Many reviews are raving that Ben Affleck is superb as Bruce Wayne/Batman, in fact, many are saying he’s the best part of the new film Batman v Superman. But many are torn on this new take on the Caped Crusader.
We quickly realize this Batman is a different dude because he’s literally branding people with the Bat symbol. This means they’re marked for death once they get to prison. In a way Batman is giving these people a death sentence by inadvertently doing so, unless he is purposefully intending to do this, expecting they will be murdered in prison.
As the film progresses, Batman uses guns to shoot people, blows people up with the Batplane, stabs them, and destroys them with the Batmobile. Needless to say this is jarring to a majority of audiences who saw Christopher Nolan’s films where Batman’s rule is “No killing, no guns.”
Snyder has described himself as a comic book guy, although fans counter that Batman does not kill in the comics.
Zack Synder–the director of Batman v Superman, its predecessor Man of Steel, and the upcoming Justice League: Part 1–is a far different director than Chris Nolan or those Batman directors who came before him. Snyder has done films such as 300, Watchmen, Dawn of the Dead (remake), and Sucker Punch all of which are very violent and all of which are a hard rated R (Sucker Punch was released in theaters with a PG-13 rating but later released on home video with an R rated extended cut). With his pattern of R rated films it shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re getting his gritty vision in R rated form on home video in a couple months. According to the MPAA the “Ultimate Edition” is rated R for sequences of violence.
Bob Kane’s Vision
For those of you who don’t know, Bob Kane is the creator of Batman. He created Batman at the age of 18 and the first solo comic was released in 1940. In Batman’s first solo issue he kills criminals and uses guns. Now I know that guns and killing have mostly been taken out of Batman’s story line since his early years, but if Batman is to use guns and is to kill then it is in line with Bob Kane’s original vision. In this new film we see a Gatling gun mounted on the front of the Batplane which can clearly be taken as a callback to his first 1940 issue where Batman has a Gatling gun on his plane that he uses to mow down criminals.
Not only does Batman kill and use guns in his first solo issue, he also shoots a villain in his sleep in Detective Comics Issue 32 from October 1939. Most likely many people have forgotten about these incidences in the beginning issues of the Dark Knight.
So if anything, Snyder’s vision is actually more in line with Kane’s original vision.
What a Shock!
Like I’ve been saying many people are shocked, disturbed, and upset that Batman is killing criminals in the latest film. But this is not the first time we’ve seen Batman break his “one rule” on the big screen.
In 1989 the world received a dark vision from director Tim Burton. Kane was thrilled to see Gotham City come to life and his Caped Crusader in full form. It’s been nearly 30 years since Burton’s vision graced the screen. What started as a mega-franchise with Batman and Batman Returns grossing in total 678 million dollars with a combined budget of only $115 million quickly declined and eventually fell into ruin when Keaton left and Schumacher took over for Burton. The series went from gritty noir to a campy disgrace. Nonetheless the first two Burton films should not be forgotten.
Batman begins the titular film by telling a criminal he’s not going to kill him. As the film progresses, the future of Gotham becomes more dire, causing Batman to use more drastic measures to stop his nemesis The Joker.
Batman uses machine guns on his Batmobile, blows up a factory with many henchmen inside, and ultimately kills The Joker. Audiences were not reacting to Batman’s choices as they are today mainly because we live in a post-Nolan verse which really catapulted Batman out of Hollywood limbo and into the minds of many movie goers where they were clearly taught “Batman does not kill nor does he use guns.”
Robin is Dead – A New Gotham
Don’t worry I did not just spoil the film for you. We knew Robin to be supposedly dead from the very first trailer.
Around the same time as Burton’s first Batman film the comic book story arc “A Death in the Family” was released in the late 80’s. This was a unique story arc because readers decided Jason Todd’s aka Robin’s outcome. Ultimately Robin is murdered by The Joker, Batman is too late to save him, and he is left holding his dead body. It’s not confirmed if this new franchise from Warner Brothers will follow that same story arc but we know one thing for sure that Robin is no more.
This is the film’s biggest hint why Batman is calloused to criminals. The sex-trade plays a role in the film and his protege is dead. We’re presented with the darkest Gotham we’ve seen so it would only make sense to have Batman be just as dark.
A New Future
If you haven’t see the movie don’t read past this point! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
In a “dream sequence/vision” Batman is in a post-apocalyptic world run by Darkseid. This is the first scene in the movie where Batman uses guns and I feel this is the most justified instance since it’s basically him against 15 people, the world has come to an end, and aliens are involved. Nevertheless it is shocking, but I found it to be cool to see the Dark Knight using guns.
Are you fine that Batman is killing people and using guns? Are you really upset by Warner Brothers’ new direction? Comment your opinion below.