The superhero movie market is a huge one, as proven by the massive success of Marvel Studios and their movies. The House of Mouse now owns the market share with a whopping 25% market share globally, followed by Disney with 22% and Warner Bros with 12%. But this doesn’t mean that the competition is weak, as DC is looking to retake the throne.
The success of Marvel Studios in creating multi-billion-dollar hits led to a wave of superhero movies that are continuing to flood the market. Along with these came other heroes that are proving to be just as popular as the original trinity of Marvel Comics’ most famed superheroes. One of these heroes is Batman (Ben Affleck). If you’re looking to pick up a Batman shirt or cap then you’ll want to make sure that you get the one with the right symbol on it.
Along with Batman came another iconic superhero, Superman (Henry Cavill). Since they are both owned by the same company (DCComics), they have often been pitted against each other in the media. The question is simply which one of these two heroes is better, more popular, and why? Let’s take a look.
Key Differences Between Batman And Superman
One of the first major differences between these two heroes is their portrayal in the media. While most people think of Superman when it comes to iconic depictions of superpowers, Batman has been around for much longer.
The earliest known depiction of Batman is from 1928, making him one of the first superheroes to ever appear on film. And unlike the fictional Man of Steel, he doesn’t require assistance from Kryptonite to do his thing.
What Is The Matter With Gotham City?
One of the things that make Batman so special is the way that the city of Gotham is portrayed in the media. In most cases, the city itself is the location of the story; it’s the backdrop against which the characters play their parts. When it comes to Gotham City, however, the location is more important than the characters themselves. This is clear when comparing the depictions of Gotham City in both the Batman and Superman franchises.
The earliest known depiction of Gotham City is from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in 1869. In this instance, Leslie’s depictions of the city and its architecture are stunning and it’s clear that he had a real eye for detail. One of the more well-known and accurate depictions of Gotham City was in the Batman television series from the 1960s. In this case, the city is shown from an aerial view and the geography of the town is clearly defined. The roads, buildings, and even the water are all shown in beautiful detail and it’s easy to see why this series was so popular when watched on TV back in the day.
The Ultimate Fall From Grace
One of the major turning points in the history of Batman is the 1968 film, Batman Begins. This film serves as a direct sequel to the previous year’s Batman, and was the start of a major Batman revival. The films that followed in the series were both critical and commercial successes. And it all started with this film’s unique take on the Caped Crusader. While previous Batman films featured an older, more experienced hero defending the city of Gotham against crime, Batman Begins instead featured a younger, more rambunctious hero who was actually trying to do the right thing.
The film’s plot sees Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale) fearing for the safety of his city after witnessing the murder of another young woman. This act of witnessing a crime and not being able to do anything about it haunted Wayne for the rest of his life. Driven by this incident, Wayne takes up the identity of Batman and fights crime from the shadows.
While this new, proactive approach to fighting crime was a welcome change for fans who had been waiting for a change in direction from the Dark Knight, it wasn’t long before it became apparent that Batman was capable of much more. For example, while most other heroes might use guns to fight crime, Batman utilized his martial arts skills. Another difference that fans noticed was that Batman seemed to lack a sense of morality. In many cases, this manifested itself in him killing without cause or warning, leading some to label him as a vigilante or a sociopath. But perhaps the greatest misstep that Batman took was in trusting Nightwing (Dick Grayson).
The fallout from Batman Begins was that Gotham City was no longer portrayed as a benevolent entity. Instead, the city was now viewed as a dangerous place where crime and corruption were accepted as part of daily life. While this might still be considered a drastic change, it certainly doesn’t hurt that the Caped Crusader broke the pattern of watching crime stories unfold on TV and then going to the movies to see the heroes fight in thrilling fashion.
More Than Meets The Eye
One of the reasons why Batman is still considered to be one of the foremost superheroes of all time is due to his long history within the comic book medium. Since his inception, Batman has regularly saved the city of Gotham and its inhabitants from all manner of threats. These threats were often based on real-life fears and paranoia, and the stories and artwork that surrounded these themes were some of the most interesting and innovative around. And even now, when the topic of conversation turns to Batman, most people automatically think of his comic book stories first.
An Unlikely Collaboration
Another reason why Batman is considered one of the greatest superheroes of all time is due to his long history of working with other superheroes in the comics. While it is true that Batman usually teams up with other superheroes to save Gotham City or combat a dangerous foe, he has often done so without needing to. For example, in the Silver Age of Marvel Comics, Batman worked alongside the Atom and Green Lantern, but they were all just tools in his arsenal. The Caped Crusader was often the smartest, the fastest, the best at what he did, and he did it all without depending on anyone or anything else.
Priceless And Worthless
But perhaps the greatest testament to Batman’s lasting legacy is in the work of the many talented creators and writers who have worked on the character over the years. While other superheroes might rely on special effects and CGI to make their stories more exciting to viewers, Batman rarely needs these shortcuts. Rather, he often relies on clever plot devices and sophisticated writing to tell his stories and engage his readership.
The result is a unique blend of classic superhero stories and tropes with an intelligent commentary on society, politics, and the human condition. As much as I love the Marvel Studios movies, I have to give the nod to Batman for being the gold standard in superhero storytelling. With the right marketing campaign and some lucky timing, I could see fans finally taking their eyes off of the Megazord and onto Ben Affleck’s Batman. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some pennies to collect.