Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's more brutal approach to the character of Batman has been hotly debated for over 2 years now, but the film's stunt coordinator finally sheds some more light on intentions behind the Caped Crusader's violent arc in the film.
Introducing a new version of Batman was always going to be an uphill battle for Zack Snyder after Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale's widely praised version of the character was last seen on the big screen just a few years earlier. It's hard to deny they effectively developed a significantly different version from the one that appeared in The Dark Knight trilogy, with Ben Affleck playing a Batman that was years older, bulkier, and more brutal than any previous live-action version - violent and jaded after years of trying to save Gotham.
Almost everyone involved in the movie tried to prepare audiences for that from the very beginning, repeatedly setting expectations that Batman would be much more brutal than they were used to, but it seems no amount of warning could have prepared everyone for the fact that Batman was virtually the film's villain throughout the first half, having seen the Kryptonian invasion level most of Metropolis, aiming all his hatred squarely at Superman.
That version of the character doesn't last for the entity of the movie, though. After the hotly debated "Martha moment," Batman backed off his lethal violence, and that played a key role in inspiring how stunt coordinator Damen Caro designed the infamous "Martha Rescue," or "Warehouse Fight," as it's come to be called.
When asked about his inspiration for the scene during a recent interview with Screen Rant, Caro said the script and story is ultimately the most important thing: "When I create action it's really... I try to do it from whatever space, I look at the script and guide it by the story and the characters..."
That focus on the story and character means Batman's fighting style had to communicate his evolution in the moment. When asked if the "Martha moment" played a role in Batman's approach to the Martha Rescue, Caro confirmed that was the case.
Yes. 100%. I mean, in the chase scene he was dealing with dangerous dudes that were trying to kill him, but I feel he was driven more by hatred then. By the Martha rescue, he’s no longer fueled by resentment. That's all clearly there and by design, as he just had the realization that Kal's an alien, but they share the same humanity - the humans and the Kryptonians. So there's definitely an evolution at this point. But regards to Batman’s mindset - again, if you ask Zack, the answer might be a bit different, but from my point of view, he also must be efficient, right? He had to get through that crew of mercenaries and navigate it as efficiently as possible while ensuring that they were going to be incapacitated at the very least because he had a limited timeframe, a small window, or Martha was dead. That was the whole point of having to get through it... Obviously guys' arms are broken, and that's after the guy shoots him several times, luckily in his bulletproof cowl.
What's interesting about Batman in the comics is that, while he doesn't go around killing people regularly, when he's put in a position where he has to literally pull a trigger or risk failure, he pulls the trigger. This has happened in at least two iconic books, once against a mutant in The Dark Knight Returns - in a scene that directly inspired his confrontation with KG Beast in the Warehouse - and also against Darkseid in Final Crisis (another scene Snyder might have recreated had his plan been followed). The line that Batman has traditionally struggled with wasn't a line between life and death for his victims, it's a line between vengeance and revenge - a line he was on the wrong side of for most of Batman v Superman. He's not someone that seeks out the death of his opponent and will be merciful when he can, but when it's life or death decisions, he doesn't shy away, and it's the same thing in Batman v Superman according to Caro.
But that doesn't mean he didn't break the guy's arm for plugging him in the head a couple times, and after he is stabbed, he pins the guy to the wall with that same knife. But, yeah, it wasn't his goal. Right? Don’t forget he blew up the trucks outside and also shoots KG Beast’s tank, but those were situations forced upon him by circumstance. None of it is vindictive or cruel, just necessary. It was all driven by his goal: "I need to get through these people and I need to incapacitate them at the very least, but I've got a bigger issue here I've got to get out.”
Only time will tell if people ever start to come around on Zack Snyder's polarizing take on the character, but with the filmmaker and his regular collaborators like Caro parting ways with the franchise, we will begin to see more and more separation from his vision for the universe, hopefully allowing audiences to look back with perspectives as other creatives handle the characters moving forward.
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