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Why I’m Rooting for Batman in the Epic Battle (Ben Affleck or Not)

In the epic battle of Batman v Superman, here’s why the re-invented superhero, Batman, prevails for me.

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4 min read
I remain a fan of Batman, in spite of my biases against Ben Affleck. (Photo Courtesy: Movie Poster)

Lets face it, they’re single handedly the biggest crowdpullers as far the superhero genre goes.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, though has kept it together since 2008; the Bat and the schoolboy in blue have pretty much been on every fanboy shirt, lunchbox, wall and about 3,564 other items of daily use. They’re aspirational figures – gods to some, entertainment to others.

“Deep down, Clark’s essentially a good person... and deep down, I’m not.” is a debate that Batman has with himself. (Photo Courtesy:<a href="https://www.facebook.com/batmanvsuperman/photos"> Facebook/BatmanvSuperman</a>)
“Deep down, Clark’s essentially a good person... and deep down, I’m not.” is a debate that Batman has with himself. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/BatmanvSuperman)

The Fallible Superman

Of late, since the resurgence of the old, small issue comic (as juxtaposed to the heavy-duty graphic novels that we see today), the campy pencilling has given way to a much wider, more nuanced universe. Here, Superman isn’t just a bumbling reporter with blue tights underneath, but a man as fallible as any. And what separates him from the mortals is not his strength – but his iron will to hold back even when he’s raging mad inside.

You know that he can squish Batman like a fly, you know that he can snap Zod’s neck, but a humble moral centre won’t allow him to do it. He’s got ideals, he knows he’s a pillar of hope and he cannot let that ideal fall.

(GIF Courtesy: <a href="http://www.comicbookmovie.com/batman_vs_superman/check-out-the-most-awesome-gifs-from-the-final-trailer-for-a130941">comicbookmovie.com</a>)
(GIF Courtesy: comicbookmovie.com)

He understands that the symbol on his chest is bigger than him.

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How Batman Came to Stand for a Symbol of Vengeance

“Deep down, Clark’s essentially a good person... and deep down, I’m not.” is a debate that Batman has with himself and that, I believe, is the ethos of the equation between them. This is where the character canvas of the Bat gets on a spectrum that’s been the subject of debate since the time that I’ve been in the know of it.

Purists have seen the evolution of an immature Bruce Wayne over the years, and therefore, associate his character with fair play. They associate it with a sense of justice – not a higher moral authority, but a levelling force, not arising out of an affinity to violence, but out of vengeance.

He’s the detective, a better strategist than the best strategist you know, the guy whose backups have backups.

(GIF Courtesy: <a href="http://www.comicbookmovie.com/batman_vs_superman/check-out-the-most-awesome-gifs-from-the-final-trailer-for-a130941">comicbookmovie.com</a>)
(GIF Courtesy: comicbookmovie.com)

Then, you’ll meet a branch of freaks that do not subscribe to this notion. Their devotion to the Bat stems from something way darker. It’s a place that justifies vengeance.

It doesn’t make the Bat a great punch that’d take down the building – it makes him the guy who’d be scowling in the rubble and thinking of a million ways to maim you once you’ve hit him with one. Or maybe three. He’s the last man standing and the worst part is that you know he won’t quit, he won’t not come back. Worse still, he knows it. Enter the Batgrin. Even when he’s pitted against Superman who’s just gone through three of his ribs and a bloodied face, along with a crushed wrist, all he says is – who will they send after you?

Of the Evolution of Batman: From Frank Miller and Batman Begins... to Now

It’s the Bat which, in Frank Miller’s words, is the fiercest, purest survivor. The kind that blurs the lines between hero and psychopath.

After the three trailers and the five million TV spots, it is safe to assume that a certain percentage of the upcoming movie is a take on Frank Miller’s 1986 classic.

Frank Miller’s 1986 creation, <i>Batman: The Dark Knight Returns</i>. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://nerdist.com/frank-miller-on-the-creation-of-batman-the-dark-knight-returns/">nerdist.com</a>)
Frank Miller’s 1986 creation, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. (Photo Courtesy: nerdist.com)

And although I believe it is time for a fantastic, over-the-top, riddled-with-CGI version, my favourite Batman will still be Nolan’s 2005 Batman Begins. (Probably the first time cinema took the superhero business seriously.) Those body punches, that voice, and that Batmobile. If you really look at it, every superhero movie before that has just been a colourful and rather funny excuse.

Liam Neeson and Christian Bale in a scene from <i>Batman Begins</i>. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/BatmanBeginsMovie/photos">Facebook/Batman Begins</a>)
Liam Neeson and Christian Bale in a scene from Batman Begins. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Batman Begins)

And now we have a new one, punching people into the ground, through crates and through walls.

I should be overjoyed, ecstatic.

Somehow, though, I’m not.

Behind the scenes with Ben Affleck and Zack Snyder on the sets of Batman v Superman. (Photo Courtesy:<a href="https://www.facebook.com/batmanvsuperman/photos"> Facebook/BatmanvSuperman</a>)
Behind the scenes with Ben Affleck and Zack Snyder on the sets of Batman v Superman. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/BatmanvSuperman)

Partially, it has something to do with Batman having a stubble, and no neck; frankly – behind the cowl – the guy actually looks quite like a doofus. Ben Affleck is a great actor, my biases against him for destroying a character as brilliant as Daredevil shouldn’t come in the way of the genesis of the Justice League, but I’m not convinced. Don’t get me wrong, I want this to be brilliant. Maybe it’s the Batman we don’t deserve, but the one we need right now. Cheesy. I know.

Oh, sorry, there’s a Superman and a Wonderwoman (who?) in there somewhere too. My bad.

(GIF Courtesy: giphy.com)
(GIF Courtesy: giphy.com)

Shoo, go book your tickets. The hammer of justice falls in four days.

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(Shakunt Saumitra is a lawyer by day and a pop culture junkie by night. He can quote every single dialogue in all the Star Wars movies and tweets under the handle @kuljeete_pajero)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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