Holy Justice League news-alanche, Batman!
Production is well underway on the sequel to the polarizing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and today there has been an absolutely deluge of information posted online from the set visit.
And gosh, it doesn’t half sound exciting! From talk of Parademons to the Flash’s new homemade costume, certain lucky devils (such as Movie Pilot’s own Kit Simpson Browne) got to see props and costumes, hear about the plot, watch a scene being filmed, and even got to speak to the cast!
Among that cast was Ben Affleck, who disclosed many interesting things about his iteration of the Caped Crusader and his place in the upcoming movie.
"It's like a one-man reign of terror."
Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) described Batman's methods as such to Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White in Dawn of Justice, and, well, he's not wrong is he?
The Batman is always meant to be scary and intimidating, yet here we were, introduced to a very jaded and alarmingly aggressive Caped Crusader. With the loss of Robin and the recent destruction of Wayne Tower in Metropolis during the events of Man of Steel, Affleck’s Bruce Wayne was one unhappy chappie.
Indeed, Batman has always erred a bit on the brutal side, but in Dawn of Justice he went to the next level. Affleck concurred:
“Batman definitely went to a very dark place.”
Affleck’s Bat directly caused the death or serious injury of many people as he vented his frustrations upon criminals, stabbing and shooting at Lex Luthor's goons — as well as Superman — and catapulted occupied cars into each other.
While people mostly loved Affleck's Batman (and that awesome warehouse fight scene), there was a decidedly mixed response online to his wanton blood lust. Critics and fans vehemently debated this violent depiction; some said that it was appropriate, given the darkness of the movie, while others championed the idea that it was out of character for Batman to commit murder.
Either way, this seems to have been picked up on at DC and Warner Bros., so when Affleck was directly questioned about his character’s kill rate he stated:
“He’s no longer sort of extreme in that way.”
Throughout the darkness in Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne referred to himself and Alfred (Jeremy Irons) as criminals, and had a generally nihilistic view of his own actions as well as humanity’s as a whole. However, in the closing shots of the movie, he insisted that “Men are still good” to Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), and they agreed to form the Justice League. This pointed to him having moved past his grief and depression, which Affleck affirms to be the case:
“That was rooted in trauma that occurred to people that he loved and worked with and what he saw. This movie is not about that issue for him so much anymore.”
'The Dawn Is Coming'
Many people are certainly going to be pleased by this news, because the general and popular consensus is that Batman operates with a no-killing policy. While some will decry that in the older comics (and in some films) Batman is frequently seen willfully or indirectly murdering people, most modern works depict him as strictly adhering to this code of honor.
Even in one of his darkest and grimmest comics, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman eschewed the use of guns and murder.
So why is this no-killing code a good thing? Well for starters, it adds nuance and complexity to Batman’s character. For someone so consumed by rage and vengeance, and to such an obsessive and controlling degree, it’s a somewhat ironic and refreshing notion that he isn’t prepared to cross that final barrier of murder. For all his violence and brutality, the root of all Batman's crime fighting is his compassion and his wish to spare others his childhood pain.
Even though his stance against murder sets him apart from his other movie iterations, so too shall this graduation back to his core beliefs. Plus, the fact that he has begun a redemptive process after his encounters with Superman in Dawn of Justice is a great bit of logical character development. It also gives him a motivation to found the Justice League alongside Wonder Woman. Affleck agrees with this line of thought:
"He’s wanting to redeem himself and wanting mankind to be redeemed and he’s wanting to make the world better.”
What Do You Believe?'
While some will decry this decision and dislike how Batman is being sanitized, this can only mean great things for future Batman movies.
If Batman were to continue to murder anyone and everyone who ticked him off, then it would create massive storytelling problems, such as: Why would Jared Leto’s Joker still be alive in Suicide Squad?
With an unparalleled rogues gallery, it would seem very shortsighted to have Batman kill them off after every first encounter. Allowing the villains to live means that they can be brought back at a later date and in a fresh installment of the growing DC Cinematic Universe.
It is also a good thing because a non-killing Batman is closer to how the comics generally depict him, and the fact that he has been changed evidences how Warner Bros. is acknowledging the criticisms of Dawn of Justice and seeking to make a movie that pleases everyone.
Change for change's sake is not necessarily a good thing, but by listening to the voices of fans and adapting accordingly (but not absolutely), the studio will tell better stories in a more sophisticated manner. And that can only be a good thing.