It’s the planet’s biggest gladiator battle yet: Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham, two of the greatest comic book icons slugging it out to the death in the big screen.
Batman, the underground vigilante, a knight in the darkness and Superman, the unbeatable alien in the sky. Who can possibly win such a war?
Of course, the odds favor Superman (Henry Cavill), the extra-terrestrial with god-like powers and strength. Batman (Ben Affleck) is flesh-and-blood human. His only weapons really consist of his money, technology and brains.
Both are good guys, so they should be friends. But because they have to tackle the problem that comes with being a hero: access to power, they inevitably have to clash.
We all know that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
A couple of years ago, during the Black Zero Event, the alien Super Hero racked up a lot of collateral damage to rescue the world from evil General Zod. Superman saved the Metropolis but a lot of innocent people, including Batman’s own family, perished in the process.
No wonder, Gotham City’s vigilante decided to take on Superman while the world struggles with what sort of hero it really needs.
“He has the power to wipe out the entire human race. If we believe there’s even a one percent chance that he is our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty,” Batman maintained in the film.
“An interesting way of beginning this story was to examine Superman from another perspective, Batman’s perspective,” explained Director Zack Snyder.
Batman (aka tycoon Bruce Wayne) doesn’t know who Superman (aka journalist Clark Kent) is. “All he knows is what the public knows. He blames him for the lives lost in Metropolis, lives that he felt responsible for. His hatred has been building up inside.”
The destruction Superman left in his wake prompted many to question those who only see what he can do, without debating whether or not he should.
“When we find Superman, he’s been dealing with everyday life as a Super Hero, but there’s a distinct shift happening in how his heroic efforts are viewed, thanks to the unintended consequences of those acts.”
“Every action has a reaction; one guy’s rescue leaves another in distress. We wanted to explore the reality of saving people and what intervening can really mean. Superman is a good guy trying to do the right thing and that he isn’t political. But in today’s world, it’s impossible not to be, no matter your intentions.”
“The world is filled with fear after being attacked by aliens and literally shaken to its very core. Despite having what they look to as a redeemer, people need to direct their fear at something,” Henry Cavill, who reprises his dual roles as Clark Kent and the Man of Steel, confirmed.
“It wasn’t intentional on Superman’s part, but a lot of people became fearful afterwards, and that’s the impetus that causes Batman to become suspicious of him,” added Screenwriter David S. Goyer.
“Everyone wants to see Batman and Superman in a film together, and everyone wants to see them fight,” says producer Deborah Snyder. “It’s a thrill for anyone who loves comics, and Zack is not only a director but a huge comics fan as well.”
With both Super Heroes appearing in comics for more than seven decades, there was a wealth of beloved source material to turn to for ideas.
“We wanted to introduce a version of Batman that hasn’t been seen on screen before,” she continues. “One who’s been doing this a long time so he’s seasoned, but perhaps a little too long, so he’s also jaded. If you’re constantly fighting crime in the way Batman does, over time how does that affect your body? How does it affect you emotionally?”
As for Superman’s challenge in this movie, “We knew we couldn’t find bigger physical stakes than the destruction of the Earth,” the director noted. “So we had to make the emotional stakes higher. And who is a more worthy foil for a philosophical war than Batman? Once you say that out loud, it’s hard to go back.”
But does it hold water to pit a very mortal Batman against a Superman in top form? Can Batman, even with his array of weapons and well-honed battle strategy, hope to defeat an invincible being? How great a price will he pay for this act of hubris?
Unfortunately for Superman, he is not as invulnerable as he believes. Superman never sees the threat coming until it lands on his doorstep. And when it does he dismisses Batman as a minor irritation.
“In an all-out to-the-death fight, who would win? Clearly, Superman,” Henry Cavill asserts. “But that’s not Superman. He doesn’t agree with Batman’s idea of justice at any cost. He wants to solve the problem as cleanly as possible without stooping to Batman’s level. So Batman immediately gains an advantage.”
“Combining Batman and Superman in one film was no small feat. It looked easy in the script, but it wasn’t,” Ben Affleck acknowledged. “Even taking their physical abilities out of the equation, these are two very strong personalities with competing philosophies about how to do good in the world but facing the same dilemma: how evil do you have to become to effectively fight evil? These guys are essentially the Alpha and Omega of Super Heroes, and their mutual misunderstanding and mistrust ultimately lead them into conflict with one another. I think…I hope…we did them justice.”