Superman vs. Batman: A Study in Opposites
How putting Batman in the Superman sequel can actually help better define the Man of Steel!
Sun-god and warrior in the shadows. Impossible savior and mysterious avenger. One believes in the best in us and the other plans for the worst in us. They are as different as day and night, wit and might, hope and fright. Together, they are the lynchpins of the DCCU and the two ends of a spectrum on which all the other heroes that followed them essentially fall. Now, with the mantel of the last son of Krypton only just resurrected, the personality of Superman still remains largely unknown. For most of his origin-story, he was played as little-alien-lost, more ET than caped crusader. The lack of internal dialogue in film only makes the character more of a cipher. Besides flashbacks, audiences were left to rely largely on what they know about and expect from Clark Kent...and apparently, being talkative about his experiences is not one of them! As a result, we are left with precious little development of the moral backbone and innate sense for doing the right thing that Superman has become known for throughout his mythos.
It was during the last day or so of MOS's timeline that, in swift succession, Clark donned the suit, learned to fly and earned the right to be called the Man of Steel in cataclysmically epic fashion within Metropolis. While the true meaning of being Superman can undoubtedly be seen in the thick of action, the sequel will likely spend the better part of the intro addressing the consequences of the aforementioned actions. Rather than being plodding exposition, I hope that it is in these moments that what is best, brightest and most compelling about this Kal-El will get a chance to peek through--the magic equation that has carried a fundamentally unrelatable character through 75 years of stories, and still going strong!
As the Superman searches for meaning and identity on a very public world stage, he will find another like himself amongst the humans--one whose resources, intellect and sheer force of will has elevated him to the level of a protector. Will they misunderstand each other for the majority of the movie? Time will tell. I do know that in the comics, Clark finds an ally, confidante and even friend in Bruce. Yet when he visits Batman and his city, he is also in a sense descending into the shadows in order to define himself. In that way, the Dark Knight stands as a cautionary tale to the Man of Steel: "Don't go too far into the dark, Clark. We need you to be in the light...that's where your greatest power lies." Superman can learn much from Batman: his resourcefulness, his fighting tactics, his use of deception and grand strategy. And for his part, Batman can learn to count on others, and to believe in hope in a world full of threats. Played well, the relationship between these two titans will allow each to grow. The goal, however, should be for each to get the chance to shine in their own unique way--if not exactly harmoniously.
I believe the film-makers understand that Man of Steel was too bleak. Contrasting his character with Batman's allows Superman the chance to see clearly how he is not like that character. If there is revelation and significant evolution in Kal-El's personality by the end of the movie, then he will have been well-served by having Batman in the sequel. Avoid, for the most part, situations where Batman's powerful persona is allowed to undercut Superman's moral backbone, or to cause him to descend too far into the shadows again; this would be a great disservice to both the character, the fans and a new generation of movie-goers who would never get to see the beacon of hope rise in the DCCU!
: This article was submitted by a volunteer contributor who has agreed to our code of conduct
. ComicBookMovie.com is protected from liability under "safe harbor" provisions and will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement. For expeditious removal, contact us HERE