Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a dark movie. That’s a simple fact that has led to an incredibly polarized response. Some people relished the darkness, the aesthetic and tonal similarities to Frank Miller’s seminal Batman stories, while others have grown weary of the trend of ‘dark and gritty’ versions of funny book characters, beacons of optimism turned po-faced and glum.
But according to the people making these movies, the tone of Batman v Superman was less a statement of intent for the DC Extended Universe as a whole, but rather a necessary (in their view) bit of turmoil that sets the stage for a triumphant rise.
When I sat down with Batman v Superman Second Unit Director Damon Caro and Visual Effects Supervisor Bryan Hirota (both of whom are working on Justice League as well), they were not able to give me too much information about the upcoming film other than to assure me that things won’t be quite as dour the next time around.
This is an excerpt from a larger interview. Look for the full interview later this week.
So with regards to Justice League, without revealing anything that you’re not allowed to reveal at this point, what are you most excited for people to see?
Caro: Same as myself, I’m excited for people to see all of these characters together. I can’t be more specific than that unfortunately, but that’s it. Finally getting to see the whole team together. We were on set for the shots when they first had them all together and it was incredible. And we had a moment like that on BvS when we did the trinity shot when they face off against Doomsday, and there were just chills. That was the beginning of it. Like I said, I can’t be any more descriptive. (To Hirota) How about you?
Hirota: I don’t even know what this movie’s about (laughs). All I know is, officially, I’m working on this movie. I think that’s about all I know.
I’m also excited for the fact that, from the little glimpses we’ve gotten to see so far, it seems like there is going to be a bit of a lighter tone. You have Flash coming in, which obviously lightens the tone quite a bit.
Hirota: And they’ve said that.
Caro: And the interesting thing is, on Man of Steel, in [Zack Snyder’s] head he had the storyline treatment of where they were going to go, and at the beginning of BvS it was even richer and deeper. The arc was BvS was the midway point and the darker movie. Hence what happens at the end; the whole tone of it was darker. If you play your story all at one level, there are no peaks and valleys, there’s no life. The great stories, the Greek tragedies, even life we have to be knocked down before we can build our way up. Justice League was always the rebirth of hope and the rise. People try to say that it’s a response to the backlash, and I’d definitely say that criticisms were heard, but it’s not like we threw everything out and started with a blank slate. It’s a bit like Star Wars. Empire Strikes Back? Dark movie! But then Return of the Jedi is the rise and the rebuilding of hope.
Justice League opens in theaters on November 17, 2017.