Ben Affleck Reveals Why Batman Hates Superman in Dawn of Justice

Monday, 06 July 2015 - 12:20PM
DC Comics
Batman
Batman v Superman
Monday, 06 July 2015 - 12:20PM
Ben Affleck Reveals Why Batman Hates Superman in Dawn of Justice
We've all been looking forward to a face-off between Batman and Superman for over a year now, without even knowing what the two superheroes are quibbling about. Now, Ben Affleck has divulged the source of Batman's beef with Superman, and it all goes back to the mostly hated ending of Man of Steel.

Superhero movies tend to flex their big-budget muscles with a third act that demolishes an iconic city, usually New York. Man of Steel was a particularly egregious example of this, with presumably thousands dead in carnage that was treated as mindless action fare. Director Zack Snyder told EW that he was not anticipating the criticism leveled at the ending of Man of Steel: "I was surprised because that's the thesis of Superman for me, that you can't just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences."

I'm not sure Snyder should be surprised, exactly, because Man of Steel is the prototypical example of PG carnage that doesn't accurately reflect the consequences of knocking down buildings. But he claims that he "always intended the dead to be counted," which indicates that he envisioned the consequences to be explored later in the series. And according to Ben Affleck, this will indeed happen in Batman v Superman, as the root of the conflict between Batman and Superman goes back to that final battle in Man of Steel:

Opening quote
"One of the things I liked was Zack's idea of showing accountability and the consequences of violence and seeing that there are real people in those buildings," said Affleck. "And in fact, one of those buildings was Bruce Wayne's building so he knew people who died in that Black Zero event."
Closing quote


Early rumors suggested that there was little to nothing personal about Batman's problem with Superman; rather, reports claimed that Batman just felt it was a dangerous, slippery slope for a nearly omnipotent being to lord his power over normal citizens, which fit into the "false gods" theme we've heard so much about. But this added wrinkle, while a little less thematically relevant, will likely make the conflict make more psychological and interpersonal sense.

And either way, we're just glad that they're going to address the third-act carnage for once. It does no good to have a PG or PG-13 rating if you're teaching kids indifference towards thousands of deaths. Avengers: Age of Ultron, for example, addressed evacuation for one of its climactic battles, but didn't address any danger to civilians in the other battles, particularly the Hulk vs Hulkbuster. Robert Downey Jr. was quipping the entire time he and Hulk were destroying Johannesburg with innocent civilians all around them, which was extremely jarring, tone-wise. Snyder addressed the differences between Batman v Superman and this type of film, although he didn't call out Age of Ultron (or Marvel) by name:

Opening quote
"There are other superhero movies where they joke about how basically no one's getting hurt," said Snyder. "That's not us. What is that message? That's it's okay that there's this massive destruction with zero consequence for anyone? That's what Watchmen was about in a lot of ways too. There was a scene, that scene where Dan and Laurie get mugged. They beat up the criminals. I was like the first guy, I want to show his arm get broken. I want a compound fracture. I don't want it to be clean. I want you to go, 'Oh my God, I guess you're right. If you just beat up a guy in an alley he's not going to just be lying on the ground. It's going to be messy."
Closing quote


Finally, Affleck revealed that observing Snyder behind the camera was an incentive for taking the Batman role, and may have hinted at those rumors that he will direct the Batman solo film in the process:

"I thought if I was going to direct a movie like this, which I would like to do at some point, I need to have something of a refresher course of how these movies are done," Affleck told EW. He still hasn't officially confirmed that he will direct any of the Batman movies, but this statement definitely seems to be dropping a hint.

Batman v Superman comes out in theaters on March 25, 2016.
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Ben Affleck Reveals Why Batman Hates Superman in Dawn of Justice