Recently, I got into a heated and hilarious debate on a podcast I appear on weekly entitled This Is What We Do, where we discussed a number of topics, including the alleged 2017 Justice League film, reportedly being directed by Zack Snyder.One issue was: how was it going to be possible to hit a 2016 deadline for Man Of Steel 2, then subsequently release the Justice League film in 2017 unless they're shot back-to-back.
Putting aside the Justice League film however, from what I've been hearing and reading in comic geek circles is that a majority of fans feel the MOS sequel is going to be an unholy mess. The manner in which DC and Warner Bros. unveiled Batman's appearance in the sequel at last year's San Diego Comic-Con seemed somewhat capricious. Afterwards, all information about the sequel was put out in a "leaked" fashion until the cast was finally confirmed by Warner Bros. Baggage-laden Ben "Daredevil" Affleck starring as Batman. The waif-like Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Jesse Eisenberg as a prepubescent-looking Lex Luthor. A "scratching the head trying to figure out who he is" Ray Fisher as Cyborg. This was confirmed after rumors of Denzel Washington playing Green Lantern, Bryan Cranston playing Luthor, and I'm sure a host of other rumors I missed were thrown about. It all reminded me of the scene in A Few Good Men where Kevin Bacon tells Tom Cruise, and I paraphrase, "You got bullied into that courtroom, Kaffe. Bullied by the memory of a dead lawyer." Warner Bros. got bullied into making a sequel with all these characters as a means of establishing them for the Justice League film, even though they haven't sufficiently established Superman yet. They got bullied by the success of Marvel's cinematic universe, namely The Avengers. So Warner Bros. is scurrying about trying to cash in and keep what little relevance they have in terms of developing a cinematic universe, which would allow them to compete. And it all comes across as though they do not have a solid plan.
To that end, during the podcast (here at about the 1:47:40 mark--yes, it was a long one), I stated that Henry Cavill is probably screaming at his agent, "What the hell have you gotten me into?" I suggested that Cavill is probably upset because he was not expecting to have to share his screen time with all these haphazardly introduced characters. He's seeing the buzz flying around these films from the public and he's worried that, in fact, Warner Bros.' plan is to throw shit against the wall, see what sticks i.e. see how the fans react, then move forward thusly. Which, in my world, is not a plan. And which, in Henry Cavill's world, is a concern because it puts his film at risk for being, as I previously stated, an unholy mess. I was informed by Michael Dean, host of TIWWD (and founder of Podcastjuice.net) that it was ludicrous to imagine Cavill being upset about starring in a big budget Hollywood feature, cluster fuck though it may be, because prior to this, he was appearing in direct-to-DVD movies with Bruce Willis. Of course, Cavill has starred in more recognizable projects, but for the sake of argument, I won't take the discussion there.
What I will say, however, is that none of us mere mortals who work a nine to five job, often working from paycheck to paycheck, have any notion of the mentality of an actor who breaks through to get cast in his or her first major feature. While any of us would likely kill to be in a Hollywood flop and still make a cool million or so, our minds aren't tuned in at the same level as even a D-list Hollywood actor. My contention is an actor like Cavill, who starred in Man Of Steel, which I'm sure made it's money back but fared just okay in the pop continuum, now sees himself as on an upward track. For him, it's not just about the money now. It's about maintaining forward momentum. Using this franchise to eventually branching off into doing whatever he may want to do in future. Having options. Becoming bankable. Being offered all types of scripts because he's a draw as a result of being in a successful franchise. Just as we have our careers and of course, we consider salary, benefits, etc., we also stop to consider if we are marketable enough to move vertically or laterally in our careers. Our concerns about taking on a job, unless perhaps we're destitute, are also based in part on, where will this job lead me? How will it further my career?
And so, I made the statement that Cavill is probably upset with the direction the sequel is heading. I surmised that Cavill is upset that the film in which he signed to play the central character, is now being inundated with three other iconic characters. Cavill's ego as an actor, who, as I said, is undoubtedly looking to parlay this role into other meaty roles down the line, probably has him a little salty at the fact that he has to share screen time with all these additional characters, thus stealing from HIS screen time. He has to relinquish screen time for the development of all these character who will be introduced in this franchise. I stated that the producers had no idea when they launched the Man Of Steel that the sequel would have additional comic characters and neither did Cavill when he signed the contracts to appear in the franchise. So he might just be feeling slightly pissed because he didn't sign on for what looks to be a train wreck of a film wherein he runs the risk of being overshadowed.
To which Mr. Dean countered, and I'm again paraphrasing, "You think Chris Evans wanted to bow out of the Captain America role when they told him he was going to be sharing the screen with other characters in The Avengers movie?" If you listen closely to that comparison, you might just hear an apple saying to an orange, "we are nothing like each other." Why? I'll break it down:
1) Marvel HAD A COHESIVE PLAN from jump. I believe their plan was apparent when Iron Man 2 was released back in 2010. So when Evans agreed to appear as Captain America, most likely he signed a contract that spelled out the fact that he was going to appear in three Captain America movies and an Avengers movie.
2) We agreed on the podcast that Cavill could not have known at the time he agreed to appear in the first MOS that his sequel would have three additional comic characters because the producers did not know at the time. So Evans appears in Captain America 1, the Avengers, and Captain America 2. Does anyone think it's a solid comparison to propose that Evans would bow out of a film entitled THE AVENGERS because HE'S not the lead character? A parallel comparison would be if Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Hulk and Black Widow were SUDDENLY thrown into Captain America 2. Then I'd say perhaps Evans would be a little salty as well. Or to make the comparison spot on, if only three of those characters were suddenly jammed into Cap 2, I'd predict that Evans would be salty.
And let me cut those of you off at the pass who are screaming, "Well, Falcon and Black Widow were in Cap 2!" I say, "Nice try." Because even though both Scarlett and Mackie did the damn thing in Cap 2, they were sidekicks. In NO WAY are either of those characters as iconic and buzzworthy as Batman and Wonder Woman, perhaps Cyborg. I would champion the fact that after seeing Captain America: Winter Soldier, which I believe is arguably the best superhero film ever made (or at least belongs on a short list with Dark Knight Rises--yes, I said DKR, NOT Dark Knight--the original Iron Man and the 1978 Superman), that Falcon is now an onscreen hero that an actor in a comic book role might be concerned with sharing the screen, because Mackie was so good as that character. But that's another debate.
Man Of Steel 2 aka Batman vs. Superman aka the Justice League prequel may turn out to be a great film…hang on--damn--they release all this other info but not the name of the movie. Maybe because they haven't settled on a name yet? Doesn't that kind of speak to the fact that they don't have a solid plan? Anyway...while I could find many things to enjoy about the first Man Of Steel, it won't bode well if the tone isn't tweaked and if the plot isn't more logical. The writers will have to be absolute geniuses to establish Clark Kent, whom we only saw in the last few seconds of MOS, as a character, as well as strengthen the character of Superman (who killed his enemy, a no-no by many Superman worshipers), plus establish the three new characters. Also, it'd be nice if there were some nod or wrap up to the fact that midtown Metropolis was leveled in a fight where Superman didn't seem too concerned about the citizens of Metropolis while taking Zod down. Just a summary of why I predict Henry Cavill is screaming at his agent. As I stated on the podcast, why is that so hard to understand?