“Be their hero, Clark. Be their monument, be their angel, be anything they need you to be… or be none of it. You don’t owe this world a thing. You never did.”
One year ago, history was made when Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of
Justice Wonder Woman opened in theaters.
Why is this a cinematic milestone?
For the first time in history the Man of Steel, the Caped Crusader and the Amazon appeared together in a live action story. This is of monumental importance because not only are these iconic heroes the flagship franchises of D.C. Comics but they are also the cornerstones of western media and western culture.
BvS, and for that matter the D.C. Extended Universe in general, continue to be one of the most polarizing franchises for comic book fans and movie goers for reasons that range from legit critiques to absurd double standards.
One year later, what’s the final verdict on the film?
To everyone who said the movie was horrible, I just have this to say: You a lie. You a lie. And you a lie. So is you, you, and you. Your mama is a lie, your daddy is a lie, your kids, your play cousin, your supervisor, and everyone else who protested too much about how “bad” this cinematic masterpiece is. In case I wasn’t clear, you a damn lie. I mean I guess you’re entitled to your opinion, even if it is factually and morally wrong.
Relax. I kid, I kid, I kid. Sorta.
For me personally, watching this triumvirate team up and best Lex Luthor and Doomsday was the payoff that fanboy dreams are made of.
While I absolutely loved the film, specifically the extended version, I will say this. D.C./WB is taking some artistic risks which are hella ballsy and admittedly are an acquired taste. However, at the same time they illustrate that Director Zack Snyder and company are taking this universe seriously. D.C. means business and they came to play.
BvS isn’t formulaic and simplistic as most of the Marvel films. That’s because the DCEU is tackling some powerful philosophical and surprisingly cerebral issues and themes. They’re going for the Greek epic. It’s also clear that D.C. is purposely going left where Marvel goes right and I think it will establish their brand.
Most importantly, the DCEU superheroes aren’t whitewashed nor are they calling black and brown people monkeys.
So there is that.
I knew she was going to own it because she rocked the Fast & The Furious films as Giselle (which by the by, I still need a Giselle and Han spinoff or prequel) and between her acting and military backgroud, I knew she had this role on lock.
Nevertheless, prior to the film people body-shamed her and critiqued her in ways they never would have done a male actor. And look who the people are cheering for now. Look who got the last laugh in the end.
Battle on Amazon!!!!!
The DCEU is also improving the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s true. It’s true. Competition is finally forcing the Mouse and the House of Ideas to diversify its films and television shows.
Despite numerous campaigns and public outcry from fans, Marvel seemingly had no intentions to provide a Black Panther film. Despite the animated Black Panther series’ success —it outperformed all comparable Marvel animated films even without a live action film to promote it—Marvel still had no interest in bringing the Wakandan superhero to life.
In fact Marvel execs hemmed and hawwed about how difficult it would be to create Wakanda.
It wasn’t until D.C. announced its slate of films (several of which feature non-white protagonists like Aquaman, Suicide Squad, Cyborg and Black Adam) that Marvel/Disney seemingly woke up. Black Panther is scheduled to be released in 2018 making it a decade since the MCU debuted before we receive a non-white superhero on the big screen.
DCEU’s arrival has fast tracked more than a few diverse Marvel projects: Black Panther, Runaways, Cloak and Dagger, Luke Cage, and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
What’s interesting is that in terms of the comics, Marvel has dominated in sales and has been killing it in terms of diversity. Meanwhile the MCU leaves much to be desired and the only reason it’s moving away from the straight white guy narrative is because of competition from the DCEU.
However D.C. Comics have been a walking fustercluck on the printed page but they’ve slayed in terms of diversity and quality in their films.
DCEU’s arrival has fast tracked more than a few diverse Marvel projects: Runaways, Cloak and Dagger, Luke Cage, and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Say what you will for the DCEU, whether you agree all of their with their decisions or not, if they are guilty of anything it is going hard to appeal to their fanbase. Case in point: The #AAIronFist campaign was straight up ignored by Marvel/Disney. The #KeepIrisWestBlack campaign was embraced with open arms by D.C./Warner.
And people wonder why I’m here for the DCEU.
While I agree with the critique that a Superman film should be lighter and family friendly, director Zack Snyder is not at fault here. I’m usually the first one to take Hollywood to task for their ineptitude but this is one of those rare times where I’m actually defending them. I think part of the reason this movie was made in the tone in which it was made is because for years the general public and fandom alike have bitched and moaned for years about Superman being too boring and too much of a boy scout. And shocker, some of the same people are now whining that Man of Steel and BvS are too grim.
That’s the problem with Supermen and messiahs. The world expects them to be all things to all people and when they’re not, they get crucified. They got the boy scout in Superman Returns and people whined nonstop. So now you got what you asked for. So for those who wanted a grim and badass Superman, you got him. Don’t blame Hollywood. This one is on you.
BvS continued the theme of Superman representing “the Other” just as he did in Man of Steel. The illegal alien who must hide who he is to survive in a bigoted and savage world. Because the reality is the closet is often a necessity. Because Kryptonian or human, when you’re the other and you’re out, the Tuskegee Experiment happens, as does Stonewall, Ferguson, McKinney, Baltimore, Charleston or the world embraces you with the same love as they did Alan Turing, Emille Griffith, CeCe McDonald, Lawrence King, Duanna Johnson, Vincent Chin, Tamir Rice, or Matthew Shepard.
Hearing white fans complain about Superman causing property damage is not unlike whites complaining about CVS during #BlackLivesMatter peaceful protests. Notice in both cases the onus isn’t upon the oppressors to actually stop the oppressing but shaming the Other for fighting to counteract it. MoS was my first clue how white folks were gonna trip when it came to Ferguson and Baltimore and whatnot. Now here is Superman fighting to stop an invasion and the Earth being destroyed and white fandom is tripping about an IHOP being demolished. Now Superman is white culture’s champion and ideal. If they’re going to crucify him… we as PoCs shouldn’t be shocked over how they react to us fighting for our very survival.
Even though Superman represents the Other, even as a fictional character he carries more privilege than the real first black U.S. president he inspired.
Man is still good.
We betray one another.
But we can rebuild.
We can do better.
We have to.