Despite largely negative reviews from critics, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice still managed to post superhero-worthy numbers at the box office during its opening weekend, smashing several records in the process. Unfortunately, then came week two, which saw the battle of titans sustain an enormous revenue drop of over 80 percent. Some analysts are now even openly wondering whether BVS will outperform Man of Steel’s profit margins for DC and Warner Bros. when all is said and done.
That all said, if one accepts the premise that Batman V Superman’s critical lambasting played a hand in its quick fall from monetary grace, arguably the most common knock levied against the film is that it was just too relentlessly dark and dour. Whether one agrees with that criticism or not, Zack Snyder has now revealed that BVS was originally set to include a scene that would have doubled down on that dark tone by suggesting that Superman — a hero one could argue built his entire identity in DC Comics by being an utterly selfless protector of the innocent — is being a bit more selective about those he chooses to save.
Snyder spilled the beans on the scene in question during a recent interview with IGN, a sequence which would have gone a long way in explaining why Superman’s enhanced senses didn’t clue him into the fact that his mother was in trouble at the hands of Lex Luthor:
“I think all the way – to me, from Metropolis to Smallville is probably just on the edge of his range of hearing. Also the clutter of the city makes it difficult as well.
We had a scene that we cut from the movie where he tries to look for her when he finds out that Lex has got her. It was a slightly dark scene that we cut out because it sort of represented this dark side. Because when he was looking for his mom he heard all the cries of all the potential crimes going on in the city, you know when you look.
I kind of like the idea that he’s taught himself not to look because if he looks it’s just neverending, right? You have to know when, as Superman, when to intervene and when not to. Or not when not to, you can’t be everywhere at once, literally you can’t be everywhere at once, so he has to be really selective in a weird way about where he chooses to interfere.”
The idea that Superman’s hearing would be limited shouldn’t be too surprising to those who watched Man of Steel, as that film went out of its way to try and create a more flawed Last Son of Krypton whose powers had their eventual limits. Still, the notion that Superman would ever be aware of a crime actively being committed against a citizen of Metropolis and make a conscious choice not to intervene runs counter to so much of his essential foundation that longtime Superman fans are likely to be flabbergasted such a concept came so close to making it into Snyder’s finished film. While Snyder’s Superman is unquestionably an altered interpretation of the classic character, this level of moral ambiguity is definitely not something most would associate with a hero often referred to as the Big Blue Boy Scout.
Is the world truly ready for a big-screen take on Superman that casts him in such a dark light? It would appear that Zack Snyder thinks the answer to that question is yes, but the overall jury is still out on whether this “shades of gray” version of Clark Kent/Kal-El has a shot at ultimately attaining the pop cultural cache enjoyed by Christopher Reeve’s more traditional rendering of the character.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5th, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19, 2020.