The climactic action at the end of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel rained destruction down upon the fictional city of Metropolis and all the people who lived there. And it was all collateral damage due to a war being waged between two superpower charged beings — one a villain and the other Superman, the hero. In a post 9/11 world, it was not something a lot of moviegoers could just chalk up to fiction — it had come too close to reality.
Ultimately, it has raised some interesting questions about the superhero franchise: what responsibility does the superhero have towards the people he’s protecting? Does he have to worry about saving everyone while also tackling the big bad evil that’s trying to destroy them? It’s a big duty but clearly one today’s audience wants to see the superhero wrestling with.
Marvel seems to have taken that desire to heart. Joss Whedon clarified when he sat down with Vulture and they asked him how he and Marvel President, Kevin Feige, wanted to go about portraying any urban destruction.
“Something that Kevin and I talked about from the start was that we’d seen a little bit of a trend in movies where the city gets destroyed and the heroes say, ‘We won!’ And I’m thinking, Define ‘win.’ We knew that we wanted to play with a lot of big, fun destruction, but at the same time, we wanted to say, ‘There’s a price for this.’ So we got very specific about it, because whether the Avengers are heroes or not is called into question in this movie, or whether the hero as a concept is still useful for society. It sort of becomes the central issue in the final battle, and it’s also a good way for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to be put at a disadvantage.”
Marvel takes a different road in their universe and Whedon summed it up like this, “What a hero does is not just beat up the bad guy — a hero saves the people.”
— 4 Your Excitement (@4_Y_E) April 17, 2015
It has been Marvel versus DC since the late 1940s when Marvel joined DC on the superhero comic scene. And, arguably, DC has the more recognizable names in Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman but despite that, Marvel surpassed them when they moved into the first phase of the development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man. Now DC is taking its first steps into their larger universe with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, set to release next year, but according to Stan Lee, in an interview with the Toronto Sun, they’ve got their work cut out for them.
“DC, of course, is trying to catch up to Marvel. More power to them. It’s good if everybody does well, but they’re certainly starting from a ways back. They have a lot of catching up to do. But [the problem is] Marvel has so many heroes. DC just has Superman, Batman and maybe Wonder Woman. Perhaps they’ll use The Flash. Green Lantern wasn’t very successful, but we’ll see.”
DC has scored hits on the television landscape with Arrow and The Flash so that might crossover to the movie theaters if it’s handled well.
Find out whether the Avengers remain the superheroes who save the populace they’re supposed to be protecting or if they slip into “win at any cost” territory when Avengers: Age of Ultron opens on May 1.
[Image via transcend-gaming.com]