The Argument For Being Genuinely Optimistic About Batman V. Superman

I'm not being sarcastic. Despite my previous comments and constant unease regarding DC's future cinematic endeavors, I have tried to make the case why there are many reasons to look forward to these movies, and even more reasons to hope. Seriously, this is a Batman V. Superman-criticism-free zone. Read on if you don't believe me.


BVS: Dawn of Optimism

C. J. MacD:

Dear Postman,

With the news of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice flooding in as well as rumors of a Justice League movie and a few stand alone films for other D.C. superheroes, people are either getting exited for them, or are dreading them after Man of Steel (like a certain apocalypse survivor I know). With everybody's opinions being very polarizing I have to ask myself (and subsequently you): is there any hope for the D.C. Cinematic Universe? I mean, sure, D.C. is mostly making all of these movies to cash in on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but every superhero film series is doing that now. Besides, there's a whole catalog of D.C. characters that a lot of people would like to be see on the big screen, so there has to be at least a shed of hope, right?

As for BvS: DoJ, I'm going to keep an open mind for now. I wasn't a fan of MoS, but I didn't exactly hate it. Despite the fact that new pictures of Superman and Batman make them look in a depressing state (although the latter isn't that surprising), I'm not going to immediately jump to conclusions and shout "This movie sucks" when the movie hasn't even finished filming yet.

Yes, there's a shred of hope. There's more than a shred of hope. Apparently the "S" on Superman's chest stands for hope. I obviously have my problems with Man of Steel and the bleak direction I presume Snyder is taking Batman V. Superman, but that's my educated guess as a pop culture critic/internet asshole. There's a ton of real reasons to not just be hopeful, but excited as hell.

First of all, Batman and Superman are going to be in a movie together. Holy shit! They're going to be on the same screen! Even if they just played Mario Kart together for two hours, wouldn't that still be kind of awesome? Even if you share my concerns, can you imagine a Batman V. Superman movie that doesn't contain at least some awesomeness in it? Even if you're baffled by young, curly-haired Lex Luthor, is that really going to take away from the pure joy of seeing Batman and Superman fighting anything together on screen, even if it's each other? No.

Second of all, there's going to be a Justice League movie. Even if critics and audiences somehow universally loathe Batman V. Superman, it's going to make a shit-ton of money, and Warner Bros. will be making Justice League, because people will still pay to see it, myself included. But again, we're finally getting Wonder Woman on screen! And Aquaman! And Cyborg! And god knows who else! Doesn't matter whether you think Gal Gadot has any business playing the role of WW; at some point she is going to punch something so hard it explodes, and it's going to be fantastic.

And think about what we really know about the movie so far. We have pictures of Batman and Superman; Batman's outfit is supposedly blue and grey for the first time ever in the movies. So Superman is standing in the rain in his picture. What does that really prove? Nothing. Honestly, the stupidest thing about Batman V. Superman is the "V" in the title (and Zack Snyder's moronic explanation for it) and that's literally not going to affect the movie's plot in the slightest.

And then there's the cast. I think Man of Steel had its problems, but Henry Cavill wasn't one of them. I actually don't mind Ben Affleck as Batman as all. Jason Momoa seems like an unusual but inspired choice to play Aquaman. And given these, I'm more than willing to give Snyder the benefit of the doubt on Gal Gadot. I'm obviously still weirded out by Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, but it's not like he was cast as Batman, Superman or Aquaman, right?

So yeah, there's plenty to hope for. Look, I intensely disliked Man of Steel, but it didn't offer anything new. No matter how terrible the plots of Batman V. Superman, Justice League and the other DC movies may be, or what problems they may have, we're going to get to see a group of DC heroes in the movies for the first time ever, and we'll see others share the screen for the first time, too. Even if Batman V. Superman features the ghost of Jonathan Kent telling Superman to kill schoolbuses full of children the whole damn movie, it can't possible negate the awesomeness of seeing Batman and Superman shake hands on screen for the first time. Even for me.



Past Perfect

Darnell S.:

Since we're able to communicate back and forth, I'm assuming you're an expert on the big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff.

That said, what if a future version of you came back to a senior-in-high-school version of you and warned high-school you that he'll one day play with time and get stuck in the 9th century? What kind of doctorate would you urge high-school you to pursue in order to thrive? Would it be biochem, so you'll be able to make medicines? Engineering? Chemistry? Religion?

I have no head for math or biology or science of any kind, and even if I was able to bring a cheat book with me, I doubt I'd have the ability to find the necessary ingredients to make enough stuff to be useful to society. Really, I think I'd need to concentrate on one item I can make semi-easily and sell, and that would inevitably be booze. Surely I can find grains and yeast, so if I could manage to make a still and bring whiskey to the 9th century, that would be my best bet for a comfortable life (and survival). Worst case scenario I could drink my own product, which is good because living in the 9th century sounds fucking awful.

Honestly, if I had the chance to talk to my high school self, though, my number one priority would be telling me to cut my damn hair. You were not made for ponytails, young Bricken.


The Argument For Being Genuinely Optimistic About Batman V. Superman

Opening The Gate

John K.:

What's your opinion/experience of the Stargate franchise? I really liked the original movie and last year caught up with the 17 seasons across three series as well as the two made for TV movies. There's a lot of great mythology and world building in there and I'm worried a rebooted trilogy will ignore all of it. Do you think this will happen?

