One of the most highly-anticipated aspects of [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) was Ben Affleck's turn as the Dark Knight, and he certainly put his stamp on the role. This version of Batman is far more brutal than any another big screen iteration of the character — he has no qualms about killing his adversaries, and even brands them for a vicious death in prison if he doesn't get around to offing them himself.
This bold narrative choice prompted both praise and criticism from fans. Some appreciated a different, darker take on the iconic character, others argued that this version deviated from Batman's essential characteristics.
But like it or lump it, this is the Batman we've got (if not the one we deserve), and his characterisation has interesting implications for the future of the DCEU.
A Darker Purpose
As Dawn of Justice ends, we see Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince planning to seek out the metahumans we glimpsed in Lex Luthor's files. Or at least, that's Bruce's bright idea, but Diana is hesitant.
"Maybe they don't want to be found"
She makes a good point, and this is an intriguing situation to set up DC's big team-up movie. It's highly likely that Wonder Woman will deal with how Bruce convinces Diana to help him found the League.
In the comics, Superman is there to add his trademark optimism and idealism when forming the League with Wonder Woman and Batman. But after his sacrifice in Dawn of Justice, it seems likely that Justice League Part One will see the League come together without the third member of DC's Holy Trinity. (Or at least, we hope so. Because killing someone only to bring them back immediately would be kind of pointless.)
So without Superman's influence, it seems as though we might see a darker Justice League, who follow Batman's brutal methodology. It all depends on Wonder Woman, really, and what opinion she takes of using lethal force.
In the past, we know that Diana's strength was her compassion and kindness — Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins confirmed as much in the preview reel. But Dawn of Justice showed us a darker, disillusioned Wonder Woman, who has given up on humanity.
Yet, while it's possible that Diana would agree with Batman's method of crime fighting, it seems as though that would deviate just a bit too much from the hero we know and love from the comics. Which means that we could see something quite different in Justice League Part One.
Rebuilding A Family
There are many theories as to why Bruce is the way he is in Dawn of Justice, and it all seems to come back to his multiple losses (read: Jason Todd).
One beloved aspect of Batman's story is his extended, partially-adopted family. Starting with Dick Grayson as Robin (later Nightwing, later Batman), Bruce seemed to go on a mission to take every orphan he found under his wing — and train them to be mini superheroes.
This is one of Bruce's most endearing traits. Just as taking these young budding heroes under his tutelage gives his character nuance and depth, within the story his proteges have a positive influence on him, pulling him back from the edge of brutality. Dawn of Justice essentially showed us what Batman would be like without his Batfamily, and it was more than a little frightening.
There are two bright sides to this. First, we could see what's left of the Batfamily in Batman's upcoming solo movie. As for Justice League Part One, it's possible (even likely) that Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and Wonder Woman will fulfill the same role the Batfamily did in the comics — reminding Bruce of humanity's capacity for goodness, and inspiring him to be merciful.
Personally, I'm hoping that Justice League is as much about Bruce healing from twenty years of fighting crime and losing people he loved to the battles, as it is about the new family he teams up with to kick a bunch of bad guy butt.