Depending on your religious beliefs, last year’s Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice was either perfectly-competent popcorn fluff or the worst, most sacrilegious film ever to plague humanity. Choose your side. There is no middle ground.
Many filmgoers were underwhelmed by the central conflict of the film and wished there had been a more drawn-out fight between the rich playboy and the god-like alien from beyond the stars. Side note: There’s no way in hell Batman would win that fight in real life. Superman was clearly paid to throw the fight or something.
Also, concluding the battle because their moms shared a first name felt… odd.
But all of that aside, the actual conflict the movie tries to raise is an interesting one. Should humanity trust Superman because he’s clearly good and does everything he can to save people, or is he—like some goober spray painted on his statue—a “false god?” That is, should Superman be allowed to continue to protect us just because he’s so good at his job, or is he too powerful?
On the other side, Superman (and apparently nobody else) wonders whether Batman should be allowed to continue to operate given his increasingly-brutal tactics. Once a promoter of non-lethal methods, Batman now literally shoots rocket launchers at villains’ vehicles and Bat-brands the ones who survive, ensuring their death in prison.
How that works, we’re not sure. Maybe all the other prisoners makes fun of the branded villain’s silly little bat tattoo to the point that they die of shame?
Weirder things have happened in the DC universe.
For all the hate that Zack Snyder gets for his movies, he should be commended for his pursuit of truly thought-provoking themes and undeniably-unique visual styles. His execution often leaves something to be desired, but, again, the man’s willingness to swing for the fences is damn admirable in a world where every movie looks and feels exactly the same.
Sorry if I’m on a rant defending the man. I recently wrote about Synder and his daughter and it made me want to defend a man that I legitimately respect especially in the face of such undeserved loathing from moronic comic book fans.
All that to say, Batman V. Superman attempts to paint a scenario where maybe both Batman and Superman are right. They go about pursuing justice in different ways, but they come to respect each other and work together. The only problem I see is that, no, Batman was right to want to kill Superman all along.
To jog your memory, here’s Bruce Wayne explaining to his butler (Bruce is a very fancy man) why Bruce thinks he should stab Superman to death with a magic trident.
Scary stuff, right? Bruce is angry about all the damage that was caused in Man of Steel when Superman and Zod flew around Metropolis causing more collateral damage than any single event in history that didn’t involve an actual nuke. He has reason to be upset, but, thankfully, the two resolve their differences and become the best of friends. They join forces to kick the poop out of Lex Luthor and Doomsday and save the world. Superman then gets his ass nuked to death so it all sort of comes out in the wash anyway. No harm, no foul.
Except… Bruce was totally right. Like 100% unequivocally so. Superman is way, way too powerful. If there is even a 1% chance that he’s evil, it’s too much. Superman can kill everybody. He can blow up the whole planet just by sneezing too hard. Whatever protection Superman brings the planet isn’t worth the possibility of him ending all life on Earth.
And, honestly, even the protection isn’t really all that awesome. A lot of the villains Superman ends up protecting us from are only here because of Superman. If Superman had ended up on some other planet, Zod would likely have just gone there.
Doomsday also only exists because of Krypton technology being spread across Earth. If Superman just buggered off to space somewhere the problem could be solved, but he won’t because he’s got the hots for this reporter chick and he thinks of himself as a Kansan.
It may seem harsh to do kill or banish Superman, but there’s really no way around it.
The movie avoids the question by killing Superman, but as soon as he inevitably returns in Justice League—or some other forthcoming DC movie—there won’t be any choice to be made. Batman and whoever else will be forced to kill the guy that’s almost literally a god. They’ve already shown flashes of “evil Superman” having taken over the world in the future. That’s something that can’t be allowed to happen.
Of course, the movies will let it happen because it will make for an awesome storyline most likely, but if Batman had any common sense he’d dig up Superman’s grave and stab him a couple hundred times with that Kryptonite spear and fill the casket up with Kryptonite gravel. It’s the only way to ensure the thing stays dead.
It’s the only way to save humanity.