The groundbreaking news revealed at Comic-Con last week was that Man of Steel 2 isn't going to be a straight up Superman sequel. Rather, it will feature the first ever big screen pairing of Kal-El and Batman, going toe-to-toe, if the proposed title Man of Steel 2: Batman vs. Superman is any indication. As you can guess, this has sent the internet into overdrive as we debate what should happen in the film, what can happen in the film, and should this film even happen? Ever? Etc.
One thing this does do is open up the original Man of Steel film a lot. Lets be honest, while there was a lot to like about what Zack Snyder brought the screen, there was also a lot that left the viewership polarized.
Was the movie too choppily edited?
Were the characters developed too much and thus had no mystique (ie. boring)?
Were they developed in the same cookie cutter way they usually are in superhero movies?
Was the action out of this world or simply out of hand?
Initially, talk was what Man of Steel 2 should be about, which bad guys he should face, where he should venture to and more This all changed when he got a new co-star.
A little guy named Bruce Wayne.
How should this pairing of two of the most iconic superheroes be handled? What should we expect from a film like this? Should they be buddies? Enemies? Frenemies? Which one should be the bad guy? The good guy?
After much debate, we boiled it down to "5 Things That Must Happen When Batman and Superman Team Up in Man of Steel 2."
1 Bring back the Joker!
They did it in The Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest animated film and it seems like the right thing to do here. Before you go off and say that the late Heath Ledger created an indelible character and there's nothing anybody else could do with him, we would say you are both right and wrong. The late actor brought a villain to screen that movie audiences had heretofore never seen. However, it wasn't too long before we saw Ledger in green hair that we wondered how he could follow an actor as weighty as Jack Nicholson in that role.
Ledger makes Nicholson's Joker look like a joke. Literally. So if this movie were to find the right Joker (just like they need to find the right actor to fill the Batman suit), then we could potentially have something else people have never seen on the big screen before. Add to this all the new mayhem that a new Joker could bring (hopefully drawing on today's headlines like Christopher Nolan's films did), and this whole Superman/Batman mash-up could make this "sequel" easily transcend its predecessor. Oh, and have you been watching Under the Dome? Here's an idea for casting The Joker. Hire this kid, Alexander Koch. Maybe he's too young, but playing Junior Rennie, a sociopath that's kept his girlfriend chained in his father's bombshelter, brings the right vigor, brutality, smarm, evilness, and even compassion that The Joker needs. And he's got a mouth that needs no extra CGI effect.
2 And While You're At It...Bring Back Lex Luthor
Having seen the bald baddie in World's Finest and the animated movie Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, it stands to reason that there is certainly room in this cast for this character. Also, since a LexCorp tower was seen in the original Man of Steel, having Lex Luthor be in this film would be Zack Snyder's way of paying off on a promissory note.
Putting Batman in this film was a bold idea. Having Lex Luthor involved would not only raise the stakes, but it would allow this franchise to really spread its wings and fly off on its own. Studios are rebooting and remaking everything nowadays. What they aren't doing with the franchise is anything really different. Is The Amazing Spider-Man 2 going to be any different from the first one or the Tobey Maguire films before it? The same could be asked about Thor: The Dark World and especially The Wolverine.
By stacking this film with iconic characters it is as if Warner Bros. is drawing a line in the sand. It is separating itself from those other films and saying, "That's how those safe films over there do it." Man of Steel 2 went from being something we were interested in to something we can't stop talking about now. This says nothing of what could be done with a Lex Luthor character. How his origin story might be told. Again, if the right headlines are incorporated, considering how people feel about politicians today, Lex Luthor, the ultimate politician, might just be the character to adequately tap into that rage.
Also, Batman vs. Superman is just as important as Lex Luthor vs. The Joker. Both team ups in the same movie seem pretty necessary.
3 Its Called Vs. for a Reason, Don't Let Them Become Friends Too Fast!
As World's Finest and Public Enemies have shown us, the relationship between Superman and Batman can't be because they're already friends so they help each other out (although, at some point they're both going to have the other's back). They have to have a common cause for teaming up. Batman isn't going to play wet nurse for Superman and vice versa. Whether they are battling (ideally) The Joker, Silver Banshee, Nightshade or whoever, their alliance, much like that of Hitler and the Japanese has to be a "marriage of convienience."
Think of films like Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours, Tango & Cash or even Training Day. What made these lawful films work? Because at various times we didn't know what side of the law our main characters were on. The best parts were when the people we trusted broke the law but had a good reason for doing so; most likely having the back of the person they didn't 100% trust. A Martin Riggs/Roger Murtaugh relationship is exactly what is needed between Superman and Batman, otherwise all we're left with is two good guys being...Good.
Also, these superheroes cannot, under any circumstances, be fighting over the same woman. We all love Amy Adams, she is a wonderful, but the two baddest men on the planet are not going to go to the well over her. In this day and age of trying to over-humanize our superheroes, love is seen is the ultimate motive to sacrifice oneself for. Maybe it is...But not in this movie. Which leads us too...
4 Make The Human Stuff Interesting for a Superhuman
Moviewatchers aren't paying close to $15 a clip to see Superman and Batman resemble them on the screen. If that was the case then Before Midnight would have made $128 million at the box office it's opening weekend. Enough of the seen it before backstory crap. We know that Superman had a tough time as kid because he was from another planet. We know that Batman was scarred for life because he lost his parents at such a young age. Seeing their demise obviously didn't help.
We don't need any reminder's of this when we see Man of Steel 2. Just get right to the story. Show us the main characters, show us the problem, and show us how (and why) together, Batman and Superman can solve it. Basically, show us why Superman and Batman had to share a movie together and why it's a big deal. If this is done effectively, Man of Steel 2 won't just be talked about because of this groundbreaking pairing, it will be talked about the way we dissect such films as The Dark Knight and Marvel's The Avengers. No matter how you slice it, whether you are a superhero fan or not, those were good movies.
5 Bring On the Superhero Smackdown
While Man of Steel gave us a finale in which it seemed like the screen was throwing up CGI, that treatment is precisely what Man of Steel 2 needs. Anything less and we're looking at a denouement akin to Ang Lee's abysmal Hulk film.
These two superbeings have to go at it. It isn't enough for Batman to knock Superman into a building. Superman has to be able to storm back and punch Batman right up to Pluto. If these two superheroes are just bashing into buildings or barns, they may as well be two average joes fighting in a bar. Sure, I know that Bruce Wayne doesn't have superpowers on the level of Superman, but if Frank Miller can make a battle between them something we all want to see, then it stands to reason that so can Zack Snyder.
However, as bad as we want to see these two icons go at it, there should be a bit of a discussion over who won the battle. Think how much more gravitas The Dark Knight has because the Joker was left hanging at the end? Lastly, does anybody really know who won the bloody battle between Freddy vs. Jason? Not really, because, sometimes...Not knowing is a good thing.
What do you think? What do you want to see happen in Man of Steel 2?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes to theaters March 25th, 2016 and stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons. The film is directed by Zack Snyder.