Even though Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s theatrical run is three years behind us, it remains one of the more divisive superhero movies in recent memory. It seems like people either loved it or hated it, and social media debates regarding the matter still result in bloodbaths shortly after beginning. Hey, those Zack Snyder fanboys don’t mess around.
Now, we could probably discuss which aspects of the flick divided moviegoers for the rest of the day, but we’re going to instead focus on the subject of Batman killing for the time being. As you may have heard, Snyder recently defended his Caped Crusader racking up a body count similar to that of a character played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying:
“Someone says to me: [Ben Affleck’s] Batman killed a guy. I’m like, ‘[frick], really? Wake the [frick] up.’
“I guess that’s what I’m saying, once you’ve lost your virginity to this [frick]ing movie and then you come and say to me something about like ‘my superhero wouldn’t do that.’ I’m like ‘Are you serious?’ I’m like down the [frick]ing road on that.
“It’s a cool point of view to be like ‘my heroes are still innocent. My heroes didn’t [frick]ing lie to America. My heroes didn’t embezzle money from their corporations. My heroes didn’t commit any atrocities.’ That’s cool. But you’re living in a [frick]ing dream world.”
Of course, such a statement was bound to invite a response, and Late Show host Stephen Colbert didn’t waste much time serving up one of his own, stating:
“Zack, these are beloved children’s characters! ‘Aquaman sells opiates and The Flash is a human trafficker. Walk it off! The whole Justice League is addicted to snuff porn. Grow up!”
While I’m not sure what Colbert’s level of familiarity is with Batman and Superman, it goes without saying that the average person has some sort of set archetype in mind when picturing them – and one quality known to most is that they don’t kill. Sure, you could defend Snyder by saying that heroes such as Iron Man and Captain America kill, Tim Burton’s Batman dropped a few bodies along the way, or that the Dark Knight carried a gun in his earliest comic book appearances, but none of those arguments reflect the icon as we’ve come to know him.
Although I’ve indulged in BvS for what it is and think Snyder has a great visual flare for storytelling, I’m willing to concede that he doesn’t have the greatest grasp on the characters he adapts. In fact, I’ve talked to a number of comic book writers and artists at conventions over the past few years, and they either felt uncomfortable with the level of violence displayed by Batman and Superman, or just downright loathed how Zack portrayed them. Obviously, I’m not going to name names out of respect for these folks – and because our conversations weren’t conducted under the pretense of an interview – but you’re certainly welcome to gather research of your own.