(originally posted May 30th 2014)
So, how about that ‘Batman vs Superman’ movie, eh? Oh I’m sorry, ‘Batman v Superman.’ Apparently that extra ‘s’ wasn’t broody enough to be included. As a self-proclaimed geek, you’d think this film would have me foaming at the mouth with excitement, but you’d be wrong. I do love Batman and I do love Superman, but the idea of these two iconic superheroes duking it out, quite frankly, bores me.
Firstly, this idea has been done before. The 1986 comic book ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ ended with a fight between the two. The video game ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us,’ which came out last year, had the idea of Batman fighting Superman as one of its key selling points. And while they may not have fought, they have at least butted heads in other media like ‘Superman: The Animated Series.’ It’s a discussion that people have been having for practically forever.
Secondly, the Batman vs Superman argument has practically been resolved. Ask anyone who they’d think would win, nine times out of ten, they’ll probably say Batman. Hell, even DC seems to have acknowledged this. In ‘The Dark Knight Returns,’ Batman beats Supes into the ground. When ‘Injustice’ was coming out, NetherRealm (the developer) held a tournament where viewers could vote for the winners. The final was Batman vs Superman. Guess who won? And there have been several times where I’ve seen the two agree that should Superman ever go rogue, Batman will be the one to stop him. Why should I be interested in a conflict where the victor has already been decided? But maybe that won’t happen with this film. Maybe Superman will win. Maybe there will be no victor, but the film is still called ‘Batman v Superman.’ Most of the film will no doubt consist of the conflict between the two. And I’ve seen that already, and I’m sick of it.
Do you want to know what’s more interesting than Batman and Superman fighting? Batman and Superman working together. Sure, this isn’t new territory; they’re both part of the Justice League and there have been a few team up animated films that centred on them, which in turn were based off of a comic book series that focused on their relationship whilst fighting crime. I find this to be a far more interesting dynamic than straight-up hostility.
Batman and Superman are very different people in their approaches to crime-fighting so there will be some antagonism between the two. Whereas Superman will try to negotiate with a crook, Batman will just break one of their legs, citing that he was being generous. Superman remains out in the open and is loved by the people of Metropolis. Batman sticks to the shadows and is feared by even non-criminals. They’re almost polar opposites so seeing them disagree is not surprising.
But despite all this, they also share some similarities. Both lost their birth parents, both abhor the idea of killing and both want to make a world a better place, constantly putting their lives at risk to do so. I feel that they complement each other really well, which makes for a very interesting friendship.
Yes, you read that right. Friendship. The idea of these two being friends is something I find very appealing. It highlights how two people can work together effectively despite their differences. We all have friends who are so dissimilar to us, and yet we still cherish their friendship. It’s the same with Supes and Bats. I love seeing them work together because we get to see how much respect they have for one another.
One of my favourite scenes from the ‘Justice League’ cartoon is when everyone believes Superman is dead, except for Bats, who is convinced he’s still alive. He’s right, but it becomes slightly apparent that he refuses to believe it himself and this is him coping with it. He eventually goes to Superman’s memorial and, for maybe the first time ever, opens up and admits how much admiration he has for him, saying “You taught me that justice doesn’t have to come from the darkness.”
The favour is also returned in the one-off animated movie ‘Justice League: Doom’ where Superman gives Batman some Kryptonite, telling him should Superman ever go bad, he trusts that Batman will stop him.
This is what I want from a Superman/Batman crossover. Not the two brooding and constantly fighting but banding together and helping people and this movie could potentially do that. Yes, you can still have them butting heads, since this is their first encounter and they won’t instantly become buddies but don’t have it end in a punch up. Have it end with the beginning of a friendship between DC’s biggest heroes and a sign of hope for their world (and that ‘Justice League’ movie).