Well, the last week or so has been interesting if you're a Superman fan, hasn't it? After months of hearing news that pertained almost exclusively to the other characters in his sequel, we finally started to see the focus shift back to Big Blue, himself. We had Henry Cavill sightings in Detroit, with excited fans chatting up the actor and seemingly getting him to spill important bits of info. Then, on Friday, we got to find out who Snyder and Co. have cast as Superman's nemesis, Lex Luthor.
Yes, the casting of Jesse Eisenberg started a firestorm of discussion. It was a meme-ready casting, for sure- with my favorites being about how fans wanted Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston), and instead they got Eisenberg. This has lead to several of our brother sites around the web posting columns about why we should all give the Social Network actor a chance. At this stage of the game, I am neither for or against his casting. It will all depend on the writing. But I will pose this question to the "give him a chance" group: With so many fans all ready having to give Affleck and Gadot chances, wouldn't it be nice to see one resounding slam dunk with one of these castings? You're asking your audience to overcome quite a few reservations, all in one film, with a cast like this. It's not like with Heath Ledger- who people initially were skeptical of- who was surrounded by a resoundingly adored cast in The Dark Knight.
That's not the case this time. They're essentially saying, "Hey, we know you're going to have problems with three of the marquee characters in this film...but give it a shot anyway!" I think a safe bet with Lex might've been wiser.
But this piece isn't just about Eisenberg and Luthor. It's about the state of DC's upcoming slate of movies, as a whole. There's chatter all over the web about a variety of things. There are folks pointing out that WB/DC seems to be moving away from the "From The Makers of The Dark Knight Trilogy" approach- creating some space between Batman vs Superman and Nolan/Goyer. There are other journalists that suspect director Zack Snyder is going to attempt to address the criticisms leveled at Man of Steel with this next film. There are others, still, who view Ben Affleck as becoming the mastermind of the future of DC films. Also, the back-to-back rumors that I first reported on continue to gather steam.
There's an awful lot to sort through here. But I'm going to attempt to touch on, and respond, to some of what's floating around the web.
"Eisenberg's Luthor Is Going To Vilify Superman For The Destruction in MOS And Justify Snyder's Choices In That Film"
Ever since Snyder killed off, according to him, "5,000" innocent civilians in Man of Steel, there have been fans who thought such catastrophic destruction was gratuitous. Some have attempted to justify Snyder's decisions by saying that it'll all pay off in the sequel. Some also think that the casting of a meager actor like Eisenberg in the role of Lex helps validate that theory. They think he'll attempt to be the voice of "the little guy"; an advocate for the human lives destroyed in the wake of Superman's destructive first day on the job.
To that theory, I say: Not so fast.
In order for Snyder to properly address what he did in the first film, he first has to acknowledge that he understands the complaint. From past comments on the topic, though, it's clear he doesn't. He thinks the issue is strictly about the death toll and the amount of destruction. That indicates he's missing the fundamental issue- Superman's lack of care, or of any real attention paid to the loss of life around him.
The director once drew a comparison to The Avengers and how Whedon "leveled" New York, yet no one seemed to care about that decision. The difference is, in Whedon's movie, we at least saw the heroes addressing the carnage. They were depicted rescuing civilians, strategizing to minimize the damage, inspiring others to help out, and being concerned about the collateral damage. In Man of Steel, such humane elements were barely touched during the 40 minutes of endless destruction- which is odd for a character whose whole identity revolves around wanting to help others at all costs.
With that in mind, and with the knowledge that Snyder will now have even more creative control, I think it's a long shot that he'll tackle things in a satisfying, meaningful way.
Are The Folks At WB/DC Realizing That The Goyer/Nolan Team Was Wrong For Superman?
I can't really answer that question better than Mark Hughes did so, as I did in an article about Goyer earlier today, I'll just link you to his thoughts on the matter right here. In essence, though, he points out how Man of Steel fell short of the mark that WB/DC was aiming for, and that it would appear that the studios are trying to quietly shift the course of their DC properties away from the folks that did such brilliant work with Batman.
Villains & Back-To-Back Filming?!
The lowdown, in terms of villains, has been confusing these last few months. We've heard Lex Luthor, we've heard Metallo, and we've even heard Doomsday. Well, Lex has now been confirmed. But who else? Which of the other two? I think it's fair to say...BOTH. How? Easy.
Remember how I first reported that insiders agreed with my hunch that Batman vs Superman and Justice League were filming back-to-back? Have you noticed how all the news that's come out since then has seemingly pointed in that direction? So, if we are to assume that this will be the case, then these next two films are really going to be one long film. One crazy production, cut in the middle to make two movies. With that in mind, I'm ready to lay out my own theory as to how this will play out:
BvS will feature Lex Luthor and Metallo with, perhaps, a few well-placed teases of Doomsday- Maybe Lois will have a subplot, investigating weird earthquakes and tremors occurring in an area with no known fault line? While she looks into that, and eventually uncovers that the quakes are coming from Doomsday, whose awoken several miles beneath the earth within a ship that crash landed here thousands of years ago, Superman and Batman deal with Lex and Metallo. At the end of the film, Doomsday breaks free, the other members of the Justice League show up, and it ends on a cliffhanger. Then Justice League will center on a variation of the Death of Superman books.
This whole scenario is just something I cooked up in my head, mind you. But it's because I've heard folks in-the-know mention all three villains, and I'm just trying to figure out how all three could fit into the equation.
Is Ben Affleck DC's "Man"?
With Nolan and Goyer's influence being downplayed, and with Snyder's Man of Steel not catching the kind of fire WB/DC was expecting, some folks think WB has turned to Ben Affleck to help right the ship. After all, they offered him the reigns to Justice League some time ago, and then came back to him when it was time to cast Batman. Then he brought on his Argo writer, Chris Terrio, and now Terrio is being credited as the writer of Batman vs Superman in the WB's latest press release. Even the consensus amongst common fans is that Affleck was brought on as an actor-director to help make sure Snyder's choices don't come off the rails.
There seems to be some validity to it, actually. Though I'm skeptical about how excited that should make anyone. I'm an Affleck fan. And aside from his too high-pitched voice, and lack of ever seeming truly intimidating, I'm very intrigued to see what he does with the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. But what's his pedigree? What on his resumé makes WB/DC think he's the man to guide their most important franchise? When Marvel put their films on Whedon's shoulders, it made sense based on his track record. When LucasFilm turned to Abrams, that clicked because of his past success with sci-fi, action, and resuscitating classic properties (Star Trek, Mission: Impossible). But what's on Affleck's docket that makes him "the guy" for DC?
I'm going to let you answer that question because, clearly, it's a highly subjective topic and I'm kind of caught in-between having faith and being highly skeptical. Let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading, cool kids.
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