NB: This article contains spoilers for Man Of Steel
I make no denials: Man Of Steel was my favourite superhero film of 2013. Aside from Marvel’s movies, of which Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 3 were favoured by many, Zack Snyder’s epic reimagining/return/reboot (or however you may see fit to describe it) captivated me from beginning to end.
While Marvel’s carefully laid out planned phases are undoubtedly a delight and a stroke of genius on their part, DC and Warner Bros moved to shock the opposition with a gloriously large-scale return for one of the most coveted superheroes in the history of comics.
Many argued against Man Of Steel’s morals, namely in the dispatching of enemy Zod and the careless destruction of Metropolis and its inhabitants, but was this all, in fact, a clever plan for further films to follow?
Since its bow in cinemas, we have of course seen Ben Affleck confirmed as Batman, Gal Gadot cast in the role of Wonder Woman, and a story pitting Superman and Batman against one another setting the internet alight, suggesting that behind the scenes there may be some sort of long-term plan after all.
Some might suggest that DC and Warner are simply riding on the back of Christopher Nolan’s success with the Dark Knight trilogy, and that they’re hoping to continue this by integrating the remaining members of the DC Universe’s rich history. True, the Justice League movie is clearly the end game of sorts, but while on the surface it may seem a little disorganised, Warner obviously has its own agenda set out.
Consider this: Man Of Steel was the first move in what could prove to be the next stage for DC Comics in the cinema. Told on a grand scale, and bringing to life once again one of its biggest names, Man Of Steel kickstarted Warner’s mission to challenge the Marvel hit-making machine.
One of the major gripes audiences had with Man Of Steel was in Superman’s apparent lack of concern for Metropolis’ inhabitants, with the hero seemingly ignorant of the fact that during the fight between he, Zod and the other Kryptonians, carnage and death was occurring everywhere. And yet this very destruction could be the key that drives forward future DC films, beginning, of course, with Batman Vs Superman.
Imagine if you will, that a battle-hardened Batman arrives on the scene and is witness to the rubble and large scale carnage within Metropolis. A hero whose morals cause him to disavow murder, the Dark Knight attempts to turn the government against Superman and consequently starts a war between them and the Kryptonian, who’s looking to find a place for himself among human society.
It’s a perfect counter-balance which could surprise audiences, and really integrate a loathed and oft-questioned section of Man Of Steel into a continuing story by exploring its repercussions. This element could also aid the development of possible villain Lex Luthor. A long-teased character yet to make himself known, Luthor has always been a manipulative character in the DC Universe, and you could certainly imagine him using Superman’s tarnished reputation to his advantage.
Assuming Luthor does appear (Bryan Cranston and Joaquin Phoenix are on the list of actors reportedly set to play him), we could see a scintillating scenario play out in the sequel. Despite Superman forging some sort of an alliance with the military at the end of Man Of Steel, the arrival of Batman on the scene could well change that pretty quickly.
Although a vigilante, Batman could soon turn friend of the nation as he looks to right the wrongs of the Kryptonian. Not only this, but with Wayne Enterprises hopefully coming into play, director Zack Snyder could use a powerful weapon in combining the forces of Wayne Enterprises and LuthorCorp in a union to battle against the ‘enemy’ that is Superman. It would certainly set up an exciting story, finally pitting Batman and Superman against one another, all while the scheming Lex Luthor hatches plans to increase his personal wealth.
Where Wonder Woman comes into play is another challenging focus point, and it seems likely she may have something of a secondary part in the story for the time being. That being said, she’s one character of the utmost importance, so hopefully Warner have an ace up their sleeves with the appointment of Gal Gadot and can really portray the heroine in style.
There is also speculation that more heroes are set to make their bow, with the likes of The Flash and Green Lantern all rumoured to be included in some capacity. Overkill many will call it, and, while their appearances are inevitable at some stage, it seems the story will be edged towards Batman and Superman, with only slim pickings for the other individuals for now.
Snyder, David S Goyer and their team clearly have the plan of hinting at future characters in the film, something the DC television shows have proved superb at executing.
These predictions will hopefully come to pass in some form, and it’s more than possible that the most controversial moments of Man Of Steel are used very much like the post credit sequences of Marvel’s films, where they form the springboard for the story in the next.
So if Warner does tie the repercussions of the destructive events of the first film into Batman Vs Superman, and explores Superman’s emotional reaction to his deadly encounter with Zod, the studio could turn what has been seen by some as a negative into an inspired positive, and prove once and for all that, when it comes to handling the DC Universe on film, the studio really is planning ahead.
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