Sunday, 25 August 2013

World's Finest...

It was announced this week that none other than Ben Affleck has been chosen to portray Bruce Wayne / Batman in the sequel to this year's Man of Steel.

Now, I don't know about you Fred, but I have to say I like it.

I've always had a regard for Affleck as both actor and director - I thought Argo was excellent, enjoyed his turn as the tortured angel Bartleby in Dogma, and Daredevil really wasn't as bad as people say. I think he'll do okay in the Batcave, but it will be interesting to see how he gets on in his encounter with the Man of Steel.

As to the story, the first meeting of Superman and Batman has always been a confrontation, and for good reason - a man with the power to change the course of mighty rivers and leap tall buildings at a single bound is obviously a potential threat to the world, and after leveling Metropolis in the battle against Zod, Batman will no doubt be looking carefully for weaknesses that he can exploit against Kal-El should it become necessary, if his power should somehow be subverted or he has, as so many of us do, a bad Monday.

And as the tale has been told, the two heroes will come to blows before joining forces against a common enemy and ultimately becoming friends.

This is Warner's chance to do it right; I enjoyed Man of Steel but there was something missing: emotion. Michael Shannon chewed the scenery as Zod, but the other actors were (and I'm going to have to watch it again to be certain) well, reserved is the best word I can think of.

I can understand why Henry Cavill played the role as he did; here's a young man who grew up with strange abilities, who used them for the good of others, and then discovered that he wasn't from Earth. Imagine your parents telling you you're adopted - now imagine them saying you've been adopted by a planet and showing you the ship that brought you here. The sense of displacement must be, well, incredible. So Clark leaves home and walks the Earth, trying to find out more about himself and his powers, helping people where he can before slipping away silently.

Much later, following the defeat of Zod, Clark works to help the people of Metropolis as Superman, a very visible symbol of hope in the city, perhaps reducing former leading citizen Lex Luthor (who we haven't met yet but know he's in the wings, waiting for his cue) to second spot, something he's both unused to and doesn't like.

I see Bruce Wayne going to Metropolis following the Zod incident and using Wayne Industries resources to help rebuild the stricken city. While there, he meets Lex Luthor, perhaps at a business meeting or reception, who expresses his utter distrust of the being known as Superman. Wayne is forced to agree, albeit not for the same reasons as Luthor, whose problem is not that Superman's power is dangerous, but that he seems intent on using it to help people rather than to rule them.

A subsequent plot by Luthor to discredit Superman is initially successful, but ultimately exposed jointly by Superman and Batman, and a friendship is forged. Somewhere in the middle of that, Lois needs rescuing (naturally) but it's Batman who does it. We may see Brainiac.
A good benchmark for the 'World's Finest' teamup was laid down by Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly in the WB animated series and movies - it'll be interesting to see whether the Affleck-Cavill dynamic comes any way close to that.

2015 seems a long way off...