Until recently, Warner Bros. has been known to be the best studio at marketing their films. Remember that awesome campaign for 2016’s Suicide Squad? I do, and I fully believe it was the marketing, and not the actual terrible movie itself, that caused Suicide Squad to gross over $700 million worldwide.
Lately, however, the studio’s marketing has come across as a little desperate. Last year’s Black Adam had a secret Henry Cavill Superman cameo that The Rock “accidentally” revealed just before the movie launched. WB doubled down with their next DC film, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, by spoiling that movie’s post-credits Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman cameo by including it on a nationally televised commercial two weeks before its release. Never mind that her cameo was actually a pivotal plot point in the Shazam! sequel; WB needed to put butts in theatres, no matter what the cost. That film’s director, David F. Sandberg, wasn’t too pleased, and the movie tanked anyway.
Now, it seems, they are desperate again, as The Flash‘s director, Andy Muschietti, revealed in an interview with Esquire Middle East that Nicolas Cage’s Superman will appear in the upcoming Ezra Miller/Michael Keaton DC Comics movie. If some of you are wondering in what film Cage appeared as Superman, rest easy; the actor never officially appeared on film as the Man of Steel. In one of the great canceled film productions of the 20th century, Cage was all set on appearing as Kal-El in Superman Lives, going so far as to film costume and makeup tests for direct Tim Burton, before the project was scrapped for reasons to complex to get into here.
As it stands now, The Flash will contain appearances by Michael Keaton’s stoic version of Batman, Ben Affleck’s bored version of Batman, a new Supergirl who looks and acts nothing like Supergirl, a General Zod no one really cared for to begin with, and another version of The Flash with longer hair and an even worse sense of humor than “regular” Barry. Now, we’ll be seeing a cameo of a version of a character we’ve never seen before on the big screen, by an actor who was never right for the part to begin with and is way too old now to do it justice.
Why is Cage’s Superman even in the movie? Who wants to see this? And since everything is on the table now, where’s Adrienne Barbeau’s cameo? She was in 1982’s Swamp Thing, after all. And why not get AI to revive George Reeves as Superman? Adam West as Batman? This is nostalgia bait at its most cynical and desperate, and it may just work.
The Flash races into theaters June 16.