Posts tagged Avengers
Taking 5: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - a terrible subtitle for a movie that doesn’t need one
The full title of Batman v Superman was just revealed. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s… it’s not good. Worse, it’s unnecessary. And after thinking about it for a few munutes, I felt like I had to write something.
Let’s be very clear, I am excited to see Batman v Superman. I think Affleck is a really good choice for Batman and while I don’t really like Snyder’s movies I thought Man of Steel was OK and I’d like to see where he takes the franchise.
I also tend to criticize things that I love and care about. I wouldn’t waste my time otherwise. So let’s fly backwards around the earth a few times and go back to 2011.
2011’s Captain America movie had a subtitle. It was the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to receive one, and it’s the only movie in Phase One to have one. The full title, if you forgot, was Captain America: The First Avenger.
I used to read Captain America comics (up until he died in 2007… spoiler). Yes he was an Avenger, the leader of the Avengers for a while, but up until Marvel started making movies he was always second tier. Spider-Man, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, and The Hulk, have always been the top tier for Marvel. They are the most popular, and have been for decades. As much as I loved Iron Man he was always second tier. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and a hand full of X-men make up Marvel’s second tier.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a powerful second tier of superheroes, but you can’t compare the popularity of Captain America to Spider-Man. Spider-Man is leaps and bounds (pun intended) more popular.
There’s a reason why X-men, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Fantastic Four movies were (licensed and) made before Marvel started making movies on their own. Those were the most popular characters, and therefor the easiest to get made. Unfortunately since Marvel licensed those characters they are unable to bring many of them into the fold of the MCU. So they had to turn to their second tier characters and make them more visible (again this was pretty easy, since their second tier is full of very good characters).
By the time Captain America was released we had already seen the release of 2 Iron Man films, a Hulk (in the cinematic universe), and Thor. I think those characters are easier sells. Hulk is top tier after all and Iron Man, (well, aside from Robert Downy Jr crushing it,) the character has a dark side and is very human despite being a billionaire, genius, philanthropist. At this point everyone knew an Avengers movie was coming, it had been teased on the backs of four films already. But why would we, as an audience, want to see Captain America? What does a guy fighting Nazi’s have to do with The Avengers?
In this case, the subtitle “The First Avenger" was necessary. It told the audience, who probably only knew Cap on the surface, that his story was important to The Avengers (the movie and the team). It said, “he’s the first Avenger of many upcoming Avengers, and if you don’t see this movie you’re going to be lost.”
It’s a bit of a stretch, but it worked. Captain America was my least favorite of the MCU Phase 1 and I bet you could have seen the rest of Phase 1 and skipped Captain America and been fine. But the subtitle, as bad as it is, was necessary for Marvel to push their second tier hero out to the masses.
That brings us to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Batman. Superman. They are the two most popular, most recognizable superheroes of all time. DC has already put their names side by side in the title, and they’ve linked their logos together. You know what this movie doesn’t need? A subtitle. And to make things worse, it’s a pretty terrible subtitle.
Granted, I’ve been paying attention so I know this movie will set up/lead into the Justice League movie. And I know DC is shooting them back to back so they’ll release in 2016 and 2017. But a subtitle like Dawn of Justice only works when setting up for something bigger / more popular than the first film.
The Avengers as a team are more popular than Captain America as a hero. But Batman and Superman, on their own, are more popular than the whole of the Justice League. DC doesn’t need the Justice League to sell people on a Batman and/or Superman movie the way Marvel needed The Avengers to sell people on Captain America.
There’s a reason why Batman and Superman are still around and popular after almost 90 years. They have the staying power and adaptability very few pop culture icons have gained. The Justice League may be made up of several heroes, but without Batman or Superman that movie doesn’t get made.
But here we are. A Man of Steel sequel that gives the Dark Knight top billing and a subtitle that weakens the actual title. We’ve got two more years of this, so glad we’re getting the rough stuff out of the way. See you guys at the theatre in 2016.
Whoa! Ultron is going to be awesome. And /Film has the scoop.
Hopefully this is an indication that Ultron will have a bond villain style monologue, as he prepares to kill one of the Avengers.