Heroic Hollywood is reporting a big rumor about Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that, if true, is quite troubling. According to their sources, the Brothers Warner are so pleased with Affleck’s performance as Batman that they are insisting that more of his work make it into the final cut of the film, which is currently in post-production. I like that they are pleased enough with his performance to want more. That’s the good part.
The bad part is that the second half of this insistence is that Henry Cavill’s scenes as Superman be cut back. Whether it be a desire to center the focus on Batman from here on out or a reaction to Cavill’s The Man From UNCLE (by most accounts a very entertaining film) not doing well for the studio in theaters last month, this is a depressing edict if true. Why am I so grim on the idea? Because things were initially supposed to be different.
It’s no secret that Warner Bros. has been Batman-obsessed since Tim Burton’s film exploded onto screens in 1989. They’ve been cranking out product ever since. Some of it has been great, some of it hasn’t been. Ever in the years between Batman & Robin (1997) and Batman Begins (2005), there was always Batman action going on in animated form on television and there was always a new live action film in development. Batman, Batman, Batman…..Batman out the wahzoo!
Don’t get me wrong, I love the character and I enjoy most of the Batman films to date. That said, after Christopher Nolan capped off his trilogy in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises, I thought we might finally get a cinematic rest from the Caped Crusader’s dark escapades for awhile. Then Man of Steel hit the following year. The critical community remains divided over the film to date, but on the whole, audiences seemed to take to this new incarnation of Krypton’s last son. While it was a hit, it apparently didn’t hit hard enough according to WB’s standards. What was initially meant to simply be Man of Steel 2 now became a Batman & Superman two-hander at the behest of the studio. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was born.
I was hoping that the Batfever would end there. That we would be given a super team-up film where the titular heroes were at least on equal footing in terms of screentime, if not skewing a little more in favor of Superman. Batman’s introduced into this new DC Cinematic Universe was inevitable and him coming in so soon after its inception meant that he would undoubtedly be a core focus of it. Still, I hoped that Cavill’s Superman might be able to stand alongside him as an equal across not only BvS, but also both announced Justice League films. After all, we are getting a solo Batman film with Affleck (presumably in 2018) and a bit o’ Bats action in Suicide Squad, so surely they’d let Cavill have plenty of the spotlight in the team-up films, since there seems to be no Man of Steel 2 on the horizon at all?
How foolish of me. If this rumor proves true, and as a friend of mine said earlier today, it sounds boneheaded enough to actually be real, then it’s going to be the Batman show once more for the next decade when it comes to DC films from Warner Bros. While it’s nice that we will finally have the other DC heroes alongside him, that’s still infinitely disappointing to me. I love Batman, but after EIGHT feature films with him at the forefront, I’m reading for a focus on some others for awhile.
Batman is a necessity, but he doesn’t need to be the sole focus anymore. Not when we have Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg, and Shazam as well. Speaking of Wonder Woman, with WB so eager to trim Cavill’s Superman from the film to make room for more Batman, odds are that Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is being cut back as well. After all, her name isn’t in the title like Supes and she hasn’t been featured much in the previews, so it’s not like regular audiences will notice.
I’m happy that WB is super pleased with Affleck. I’m happy that it sounds like Ben has a great new take on the character and I’m excited to see him fill that role for years to come. What I’m not happy about is the prospect that more Batfleck will come at the cost of less Superman (and likely Wonder Woman) in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice this March. The world has seen plenty of Batman in the past 26 years. It’s high time that he step out of the light, even if only a little, and allow others a chance to shine.
I’m not mad at you, Warner Bros. I’m just disappointed.