Superman in 'Superman.'

Should ‘Superman 2’ Set Before ‘Batman v Superman’ Or Not? [Opinion]

Many people are wondering whether the events in the newly announced Superman 2 will take place before the highly controversial Batman v Superman or afterward. Some are suggesting that positioning Superman 2 between the first Superman movie and the very dark Batman v Superman would give the new director a chance to offer up a somewhat brighter and more optimistic version of the character. But is this really true?

As pointed out by the good folks over at Collider, the new version of Superman has never been what you could call “happy.” Even in the first Superman produced in the new Warner Bros./DC universe, Henry Cavill’s portrayal of the Man of Tomorrow was far from sunny and content. At times, he seemed downright gloomy.

Yes, you might think that a character that has super strength, super speed, super hearing, heat vision, near invulnerability, and the ability to fly could find a way to be happy somehow. But Zack Snyder’s initial version of Superman seemed almost suicidally depressed throughout the entire film. And this didn’t really change with his portrayal in Batman v Superman.

Unfortunately, there is a tendency in filmmaking today to think that if a movie is a dark and ultra-serious, it’s somehow more legitimate and more important. This may be why most of the films that win the best picture Oscar are grim as death.Of course, there is an exception to everything. This can be seen in the Academy awarding best picture to Shakespeare in Love instead of Saving Private Ryan.

Still, a lot of the moroseness from Superman was the result of director Zack Snyder’s vision for this character and the whole Warner/DC cinematic universe. Snyder and Warner executives wanted the DC films to be way darker, grimmer and more serious than the much more colorful and “fun” Marvel films.

This is why inserting Superman 2 between these two films and having Superman himself be the kind of jocular, smiling character Christopher Reeve presented us with decades ago in the Richard Donner films wouldn’t make much sense.

Somehow, the filmmaker would have to explain Superman’s psychological ups and downs from the first film to the last. While this might be possible, it would also probably be annoying for the film going audience. Certainly, critics wouldn’t like it.

A much better chronological option for Superman 2 would be for the film to be positioned in the timeline somewhere after the upcoming Justice League film. Given that Warner Bros. is currently doing a lot of housecleaning and restructuring when it comes to their DC universe – following the disappointment of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad – placing it after Justice League would be the perfect opportunity for the director and writers to provide a happier Superman.

The reason for this is quite simple. As those of you who have seen BVS know – spoilers if you haven’t seen it – Superman dies at the end fighting doomsday. Obviously, we already know from the fact he has been cast in Justice League that he’s not going to stay dead. All comic book fans realize that characters can never really die.

But from a psychological and storytelling standpoint, Superman’s death offers the chance to have a somewhat more optimistic and positive version of the Man of Steel. After all, near death – or in Superman’s case, real death – experiences have a tendency to change a person.

So instead of placing Superman 2 in the timeline before Batman v Superman, it would make more sense from a continuity standpoint to have a new version of Superman popping up after his next appearance and resurrection in Justice League.

[Featured Image by Warner Bros.]

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