Dave Gibbons Blames ‘Watchmen’ For Problems With ‘Batman V Superman’

Batman V Superman Dave Gibbons Watchmen DarkLast year’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice got a hard time from critics. Between its cluttered story and overly dismal tone, the film simply failed to impress audiences in the way a big crossover event should. Dave Gibbons, who worked alongside Alan Moore on the classic graphic novel Watchmen, believes some of the blame lies with his seminal work.

In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Gibbons was asked about the possibility of a Superman movie directed by Matthew Vaughn (with whom Gibbons has recently collaborated on the Kingsman films) and had this to say:

“I know no more than you about Matthew being involved with a Superman movie. To me, off the cuff, it sounds like a really good idea. And I do think it’s the way that these things are evolving. You know, there was a time when superheroes had to be really dark. And I think of the Dark Knight movies. And of course, I also feel a bit guilty, because Alan Moore and I very much kind of instituted the idea of dark superheroes. We never thought it would persist for 25 years, you know.”

Watchmen was certainly one of the first graphic novels to bring the ‘dark and gritty’ tone into the superhero world (though arguably Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, published a few months earlier, started the trend). Gibbons explained he thinks superhero films are taking a different route nowadays though:

“But I think that the sort of thing that’s popular nowadays is something that’s a bit lighter in tone, that’s a bit more adventurous and a bit more colorful. And I think of things for instance like, The Guardians of the Galaxy or the new Thor movie, or indeed, Kingsman. And, you know, I think that’s the kind of entertainment that Matthew very much understands. And I’d be really intrigued to see his take on Superman. I’m sure it would be really good for the character.”

Many fans seem to agree, at least to an extent, with Gibbons. Even DC themselves seem to have made the link between Watchmen and the increasingly dark tone of their comics, with their current Rebirth storyline literally putting the blame for the darkness in the DC Universe on the characters of Watchmen. Gibbons spoke a bit about the storyline:

“Well the way, I mean, the way I understand it is that somehow Watchmen are being blamed for the darkness of the DC Universe, and somehow this latest story thing that DC are doing is a way that the DC Universe breaks free of the lying influence of the Watchmen characters. It was the fact that American writers adopted a particular take, that Alan and I took on superheroes. It’s the blame there, and certainly, we were never saying that this is how superhero comics should be done. In fact, the next thing we would’ve done after Watchmen would’ve been something like Captain Marvel, you know, something really light and mythical.”

“I think, as I said earlier, the trend in entertainment now is to actually come up with something which is more entertaining, which is less dark, which is much more full of hope. And I think probably the failure of the Superman-Batman movie was that it was really too dark, and that Superman was made as dark as Batman. And to me, that really doesn’t work, I thought that’s the perfect opportunity to contrast the two characters.”

As Batman v Superman was helmed by Zack Snyder, director of the Watchmen movie, there may well be some validity to Gibbons’ thoughts. However, with Justice League seeming to take a slightly lighter tone, there may just be hope yet for a little light in the DCEU.

What do you think? Did Watchmen harm Batman V Superman? Has the ‘dark and gritty’ epidemic had its time? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: ComicBook.com

10 Actors Who Should Play Shazam

Previous1 of 11

Shazam
Audiences have known that the Rock is playing Black Adam for years, but Shazam (a.k.a. Captain Marvel) still hasn’t been cast. Even though the movie has a director and is set to begin filming early next year, the title role is empty.

Plot details are still essentially non-existent except for the fact that Black Adam will not appear in this movie. Regardless, director David Sandberg, who just finished work on Annabelle: Creations, announced the start of pre-production at the end of August.

Rumors may be swirling online about one actor or another being up for the role, but as of now no one is the designated front runner. This role, which has huge potential to become a major franchise once the character is given a bigger spotlight, is still open for the taking.

With that said, hit Next to find out about 10 actors who should play Shazam!

Previous1 of 11

Andy Gladman

Andy Gladman

Writer of short stories, screenplays, blogs and now movie news too!

  • Ruben C Barron

    Stop blaming tone for the problems with BVS. Whatever tone you choose, if you fail to ring true to the characters you’re adapting, then you’ll always miss the mark.

    • Tone is still a big part of that movie’s problems, but if you read the whole article you’ll see that he points out that Superman was poorly interpreted as well.

      • Ruben C Barron

        I don’t disagree with certain characters being misinterpreted, but tone doesn’t define the philosophy and characterization of these characters. The Dark Knight comic had a very dark tone, but that didn’t turn Batman into an outright killer and although he was more in line with government, it didn’t make Superman into an apathetic character who cared only for the people close to him. He went about it differently, but his main concern was still the greater good.

        • Yeah, I never liked how Supes was written as a government stooge in The Dark Knight Returns. But as you said, he was still a lot closer to the real character than the DCEU’s take on him.

  • Darthmanwe

    `. It was the fact that American writers adopted a particular take, that Alan and I took on superheroes.`

    That. Not many people understand that real world events shaped comics for decades to come one event at a time.

    There was a time when `Truth, Justice AND AMERICAN WAY.` was the Superman thing, but try saying that now, and even Superman refutes that in comics, because, well, we all know what America has been doing since 1989.

