*BEWARE: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERISH DISCUSSION*
With Empire’s blowout on BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE flooding the net these last two days, there’s plenty of new intel to dig into. For this post, let’s take a look at some of producer Charles Roven’s comments about Ben Affleck’s Batman. We’ve heard it said before that this version of the character would be darker and more violent than any live-action take we’ve seen so far, and the producer adds some insight into the How and the Why he’s like this.
How will this take be different from the gritty, tormented version we got to know in Christopher Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY?
“Heâ€™s older, [and] heâ€™s seen the worst of what man can do. Heâ€™s been darkened by it, heâ€™s tougher, heâ€™s angrier, I guess.”
That bit about seeing the “worst of what man can do” implies that this Batman is going to be deeply cynical. He’s seen the dark depths of what man is capable of, and his entire worldview may be shaped around this idea that, deep down, everyone is capable of being a monster.
And, while the widely-known Batman mythology up this point is that he was- in essence- created by the murders of his parents, Roven says that the fact that we’re meeting him later on in his life means that those dark edges have become even more sharpened by the continued losses of his loved ones.
When asked if he’s lost a love interest, the way that Christian Bale’s Batman lost Rachel Dawes, Roven says that, while he hasn’t specifically lost a girlfriend, he has experienced other earth-shattering losses:
“Heâ€™s still lost those that are near and dear to him, and not necessarily from old age or disease.”
This answer points to the fact that Bruce Wayne has had to cope with the violent deaths of several people he loves, and it goes beyond the scope of his parents- which has always been the primary example used in films of what hurts him. But this time around, he could very well be reeling from the murders of James Gordon and/or Jason Todd.
So what kind of a hero is Batman in DAWN OF JUSTICE?
“[Batman] is not giving people a chance. He is more than a vigilante. He has become not only the cop, if you will, he has also become the jury and executioner.”
We’ve definitely seen evidence of this sort of sadistic behavior, with the glimpses of a bat-symbol branded onto the chest of a criminal seen in trailers. But “executioner“? Wow. That’s a description of Batman that wouldn’t fit any other cinematic version of the character we’ve seen so far. It sounds like his cynicism and jaded outlook may have even killed his trust of law enforcement, especially if it’s true that Gordon- “the one good cop in Gotham”- was killed, leaving him to dole out his own brand of justice.
This certainly sounds like an interesting, cerebral version of Batman- and it may help answer the question of “Why would Batman and Superman fight?” Many skeptical fans have pondered whether or not this question is answered in a satisfactory way. I’ve seen several columnists deride the concept, pointing to the fact that Batman is supposed to be a genius-level detective yet is somehow dumb enough to think Superman is a bad guy. But if Roven’s statements are true, and Wayne truly has lost whatever hope he had left for humanity, then he really would be blind to the idea that Superman means us no harm. He’d be too hell-bent on what would happen if Superman unleashed his inner monster.
Likewise, Superman- who is inherently good and kind- would see Batman’s brand of violent justice as the work of a twisted vigilante who needs to be stopped.
Interesting stuff and, if handled right by director Zack Snyder and writer Chris Terrio, could make for a very compelling showdown between DC’s titans.
What do you think of Roven’s comments? Does this help shed some light on who this Bruce Wayne/Batman is?