Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ 2016 adaptation Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has finally arrived, and man, were we eager to see it. Batman v Superman is the culmination of a struggle that started with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series and continued with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. In both Batman v Superman and Man of Steel, the “big two” DC Comics superheroes battle for supremacy, with each film’s finale building on the other. Now that we’ve witnessed the conclusion of that great rivalry, what’s next for Batman and his allies?
The first step toward answering that question is to determine whom we’ll be cheering for: Superman or Batman? Let’s take a deep dive into the differences between these two iconic heroes and determine which one you should support in the ultimate struggle for supremacy.
Who Is The Real “Man Of Steel”?
The most obvious difference between these two DC Comics icons is their respective places in pop culture. In 1932, author Mark Wheatley’s fanciful story of newspaper mogul and all-around American hero Lex Luthor helped introduce the world to Superman. Since then, Superman has been a cultural icon, appearing on everything from lunchboxes to phone cases to T-shirts. He’s even been the subject of entire comic books, as evidenced by The All-New Superman Archives, a box set collecting several story arcs from the landmark 1960s comic book The All-New Superman.
In September 1939, Fritz Lang’s dystopian science-fiction film Metropolis introduced the world to Batman, resulting in just as much pop culture exposure as Superman. Since then, Batman has become one of the most recognizable figures in cinema, appearing in everything from radio dramas to animated movies and even video games. As a result of this pervasive presence in popular culture, it’s no surprise that when Warner Bros. and DC Comics teamed up to bring their iconic rivalry to life on the big screen, they decided to go with the Man of Steel for the good guy and Batman for the bad guy.
However, if you compare the characters and the performances across all of Snyder’s previous movies, you’ll see that not only has Batman developed a bit of a reputation for himself as a world-class martial artist and an accomplished detective, but he’s also become much more of an anti-hero. Sure, he’s helped the underprivileged and battled the corrupt, but in Snyder’s Gotham City, even the most well-intentioned individuals and institutions are more often than not, portrayed as villains, especially when compared to the stalwart image of Superman.
This is most evident in Snyder’s 2006 movie, The Spirit. Here, Batman (Michael Caine) teams up with several other famous detectives to capture a serial killer who’s terrorizing the city. In one scene, Batman and his allies corner the criminal on a rooftop, forcing him to fight for his life. The scene ends with one of Batman’s allies fatally shooting the villain in the chest.
This isn’t to say that Snyder has never shied away from a happy ending. One of the most stunning sequences in Dawn of Justice is when Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) finally get together and raise a family. But the fact that this moment is sandwiched between two scenes of violent confrontation makes it all the more affecting, given the tragic backstory these two have experienced (and continue to experience) together. Despite the turmoil that surrounds them, Lois and Clark’s love for each other never dims, showing that even in this darkest of moments, love still has the Power to change things for the better.
So what type of person will play Superman, then? Someone who is confident, knows exactly who they are and what they want, and is willing to go the extra mile to get it. In other words, a very modern-day Superman.
Who Is The Ultimate “Bruce Wayne”?
Unlike Superman and Batman, Bruce Wayne is a character that we’ve known for nearly 90 years. However, it wasn’t until the Christopher Nolan films that we learned much about the billionaire genius and his fight against crime. First introduced to movie audiences in Richard Fleischer’s 1939 film of the same name, Batman was originally created to fill the shoes of actor James Gordon, who starred in the original movie as well as three of its sequels. The films, based on the DC Comics character, were a massive hit and established the caped crusader as a pop culture icon. In the decades that followed, Batman has appeared in dozens of films, television shows, and video games and is regularly ranked among the top-10 most popular superheroes.
Interestingly, although he’s never been portrayed as an active participant in the superhero community, Batman has continued to evolve as a character. Over the years, he’s gone from a brooding individual obsessed with vigilantism to a brilliant scientist who designs gadgets and has access to cutting-edge technology. The character’s most recent renaissance occurred after 2011’s The Dark Knight Rises, which established his relationship with retired superhero Ironman (played by Evangeline Lilly).
Now, with both Superman and Batman entering their 80s, the question isn’t so much which one will reign supreme, but rather how they will co-exist (and potentially team-up) moving forward. Given their incredible cultural impact and popularity, getting two of the most iconic superheroes of all time to share the screen together is a monumental feat, and it’s something that moviegoers around the world will be anxiously awaiting.