Further Ruminations on Batman v Superman


I am just going to say it:  I don’t believe that Zach Snyder is a real comics geek.  Reason being, I have seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and while it isn’t terrible by any means, it’s also not the sort of movie that a true fan of the medium would make (not without A LOT of arm-twisting, at any rate).(There’s also none of the joy, the amazement to be shepherding these larger-than-life characters on to the screen, but that’s another discussion).

And speaking of Batman v Superman–review uploading as I type!–it has left me in in a bit of a quandry.  I thought it was a better movie than Man Of Steel, but not by a lot.  And while I found the latter almost offensive, I have given the former, for the most part, a pass.

So, for my own edification, I felt the need to explore why.  And I began–and ended–with two reasons:

 1 .Zach Snyder seemed to learn from (what I think are) mistakes made in Man Of Steel.

As I mention in my review, I cannot STAND Man of Steel.  Unlike what a lot of defenders of the movie may tell you, Superman DOES NOT KILL, NOR THOUGH INACTION DOES HE ALLOW OTHERS TO DIE (IF HE CAN HELP IT).

Now keep in mind, that’s not the same as saying Superman has not killed, though those occasions tended to be few and far between (it’s worth mentioning that he’s from comics–Duh!– which every once in awhile, to goose sales, pull what can be called ‘stunts).

Sometimes they consist of physical changes to the comic itself (variant or foil covers) or storylines where atypical things happen, such as a Batman comic where is Robin killed by the Joker–or when the Bat’s back is broken by Bane–or Superman kills someone).

As I said, these events weren’t common, especially when Batman and Superman (now Marvel’s Punisher, being not only an anti-hero, but a bit of a sociopath, is another matter entirely) are concerned, and things tended to revert to a status quo of sorts as soon as the dust settled.

2. Ironically, by making Superman more violent it had the (probably unintended) effect of making the Batman seem even more so.

Superman being essentially Man Evolved has a very curious effect on other characters, none more so the Batman.  What he provided was contrast; Superman was almost angelic, while Batman was more visceral, and in most ways more human and grounded (pardon the pun).  By changing this crucial–and I would argue defining–aspect of the character not only does he become a little more murky, but characters around him do as well.

This is probably why some comics fans have on various forums have gone as far as to call Batman names like ‘Murderman:’  If Snyder and company had kept Superman relatively pure (as in closer to more traditional interpretations) I suspect fans would have been more forgiving of a more brutal interpretation of Batman because it would have provided a true contrast to a–pardon this pun as well–a holier-than-thou Superman.

In fact, the movie would have been better served by Lex Luthor brutally killing the criminals of Gotham and Metropolis, and framing Batman for it.  This scenario would have only have kept Batman from being a killer in geek eyes, but would have had the added benefit of making Luthor’s plan make sense (his endgame could still be for Superman to kill Batman–and vice versa–but it would have actually been logical and more satisfying).

For instance, there’s a scene where Batman tries to steal some Kryptonite Luthor was transporting.  Under my scenario Luthor was doing so to use incase Batman failed to kill Superman, while Batman is trying to steal it because is the only thing that will enable him to have a fighting chance against against Superman (who is after him because of being framed by Lex Luthor for the aforementioned murders (a plot line the movie actually sets up, but never follows through with).

Most importantly the scenario I created would not insult the intelligence of fans or anyone else for that matter because there is NO CONTEST BETWEEN BATMAN AND SUPERMAN.

So the object of the conflict wouldn’t necessarily be for Batman to BEAT Superman, but to use his knowledge, technology and–when necessary–underhanded tricks to stay alive long enough to change Superman’s mind.

Heck, my changes even make Lex Luthor gathering information on other super-powered beings make sense (As a character he leaves little to chance, so he was investigating other metahumans in an effort to use them as weapons against Superman–and Batman–when and if the time arrived).

It’s similar to what Baron Strucker did in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and would have really worked in this particular context as well, if not better, than it did there.  Besides, Lex Luthor is all about contingencies, upon contingencies, upon contingencies.  That’s who he is, not someone who can barely make out a concise plan (and who might have Tourettes).

Those are only two recommendations, but as you could probably tell, if I didn’t stop writing it would turn into some sort of manifesto, and who wants to read that?

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