Batman vs Superman – Just how will this work?

Since Comic-Con 2013, all that most film/comic-book fans have been talking about is the announcement of Batman vs Superman, or more specifically the return of the Man of Steel franchise. With concrete details few and far between, there are some key questions that are dominating the fanboy/girl airwaves this week.

The most recent incarnation of Superman, played by Henry Cavill in 'Man of Steel'. Photo: Warner Bros.
The most recent incarnation of Superman, played by Henry Cavill in ‘Man of Steel’. Photo: Warner Bros.

David S Goyer, screenwriter on both Man of Steel and the Dark Knight films, announced at the 75th Anniversary Superman panel that the Superman sequel (slated for a 2015 release) will be a duel between the Caped Crusader and Kal-El. This surprising turn in the superhero movie craze has raised a lot of questions about where the film and the genre will go from here.

The titles that were bandied about at the talk all included ‘vs’, which seems to suggest much of the movie will be a battle between the two heroes. It seems a little far-fetched – even for the world of comic books – to presume that Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent will spend the entire air-time trying to tear each other to pieces. Presumably the rivals will be united in the name of good to vanquish one of the traditional villains as found in the original comics. But which villain will capture the attention of our (warring?) heroes?

The smart money here is on one of the Metropolis baddies, rather than anyone from Batman’s world; after all, this was supposed to be a Superman film, wasn’t it? Based on the occasional visual hint in Man of Steel, there is speculation that good ol’ Lex Luthor will have a major antagonistic role. There has been speculation online that Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s Mark Strong are being potentially lined up to play the bald-headed bad boy.

Following Zod’s defeat in the first instalment of Zack Snyder’s Superman chronicles, we’re sure to see a fresh rogue for the Big Blue Boyscout (and Batman) to contend with. There are already a number of names on the list – Brainiac, Darkseid, Bizarro – and at this point it’s tough to rule out any of the DC villains.

Of course, these questions are almost irrelevant compared to the main issue on fans’ minds: who will play Batman? After the acclaimed Batman trilogy from director Christopher Nolan, it seems unlikely that Christian Bale will be reprising his role as the Dark Knight, and all signs seem to point to a new face in the mask alongside Henry Cavill, who will return as Superman. Of course, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was revealed as Robin in Nolan’s Gotham in The Dark Knight Rises and it’s not implausible to continue the story this way.

As with all comic book movies, there is intense casting speculation online about who will take up the driving seat of the Batmobile. Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Richard Armitage and Jake Gyllenhaal are all racking up the mentions on social media, with the casting process not yet underway. Whoever the choice, public opinion is sure to be divided after the cult following the Dark Knight series garnered.

In the original comic book on which this storyline has been based, Batman is ultimately victorious over a weakened Superman. Goyer and Snyder seemed keen to emphasise at Comic-Con that the upcoming blockbuster will not be a cut-and-dry adaptation of the comic, but there do seem to be elements in common. It’s certainly an interesting debate: who would win, Batman or Superman? Empire Magazine’s online poll currently has a slim 51% majority going to Bruce Wayne.

Clearly there is much more speculation than fact at the moment, but that’s part of the fun of a hugely awaited movie like this. Details will probably be kept secret from the public for a good while yet as anticipation builds, which gives us more scope to argue our more wild casting/setting/theme ideas.

CUB would love to hear your ideas – who do you think will play Batman alongside Cavill’s Superman? Which villain will be wreaking havoc, and where will the action take place? These are all really important questions, and if Batman is too busy knocking seven bells out of Clark Kent to help us, we’ll have to come up with some answers for ourselves.

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