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Mace and Crown | May 24, 2018

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The 'World’s Finest' Team Up Before 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'

The ‘World’s Finest’ Team Up Before ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’
George Plank
Staff Writer

There are some things that go perfectly together. Peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and chocolate, peanut butter and bananas and for those that have a peanut allergy, Batman and Superman. The pair has appeared together in “World’s Finest” comics as early as 1941, so many people have been justifiably disappointed to not see the two together in a feature-length film. On Mar. 25, 2016, their wishes will be granted with the release of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Over the past several years, fans of the duo have had to satisfy their longing with the made-for-TV movie called, “The Batman Superman Movie: World’s Finest” released in 1997. 

Following the success of the 1989 Tim Burton “Batman” film, Warner Brothers partnered with the FOX Network to create an animated series based on the caped crusader. Toward the end of its run, “Batman: The Animated Series” planned a crossover with another Warner Brothers production based on a DC Comics character, “Superman: The Animated Series.” What resulted was an hour-long crossover special featuring characters from both series.

The movie opens with the Joker and Harley Quinn stealing a statue from an antiques shop in Gotham. With the aid of the Batcomputer, Batman determines the statue was made from solid kryptonite, Superman’s only known weakness. Knowing the Joker has something big planned, Batman absconds to Metropolis to do business as Bruce Wayne.

The Joker manages to forcefully arrange a meeting with Superman’s adversary, Lex Luthor. The Joker offers to kill Superman in exchange for a large sum of money. Luthor agrees begrudgingly, but insists that he cannot be connected to the Joker in any way.

Batman, trying to find the Joker before he causes any trouble, infiltrates a Metropolis nightclub to interrogate a mob boss. Superman intervenes and uses his x-ray vision to peer behind Batman’s mask to reveal Batman’s secret identity. In turn, Batman places a tracking device on Superman’s cape, and he follows the Man of Steel back to Clark Kent’s apartment.

After a failed attempt to kill Superman, Luthor loses faith in the Joker and threatens him at gunpoint. The Joker quickly turns the tables, taking Luthor captive and stealing one of LexCorp’s prototype jets. Batman and Superman work as a team to bring down the jet and defeat the Joker.

The art style of the special directly mimicked the comic book series. The character designs and color schemes rang true to the spirit of their respective series.

batman v supermanMany of the actors who lent their voice to the TV film have become synonymous with the characters themselves. Batman is voiced by Kevin Conroy who went on to play the Caped Crusader in the “Arkham” series of video games. Superman is voiced by Tim Daly who currently has a reoccurring role on the show “Madam Secretary.” The Joker is voiced by Mark Hamill, of “Star Wars” fame, and he too reprised his role for the first two “Arkham” games.

Fans have demanded a Batman v Superman movie ever since they first saw these characters separately on the big screen. The Will Smith film, “I Am Legend,” even had a mock poster for a World’s Finest movie hidden in the backdrop of a destroyed city, mocking the possibility that we may never have gotten one at all.

Even though it has been 20 years since this crime-fighting team first appeared on film together, fans around the world are ready to see the two fight it out in an all-new film. Though the viewing public finally gets to see the “Dawn of Justice” on March 25, it’s not a bad idea to look back and see where the sun first rose on the “World’s Finest” super team.