With Batman V Superman storming cinemas and tanking the box office, naturally, there have been a great number of mixed reviews floating around the internet. The most common of which seems to be that the movie doesn't live up to the hype, and for many, it was just too gloomy.
However, among the waves of negative reviews and slander, there is one opinion that seems to be universal to all of those who have written their reviews; Batfleck.
I am one of the few people who, from the start, insisted that Ben Affleck would be a great Batman. This is easily, for me at least, the greatest on-screen Batman we've ever received and Affleck did a brilliant job at portraying an unhinged Bruce Wayne. Yes, this version of the beloved Dark Knight does deviate from the comics rather drastically, in that his moral compass is now broken and misguided. But the idea of a broken and more brutal Batman was definitely the best way to go to set this Batman apart from all of his other on screen incarnations.
In this article, we're going to delve into the psyche of the DCEU's Bruce Wayne to find out what makes him tick. We will compare the comic book Batman to the DCEU Batman to find out what has caused him to become so unhinged and increasingly violent.
Warning! Spoilers from here on out!
Thomas & Martha Wayne
The death of Bruce Wayne's parents is probably the most well known origin for any hero ever (much like Spider-Man's radioactive spider bite) and so that saves me a lot of time not having to explain his origin. This also means I don't have to go into depth on this specific event, as, I'm sure, many of us would find our parents being gunned down right in front of our faces to be rather stressful. Basically, as you all knew, Thomas and Martha Wayne's deaths were the catalysts to Bruce's transformation into the Batman and they play the most pivotal role in the Dark Knight's mythos.
So far it has been unclear as to which character arcs have happened in the DCEU, but there is one specific arc that stands out to all of us who read the comics... And that arc is "A Death in the Family." Written in 1988 by Jim Starlin and Marv Wolfman, A Death in the Family features one of the most brutal ends to a superhero sidekick in the history of comic books. The sidekick in question is Jason Todd, AKA the second Robin, who is beaten half to death by the Joker before dying in an explosion... And in case that wasn't enough; Jason is then resurrected years later and takes up the mantle of the Red Hood, who, in essence, is DC's own version of the Punisher with a little bit of Batman thrown in for good measure.
While it has been confirmed by Zack Snyder himself that the Robin suit we see in BvS does in fact belong to (the now deceased) Jason Todd, there has been no confirmation that Jason has been resurrected in this universe yet. Nonetheless, this is almost certainly what sent Bruce off the deep end, it was the straw that broke the camel's back, if you will.
The Bat Brand of 'Justice'
In the DCEU Batman brands certain criminals. This is a death sentence for them in prison as other criminals actively seek out those baring the brand in order to execute them. This solidifies the fact that Batman has no problem with passively killing his enemies as he doesn't feel directly responsible for it. This aspect of Ben Affleck's Batman was a little unorthodox even for me, but for this version of the caped crusader, it is very believable.
I believe that Superman's existence may have played a very small role in Batman's new found ruthlessness, in that, once he realized how insignificant he was, he maybe started to believe that criminals are also insignificant, more so than himself. This is just speculation however, and this quote from Alfred is where I gained this speculation from:
Oh, yes it has, sir. Everything's changed. Men fall from the sky, the gods hurl thunderbolts, innocents die. That's how it starts, sir. The fever, the rage, the feeling of powerlessness that turns good men... cruel.
The Conclusion, Based On What We Know
As of now, there have only been two confirmed events to have happened in order to break the Bat; The death of his parents and the death of Jason Todd. Perhaps in later movies we will find out further details as to why Bruce is how he is, but for now, this is all we can conclude based on facts without getting carried away with speculations.
His origin, much like all of his other incarnations (comics included) triggered a PTSD like disorder, the death of his kid sidekick and the destruction of Metropolis further fortified and evolved it. He fell slightly out of touch with his humanity and his moral compass became misguided allowing him to abandon his one and only rule to obtain his goals; no killing.
Personally, I love how Batman was characterized in BvS and I cannot wait to see how he changes in all of DC's upcoming movies!