Last year has seen beloved characters from both of the major comic book universes get involved in fierce fights within their ranks. Captain America: Civil War pitted half of the Avengers against the other half, while DC made viewers choose sides in Batman v Superman – who will you be backing
Similar plot lines are set to be used in upcoming movies, too: as the “Thor: Ragnarok” trailer has shown us, Thor will be up against his Earth-based brother-in-arms, The Incredible Hulk, and there are many “versus” movies coming up later on. “Heroes vs. heroes” and “monsters vs. monsters” is not a new concept. The first one has been repeatedly used in comic books, yet it may prove to be unusual for many moviegoers outside the US, who are used to knowing clearly who the hero and the villain are on the silver screen. The “monster vs. monster” part is also well-known for Gojira fans – the Japanese radioactive lizard-creature-thing has fought monsters like Mothra, Ghidorah, Ebirah, Varan, Manda, Baragon, even its own mechanical replica repeatedly in the three “Gojira VS Mekagojira” films.
Moviegoers are used to having a clear distinction between a hero and a villain. Even if the villain is a bit shady at times – the methods of Batman, especially in his last appearance, are unusually brutal for a positive character – he IS the positive character in the movie. This clash between good and evil is the basis of most plots, and most of the times of the related materials spun off of it. It might be a bit of an unusual example but here it is: one of the main plot points the 7Sultans’ “The Dark Knight Rises” slot machine, inspired by Christopher Nolan’s take on the masked vigilante of Gotham City, was the duel between Batman and Bane, fought “mano a mano” in front of the game’s spinning reels. While the fight was not as dramatic as the silver screen version – after all, the game was meant to be fun (and possibly even profitable) for 7Sultans players of all ages and genres. And not everyone appreciates gratuitous brutality.
Pitting monsters against each other is not something new in Western filmmaking either. Back in the golden age of horror film, some of the most famous movie monsters would often fight each other on the silver screen. Think “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man” (1943), “Dracula vs. Frankenstein” (1971), and more recently “Freddy vs. Jason” in 2003 and “Frankenstein vs. The Mummy” in 2015. The latter two were both miserable excuses for a monster movie, but they followed – or even revived – a trend of setting up perfect popcorn-munching monster brawls. Luckily for us, today’s “hero vs. hero” movies are a far deeper and more meaningful than anything ever to be released on the silver screen, so we won’t have to descend into the B-territory while seeing them.