    There was a time when superheroes saving EVERYONE in a 30 million population city seemed very plausible, and everyone was okay with it, then 9/11 happened. That was two towers alone. The safe, secure space where Americans live was shattered, their courage snuffed, and once proud leader nation of the world became a cowering, doddering murderous maniac.

    Once, lines were black and white, especially during and after WW2, and superheroes could live that way.

    But even Steve Rogers of today are portrayed to be recognizing whats going wrong with the world.

    Once, the idea of government tracking your every move was a horrifying premise of 1984 novel.

    Now, we LOVE IT when they track our location data and offer us services based on that.

    There will come a time, not so far from now, when superhero comics lose prominence, as they did before the fall of Wall of Berlin. And if humanity can survive through climate change, they will come back as well.

    Artists write and draw these things, and artists are usually the ones ostracized by society, forced to see how it evolves ( or, devolves, as the case is today) from an outsider’s view.

    Watchmen was a product of American literature starting to recognize its own decay starting weigh on its own society. Thirty or so years have passed, and that decay is now so heavy, the entire Western society is falling back on fascism and totalitarian ideals. Once, artists and readers yearned for complexity, since their world was following along.

    Now, they seek escapism, but that too, will end.

  • Daniel

    BvS was a terrific film. The “problem” with it was the unrealistic expectations that certain segments of the audience brought to the film. If you accept the film for what it was and not what you may have wanted it to be, it’s absolutely terrific.

    Test this with people who have no vested emotional attachment (positive or negative) to the characters and show them the film (preferably the longer cut). I’ve done this multiple times and the reaction has been unanimously positive.

    • 39steps

      Or, it’s not a good movie.

    • Ha! You should do stand-up.

  • David Allen

    Superman has been the best he’s ever been cinematically in the Zack Snyder films. It looks at the character through the lens of our real world. Think about if tomorrow a person with a cape randomly started saving astronauts from exploding rockets, and children from burning high rises. What if he saved a reporter from a terrorist stronghold and the terrorists ended up dead? As we know in the film, he was set up, but our populace is easily led astray. As with everything in our world, half of the people would think it’s great, while the other half would come up with suspicions.

    The Zack Snyder films look at Superman in a realistic way. The problem some people have with them is they are too dark; well, that is the world we created and live in.

    I prefer Superman in my world, persevering and still winning the day, to the old fashioned version I grew up with and loved. The old version was great when I was a child, and it’s fun to revisit; but as an adult I like seeing my favorite superhero deal with the real world, and still succeed in the end. Because Superman can win against all odds; whether it’s our real world (aka Earth-0) or any other reality. He’s Superman, that’s his job.

    • Axxell

      Realistically, Clark Kent would’ve been able to save his dad with minimal effort and without anyone knowing he had powers.

      Realistically, Luthor wouldn’t have such a convoluted and ultimately stupid plan.

      Realistically, Batman and Superman would’ve talked instead of throwing a hissy fit before their 6 minute fight.

      And none of those have anything to do with how “dark” the movies were.

      • David Allen

        You can do what you just did with every comic book movie. They’re fictional stories about superheroes. I’m saying the world is more realistic in the way it reacts to everything. Half the people view them positively, and half view them negatively. It feels like what would happen in the real world.

        Obviously flying men and billionaire vigilantes are not realistic. But the setting was, which made the character’s struggles both emotionally and physically really stand out and make the films feel different and awesome.

        • Axxell

          You can do what you just did with every comic book movie.

          No…Only if it has bad plot devices…

          Obviously flying men and billionaire vigilantes are not realistic. But the setting was, which made the character’s struggles both emotionally and physically really stand out and make the films feel different and awesome.

          If you’re gonna make a movie that’s realistic, at the very least you have to make it believable. The convoluted ways in which MoS and BvS drive the plot forward, are not. And since this is the selling point for this franchise, the fact it fails the plausibility test several times is a big problem.

          • David Allen

            Yes, you can very easily pick apart any comic book film and pinpoint unrealistic or otherwise ridiculous situations that take place in them. They are inherently unrealistic, since they are about beings with superpowers or similarly invincible eventualities. To say otherwise is to succumb to blatant bias.

            When it comes to believability, again I must point to the inherent un-believability of the entire genre. Therefore, going in to the film I am prepared to disregard the fact that what these characters are doing isn’t possible; that’s what makes this genre fun.

            MoS is an incredibly well made film. From the cinematography to the action, shot selection and score, the film is leaps and bound above most films you’ll see. Scenes like this one -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQA199D8U2g where Superman is struggling to understand his own abilities and therefore his place in the world are a jaw dropping mix of beautiful music, action, hope, joy, fear (emotions), special effects, and storytelling that I haven’t seen in another modern comic book film. He honored his dad, Jonathan Kent; it’s sad to watch, but he knew his dad strongly believed he must keep his powers secret, and he respected his wishes. The two dads represent the two side of him: Clark and Kal. Protect your identity at all costs, and also be a beacon of hope for the earth and do all you can to protect them.

            That’s about enough for now. You are of course entitled to your subjective opinion, as am I, and I enjoy the debate about these films. So thank you.

          • Axxell

            My point was that, for a franchise whose flag is staked on being more realistic than others, it fails on some basic areas. Not because of flying aliens or lassos of truth, but because of the decisions of the characters. That’s in essence what I mean. It’s not just people saying it’s too dark.