Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman: DC Comics’ Trinity. They stand above. They are moral to a fault. They are not simply heroes. They are the heroes of DC, the pinnacle of everything that the Justice League stands for.
But what happens when they are twisted, changed, morphed and molded into different beings? What happens when they are not who they were once before? Would they still be the beings we recall from their legendary adventures, or would they be merely caricatures of what they were? Are they destined to be the heroes we remember or will nature defeat the circumstances that made them who they are.
First let it be said, there are wonderful shorts on YouTube from Machinima. Here is the new Batman (now Kirk Langstrom instead of Bruce Wayne), Wonder Woman (Bekka from New Genesis, instead of Diana Prince from Themyscira), and Supermann(now the son of Zod and raised by Mexican immigrants naming him Hernan Guerra instead of Clark Kent).
“Someone once asked if I wanted to save the world or rule it. Today it’s going to hard to tell the difference.”
As powerful as ever, the Man of Steel really finds what he is made of in this movie. It feels they focused on him the most in this movie as power seems to be the biggest underlying theme.
Here instead of being the son of Jor-El, they seemed to follow Man of Steel‘s lead in there being no live births on Krypton. Instead, he was made artificially. In this movie’s setting, Zod implanted his own DNA into the Last Son of Krypton, dying with the planet truly making this Superman earn the aforementioned name.
With this heritage, Zod’s need to conquer is deep within him. So the question of if Superman should make himself leader of this planet is truly explored. That is right. I said if he should make himself leader as if it were a foregone conclusion because it simply is. As Wiz from Death Battle said, “Superman is as strong as he needs to be.” Even here, that remains true while he kills without regard except in the case of the BrainIAC child in the video released on YouTube.
So being raised by immigrants, the question of the godly alien finding his place in a world, where his family would be abused by those in power, is one that needed to be answered. And it was, beautiful if I may be so bold to add. Here Hernan has no day job, no love interest, or the distractions the traditional Superman has. He has a single, resolved purpose: Save humanity in the quickest, most efficient way possible, like the son of a brilliant military leader and strategist would. It is as if Ender (from Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game) was given the power of Superman. Needless to say, the results are both terrifying and astounding.
“If they can kill him they can kill you.” Ever the voice of cautious, he still is the cool-heading scientist and detective. But instead of being the child of circumstance known as Bruce Wayne, this is Kirk Langstrom. Dying of cancer in college, he yearns to cure himself; unfortunately, things go awry and his cure turns him into a man with bat-like qualities. Since he is Man-Bat in the normal canon, he simply fills the vacancy of Batman in this world.
Found by Superman feeding off a rat, he was brought into into the League to be its brains as Batman usually is. In this world though, he has those qualities to a fault. He is cold, calculated, only caring about two people outside of the League itself. He is able to calmly discuss Superman taking over the world one minute while investigating the death of an old friend the next.
It is eerie to see how Kirk turned out without Batman plaguing him. Instead, he fills the mantle remarkably well, being introverted, calculated, and quick on the draw.
“But for the first time, we see a very well-rounded female lead who has roots in the vulnerability of romance as well as the strength of battle. Not since Buffy have I seen such a strong female leads for the heroine.
Her ability to show her sexuality but not be dependent on it is perfection at its core since when Diana is shown, she is mostly just a two dimensional warrior arc-type. In this incarnation, she saw one dictator break his oaths of truth and loyalty costing what she held dearest to her heart, so when it comes time to defend humanity, she does so with an unshakable resolve that just jumps off the screen.
Without handing out the entirety of the plot, this Justice League is at odds with the world at hand. The world literally addresses them as gods, which makes sense since they all can fly, are strong, and if they so chose, could conquer our world.
While seeing a League that considers overthrowing the world is a bit unnerving, they way it is done was artfully rendered. It makes sense for these version of our heroes to consider this route. And the chemistry between the three is so well written that I can only say I am glad there are only three members because anymore people would have taken away from what made this movie such a treat to watch.
Seeing a darker Superman, who is not always a boy scout but not full-fledged evil conqueror, is essential because it illustrates what goes through his head as the most powerful being in the universe, and easily the strongest on Earth. Through this, the audience gets to see and understand the process of what someone like him would think and consider and why, possibly, Superman being the world leader might not be the worst thing.
Batman always being the same human who lost his parents gets old after a while. Here, having him be a scientist who loses to nature makes it so we see just how inhuman the Dark Knight can be while still maintaining a certain level of sympathy for someone who just lost some things and some people near and dear to him.
I don’t know why, but seeing Wonder Woman having the ability to be flirtatious one moment and being thoughtful the next makes her all the more real to me despite her ability to destroy giant robots with her bare hands. More often than not, strong female characters are hard to pull off. Even some of Whedon’s best world just seem secretive and incomplete. I am looking at you Black Widow.
But here, Bekka is strong, resilient, loving, compassionate, a warrior, and a nurturing being. She’s a character, much like the thought out females in Game of Thrones. That is something that should be appreciated but so easily overlooked. Her complexity and very royal demeanor makes her the most interesting Wonder Woman I have seen in years.
On a whole, if Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice took any notes from this and added these elements, they could easily have something. I say this confidently because this was the Justice League movies fans need to see. It’s not the same rinse and repeat. It’s new, different, bold, but still very respectful of the traditions that came before.
If you have not watched it yet, I very much recommend you do so now.