The StoryMan of Steel left us with a Superman who debuted to the world via a city-collapsing battle that left many dead. Anyone who knows The Dark Knight - the one who exists in a super-powered Justice League universe - knows that he is not okay with idea of a god-like alien running around unchecked, beholden to no one. That's a great foundation for a Superman/Batman story. Imagine: After the "Battle of Metropolis" Lex Luthor emerges as a hardline anti-Superman political figure, who rebuilds Metropolis with the help of fellow industrialist Bruce Wayne. Meanwhile, the two brilliant businessmen discover a "deterrent" to the Superman problem in the form of Kryptonite. Bruce/Batman starts off going against Superman and humbles the Man of Steel by using Kryptonite to beat him; Lex is eventually revealed as a villain (with a Metallo henchman?); the two heroes must work together (brains AND brawn) to stop him; and in the end, Supes and Bats establish a mutual level of respect and trust to bond them... We're just spit-balling here, but you see how this could all easily work, right?
The CharactersThe best tactic in a good "buddy-cop" story - especially superhero buddy-cop stories - is having characters who are proper foils for one another (i.e., balance one another out). Batman and Superman are more than characters - they are almost yin and yang archetypes that serve as metaphors for just about any conflicting philosophies you can think of (idealism vs. cynicism, brains vs. brawn, etc.). It's the same reason that Batman vs. The Joker or Superman vs. Lex Luthor tend to be the best rivalries: dynamic contrast. And, in the case of Batman and Superman, there are great rivalry AND friendship dynamics at work between these two titans of heroism. It's not just the Superman/Batman dynamic that is golden: Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent work great together, as well. Bruce can literally buy and own The Daily Planet, while Clark (as an investigative reporter) can easily infiltrate the seedy underworld where Batman gets his hands dirty. The opportunities for farmboy vs. billionaire banter are limitless (both before and after alter-egos are exposed) and when you throw Lois Lane in the middle, you have the cherry to top it all off.
The FightThis is the big thing that has people talking and arguing all over the Interwebs: How can Batman POSSIBLY stand up to Superman in battle? In case you don't know: Batman has won several decisive victories over Superman in comic book canon. In fact, a Batman victory speech from the comics was the very thing quoted during the Batman/Superman movie announcement at SDCC '13. "But how does Batman, a mere human, win against Superman, a god?" you may still be asking. The answer is simple: Batman always has a plan. Superman (as Batman often likes to point out) throws brute force at every problem and is too comfortable with his own imperviousness. Bruce Wayne and/or Lex Luthor are prime characters to expose those hubrises, either via Kryptonite or a public stance against Superman's threat to the world as a living WMD. Indeed, the next stage in the Man of Steel's development may be the humility of discovering that he is both accountable to and vulnerable to mankind's wrath. We look forward to The Dark Knight pulling off some epic battle plan to take Superman apart piece-by-piece, in the way that only Batman can.
The IconographyAs we keep stressing: this pairing of icons is not oil and water, it's oil and vinegar. Batman and Superman are better defined as individuals when juxtaposed to one another - and in that comparison they also form the two polar ends of the DC superhero spectrum. Batman and Superman on screen together is more than just a movie - it's a milestone. Whether you are the geek who dreamed about, discussed and debated this event for years on end, or the casual observer who has found him/herself oddly perplexed by the question of which hero best represents your personality (Batman or Superman), this team-up is so iconic and riddled with symbolic depth that the movie will practically sell itself. ...And if Tony Stark and Nick Fury's meeting was epic enough to galvanize an Avengers universe, there's little doubt that the sheer iconography of having Superman and Batman in the same frame of film will be enough to give birth to an entire Justice League universe. (Artwork by Jim Lee w/ inks & colors by Swave18 & LazerBat)
ContinuityDo we really need to say it again? Batman and Superman form the polar ends of the DC superhero universe, leaving an open door for future characters to fill in the middle. And with Batman vs. Superman allegedly building right on top of the events of Man of Steel, a Justice League universe continuity is officially being established. By the time Batman vs. Superman is done, the mutual respect between The World's Finest can act as the solid foundation upon which a Justice League team is built. Superman can be a little bit more vulnerable and more of the responsible boy scout that fans love, while Batman can be reintroduced to the world as a tactical genius badass who is able to stand alongside the most powerful being in the world, while also becoming more open-minded to the idea of friendship and partnership. Where the DC universe goes after that is still an open debate, but in terms of building continuity on top of Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman is in a better position than most other DC superhero movies would be. (However, CLICK the following links to read our theories on why Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Flash movies could work just as well.) Below is a quick bullet list of our responses to some of the more pronounced criticisms of Batman vs. Superman, which we addressed in greater detail within the article.
- It's too soon to reboot Batman - Actually, we need a Batman who can exist in a superhuman reality. Nolan's version isn't really that.
- Batman and Superman don't fit together - Actually the characters and their worlds fit together like PB&J. See HERE or HERE.
- Batman couldn't last 2 seconds against Superman - If you read the comics, you'll see that Batman uses smart tactics to counter Superman's unlimited power.
- It's too soon for this - Are you kidding? Some of us have been waiting DECADES for this happen!