It's been almost three years since that faithful day when Superman and Batman fans received a heart attack with the announcement that two of the biggest icons in the world would be going head-to-head in an upcoming epic. And, unfortunately, after all the waiting and anticipation, it's fair to say many were disappointed by the final product, despite the fact that disliking the film has become a taboo.
But, still, 'Batman v Superman' is finally here, we got to see Clark Kent's relationship with Lois Lane evolve, we got to see that somehow Lex Luthor knows Superman's identity and everyone close to him, Alfred, Batman killing criminals... wait... what?
Let's make something clear: This isn't because "it's against who Batman is". Let me tell you, in the caped crusader's first years, when the creators weren't still sure of what or who he was, Batman was killing people left and right, using a gun, snapping necks, throwing them in acid...
Before we go any further, Zack Snyder explained his reasoning behind Batman murdering in 'Dawn of Justice'. Here's what he said:
I tried to do it in a technical way. There’s a great YouTube video that shows all the kills in the Christopher Nolan movies even though we would perceive them as movies where he doesn’t kill anyone. I think there’s 42 potential kills that Batman does! Also, it goes back and includes even the Tim Burton Batman movies where this reputation as a guy that doesn’t kill comes from.
So, I tried to do it by proxy. Shoot the car they’re in, the car blows up or the grenade would go off in the guy’s hand, or when he shoots the tank and the guy pretty much lights the tank [himself]. I perceive it as him not killing directly, but if the bad guy’s are associated with a thing that happens to blow up, he would say that that’s not really my problem.
A little more like manslaughter than murder, although I would say that in the Frank Miller comic book that I reference, he kills all the time. There’s a scene from the graphic novel where he busts through a wall, takes the guy’s machine gun…I took that little vignette from a scene in The Dark Knight Returns, and at the end of that, he shoots the guy right between the eyes with the machine gun. One shot. Of course, I went to the gas tank, and all of the guys I work with were like, ‘You’ve gotta shoot him in the head’ because they’re all comic book dorks, and I was like, ‘I’m not gonna be the guy that does that!’
Some might see this as a good justification for the character but, directly or indirectly, Batman is a murderer. In the film, when he's chasing down Lex Luthor's shipment, he crushes goons with the batmobile. When he goes to rescue Martha Kent, he straight up kills henchmen with his plane's machine gun and their cars' explosions.
So saying "He didn't actually kill them, it was the explosions and the batmobile and the fire tank" is like having a murderer on trial and a judge letting him go by saying "well, you did shoot the gun but it was the BULLET that killed the person, not you". Did Batman have to snap their necks with his own hands to count as a kill? Of course not.
Now, let's get to why Batman killing affects the entire DC cinematic universe going forward:
WHAT IS THE REASON FOR BATMAN'S VILLAINS, LIKE THE JOKER, TO BE ALIVE?
The Batman we met in 'Dawn of Justice', aside from making best friends with someone who he's hated for two years because their mothers have the same name, is a no-nonsense guy. You piss him off, he'll take you down either by crushing you with his car or branding you to get killed in prison.
So how come a villain as brutal and persistent as the Joker, who killed one of his best friends and mocked him for it, has been around tormenting Batman for, supposedly, more than a decade? Why is his crazy girlfriend (Harley Quinn) still there? What about Killer Croc, a merciless cannibalistic beast?
Why hasn't Batman run them over with his car and said "It wasn't me, it was the wheels"? In 'Dawn of Justice' he was about to impale Superman with a kryptonite spear! And that was a guy he didn't know much about! He even stated during the film that even though he was not their enemy, a time would come when he would turn on them, so it was necessary to destroy him. That's enough to tell Batman: "You've had a psychopathic maniac in front of you for years! Kill HIM!"
Now, there could be another reason behind this: As a friend pointed out to me, he could have just started killing due to his traumatic two-10-year-birthdays run as the caped crusader, which is a very fair way of looking at it. Could something in the Dark Knight's past made him turn over a new, darker leaf?
Did he go through something so twisted that made him rethink his no-killing rule?
Is this the reason behind his murderous tactics? Or will it be quietly explained away as a plot hole and ignored in future installments in the DC Cinematic Universe? Because if it is that way, it creates the same problem for DC that Marvel has: "Why aren't the Avengers there?"
How will they move forward with that question hanging over their heads? The suicide squad is comprised in the most part of Batman villains, so he had to have taken them to custody at some point... why didn't he just kill them and avoid further destruction? Because, for some reason, Batman prefers to kill the smalltime henchmen and leave the most dangerous and erratic criminals alive.
What kind of story elements could these two possibilities bring to the future stand-alone Batman film? Could it deal with the repercussions of a broken man who has ignored his moral code due to all the evil he's witnessed or if it s a plot hole, if the main villain is one he's encountered already, for example the Riddler, why is he still breathing? Will they then write him/her as just having arrived in Gotham?
What do you think about this?