Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne have come to blows on numerous occasions ever since Frank Miller first posited the pair as ideological opposites in The Dark Knight Returns, but many fans and casual moviegoers are still having difficulty accepting the idea of the two ostensible good guys as enemies (even temporary ones) in the Warner Bros. blockbuster Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. The question of whether or not pitting these beloved heroes against one another is taking the nascent DC Cinematic Universe down too dark a path has persisted, exacerbated by continued debate in fandom over whether or not Man of Steel went overboard in its depiction of urban destruction and Superman-inflicted violence.
Director Zack Snyder, however, has risen to the defense of his films. In a new interview, he expands on this darker take on classic heroes – and offers choice quotes about the need for “consequences” to the actions of superheroes.
As director of such controversial hits as Watchmen, Sucker-Punch and 300, Snyder has never been one to avoid mixing over-the-top action sequences with edgy storylines and button-pushing social or political themes; and it appears that Batman V Superman won’t be any different.
In quotes provided to the press in advance of Famous Monsters magazine’s hotly-anticipated February 2nd release, Snyder doesn’t shy away from explaining his rationale for the Kryptonian carnage that capped-off Man of Steel – and serves as the inciting incident for Dawn of Justice:
“I stand by it, because for me, I’ve always said when I was working on Watchmen — and maybe it’s sort of left over from a Watchmenphilosophical sort of thing — that there should be consequences to superheroes’ interaction with the earth. And that was kind of the way that we approached Man of Steel. I wanted a big consequence to Superman’s arrival on earth. Certainly, Batman V Superman sort of cashes in all its chips on the ‘why’ of that destruction.”
In the film, that giant-scale destruction is what sets off an aging Bruce Wayne’s anti-Superman animosity and, presumably, pulls The Batman out of retirement. Regarding Ben Affleck’s turn as an older vision of the Caped Crusader than fans are used to seeing, Snyder suggests:
“He’s not yet tired of his place in the world. He’s definitely still tooth-and-nailing it.”
But most of all, the director wants audiences to know that his superhero smackdown – surely one of the most high-profile franchise-crossover battle royals since King Kong Vs Godzilla (a new version of which is also in the works) – is more than just another fight scene. Snyder sees this contentious first big-screen meetup between arguably the two most famous comic book characters on the planet as a battle of ideals that can satisfy audiences on levels beyond mere spectacle:
“The discovery of the story is that Batman fights Superman. Now move your superhero chess pieces so that can happen. And it can happen in a credible and interesting way. … It’s just incredibly satisfying and fun to dig into these two mythological characters and find a through line that allows them to come into conflict in a way that not only is philosophically satisfying, but also physically real.”
Whether or not Snyder has succeeded, and that audiences will be as enthusiastic as the filmmaker, remains to be seen. However, trailer footage certainly hints that Snyder is aiming to tell a rich story – not just wow viewers with hero on hero action. Will the filmmaker deliver a film that is both “philosophically satisfying” and “physically real”? After months of waiting, viewers only have a little bit longer to wait.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will hit theaters on March 25th, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016, Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017, Justice League on November 17th, 2017, The Flash on March 23rd, 2018, Aquaman on July 27th, 2018, Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14th, 2019, Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020, and Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020.
Source: Famous Monsters Magazine – February 2016 (full issue available on February 2, 2016)