"Someone says to me, 'Batman killed a guy.' I'm like, 'f**k, really? Wake the f**k up.'" That's what Batman v. Superman director Zack Snyder said in a recent Q&A about his version of Batman. It sounds like he's insinuating that anyone who doesn't think Batman kills people is an idiot. But there's a vital piece of context in the transcript of his talk that somehow got lost in all the reporting about it.
Snyder seems to think that the "superheroes would be morally bankrupt dicks in real life" idea Alan Moore infused into Watchmen should be applied to all superhero movies, as if it's impossible to suspend disbelief to imagine that Batman only dishes out concussions instead of body bags. He finishes off the full quote by saying that if you think superheroes wouldn't be doing all manner of unethical s**t, "you're living in a f*****g dream world."
But, uh, we want the dream world. That's why we go to these movies. Part of the fun is believing that Batman is just that good of a crime fighter, as if his fists are made of melatonin and the thugs are just napping.
See, there's an aspirational dimension to Batman. It's the notion of a single soul staring down larger-than-life problems (corrupt police, morally bankrupt plutocrats, a man dressed as a murderous kite), and fixing the ills of the world better than anybody else. (He is called a "superhero," after all.) Take that quirk away from superheroes, and you're left with, well, "arbitrary murder men." (And the world's filled with enough of those already, thank you very much.)
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