What Batman vs. Superman Can Learn From Zack Snyder’s DC blockbuster, Watchmen.
Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is arguably his best film. Certainly better than Man of Steel. And whilst I didn’t dislike Man of Steel, or Henry Cavil’s portrayal of Superman, the movie lacked grounding. Clark Kent’s childhood traumas were a touching and pivotal part of the movie…but then Snyder went from this excellent real world adaptation, to Superman saving the entire world…in his first movie. The problem I have with this is escalation.
How does Man of Steel 2, or Batman vs. Superman top Superman stopping an apocalypse? The danger should have been relative, a city wide threat of destruction or something similar, where Superman discovers his powers and grows stronger. The threat in Batman vs. Superman quite literally has to be twice as strong, powerful and destructive as Man of Steel now…and that’s quite an ask.
So, the point of this feature is to discuss which elements did not work, and where Zack Snyder can draw from experience, to make Batman vs. Superman better. Firstly, real world grounding.
Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was an exceptional collection of films. (I even wrote my dissertation on Nolan’s trilogy). The realism, teamed with superhero feats were truly revolutionary. The films were grounded in the respect that ‘superhuman’ powers were relative and had at least a vague explanation. Such as the sonar systems Batman used to observe the city…and then because such technology is immoral, Batman cheated with it to beat the Joker, and then destroyed it.
Whilst Superman is literally from another planet as Batman, they now occupy the same universe. Batman has no superpowers, Superman has an armory of them. But what Batman has that Superman doesn’t is a cynical view of the world…and a ferocious execution of tactical fighting. Batman will defeat Superman the same way he did the Joker, by bending the rules in his advantage to win. This scene is pivotal, as it will set up their relationship for numerous movies to come. A relationship of awkward respect must be established, by Superman losing…but I worry that like in Man of Steel, Superman will level a city to fight Batman…Where in reality, Superman would be all about damage control. My point is, Snyder’s scale was all off in Man of Steel, and it must be executed better in Batman vs. Superman.
In Watchmen, the movie escalated and quickly established itself within a high tension period, hanging on the bring of global annihilation. The spectrum of power is established, through from The Comedian, with no super power except massive strength of muscle and character, through to Mr. Manhattan, who is termed as the “American God.” What Snyder should take from this spectrum is the balance of power. Superman is the equivalent of Mr. Manhattan. Not exactly human, but trying to fit in in a world that does not exactly embrace him. Infinitely powerful. But DEFEATABLE.
My worries are that because Superman has leveled cities and stopped an apocalypse, what threat can Batman provide when Superman could just blow up the building Batman is in with ease? The answer is morals and intelligence.
Mr. Manhattan is intellectually and tactically manipulated. Okay, he grows to a colossus and seeks revenge, but the damage is done. Snyder MUST use this balance of power. Batman must be introduced as a non-super human, but have the attributes to defeat the Man of Steel, who Snyder has established, can destroy a city block with the blink of an eye…Batman must be represented early as Superman’s intellectual and tactical superior in terms of crime fighting and physical warfare. It is the only way that Snyder can ground his sequel and make a real relationship between them. Superman holds the power. Batman holds the strength of character and mind.
I would also love to see the World’s Greatest Detective get an airing in Batman vs. Superman. No movie has really explored this side of Batman’s character fully. Christopher Nolan did to some extent with Batman analyzing bullet shards to locate a finger print, but half of Batman’s character is that he is a trained psychologist and criminologist, which attributes significantly to his crime fighting profile. If you have played the Arkham games by Rocksteady and Warner Bros, you will realize the gameplay is vastly focused on detective work, or at least equal to crushing faces.
In Watchmen, one of the winning elements is Rorschach. He is I suppose, the Batman equivalent of Watchmen. He is uncompromising. He is ferocious in his deliverance of justice. He is a detective. And he is incredibly cynical of the world he lives in. (He also had mummy and daddy issues…) Rorschach is hands down the best character in Watchmen, and I hope Snyder delivers a Batman of similar quality and more.
Rorschach narrates the movie via his journal, in which he dictates his detective discoveries towards working out the criminal mastermind behind the world altering plot. Once he discovers the truth, he is uncompromising to the extent that Mr. Manhattan (Or Superman) has to kill him. We saw Superman effectively kill Zod (Michael Shannon) at the end of Man of Steel. Whose to say that to protect the greater good from Batman, Superman won’t try and kill him. Batman wont kill, and obviously, Batman won’t die…but he will triumph in defeating Superman and have the last laugh.
Another simple option for Snyder to include is world politics…Watchmen focuses on war and government as agents of fear and manipulation of the world. Batman vs. Superman could feature a government that seeks to manipulate and corrupt the world, whilst uncompromising figures like Batman refuse to go down without a fight. We reported on the Ideal Storyline for Batman vs. Superman some weeks ago, but this avenue would be so effective – where Superman, a government operative, is sent to bring in the Batman, for his vigilante days have caused to much trouble for the government and threatens their stability. Batman will force Superman into an epiphany and consider that the government or a certain Lex Luthor corporation, have not got the best interests of those they pretend to protect, at heart. This could rally the two together to go on to form the Justice league.
These are avenues Zack Snyder must, and hopefully will consider in his development of Batman vs. Superman.
Have we just gone a full article without discussing Ben Affleck’s Batman casting? Surely not…
We love talking about the relationship between these characters and how we think it must go, so get involved with the discussion and tell us what you think? More Batman vs. Superman ideas and news as it develops.
Dec 06, 2013 0X-Men: Days of Future Past director, Bryan Singer, has made...
Dec 04, 2013 0It’s official! Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman in...
Dec 04, 2013 0An all new upcoming Star Wars game under an Electronic Arts...
Nov 29, 2013 0JJ Abrams has been discussing his highly anticipated Star...
Nov 06, 2013 0A UK open casting call has revealed two young lead roles...