With the upcoming “Batman v. Superman” movie getting the subtitle “Dawn of Justice”, we now see a million jokes and speculations about what the title means. While fans of the Justice League know the sly reference, we still don’t know the exact reasons why Batman and Superman battle with each other. Speculation has been running rampant that they’ll be considered bitter enemies in the beginning of the movie before eventually finding a truce to start the Justice League. To comic book neophytes, this seems almost on the level of Godzilla inexplicably fighting with King Kong when they’re both of the same pedigree.
Generations have grown up assuming that all of the iconic superheroes wouldn’t come anywhere near being locked in a battle to a near death. Since this is new territory, you have to wonder just how violent the fight between Superman and Batman is going to be. Will fans of both superheroes want to sit through a three-hour movie where they go at each other’s throats the majority of the time before somehow becoming friends?
It’s worth comparing the battle scenes from prior Superman and Dark Knight movies to see just how much people would be willing to see Superman and Batman battle it out as if taking on if The Joker, Bane, or General Zod.
How Violent Have Superhero Fight Scenes Become?
One thing to note about the more recent Dark Knight and Superman movies is that most of the violence seems to come from pyrotechnics and elaborate stunt work rather than someone directly being beaten to a pulp. While The Joker was shockingly violent, the violence he inflicted personally was more psychological than direct fighting. And in the context of Superman, fighting General Zod was physical on a superpower level rather than complete physical contact.
All of the baddies from those movies involved battles scenes that were obviously intense compared to the older movies of Superman and Batman, yet without fighting in the bloody “Fight Club” way that we haven’t seen for a while. While that may designate the true difference between superhero movies and fighting between real human beings, we have to remember how different Bruce Wayne is from Clark Kent. Batman only uses ingenuity and all his gadgets to battle someone. Superman has enough powers where he could wipe an ordinary human out in an instant if he wanted to.
It’s that wide dichotomy that’s a bit of a puzzle when you hear about Batman fighting Superman. Will Batman have the worst of it going after Superman, or will there be a David vs. Goliath scenario where ingenuity finds a way to find the chink in the armor?
You can probably find clues to that in all the prior Superman and Batman movies based on their own ingenuity in bringing down the villains they need to stop. With many of those scenarios almost being psychological games of cat and mouse, it might not have to be any different between Batman and Superman. Even if you can get a little surreal thinking about both of them battling it out Road Runner vs. Wile E. Coyote style, you have to assume that Superman’s power will be diminished somehow in order to make the battle more interesting.
Will Batman find some way to gain access to Kryptonite as the ultimate secret weapon to weaken Superman’s powers? It’s either that or Batman will have to put him in the Sun Tzu mode in studying Superman closer to see exactly what would break him on perhaps a psychological level. With Wonder Woman in the mix, you have wonder if there’s a connection to the fighting.
What people might be expecting is that we’ll see a more physical fight take place, at least through part of the movie. While we can’t see battles from the air since Batman can’t fly, it might as well be as earthy as possible. With some of Superman’s power eliminated, it could end up being one of the most physically violent movies made in years. When you stop and think about it, intense and realistic fighting with nothing but fists for long periods of time hasn’t been seen in many movies recently.
In that regard, the ratings board might consider that to be worse than any of the prior violence in the Superman and Dark Knight movies. As puzzling as that might be, seeing Superman and Batman battling more like human beings might be one of the greatest aspects about the movie. We’d see more realism in how much both can take physically when they’re vulnerable.
If there’s anything a superhero movie needs to do now is to show the real human side of their burdens, which is already the basic road superhero movies are taking.