level of respect for each other. This is hard to do, so there's a more blatant means of achieving that in a screenplay, which is their unification to battle a more powerful common foe.

Contrast this with Civil War, which is working from the reverse angle. The relationship built on mutual respect but not necessarily close friendship between Steve and Tony comes to a breaking point when Cap puts his buddy, Bucky over the interests of his duty as an Avenger and to his own government. There may be a Registration Act thing in there too at some point, and that would be cool, although it's not entirely necessary. It's hard to believe that like, the Scarlet Witch would give a shit about Bucky and fight for Cap, so that sort of makes more sense.

In the end, when watching the trailers back to back, I have to say I'm more impressed by the Civil War trailer. I don't mean to shit all over Dawn of Justice, because having those two icons clash together should be a huge captivating moment, putting the classic frenemy relationship on screen for the first time that's been developed over the past three quarters of a century in comic form. But you get way more feels from Civil War. Maybe that's because there's so much authenticity on screen with the proven relationships. It's kind of disturbing that it tends to highlight both Cap and Iron Man's predilection for black sidekicks, but with the addition of Black Panther, maybe that's mitigated?

Jeez, I just realized that Black Panther is the Wonder Woman of this film. They at least understand that the fight between heroes is enough, although there is supposed also Baron Zemo and Crossbones in the film. Maybe it will suck, after all.

What do you think? Am I reading far too much into these trailers? Has my nerdy film knowledge grown so large as to suck any enjoyment out of the barest of footages? Probably.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails