One of the big questions surrounding next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is just why that little ‘v’ is there in the first place. Most fans put two and two together and guessed that Batsy will be fighting Supes as a direct result of the destruction in Metropolis, holding the opinion that he believes him to be doing more harm than good. Guess what – we were right! Well, sort-of.
Back in the big Entertainment Weekly special on the movie, we missed a few little morsels in our coverage. Namely, Ben Affleck’s reveal as to why his character is really going up against Superman in the film.
“One of the things I liked was Zack’s idea of showing accountability and the consequences of violence and seeing that there are real people in those buildings. And in fact, one of those buildings was Bruce Wayne’s building so he knew people who died in that Black Zero event.”
This is interesting because it makes this a very personal arc for Bruce Wayne, as well as a moral one. Why should he support Superman when tons of his friends have been killed by him? It’s a valid question and I would probably be in the same boat as him were I in his position. It will make the battle between the two titans all the more interesting come March 2016.
Another key quotation came from director Zack Snyder in defense of Man of Steel‘s ending. If you’ve been on the internet longer than a week then you will remember back in 2013 there was a ton of uproar in fanboy communities about how much destruction and chaos was caused in the Battle of Metropolis, with a distinct lack of Superman being particularly ‘super.’ Snyder tackles that very subject in the magazine – and he isn’t backing down.
“I was surprised because that’s the thesis of Superman for me, that you can’t just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences. There are other superhero movies where they joke about how basically no one’s getting hurt. That’s not us. What is that message? That’s it’s okay that there’s this massive destruction with zero consequence for anyone? That’s what Watchmen was about in a lot of ways too. There was a scene, that scene where Dan and Laurie get mugged. They beat up the criminals. I was like the first guy, I want to show his arm get broken. I want a compound fracture. I don’t want it to be clean. I want you to go, ‘Oh my God, I guess you’re right. If you just beat up a guy in an alley he’s not going to just be lying on the ground. It’s going to be messy.”
Snyder is right. You have to have accountability in these films and you have to show the consequences, because otherwise it’s dishonest and the action is just there for the sake of it. However, I think he is misunderstanding the criticisms. The main problem for a lot of people is that Superman didn’t try to stop any of it – and in fact he did a lot of the destruction himself! He didn’t show any remorse for the loss of human life and didn’t try to save anybody which felt very out-of-character. That’s why I’m so glad it will be a main issue in the sequel; not only does it make the universe more cohesive but it builds the characters and provides dramatic conflict. Yeah, it was out-of-character and difficult however if he was perfect and saved anybody then there’s no room for growth. By going down this route then you can make Superman’s arc learning to become Superman, and tell that over multiple films. That to me is far more interesting than being the classic goodie-two-shoes that he is in the comics right off the bat. That being said, it wouldn’t have hurt Zack to show Superman saving at least one person, right?!
We’ll see how well this is addressed when Batman v Superman opens March 25 2016!