Warner Bros. and fanboys are collectively holding their breath as in just a couple of weeks “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” rumbles its way into multiplexes around the world. For fans, they hope the movie delivers on the promise of the superhero showdown of the ages. While for the studio, they’re looking for the kind of financial success that justifies their substantial investment in the DC Films universe, and will allow them to breathe a bit easier about the two-part “Justice League,” which starts shooting next month. While Chris Terrio (“Argo“) put his pen to both ‘Dawn Of Justice’ and “Justice League: Part One,” he might not return to pen the sequel.
“I have written ‘Justice League: Part One,’ but I won’t necessarily write ‘Part Two.’ This has been the most rigorous intellectual exercise I’ve had in my writing life,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “For ‘Batman v Superman,’ I wanted to really dig into everything from ideas about American power to the structure of revenge tragedies to the huge canon of DC Comics to Amazon mythology. For ‘Justice League,’ I could be reading in the same day about red-and blueshifts in physics, Diodorus of Sicily and his account of the war between Amazons and Atlanteans, or deep-sea biology and what kind of life plausibly might be in the Mariana Trench.”
“If you told me the most rigorous dramaturgical and intellectual product of my life would be superhero movies, I would say you were crazy,” he said. “But I do think fans deserve that. I felt I owed the fan base all of my body and soul for two years because anything less wouldn’t have been appreciating the opportunity I had.”
If you think this might mean trouble for the movies, take a pause. Unlike Marvel’s two-part “Avengers: Infinity War,” which arrives in back-to-back installments in 2017 and 2018, “Justice League” is spreading things out, with the first part dropping in 2017, and the followup in 2019. So they’ve got time to get something down on the page that works. However, those who are already thinking ‘Dawn Of Justice’ is way too dark, Terrio says things will lighten up.
“ ‘Batman v Superman’ is a bit of an ‘Empire Strikes Back‘ or ‘Two Towers‘ or any similar middle film in a trilogy. The middle film tends to be the darkest one. I do think from ‘Man of Steel‘ through ‘Justice League,’ it is one saga really,” he said. “I expect ‘Justice League’ will be tonally not quite as dark as ‘Batman v Superman.’ From that point of view, I felt compelled to go back and try to lift us and myself into a different tonal place because I think when you write a darker film, sometimes you want to redeem it all a bit.”
As for the movie at hand, ‘Dawn Of Justice,’ Terrio’s work apparently finds both Henry Cavill (Superman) and Ben Affleck (Batman) taking some interesting inspiration in their approach.
“That’s his weakness, that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone. He doesn’t want to scare anyone, and in that you can take advantage of him. It makes it very easy to take advantage of him. … This is someone who is a complete amateur, and he’s facing up against someone who is very well versed in the arts of war,” Cavill told EW. “The thing about Superman is that although he is physically infallible, psychologically he’s very much vulnerable to the same things that make us vulnerable. When you’re doing your best, your utmost, and you still can’t save everyone, and then people point their finger at you and call you the bad guy, I mean, that would be enormously frustrating. I know the human reaction would be, ‘Hold on a second, F-you man,’ and his reaction is the first half of that: not quite the ‘F-you.’ It’s the hurt.”
As for battle weary Bruce Wayne, the arrival of Wonder Woman stirs something new in him. “It inspires in him the idea that well, if there’s one of these kinds of people out there, then maybe there are in fact more. If there are more, then maybe that’s hopeful and also terrifying to him, because then they could make humans even more powerless — or they could serve on our side,” Affleck said. “You’ve got to remember that Batman is the world’s greatest detective, and if he suspects that there may be more, and if he suspects in particular that Diana may be somebody special, he gets inspired.”