5 Ways ‘Batman V Superman’ Can Justify ‘Man of Steel’

Published 2 months ago by , Updated July 30th, 2014 at 10:45 am,

Man of Steel 2 Movie Batman Superman Dawn Justice League 5 Ways Batman V Superman Can Justify Man of Steel

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will bring us the next chapter in director Zack Snyder’s burgeoning DC Movie Universe – and for better or worse (depending on who you are), the foundation for that universe is Henry Cavill’s Superman, as depicted in the film Man of Steel.

Fan debate still rages (and we do mean rages) over Snyder’s interpretation of the Superman character and lore  – with part of the blame and/or praise going to script contributors Chris Nolan and David S. Goyer. We have a divisive cinematic Superman on our hands right now, but rather than continue the circular debate about whether or not Man of Steel was a great Superman movie (or even just a good movie), it’s time to be more constructive and look ahead to the future in order to maybe identify ways that Snyder and CO. can utilize some of what fans didn’t like, in ways that can best enhance the story and character arcs of Batman V Superman.

Here are 5 ways that the Man of Steel version of Superman could be put to good use in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice:

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5. Lost Fathers

Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel 5 Ways Batman V Superman Can Justify Man of Steel

It’s no secret that in comic book lore Superman and Batman (or rather, Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne) have both lost their fathers; however, in most tellings, Superman’s loss is much less tragic than the “Jonathan Kent vs The Tornado” sacrifice we saw in Man of Steel. How Pa Kent died (and why) is one of the more debated aspects of the Superman reboot (was it effective? Silly? Poorly shot?), but it is the story we have, so let’s make some damn good lemonade out of it.

Beyond the Batman / Superman superhero action that everybody is most excited about, Dawn of Justice needs to also address the men behind the mask, and what ultimately connects them as “men,” and not just superheroes. Thanks to Man of Steel, this film offers the rare opportunity to have Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne bond over the pain of patriarchal loss in a way we really haven’t seen before.

Gotham Death of Bruce Waynes Parents 5 Ways Batman V Superman Can Justify Man of Steel

Moreover, both this new version of Thomas Wayne and the MoS Jonathan Kent/Jor-El combo can be positioned as men who died for ideals (helping Gotham, protecting Clark and Earth). That would provide deep, rich common ground for their superhero sons to bond on – a foundation of deeply-rooted values and ideals that define an entire Justice League.

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4. Illegal Alien

Man of Steel Superman Fan Art 5 Ways Batman V Superman Can Justify Man of Steel

One thing that Man of Steel treated much differently than previous Superman movies was the character’s status as an alien. Back when Superman was created in 1938, aliens were hardly party of the mainstream zeitgeist; however, in our sci-fi saturated modern society, the question of alien encounter is more “when” than “if.” In that context, Man of Steel had to treat the revelation of an extraterrestrial superpowered being from a more cynical modern perspective. But a world where Superman isn’t automatically established as a globally-accepted do-gooder deity could be interesting for Dawn of Justice.

In the famous graphic novel Kingdom Come, we saw a vision of the near future where concerns about out of control metahumans force Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor into an uneasy alliance in the name of defending humanity. That same idea could (and likely will) trickle down to Batman V Superman, if Superman’s handling of Zod has made him as feared and hated as he is loved.

Indeed “The Alien” nature of Superman could provide some great narrative thrust, if the story involves Batman’s views on “humanity,” and his ultimate pivot from the side of Lex to the side of Kal-El. (Side note: that would also be a pretty meta way to hopefully pull a lot of skeptical fans to the side of this new DC Universe.)

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TAGS: batman, batman vs superman, comic con 2014, justice league, superman

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  1. I was kind of thinking a The Dark Knight Returns reversal where Superman is the supposed threat and Batman is the guy to try and take him down. I would love for a pseudo-retelling that works in that direction.

  2. Well everybody knows that Superman is way too much powerful for a ‘versus’ with Batman, they would have to make a very stupid version of Superman (contrast to a brilliant Batman) really not fair.
    They did the same to Hal Jordan who was a serious and way more powerful character in the 60’s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmRJLrBwwrg
    Now they made a version of Hal which his force field (that was indestructible and made of energy look like made of glass lately, nowhere near what he was in the older version.
    Now back to Batman vs Superman,
    The only have a chance Bat would have against Super is with Kryptonite or he may need help from WonderWoman, Green lantern whatever, I’m curious about how the writers are going to make Superman vs Batman not sound stupid.
    On the other hand Marvel is doing great with the Avengers and all their characters are doing well

    • It’s a natural evolution of comic books. Writers make characters more and more powerful to make new stories more and more spectacular. At some point the powers reach ridiculous levels and it becomes too hard for the writers to create challenges that will provide the drama that good stories also needs. That’s when they decide to decrease the powers.

      Superman doesn’t become a stupid version if he is less powerful. If for example he can “only” lift 100 tons instead or the billions that would make up a planet, that doesn’t make him stupid. He is still incredibly powerful.

      Or if he is “only” able to move 10,000 mph which is still way faster than a speeding bullet, but not close to the speed of light, that also wouldn’t make him a stupid version. He is still incredibly fast.

      Depending on his power level, a fight between him and humans become possible when he can be overpowered by machinery and technology. And I don’t think that’s stupid. I think it would be more stupid if he was simply stronger and faster than anything. If nothing is difficult for him, that’s just boring then.

  3. Nicely done! Some very good points were made, especially about Clark’s intelligence, and dealing with the ramification of MoS. I think a haunted Superman would be great as it would force him into being more active and that puts him even more in the public eye.

  4. I found the Man of Steel film to be baffling, not in how it handled the characters and overall plot (juggernaut-sized plot holes notwithstanding), but more over how it was edited. If you watch the numerous trailers, and then watch the finished cut, it’s clear to everyone that there is a much more different story being told between all of them. The trailers hint at a tragic, heartbreakingly lonesome, yet clearly defined and mythic in proportion tale. The final film, on the other hand, is frenetic, angst-driven, and jumbled without any clear sense of where it came from or where it’s going. Kudos to whoever assembled the trailers. But it’s not like we haven’t seen this done before (Highlander 2, anyone?)…

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