By Dustin Brewer
We take a look at just how absurd the upcoming 2016 team-up “Superman vs Batman” film is getting with the latest casting news to come out.
What started as a simple sequel to “Man of Steel” has evolved into an event that will either put DC films in a legitimate rivalry with Marvel Studios or it will spell the last time we see a DC hero on a movie screen ever again.
Everyone expected Zack Snyder to return as director for the sequel (he is) and that Henry Cavil would reprise the title role as Superman (yep, he’s back) but after that, details were few and far between.
Then things started getting crazy.
Warner Bros. announced that the sequel would also act as a reboot for their only superhero cash cow, Batman, fresh off of 2012’s Dark Knight Rises, which capped Christopher Nolan’s impeccable trilogy.
To reboot the franchise so quickly after the last installment seemed a bit odd but with so much money to make in superhero movies, it’s not that big a surprise. The casting of Ben Affleck as Batman though, that turned a few heads and got people talking.
After that, news was a bit dormant until it was announced that they’d cast an actress to play Wonder Woman.
What?! Are we skipping all of the individual movies and jumping straight to a Justice League team up to fight “the Avengers”? Warner Bros. stayed tight lipped on it and maintained it was a sequel to “Man of Steel” first and foremost.
Then, the most telling move yet; they postponed the release from Summer 2015 to Summer 2016. A full extra year to help with development and filming. If that doesn’t scream “Rewrites to add in the Flash and Green Lantern and fuck it, maybe even Aquaman” then I don’t know what else would.
Since the project was first announced, even when it was just a Superman movie, talks were rampant over who the villain would be and who would play them. A good majority knew the villain had to be Lex Luthor since General Zod had already been dispatched and swiftly handled and the popular theory was that Bryan Cranston, fresh off of ‘Breaking Bad’ had to play him. It was his destiny. Someone even said Joaquin Phoenix should play Sexy Lexy, which I’m not going to lie, would be absolutely insane.
Turns out though, all of us were wrong.
It was announced today that Jesse Eisenberg of “Zombieland” and “Social Network” would be playing Lex Luthor, Superman’s arch rival. The move is curious for so many reasons, the first one being that it screams “Smallville” in terms of having a younger Lex Luthor and showing him before he’d completely evolved into the big bad he was born to be. It’s interesting to note that Eisenberg and Cavil are actually the same age, 28 but still, convincing audiences that they could possibly have been rivals in classes together throughout childhood is going to be a pretty tough sell. Henry Cavil is a muscular brick shithouse and Jesse Eisenberg is very much not. He just looks considerably younger, he’s slight and unimposing. From a character standpoint though, it does make a bit more sense. Eisenberg has proven he can capture the frustration and vindictiveness of a man who feels slighted or cheated out of what he believes is his. Portraying the intelligence of the character will be no problem for him, but how they’re going to handle Luthor and his role in the film will be a huge key to the film’s overall success.
But that’s not all. Possibly even more shocking than Jesse Eisenberg being Lex Luthor, wrap your head around this one; Jeremy Irons has been announced as Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s butler and one of the most iconic parts of Batman lore.
Irons is a fantastic actor, of that I have no doubt, it’s how sympathetic he’ll be that I’m a bit skeptical on. This is the guy that told young Simba that his father’s death was his fault and that he should just leave town, it’s going to be a pretty tough sell that he loves Bruce Wayne unconditionally.
Moving from 2015, which was crowded with “Avengers 2,” “Star Wars 7,” “Avatar 2” and possibly the next “Fast & Furious” movie scheduled for release, to 2016 puts even more pressure on it to be successful. It’ll likely be the biggest release of the Summer when it does come out and it’ll have the pressure to top “Avengers 2” as well as the previous “Batman” and “Superman” movies, which is likely near impossible, so this film could be doomed from the start.
Is DC going too big too fast with all of the characters already set to appear in the film, setting itself up for a “Spiderman 3” style mishandling of characters or are you holding out hope that “Superman vs Batman” will be a success?
Let us know in the comments section if you’re excited to see the film when it finally hits theaters.