Greetings from the Odinson,
A Recipe for the Movie We Deserve
From the film serials of the early 20th Century to the dawn of the modern day franchises with 1978’s Superman: The Movie and 1989’s Batman, movies based on comic book super heroes have always been on the Big Screen. From the classic TV shows of the 70s, like SHAZAM! and The Incredible Hulk, to the modern day WB shared universe, which includes Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, and more, our comic book super heroes have always been represented on the small screen as well.
However, for the most part, the Powers that Be seem to play it safe. If it’s a Superman movie, TV show, or cartoon we can be sure we’ll see Krypton blow up (again), a farm in Smallville, and probably some Kryptonite. If it’s a Spider-Man movie, TV show, or cartoon we can be sure we’ll see Uncle Ben’s demise and some bad interpretation of the Green Goblin. I will applaud the MCU for breaking this mold by actually stepping away from the formulaic and telling exciting new stories like Winter Soldier and Far From Home, and they were able to do that because they laid the ground work with their earlier films.
I say all this because the day of the origin story is over. It’s all been done. It’s time to stop talking down to the audience and over explaining everything and just start telling good compelling tales on the Big Screen starring our favorite masked crusaders.
All we ever need to know about James Bond is that he is a Double-Oh agent with a license to kill. BOOM! We are off and running on another exciting adventure. Characters like Superman and Batman have been in the lexicon for generations. They need no introduction. Your grandmother knows who Spider-Man is.
Next, we all love a good tussle. Vs. movies have been a staple of the cinema going experience since almost the beginning. Half the time we didn’t even realize we wanted to see these clashes of titans until we saw them. Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. King Kong vs. Godzilla. Freddy vs. Jason. Aliens vs. Predator. Batman v. Superman. Some of them are fantastic. Some of them, not so much. But, one thing is for certain, when a new Vs. movie is announced, especially one that features two well established pop culture icons duking it out for the belt, the fans will show up, popcorn in hand, and ready for the spectacle.
I was told today that Warner and DC plan to do yet another reboot with their movie franchise. First off, the word reboot is a modern term that has taken on a life of its own, and in some circles has a negative connotation. When James Bond changed from Sean Connery to Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton to Pierce Brosnan, I don’t recall the word reboot ever being used. It was just another James Bond adventure. In 1983, we actually had two Bond films, Never Say Never Again and Octopussy, with two different actors playing James Bond in the theatres in the same year.
Now, that’s whacky! And, exciting.
It’s easy for me to say this since it’s not my money and time on the line, but stop being so safe. Have different Batman and Superman movies coming out on a yearly basis. They don’t all have to have the same continuity and they don’t have to all have the same actors. Let the audience decide which ones they like best. By doing this, we can stop getting yet one more person’s interpretation of an origin story that we have all seen and read about a million times.
Seriously, just how many different angles can we watch Thomas and Martha Wayne die in that dark alley? They even squeezed a version of it into Batman v. Superman.
By not being handcuffed to retell what has already been told this could lead to some truly exciting and unique features like Thor: Ragnarok. Things we haven’t seen before. Ideas that expand the horizons of what these fabulous characters can achieve on the Big Screen.
Here’s an example of a film I would love to see, but I doubt it will ever happen in this lifetime. It would star two movie and literature icons that audiences will be quite familiar with, so there would be no need to bog down with too much explanation. It uses the classic trope of the Vs. film. It is exciting and something we have never seen before, except in the comic books. And, it has movie trilogy written all over it.
The galaxy’s deadliest hunter comes to Gotham City to stalk the most dangerous prey of all – the Dark Knight Detective. To be honest, that sentence alone would sell me a ticket.
An investigation into a strange murder brings Batman face-to-face with the Predator. It is a harrowing confrontation the Caped Crusader barely manages to survive. In true Batman fashion, after encountering a physically superior foe with super advanced alien technology, the Dark Knight enters their next and final showdown fully prepared, complete with body armor on par with his Superman-buster armor from the pages of The Dark Knight Returns. Despite both parties’ high tech arsenal, the battle’s final blows devolve into something primal and visceral with Batman even using a baseball bat to deliver the coup de grace.
This first chapter is fan service of the highest order. It takes elements established in the first two Predator movies and seamlessly interweaves them into a Batman story. Odinson Rating: 4 out of 5 Hammers.
Batman’s reputation precedes him, as a new Predator wants to test its mettle against this dangerous foe. However, the crime bosses of Gotham City have other plans. They plan to take the Dark Knight out once and for all and they do so by putting a bounty on his head, a bounty that brings many deadly hitmen and assassins out of the shadows ready to collect. What unfolds is a deadly game as one-by-one these assassins gunning for Batman are taken out. It seems the Predator doesn’t take kindly to the competition.
This is, without a doubt, the Odinson’s favorite chapter in this trilogy. Round 2 nearly sees Batman meeting his end at the hands of the galaxy’s deadliest hunter, and his cape and cowl probably would have adorned the alien’s trophy case too if it had not been for the Huntress. The characterizations are spot on, and the world feels like Batman’s world has been invaded by this outside force. Odinson Rating: 5 out of 5 Hammers.
Written by Chuck Dixon (Nightwing) with serviceable ‘90s style art by Rodolpho DaMaggio and Robert Campanella (artists whose work I am not very familiar).
Gotham City is in the middle of a heatwave and a gangland war. This attracts a couple of Predators who drop themselves smack dab in the middle of the chaos. Batman has seen these clues before and he is hesitant of involving Robin (Tim Drake) in the case for fear his partner becoming a target for the otherworldly hunters. The cat and mouse between the Dynamic Duo and the two Predators is fun to watch play out as each uses all the skills and tools at their disposal to outmaneuver the other.
The final chapter of this trilogy is especially interesting because it actually brings more of the Bat Family – Robin, Catwoman, Oracle, and Mr. Freeze – into the middle of things. And, because Mr. Freeze’s body temperature is zero he doesn’t register on the Predator’s heat sensors making for some unique fun. Odinson Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 Hammers.
Not only would a trilogy of Batman vs. Predator films make for great entertainment, but it could open the door for other unique tales to be told. Red Son, All-Star Superman, Kingdom Come, and the Batman Vampire Trilogy among many others are all fantastic and original tales just begging to get the Big Screen treatment. We have 26 Bond films and counting. They don’t get bogged down with hitting the same beats over and over. Each film is a new exciting adventure. The fact that Superman doesn’t have half that many films is a travesty.
I’ll tell thee something Warner and DC does get absolutely right, and that’s their animated films. They are wasting all their greatest material on cartoons. Those should be the feature films and they should be coming out with the same frequency as the animated films do now. Justice League: War, Batman and Son, Throne of Atlantis, The Death of Superman, etc. – The animated DC movies are exciting, fantastic adaptations of the source material.
If those had been their cinematic universe from the start, the DCEU would be every bit as big and beloved as the MCU is now, and everyone would have benefited from it, especially the fans.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: Be sure to check out my book – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale. Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.