Now, having been widely stamped upon by critics - and proved hugely divisive among comic-book fans - it's perhaps a little surprising that DC and Warner Bros.' Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hasn't been on the receiving end of more celebrity snark. Sure, a handful of smaller names have weighed in, and jokes aplenty have been cracked on late night talk shows, but the vast majority of Hollywood stars have steered clear of expressing their thoughts on the movie.
For one geek icon, though, it seems that maintaining that radio silence recently became a little too much to bear. Y'see, as it turns out:
Kevin 'Batman' Conroy Had A Pretty Big Problem With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Which, seeing as Conroy is Batman for many fans - having voiced the hero in both the early 90s' Batman: The Animated Series, and several beloved projects since then, including the Arkham games - is a little bit like being told that your Iron Man cosplay sucks by Robert Downey Jr. What's more, it turns out that Conroy's issue with the film was one shared by a whole lot of non-Batman-portraying fans, too. As he revealed in an interview with IGN:
"Personally I love the fact that Batman – in the stories I’ve done, and the way he’s been rendered by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, the people I’ve worked with most closely – he never kills anybody. He doesn’t cross that line. Batman is not a killer."
"He puts them into Arkham Asylum, which is what is so brilliant about the Arkham Games – someone realised, 'my god, all these incredible villains are all in the same institution – let’s get a video game in there'. It’s a brilliant idea. But the fact that Batman never kills anyone – I loved that fact."
"In the most recent live action movie, that seems to have been a line that was crossed and it’s not one I’m particularly comfortable with."
Which, while not exactly a critical skewering of the movie, remains a carefully aimed jab at a particularly sore spot for Batman v Superman's creative team. After all...
A Whole Lot Of Fans Were Upset To See Batman Kill People In Batman v Superman
Y'see, while Batman certainly has killed people in the past, in recent years he's become well-known to fans a a hero who doesn't kill - and, unlike in Batman v Superman, certainly wouldn't ever use guns to do so.
Heck, recent comic-books have even made a point of using exceptions to the rule as major turning points in key story arcs, including Batman's grudging use of a gun on the ultra-dangerous Darkseid:
In Batman v Superman, though, Batman not only kills a whole bunch of people, but he uses guns to do so - with the Batmobile's machine guns being used to mow down a whole lot of folks throughout the film.
The big question that raises, then?
Does It Actually Matter That Batman Kills People In Batman v Superman?
Well, that probably very much depends on your point of view. It's certainly worth bearing in mind that Christian Bale's Batman in the Dark Knight movies was willing to kill, and did so on several occasions - though with far more visible remorse than Affleck's Batman has shown thus far - and there's absolutely comic-book precedent to support the idea that Batman has killed.
For many fans, then, the idea of Batman killing criminals likely isn't all that much of a problem. There are, however, a whole lot of fans out there for whom that very much isn't the case. For millions of Bat-fans around the world, the Caped Crusader acts a symbol of what can be achieved without killing. As Conroy puts it, "he doesn't cross that line", something that lies in sharp contrast to the violent realities of real-life policing and military action. For those fans, then - a group that clearly includes Conroy - it is inherently problematic to have Batman kill people, and certainly to have him be so relaxed about doing so.
Want to read more about Batman killing (or not killing) people? Check out:
It Turns Out Batman Loved Killing People Way Before 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'
Why Does Batman Have a Gun in the 'Batman v Superman' Trailer?
Producer Charles Roven Explains Why Batman Kills People In ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice’
As it turns out, though, that positioning of Conroy as a fan is actually the key thing here. Y'see:
Conroy's Statement Matters Because He's A Fan Too
After all, when Conroy says that he has an issue with the DCEU having Batman kill people, he's not saying that as a jaded outsider with a grudge against DC - he's saying it as a man who currently plays Batman in Warner Bros-produced projects, and who loves the character as much as we all do. As such, it's a whole lot easier to take his criticism as representative of a strand of fan-opinion - something that will likely hold a whole lot more weight with Warner Bros. and DC than a journalistic skewering.
In other words? There's a distinct possibility that folks over at Warner Bros. will actually listen to what Conroy has to say - and perhaps even adjust the DCEU's approach accordingly. After all, he's not only saying what a whole lot of the DCEU's audience is thinking, but he's doing it from a position of being goddamn Batman.
And when Batman speaks (or sings), everyone listens...
What do you reckon, though?
Is Kevin Conroy right that Batman shouldn't kill in the DCEU?