As the clouds of ambition subside over Bond and The Force at the end of the year, attention will once again focus on two of fantasy’s biggest draws. The next phase of comic-book adaptation beckons in 2016 as BATMAN V SUPERMAN – DAWN OF JUSTICE arrives in cinema screens.
With the advances in visual effects in recent decades, millions across the world have been waiting for a version of SUPERMAN that really encompasses what the character is about and hopefully captures some of the feeling that Richard Donner created in the 1978 classic. It’s sequel, SUPERMAN II, was started by Donner, but completed by Richard Lester for it’s 1980 release (Incidentally, both directors’ versions are available on Home DVD and Blu-Ray, so you can decide which is better)
Fans have been understandably bemused that a similar kind of concept for the Man of Steel has not truly excited them – in a way like the recent Marvel cinematic universe has.
Donner’s approach, like George Lucas with STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES, was to keep it real. In 2006 for example, Bryan Singer tried to resurrect some of Donner’s vision for SUPERMAN RETURNS, but the film under-performed to expectations. The other two sequels from that era, SUPERMAN III (1983) and SUPERMAN IV – THE QUEST FOR PEACE (1987) had nice ideas at the heart of them, but were undercut by poor story-telling and budget constraints, particularly in the fourth film, produced by The Cannon Group (who also had, at that time, a version of SPIDER-MAN on the cards to be directed by Albert Pyun, who helmed THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER (1982) and CYBORG (1989) with Jean-Claude Van Damme)
Much has been commented on the choice of Ben Affleck as the successor to Christian Bale and it remains to be seen how he will fit into the mold, but 26 years ago fans were also bemused in similar fashion by Michael Keaton’s casting. Here is the rare Burton BATMAN teaser that was released by Warner Bros to give fans a sense of what was happening. (Remember that, at the time, this was the first new version of the film since the 1960’s Adam West/Burt Ward TV series):
On balance, the indications from the trailer give a sense that the new film does have potential and will certainly give fans and critics something to think about when it opens next year.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN – DAWN OF JUSTICE is released in the UK on March 25th, 2016.