Sunday, June 12, 2016

How Doomsday Could Have Been Better

I know, I know, Batman V Superman has been out for forever now, and is soon to come to home video.  I know the movie has been picked to death over the last several months.  But I had such high hopes for the cinematic telling of the Doomsday story (in my opinion one of the best potential movie stories for Superman) and was so let down by how it was played out, that I felt the need to vent some more about it.  Here is how it was handled poorly, and how it could have been so much better.

The first problem with the way it was done, is that Superman was not even established as a hero and a symbol of hope.  He was a mopey alien that half the world hated and feared.  He lived in a dark and grim world.  I speak not only to the fact that killing Superman at the point that they did lessens the impact for the world.  But imagine if we had seen a movie or two of the confident, heroic Superman that most of us are more familiar with. The movies could have been a bit less grim and dark and more like the tone we normally associate with Superman.  Then Doomsday shows up, and suddenly the tone takes a turn to the dark and grim.  The loss of Superman would have felt more substantial, and the change in tone would have made a bigger impact than dark and grim going darker and grimmer.

Also, by waiting they could have had more time to introduce other justice League members.  The reason this is significant is that in the movie we got we only see Doomsday taking on Supes, Batman and Wonder Woman.  Batman is pretty ineffectual against a Kryptonian superweapon.  Wonder Woman is only proven to be a badass because she can throw down with a monster that is giving Superman trouble.  But imagine for a minute that the world had established powerhouses like the Flash and Green Lantern.  Now imagine that the first half of the movie shows Doomsday taking them all out, individually and in groups.  Finally, Superman is the last hope of taking him down.  This amplifies the threat level imposed by Doomsday and makes the battle seem so much more significant.

In the movie as is, a lot of people might be kind of bummed that Superman got creamed.  But they didn't really trust him yet, he was a new factor in their lives.  They wouldn't have so much the feeling of losing a trusted protector as a feeling of losing someone who was really interesting because he was so new and different.  But in a world with an established Superman, who has become the symbol of hope to the world and the measure by which all other heroes measure themselves, the loss of Superman is unimaginable.  It would be the source of so much dramatic tension.  Heroes would wonder if they were up to the job, if even Superman can be brought down.  Regular joes would wonder how the world full of super-villains and monsters will survive without the Man of Steel to fly in and save the day.

The death of Superman feels so wasted and unearned in the movie, it is the biggest reason I didn't like it.  I had other, smaller complaints, but I really think I could have put those aside and enjoyed the movie more if not for this one huge squandered opportunity.  I really hope that Justice League does something to make this all feel worth it.  I am not quite ready to give up hope in the DC movies, and in Superman in particular.  He is the first and greatest hero, and he should be treated as such.

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