PS, There's been talk of a big screen Battlestar Galactica which would ignore the recent series too. Bad idea?

I personally never got into the Stargate franchise, mainly because in its heydey I was too poor to afford cable (I basically watched nothing but my VHS collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes for several years. I have no complaints). By the time I had money, the Stargate franchise was already so big that I didn't feel I had the time or means to get into it.

Which is why Stargate is absolutely going to be rebooted. Anyone who makes a new Stargate show or movie will need to attract new viewers as well as old fans, and that means jettisoning all the old continuity that makes the new series incomprehensible to newbies. It's why anything gets rebooted — the continuity gets so large only devoted fans are reading/watching/playing/etc., and these series need to start over from scratch in order to survive. And Stargate — with its movie, several TV series and all those TV movies — will almost definitely need to do this.

Is it possible to make a new Stargate series based in the regular continuity that is still welcoming to new audiences? Yes, but it's really, really difficult to do. And the studio putting up the money to make a new Stargate series will almost definitely want to maximize their chances at grabbing new viewers, and will probably just want to start from scratch.

Although the recent Battlestar Galactica series only ran for four seasons, it not only built up a pretty heavy mythology but that mythology was also crazy. I totally understand the new BSG movie producers wanting to jettison it to try something new. Besides, the BSG series clearly concluded its story; I don't know what else needs to be added to it.


The Argument For Being Genuinely Optimistic About Batman V. Superman

Age of Distinction

Adam H.:

Mr. Postman,

This past weekend I was at a wedding with a bunch of debate champions(literally) when the question of Superman's age came up. The argument was this:

Do you base Sup's age on the Kryptonian year or the Earth year? If there is no Krypton any more is there even a Kryptonian year? If you did use Earth years what would age him at? Or do you simply age superman based on the start date of the comics?

This all kind of opens up the debate on if you moved to another planet how would you age yourself? Do you keep your own calendar?

Needless to say, no conclusion was met and only you, Mr. Postman, can stand in judgment of this vexing question.

I hope they still have whiskey in the apocalypse.

Trying to concretely establish ages of characters in comic books is a fool's errand. In order to tell stories about these characters for years — often decades — their ages have to be… adaptable, to say the least. This means they are often contradictory, and can change with writers, editorial decree, random comic book nonsense, etc.

That said, when DC unveiled the New 52, Superman was supposedly 27 (or 27-ish). Action Comics, which chronicled Superman's earliest adventures, took place when he was 22, meaning the New 52 started after Superman had been around for five years.

As for whether he should be calculating his age in Earth years of Kryptonians years: You can measure an age by any period of time you want, just like you can measure a pound of something any way you want — ounces, grams, etc. Earthlings would base Superman's age on the Earth year, and Superman, having lived on Earth for almost the entirety of his life, would do the same. He could calculate his age in Kryptonian years if he wanted to, but who would think of Superman's age in Kryptonian terms before Earth terms? Maybe Zod, but even he's too busy trying to kill Superman to waste time arguing about how Kal-El should be measuring his age.

Your debate champions, like many debate champions and obsessive nerds before them, are overthinking this shit. Age isn't a matter of fact as much as it is an agreed upon measurement. Superman's on Earth; he uses earth years. If he went to another planet, he'd explain his age like this: "I am 27 Earth years old, which means I'm 8 in your local measurement of Zabthorps" or something. It's like if you went to France and someone asked your height. You know it in feet and inches, they use the metric system, you guys would get on Google and convert it. One measurement is not truer than the other.

Also, sorry about the essentially unrelated Superman comics cover image, but once I saw Super-Hobo I had to post it. I'm sure you understand.


The Argument For Being Genuinely Optimistic About Batman V. Superman

Episode Lied

Andy:

Postman,

Why do we have "episode descriptions"? I'm talking about the paragraph of text about an upcoming episode of a TV show, that goes something like this: "Sookie and Sam get into trouble when they meet up with an old friend. Alcide faces a threat. A newcomer arrives with something to say about vampires." They are so vague that they make me wonder why they even exist. Do the networks use them for something? Couldn't they just use the episode title for that purpose? Is it important formarketing? Are networks under the impression that somewhere a person is looking at the description and thinking, "Well, I wasn't going to watch this episode in the middle of season 7 of True Blood, but if Alcide is going to face a threat, well, then, I'll have to watch that!"

Even the networks aren't so foolish as to believe episode descriptions are enticing people to watch their shows, but they do help viewers tell episodes apart. Yes, you could use episode titles to do this, but most episode titles are vague, silly, or essentially meaningless — for instance, "Indifference," "After" and "A" are three Walking Dead episode titles from last season. Do these titles help you remember which episodes they are, or what happened in them? No, but if you looked at the episode descriptions you'd have a better chance at figuring out whether the episode was new, a repeat, where in the series it took place, etc.

The better question is, "Why to networks make episode descriptions is they're going to be so vague that they're essentially meaningless? I swear to god, a Walking Dead episode summary I read last year included "Rick and the group face an external threat." Really? Is that what happens? Good to know.


Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!