When I first saw Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I was coming off one of the greatest weeks of my life, drunkenly stumbling around New York City with my oldest friends. It was my last day in the city and we figured it’d be a nice way to wrap things up, after all we were going to this incredible IMAX theater in Times Square with leather recliners, and we were all nursing unending hangovers. WHAT A HORRIBLE FUCKING WAY TO END AN OTHERWISE PERFECT VACATION.
I don’t even know where to begin with this cinematic travesty. Shoving ten hours’ worth of storylines into a two-and-a-half-hour bukkake of half-conceived thoughts and plots with no towel for clean up after the mess? Jesse Eisenberg playing anything other than a quiet, socially awkward virgin who stumbles into some hot girl’s mouth by the time the credits roll? A reckless Batman who ravages Gotham and Metropolis like a 19-year-old with a fake ID and a bottomless bank account in Havasu? MARTHA?!
It’s just all so bad. Except Gal Gadot. Gal Gadot is perfection. If you disagree, please, by all means, go find the nearest exit out of this life.
If the boner police are here, I demand a lawyer.
What truly frustrated me the most, more than the nearly incomprehensible story and laughable climactic expression of the titular brawl, was the complete and utter destruction of the Caped Crusader’s character, the shredding of the very fabric of what it means to be Batman.
I re-watched BvS for the third (and definitely final) time the other night, and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t almost sucked in. Almost. About 35 minutes in I was thinking, “Ya know maybe I was a little too tough on this flick, Ben Affleck is a great Bruce Wayne and it’s not that hard to follow and—WHY THE FUCK DID BATMAN JUST USE A CAR TO SMUSH ANOTHER CAR INTO A PANCAKE KNOWING FULL WELL THERE WERE THREE PEOPLE INSIDE AND OH MY TITTY FUCKING CHRIST HE JUST INTENTIONALLY LANDED THE BATMOBILE ON SOME GUY’S FACE. YEAH, BRUCE, SUPERMAN IS THE BAD GUY.”
At least nine guys die by Batman's hand in this scene. Could be more.
It was at the conclusion of that scene I rediscovered my profound disgust for this movie. In that chase scene on the harbor, Batman coldly murders nine guys. I counted. At least nine that are for sure dead. Then there’s that whole weird futuristic dream sequence where he dreams (literally) of killing even more henchmen with an assault rifle.
Ohhhhhhhh and my favorite: He saves poor old Martha by blasting one henchman with the Batplane’s mini-guns, blowing two guys up with a grenade, and full-blown STABBING another goon, before climaxing in probably the least Batman move ever of shooting Anatoli Knyazev aka KGBeast (another character they shit on) with a machine gun causing the Russian agent’s flame thrower to explode and for him to die a fiery death before ever assuming his bad-ass supervillain alter ego.
Batman’s murder toll in the movie might be over 20, which is a fucking travesty to the character. There are undoubtedly greasy-haired, hygienically challenged basement dwellers who would respond to this complaint by pushing their glasses back up the ridge of their nose, wiping the sweat from their chubby brows, and saying tartly, “Actually, Batman killed people and had a gun when he first debuted.”
Batman used to be kind of an asshole
Which is true. In 1939. Six months before Batman’s famous backstory of having his parents gunned down in front of him was even conceived. So, actually, the Batman we know does not kill. In fact, 1940’s Batman #4 features one of the Caped Crusader’s most famous lines to Robin: “We never kill with weapons of any kind.”
Batman doesn't have a superpower, that is a fact. What old Bats does have, however, is a superhuman level of conviction rooted in the preservation of life.
He witnessed his parents ruthlessly murdered in front of him as a child, which explains his unwavering war on crime. What's often overlooked, however, is young Bruce witnessed death firsthand at a very young age and experienced the agony that survivors must go through in such situations. More than a stand against crime, Bruce Wayne took a stand against death itself the day his parents were slaughtered. No matter who you are, what you've done, you and your family do not deserve for you to die.
This is a panel from Kingdom Come, which imagines the Justice League in the future. Although it is a one and done story-line, this conversation perfectly exemplifies Bruce Wayne as Batman.
I am not saying everyone deserves life or that Bruce Wayne is right. Some people simply deserve to have the lights turned off for good. Murderers. Rapists. Nazis. People who don’t return shopping carts to their designated parking lot corral. What makes Bruce Wayne Batman is his commitment to saving every single life that he can, no matter the kind of person.
A Batman who kills without abandon is like a John Wick who only slightly injures his victims rather than blowing their heads off. Or a Daredevil with 20/20 vision. Or a tuxedo-less James Bond behind the wheel of a 1982 K-Car. You get the point. It is simply not the same character. Batman v. Superman’s biggest problem lies in the fact that they turn the world’s most merciful character into a wanton killer.
P.S. This video is more entertaining than the entirety of BvS. You're welcome.