If you have an affinity for the latest Batman movie news, you're likely to have stumbled upon a rather detailed fan theory regarding the identity of Ben Affleck's character (among other things) in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The Moviepilot article supporting this theory has reached well over one million hits over the course of nearly two weeks. Rick, from totalspoiler.com has done a lot of research and goes into massive amounts of detail. I'm asking you to read his article before delving into mine. Everything I say is simply commentary on what Rick has already given a great deal of time and thought to. I have read what he's had to say in its entirety, and I'm asking you to display the same level of courtesy.
However, if you opt not to do that, let me give you a sampling of the bigger plot twists that, according to Rick, we're expected to see when Bats and Supes face-off next year:
- Batman, while technically "Batman", is actually Slade Wilson/Deathstroke assuming the identity of Batman
- The Joker is actually John Blake from The Dark Knight Rises
- Christian Bale's Batman/Bruce Wayne still exists in this universe and will make an appearance in Dawn of Justice
- Jeremy Irons is actually Slade Wilson's butler
- Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer are the masterminds behind all of it
Before I go into my personal views on this theory, I want to be perfectly frank. I WISH all of these plot twists were true. I really do. Unfortunately, I believe this is a case of looking at very particular details with a very particular lens. Here are just a few reasons why these theories simply don't hold any water:
1. The Amount Of Plot Twists
Were all of this true, the sheer volume of plot twists inside of this movie would result in sensory overload for most movie going audiences.
A Batman that's not really Batman + a Joker that's not really Joker + an Alfred that's not really Alfred =
While a certain portion of the audience will have either read or heard about this theory by the time BvS comes out, you will also have a mass amount of people who are going into the theater entirely fresh. Bear in mind that most movies, at least the ones that I've seen, have one, maybe two character based plot twists. Have you seen a movie successfully go beyond that? Plus, you have a superhero film, once again, that is jam packed with main characters. As much as I'm looking forward to Batman v Superman, it is already getting dangerously close to being crowded to the point of confusion (Spider-Man 3, anyone?), so I find it unlikely that writers would opt to add more subliminal elements to an already packed film.
2. Snyder's Style
I would love to see Christian Bale's Batman suddenly appear out of the shadows in a mid or post-credits scene. Unfortunately, I just can't see it fitting very well in the world Snyder is building. Here's why:
Nolan's renown came from building a realistic world for Batman to inhabit. There simply wouldn't be room in that world for Superman to actually exist. Men flying isn't realistic. Granted, neither are men dressing as bats, but at least dressing as a bat is remotely plausible in Nolan's world. While it's true that Rick's theory claims that in the TDKR we see a less realistic villain in Bane, whether he realizes it or not, he uses Bane's origin in the comics as his basis. There's one major problem with that; unlike the travesty of Batman & Robin, Nolan makes absolutely no effort to follow the comic book origins of Bane. He spliced pieces of the comic books that fit well into the narrative he was telling. Bane's origin story was not one of them. Ergo, this villain remains squarely in the realm of realism. He has no chemicals pumped into his body. In fact, I think he only had the Vader-esque breathing apparatus on his face to appease fans.
In summary, Nolan's world for Batman was based in reality with some comic influence. Snyder's world is comic based with some realistic influence. Get what I mean?
3. From Batfleck to...Batstroke?
Speaking of stroke, I nearly had one when I read this part of the theory. It was difficult enough to swallow the idea of Ben Affleck replacing Christian Bale, but if this theory is true, that means Batman fans everywhere went through the emotional shock and anger of this news unnecessarily. Really!? Yes, the suit Affleck wears does bear some resemblance to the one Slade Wilson wears in a comic storyline where he assumes the mantle of Batman. More importantly, however, it bears an even greater resemblance to the suit BRUCE WAYNE wears when he comes out of retirement and reassumes the cape and cowl in The Dark Knight Returns:
Lets also remember Snyder's penchant for remaining true to source material. If you've seen and read Watchmen, you know what I mean. While he did take major liberties with Superman's story in Man of Steel, he stuck to the essence of Supe's origin and managed to build a narrative that carefully and effectively contexualized the character for a 21st century audience. I imagine Snyder has done the same for Batman. Plus, I can't picture him pulling material from a lesser known comic for the sake of some gasps in the theater.
There is more I could say on the matter, but I'll leave this here. Do with it what you will, because in all humility and fairness, I could be wrong.