Should any DC fanboy happen across this article, relax: I’m still heading out to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (or as one of my friends calls it Batman v Superman: Eggs in One Basket). Personally, I’m not as emotionally invested as say, my father. He’s a life-long Batman fan and is stoked to see the Dark Knight mop the floor with the Man of Steel.
However, I was still very much looking forward to seeing how the rivalry and opposing viewpoints of these two giants of the comic book world would play out. To some degree, I still am.
However, a couple of days ago, something happened that triggered a mild panic, one that’s been growing with each passing day. With it, my overall enthusiasm for Batman v Superman has slowly plummeted. What happened?
Well, this happened.
I’m sure some of you are very confused. How can a Netflix trailer for a Marvel TV show possibly erode my anticipation for an upcoming DC/Warner Bros. movie? Let me explain.
A major premise of Batman v Superman, from the title itself to practically everything we’ve seen thus far, is that Batman and Superman are totally different men with completely different philosophies when it comes to fighting crime. They don’t seem to like or trust each other, and it eventually comes to blows.
Now, let’s look at the introduction of Frank Castle aka the Punisher on Daredevil. This is a man who has lost everything. In his mind, the “bad guys” are winning, and the “good guys” aren’t going far enough to make them pay. Daredevil wants to stop villains and put them in jail. The Punisher wants to make sure villains are incapable of wiggling through a corrupt legal system by killing them.
When compared to the second conflict, the one between Batman and Superman feels heavily contrived. About as contrived as the scenario that “forced” Superman to kill General Zod in Man of Steel. Yes, Batman hits hard, but the character tends to terrify criminals rather than putting them six feet under anyway they can. Besides, with Superman being an alien from another planet who technically had a role in turning Earth to mush, he’s really in no position to judge.
I was already struggling to buy this conflict because heroes fighting each other is the “in thing” right now. But when placed side-by-side against a conflict that genuinely makes sense, this contrived opposition seems rather insulting to my intelligence. Daredevil is struggling with his moral compass. Even so, he knows there’s a line he will not cross.
Daredevil implies that even though the main character didn’t step over the line, his vigilante actions inadvertently led to the creation of someone much worse than himself. In a way, the blame for the existence of the Punisher even extends to the Avengers, who seem to be more pre-occupied with global villains than how their actions strengthened the hold of criminals over poorer, vulnerable residents.
Talk about no good deed going unpunished.
The good news where Batman v Superman is concerned is that it’s only partially about this alleged conflict. It’s also meant to be the vehicle by which other Justice League members are introduced to the DC Cinematic Universe. Hence, the Dawn of Justice portion of the title.
The bad news is that I strongly suspect we’re going to get two different movies haphazardly pasted together into one movie with a horribly miscast Lex Luthor. It will no doubt be visually stunning, but I am now convinced that the storytelling will suffer.
I’m hoping to be wrong (and feel free tell me why I’m wrong and make me less panicky), but usually when I get these gut-sinking feelings about films, I seldom am. If you hear someone, somewhere in the distance wail, “I knew it!” during Batman V Superman‘s opening weekend, it will be me.