Zack Snyder reveals why Batman is in BATMAN VS SUPERMAN, and why MAN OF STEEL was so serious

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When it was announced at Comic-Con 2013 that director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel‘s follow-up would see the first onscreen pairing of arguably the two biggest superheroes ever, the internet experienced it’s very own Bane back-breaker. Fans have been clamouring for (and writing very dodgy slash-fiction about) Superman and Batman going cape to cowl for ages, so for this to finally be happening was immeasurably cool.

That being said, the announcement was quite the shocker, especially when it was revealed that Wonder Woman – the third member of DC Comics’ vaunted Trinity – would also be dropping by, as many thought we would be seeing some individual movies first, eventually leading to a Justice League movie a la Marvel’s proven Avengers game plan.

But it seems that DC\Warner Bros are intent in blazing their own trail, one that sees their two biggest superhero franchises merging (for now). So what prompted this decision? Money? A long game plan? Some unique story hook? Nah, it was just a cool idea, as Snyder explained to Forbes.

“After Man of Steel finished and we started talking about what would be in the next movie, I started subtly mentioning that it would be cool if he faced Batman. In the first meeting, it was like, “Maybe Batman?” Maybe at the end of the second movie, some Kryptonite gets delivered to Bruce Wayne’s house or something. Like in a cryptic way, that’s the first time we see him. But then, once you say it out loud, right? You’re in a story meeting talking about, like, who should [Superman] fight if he fought this giant alien threat Zod who was basically his equal physically, from his planet, fighting on our turf…  You know, who to fight next? The problem is, once you say it out loud, then it’s kind of hard to go back, right? Once you say, “What about Batman?” then you realize, “Okay, that’s a cool idea. What else?” I mean, what do you say after that?”

There is a lot that Snyder’s Man of Steel both did right and wrong, but the biggest points of contention are obviously the more serious tone of the film, and especially [14 MONTH OLD SPOILER THAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO HAVE BEEN AN INTERNET JEDI TO AVOID UNTIL NOW WARNING] the fact that Superman eventually kills Zod in their final confrontation. Many felt this deviated too far from the character’s Big Blue Boy Scout image, popularized by Superman: The Motion Picture, while others (including myself) argued that not only is that particularly innocent rendition of Superman only one of many since the character’s inception, but Superman has clearly killed/let die in the comics before. This last fact is something that most hardcore Supes fans would know, but apparently not enough for Snyder’s liking.

“The thing I was surprised about in response to Superman was how everyone clings to the Christopher Reeve version of Superman. How tightly they cling to those ideas, not really the comic book version, but more the movie version. … If you really analyze the comic book version of Superman, he’s killed, he’s done all the things. I guess the rules that people associate with Superman in the movie world are not the rules that really apply to him in the comic book world because those rules are different. He’s done all the things and more that we’ve shown him doing, right?”

“It’s just funny to see people really taking it personally … because I made (Superman) real, you know, I made him feel or made consequences (in) the world. I felt like, it was the same thing in ‘Watchmen.’ We really wanted to show it wasn’t just like they thought, like the PG-13 version where everyone just gets up and they’re fine. I really wanted to show the violence is real, people get killed or get hurt and it’s not fun or funny.”

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What’s also not funny is the fact that we still haven’t seen what the new Batsuit worn by Ben Affleck (Yes, Ben Affleck, in case your address has been  No.1 Under-A-Rock Street, Cluelessville for the last year) looks like, this despite having heard some very intriguing hints from people who have. Snyder has seen the new costume (of course!), and especially how it looks next to Henry Cavill’s super pyjamas and Gal Gadot’s star spangled Wonder Woman garb, and that is already crazy enough for him.

“The thing also that’s really fascinating for me is that, even just in the tests we’ve been doing, the costumes, right? You basically have Batman and Superman — and this is without Ben [Affleck] and Henry [Cavill] in the costumes, but just like the stand-ins, just testing to see what the costumes look like. And  you have them standing there and they’re standing in the same shot — and then we have Wonder Woman, you know, all three of them in the same shot. Even just for a test, you really have to go, “Wow, that’s crazy!” Not only is it the first time that I’m seeing them, it’s the first time they’ve ever existed together on screen in a movie. And that’s kind of a huge deal…..Unfortunately, I don’t even know the timeline… Because the movie takes place so far from now, it’s hard to know exactly. That all gets tied to marketing and strategies for the movie. It’s not just a free-for-all, which I’d love it to be. Because I take a picture of the suit with my camera– I’m actually staring at one right now in my office. And it’s just massive on my wall in my office and it’s epic, let me tell you! And I’m like, “God, I want to send this to the Internet immediately.” But I know I’m not allowed to!”

If I were a betting man, I would say that that will probably all change in two months time at Comic-Con. Batman vs Superman (or whatever the heck they actually end up calling it) would have been shooting for about three months by then, so expect some kind of footage or images reveal.

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I am admittedly extremely nervous about Batman vs SupermanThe casting has been very iffy (that rambling kid from The Social Network is Lex Luthor?!), and Snyder and writer David S. Goyer have shown that they are also prone to dumb blockbuster syndrome (see: the countless articles all over the internet about Man of Steel‘s super-sized plot holes). That being said, this is BATMAN VS SUPERMAN ON THE BIG SCREEN! Besides for the “fanboy wet dream come true” properties, Snyder and co had some amazing ideas for Man of Steel that they could capitalize on now to maximum effect. Ben Affleck has also been having the most incredible cinematic run as of late, so he should anchor the film as well. Also, did I mention that its BATMAN VS SUPERMAN ON THE BIG SCREEN!

Batman VS Superman is currently scheduled for release on May 6, 2016.

Last Updated: April 22, 2014

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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