We offer Zack Snyder a few pointers for his ambitious superhero sequel.
Dear Mr Snyder,
You’ve probably noticed that, every time some new piece of information about Batman v Superman gets released online, it’s greeted by indifference at best, and laughter at worst. Presumably, this isn’t the reaction you want for the film that you’re hoping will set up a superhero universe to compete with Marvel’s. So, we here at Screen Robot thought we’d give you some advice on how to make this film as good as it arguably needs to be. We want this movie to be great as much as you do.
Where Marvel had five films to introduce the Avengers, you’re just flinging the members of the Justice League at this film
First off, calm down. Every impression we’ve had so far is that the production team is in a mad scramble without any real idea what they’re actually doing – the fact that you keep adding characters to the film suggests you don’t even have a finished script. Pushing the release date back to 2016 was a good idea, but you’re frankly trying too hard to set up all your characters. Where Marvel had five films to introduce the Avengers, you’re just flinging the members of the Justice League at this film, regardless of how much sense they make, in an attempt to actually get people excited.
Now, credit where it’s due, you do have some great actors lined up. Jason Momoa as Aquaman? Awesome. And we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt about Jesse Eisenberg – after all, everyone thought Heath Ledger was a terrible choice for the Joker, and look how that turned out. But for a film that’s called Batman v Superman, you’re throwing an awful lot of secondary characters at it, and people are worried that it’s going to end up as just an extended trailer for the Justice League movie. Also, the latest rumour is that Doomsday’s going to be in it, and Doomsday is just awful. Do not put him in the movie.
If it is the case that your script is being developed as you go along – and with two years to release, you have plenty of time for re-writes anyway – you might want to consider firing David Goyer. Yes, we know he co-wrote the Dark Knight films, although he did collaborate with Christopher and Jonah Nolan on those, but most of the rest of his resume is undistinguished at best. He’s not Roberto Orci levels of terrible, but he’s not great, and you would win a lot of fandom goodwill by finding another screenwriter. He is, after all, the guy who decided it would be a great idea for Superman to straight up snap his enemy’s neck.
You’re probably better off getting a writer who has respect for the source material. May we suggest Paul Dini and Bruce Timm?
And of course, there’s the small matter of that interview a couple of months ago, where, in discussing She-Hulk and the Martian Manhunter (one of the Justice League’s founding members), he was wildly misogynistic about the one and outright contemptuous of the other. Need we remind you that this is the man responsible for the big screen debuts of Wonder Woman and the Justice League? You’re probably better off getting a writer who actually has some respect for the source material. May we suggest Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, creators of the genuinely brilliant Justice League cartoon?
And while it seems increasingly likely that Superman’s going to get lost in the shuffle of all the other characters in this film, it wouldn’t be a good idea to neglect him. You had your fun with Superman murdering people in the last movie, but if you have him regret killing Zod and swearing never to kill again as a result, Man of Steel will look better in hindsight. You’re putting Batman in the movie, let’s not forget, and there’s no point having both him and Superman be grim, mopey characters, which is why the teaser images of both of them have been so roundly mocked. One of them needs to be a bit more optimistic and light-hearted to provide a contrast, and unless you’re modelling the new Batman on Tony Stark (which would be a great idea, by the way), it probably should be Superman.
We’ve written about this before, but generally making the movie a bit less relentlessly downbeat would be a good idea too. You don’t need to make things as comedic as the Avengers films – we already have one universe of funny, wise-cracking characters, and there’s nothing wrong with trying to take Batman and Superman a bit more seriously – but it shouldn’t be depressing. And so far, it looks like this film’s going to be depressing. Maybe use the same tone as the aforementioned Justice League cartoon, which had plenty of serious drama in amongst the fun superhero stories. Alternatively, just go full Brave and the Bold and give Batman a lightsaber. That works too.
Oh, and since Wonder Woman’s going to be in it, beef up her role and call the movie The World’s Finest. And make Jesse Eisenberg shave his head.
Sincerely, Screen Robot.
All images: Warner Bros