Superhero Debate

Discussing the rise and fall of ‘Dawn of Justice’ and the upcoming ‘Civil War’, in a popular debate of modern cinema.


A popular discussion topic for me of recent, is the ideology behind superhero movies. Their sudden appearance into the spotlight of film discussion and cinema critique is an interesting one to follow and become part of. My article, first written for and published with Starskify, dips briefly into Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and it’s success/downfall along with it’s comparison with the  upcoming Civil War (2016) epic.

One primary debate that is currently most dominant between film enthusiasts and comic fanatics alike, is the exhibition of conflict between DC’s two most supreme superheroes of the current era. Battles between The Dark Knight of Gotham and supposedly God-like Man of Steel has repeatedly been a matter of controversy in regards to which would conclude as the superior hero. The emergence of the latest instalment in the DC cinematic universe has been seen as a delicate angle on these two commanding figures – arguably the top two most popular individuals. Having smashed the box office during the opening weekend, despite the lacklustre reviews that followed from every direction, we endeavour to question to whether or not it was, in fact, the orthodox resolution to the super dispute. When reflecting the ideology of this debate, we are yet to have a resolute conclusion, as it is nowadays unorthodox to see a dispute between superheroes on screen.

The Ultimate Hero

Attempting to retrieve a final victor between the duo from this particular cinematic feature is tough, as there evidently isn’t a materialised champion during the focal battle. There is no apparent reasoning behind the aggressive conflict, the duo simply don’t agree on the morals behind justice and what is right for the cities they strive to protect. When it comes down to it, the basis that the dispute is focused on is the simple ideology to please audiences, particularly from the production side of the feature. As it is such a controversial discussion that a lot of viewers want to see resolved, the task of making this somewhat of a reality is a difficult one. Presenting two of the most iconic and highly regarded figures, not just the DC universe alone, but across the superhero franchises, is a laborious task to please every audience stereotype. Despite director Zach Snyder’s endeavour to produce an accurate portrayal of the characters inspired by the comics, it’s going to be a constant duty to please faithful readers. The duty may demonstrate multiple difficulties; hence, this may be why this attempt did marginally fall at many obstacles. We, as an audience, are still yet to observe the true conclusion to the ongoing confrontation.

The subtle yet exceedingly longwinded presentation of Diana Prince building up to her appearance in the Wonder Woman cape, was a satisfying and seemingly positive presentation of the somewhat unexplored hero. Audiences were introduced to her splendour in the heavy exhibition during the promotion and trailer viewings of the feature, so her sudden appearance was far from a surprise. Critics and overseers now anticipate the upcoming solo feature for Gal Gadot’s character set to be released next year, pleased with how she has so far portrayed the ambiguous woman.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – source: Warner Bros.

Watching Wonder Woman – particularly in the concluding battle against Luthor’s inane experiment – displays an exciting vigour that wasn’t as evident in the protagonist characters. She stood out from the trio, although her emergence into the battle did seem unnecessary – aside from the obvious suggestion to a forthcoming Justice League instalment. She does even authorise some suggestions regarding her as more of a dominant figure within the triad of heroes. Particularly in this appearance, we can even assume Wonder Woman as the leading lady, in substitution of Batman or Superman appearing victorious.

A Common Battle

It’s not just DC that are bringing together popular figures in epic battles, as Marvel’s comic crossover is set to be presented onscreen in May this year. A seemingly coincidental affair to be privileged with two huge releases of hero spectacle within such a short period of time, these examples are substantial for comic and film adherents alike. The pressure for both Marvel and DC is high, ultimately facing criticism from immense ranges of audiences, some proportions more demanding and analytical than others. Either way, the materialisation of the films creates more excitement for the graphic books. Personally, my enthusiasm for the original sources of inspiration and adaptation has risen due to the presence of these new mediums.

Captain America: Civil War (2016) – source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Now seeing more and more additions to the hero motion picture territory, the industry accordingly will bring a large profit from these adaptations. The promotion of these upcoming installments alone bring a massive build up – Spiderman appearing in the Civil War trailer exclusively brought major pleasure for the whole online community revolved around the franchises. It’s the arrival of these big names that brings both anticipation and a certain degree of doubt for the future of superheroes and their cinematic involvements, and we can only hope that the productions of these cherished characters are given the justice the deserve.

Would love to hear responses this debate! Do you think there are too many movies revolving around Superheroes in modern cinema? Are trailers revealing too much or producing too much hype?

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