There's plenty of blame to go around for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but Dave Gibbons believes some of it should be credited to Watchmen.
That might be heresy to some, but others will likely understand his larger point. Gibbons worked alongside Alan Moore on the beloved classic story and thinks the origin of dark and gritty superhero tales can certainly be traced back to that seminal work. Gibbons also had a hand in Kingsman alongside Mark Millar, a property that is now a successful movie franchise directed by Matthew Vaughn.
Vaughn has been rumored for a possible stint as director of Man of Steel 2, a move seen by Gibbons as a shift in how these films are made.
"I know no more than you about Matthew being involved with a Superman movie," Gibbons told ComicBook.com. "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."
While DC and Warner Bros. have adopted a darker take on their characters, which includes Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy as well as the first DCEU films, Marvel has had incredible success with a more family-friendly vibe, something other studios have taken notice of.
"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," Gibbons said. "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."
Watchmen is considered a classic adult superhero tale, and Gibbons is correct that it ushered in a new wave of storytelling. DC itself is addressing that in a unique way in Rebirth, where the Watchmen characters are used as the wave that dislodged the DC Universe from its path, in a very meta 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," Gibbons said.
Ironically Watchmen's film adaptation was also helmed by BvS and Justice League director Zack Snyder, so it wasn't exactly a shock to see the same methods applied. Gibbons believes though that the two properties did need some separation.
"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," Gibbons said. "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."
Gibbons did just that in his Worlds Finest storyline, and wishes fans could've seen that juxtaposition on the big screen as well.
"Which is something that I did actually, in the graphic novel series that I wrote back in the '90s, where you know, they were seen as kind of yin and yang, you know, the two sides of the superhero coin, so. I mean, I suppose you could make anything work, but my feeling would be now that you actually want to make the worlds a bit less dark, and to bring the world of the Watchmen into the DC Universe. I think they're very clever. It just means it's darkness upon darkness," Gibbons said.
Here's hoping that fans will finally see that yin and yang in Justice League.
As for Kingsman: The Golden Circle, that hits theaters on September 22, 2017.
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