DonAithnen (donaithnen) wrote,
DonAithnen
donaithnen

Superman vs Batman vs Copyright thoughts

This was originally a response to Scalzi's review of Superman vs Batman:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2016/03/29/my-review-of-batman-v-superman-and-its-reviews

However it got long enough that i decided to repost it here.

I've seen a couple responses saying things along the lines of "You know what Zack Snyder does, so why are you surprised that he modeled Superman and Batman in that style" and the closely related "if you don't like that style then just don't watch it, why do you care so much?"

I think the problem is that Superman and Batman are very old characters with a lot of history behind them that a lot of people have known for a long time, many of them having grown up with the characters.

And those characters are completely under the control of DC. And because the movies are such a big investment DC is not going to muddy the waters by having two different Superman or Batman franchises in film at the same time. You get (very approximately) one interpretation of a superhero in film per decade. If it does well you get a couple movies in that series before a reboot. If it does poorly they _may_ reboot it early, or they may just forget about it for awhile.

Which means that if you don't like the interpretation of your favorite superhero in their latest movie you have to give up on that entire "generation". If you don't like Snyder's style then not only has he made a movie that you happen not to like, he actually has "ruined" your chances to see a Superman movie you do like for at least 5-10 years. And the more successful the movie is the more likely there will be sequels and the longer until it gets rebooted into something you might possibly like.

So not only are you unhappy with Snyder for "ruining" it, you're unhappy with the people who do like it for validating that stylistic choice, and you're unhappy with the financial success. Because all of that means that there won't be an early reboot. There will be more Snyder-esque DC movies that you don't like instead of possibly DC movies in some other style that you might like.

On the other hand no one really cares if the latest movie to reinterpret Snow White does so in a way they don't really appreciate. They may not like the movie, but they don't accuse the studio of having ruined Snow White. Because in another year or two (and in some years in just another month or two!) there will be another Snow White movie with a different interpretation.

Under any kind of sane copyright system Superman and Batman would be in the public domain by now. In such a world DC would still be making tentpole "official franchise" Superman movies, because why wouldn't they? But if you didn't like what DC was doing then some other studio would be doing their own interpretation of Superman that you might like better.

I think there might be a lot less acrimony about the whole thing in such a world.
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