Saturday, 2 April 2016

Man, oh Man...

Nerd rage over Batman v Superman is clogging the internet. 

(spoiler warning)

World's Finest: All the following, aspirational artwork is by the incomparable Alex Ross.
And although I agree with most of it, I’ll try not to bother repeating it here.  As most of us seem able to concoct a more logical, intelligent and entertaining plot for this long-awaited film just a few minutes after having seen it, I’m going to present my own thoughts in the form of a scenario:

1975: just before tea-time.  
A young stick insect with a red beach towel tucked into the neck of his blue t-shirt is watching with bolt-upright attention as an episode of The Adventures of Superman begins on a small black and white TV set.  “Faster than a speeding bullet…” the rapt youngster mouths in time to the opening narration…

George Reeves and Adam West,  the superheroes of my childhood.
Suddenly a confusing special effect appears in front of the screen: a swirly, lightning-rimmed tunnel from which protrudes the head and shoulders of an older stick insect, shouting almost incoherently above the electrical crackling and reverb filter.

This is ‘Future Phas’ and he’s bringing himself an urgent warning from dark days yet to come.
“You like Superman, don’t you?  the apparition yells.  “In a few years time a couple of films are going to come along which you will just love.”
The young insect’s antennae flick upwards at this.

“At the moment you like him because he’s stronger than anyone else and can fly, but as you get older you’ll realise that Superman stands for so much more. Compassion, courage, the determination to try always to selflessly do the right thing, to help and protect others at any cost…”  

"...who came to Earth with powers far beyond those of mortal men..."
“The point is”, noting his younger self’s attention drifting back to the TV, he moves on quickly, “after the good films there will be some not-so-good ones.  But you’ll always find something to like about them, and keep hoping for better.”
“However,” He allows an ominous pause,  “in forty-one year’s time there will come a film which will betray all of those principles I just mentioned, and you must avoid it at all costs...” 

Future Phas shouts louder as the noise of the tunnel around him starts to increase:
“It’s going… to be called…  Batman v-v-v-v-v….” The last syllable elongates then cuts off like a needle being pulled off a record, as he suddenly winks forward to his own time.
“Batman?” mutters the little Phasmatodea in the abrupt silence, as he rises to fiddle with the vertical hold,  “I thought he was talking about Superman…”

Clark, Diana and Bruce from the conclusion of 'Kingdom Come'.
In the distant future, evil sometime-scientist, billionaire and occasional property developer Lex Luthor has hatched the perfect plan to finally destroy Superman.  He’s realised that propaganda is the best way to bring his nemesis down, so makes contact with someone who hates Superman almost as much as himself - a man called Frank Miller, and arranges to adapt one of this Writer/Artist’s most brutal works.

Luthor hatches a scheme to produce two propaganda films, three years apart. He’ll be subtle, posing as a director with the same amount of syllables in his name, even ending with the same letter. 
The first film will introduce doubts about Superman, undermining public trust in him and shifting the Man of Steel’s fundamentally benevolent nature. Then the follow-up will really go in for the kill.

In the next one Superman will be vilified, demonised, beaten, humiliated.  He’ll barely be given any lines so audiences will never hear his point of view, he’ll be made to act out of character not just for himself but any sane person, and finally he’ll be killed and buried. 
And although overlong and utterly joyless, if this film is marketed properly people in their millions all over the world will pay money to watch.  

To really cement Luthor’s victory he’ll even include a scene metaphorically showing exactly what this film really is, and will laugh long and hard when audiences everywhere raise that warm jar to their lips and drink it all down.

Alex Ross illustrates yet another sequence between the two leads 
better than anything currently on offer elsewhere.


  1. Umm... thanks? But s'OK - I'm well over it.

  2. Just in case you're not, here's a minority review:

    FWIW, I thought Supes made it through with his integrity intact. He's a righteous man in an unrighteous world. I hope they don't screw things up with an Injustice storyline for the next movie!