Problem Fix Would’ve Saved Batman V Superman:
If a debate were to start even now, 4 years after the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, fans would still end up in a heated argument claiming that the movie was awesome or a load of trash. Well, we’re here to say that it had every set up to be the best superhero movie ever, but just one or two decisions (and WB’s idiot editing team) ended up making the movie a mixed bag and leading the entire DCEU to fall apart.
One of the mistakes was casting Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Eisenberg did nothing wrong. He handled the complexity of the character as well as anyone could. But he was miscast for the role, and his mannerisms just didn’t suit the character. Anyway, we might have even accepted Eisenberg if this other flaw, this one little element of the film would’ve been different right from the beginning.
Zack Snyder wanted to make a dark DC movie franchise, gradually moving on towards an inspiring, well-lit and colorful Universe. But, in his darker vision for the DCEU, the one little mistake he & the writers made was making Batman a cold blooded killer. 20 years of fighting crime in Gotham totally changed Batman. The death of Robin stopped making him care about the value of human life. And that’s the fundamental flaw with Batman in this movie.
We saw Batman brutally murdering people throughout the film. Snyder defended this by saying that Batman did things that led people to die by their own mistakes. Well first of all, we saw him throwing a car on top of another car with his Batmobile. Then he shot at another car full of nameless bad guys and drove right through it instantly killing more people. Batman is not a killer. One of his basic character traits is that he is a super genius detective, who relies on his fists and will to take down Bad guys. But he has one moral rule, one line that he can never cross. He just cannot kill a criminal and that’s what makes him so special.
But, WB has developed this weird fixation of turning Batman into The Punisher. Starting from, Batman V Superman, they began portraying Batman as a murderer and probably they still haven’t learnt their lesson. After BvS, Batman was shown as a murderer on DC Universe’s Titans, and very recently in the Arrowverse, we got to see Kevin Conroy playing another murderous Batman from an alternate earth. That would’ve been awesome and unique if other films and shows wouldn’t have shown Batman as a killer already.
One could argue that even Christian Bale’s Batman led to several murders. But you have to know that he was never portrayed as a killer. Ben Affleck’s Batman was a killer right from the start. It was such an awesome casting. The suit was great, the Batmobile, the Bat-plane were all awesome. But, the one fundamental flaw that took everything down to the level where things made no sense was Batman killing people from the beginning.
Screen Rant suggested the way to fix Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was by not having Batman as a killer from the beginning. They are absolutely right with their analysis. And we’re here to say that this fix would not have just saved Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it would’ve saved the entire DCEU from falling apart with Justice League.
Batman’s motivation in BvS was that he was afraid of the power that Superman possessed. There were some beautifully written & delivered lines in the movie. Bruce & Alfred’s argument –
“Alfred: You’re going to go to war?
Bruce Wayne: That son of a bitch brought the war – to – us, two years ago. Jesus, Alfred, count the dead. Thousands of people. What’s next: millions? He has the power to wipe out the entire human race, and if we believe there’s even a 1% chance that he is our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty. And we have to destroy him.
Alfred: But he is not our enemy!
Bruce: Not today. Twenty years in Gotham, Alfred. We’ve seen what promises are worth. How many good guys are left? How many stayed that way?”
Add this one line by Alfred to this argument –
“This is how it starts. The fever, the rage, the feeling of powerlessness that turns good men…cruel.”
And now comes the flaw with Bruce’s motivation. He is absolutely right to fear that a corrupt Superman would use his power for oppression and murder people. But what has Bruce been doing ever since the death of Robin? He himself has been misusing his own power & capabilities by murdering people. So, his motivations don’t feel justified because he wants to stop Superman from doing things that he hasn’t even thought of doing yet. Whereas Bruce has been doing the same god-damn thing. This made it very difficult for us die-hard Batman fans to root for him despite such perfect acting delivered by Batfleck.
To fix this and keep the movie powerful, Snyder should not have made Batman a murderer, but a brutal vigilante who cripples his criminals but hasn’t crossed that line of murder yet. And, being afraid of Superman’s omnipotent powers, Bruce would’ve realized that he might have to break his one rule this time. And hence, this set up would’ve been even more powerful:
“Superman: Next time they shine your light in the sky, don’t go to it. The Bat is dead; bury it. Consider this mercy.
Batman: Tell me… Do you bleed? (Superman takes off) You will.”
Batman deciding to kill Superman and breaking his no killing rule would’ve shown us a deeper inner conflict. It would’ve made us root for him again. And, it would’ve actually made the Martha moment work. Because in that moment, Batsy would’ve realized that what he was just about to do was wrong. It would’ve put Batman on the path of complete righteousness once again. This way, his arc in Justice League would’ve also made perfect sense because Batman once again would’ve become a hero that people would be inspired from. There are instance where Snyder tried to show us that Batman wasn’t a murderer, but he took things too far that his own analogy didn’t come across as he had intended.
If Batman was just a brutal vigilante & not a murderer, then one more scene would’ve made more sense. Lex Luthor had a criminal (who Batman had caught) killed in prison. That made Superman & other people think that Batman had been the one to have that criminal killed. Well, if Batman wasn’t already a murderer, then Lex Luthor would’ve come across as the real villain. But here, it was Batman who was still the villain of the story even though he didn’t have that unarmed prisoner killed. That’s because Batman was not innocent in the first place.
This one change in the story would’ve made Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice more powerful. It would’ve taken the sting away from the miscast Lex Luthor as maybe the fans would’ve accepted Jessie Eisenberg’s different kinda Luthor. And it would’ve saved the rest of the DCEU because with this change, BvS would’ve at least crossed $1 Billion. WB wouldn’t have lost their trust in Snyder’s vision. We would’ve got the right version of Justice League that people still keep asking for. Because of the whole drama behind Justice League, Affleck lost interest in playing Batman, so he departed. Superman never got the chance to redeem himself.
Aquaman & Wonder Woman turned out to be good because those films got their characters right. But BvS failed at Batman. It gave us a Batman that fought like we’ve always wanted, but it came at a cost of turning him into a murderer. If BvS would’ve made money, then the Snydercut would’ve made money and we would’ve already seen Justice League 2 by now. DC may have been on par with the likes Marvel or at least they would’ve gotten closer to Marvel’s greatness. Projects like Shazam! & Birds of Prey may have also been lifted due to the hype surrounding Justice League. All this could’ve happened if Batman was not a killer!!