Batman – let’s just make this as clear as possible – is a cheat and a scalawag and, well, too sleazy (and too smart) to go to battle with his colleague Superman without a little kryptonite in his pocket.
The idea here was to write a bit about who might have been the victor in the thunder-battle between the Caped Protector of Gotham and the Hero of Metropolis, as depicted in the newly-released Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But that idea fell apart decisively when I saw the film.
In jest, this was supposed to be a sports column. But the movie doesn’t leave room for that, so I’m writing an editorial, instead.
The movie – for a brief aside here – is so confusing and convoluted that I even asked my movie-going escort what the two headliners were fighting about. I knew the answer, but it is indicative of director Zack Snyder‘s poor directing that I even had to check with someone about the motivation for the main event. My question was something like, “Are they really fighting about this?” And my escort nodded. OK, so be it.
I figure in Las Vegas, the odds before the movie’s release were about 100-1 in Superman’s favor, but then the issue of second guessing Hollywood must be considered.
Hollywood never leaves the house without thinking up the most melodramatic plot line, which meant, of course, that nobody was going down in this Herculean punch-out in the opening round. That meant Batman would hold his own for a few rounds, which meant – if he could hold his own – that he could actually land the victorious haymaker and emerge victorious.
For all his fights, has Superman ever been knocked unconscious before – or even knocked off his feet? Well, we were going to find out.
But all this convoluted reasoning brought the odds down considerably. Just before the movies release, I figured the odds were about 25-1 in favor of the Man of Steel.
See, fights in Hollywood are rarely even until the end. Usually, the winner gets pounded to a pulp right up to the last moment, when the sneering loser turns his back on the bloody victor who won’t give up. At that point, the victor gets up for one more try – and somehow lands a staggering blow that opens the door to victory.
Superhero fights are different as both sides are invincible going in, but it is still hard for Hollywood to break with tradition. Every fight is a morality tale, whether it’s mortals, immortals or superheroes. Only wait just a minute here — it turns out that Snyder’s Batman, played by Ben Affleck, is certifiably bat crazy. So, all the bets might be canceled on that technicality, because that means anything can happen.
Synder’s Batman does not shave. He wears a five o’clock shadow in every scene but one. He is scruffy, isolated and mentally unstable to the point that he brands the criminals he catches with a red-hot bat-shaped medallion after he ties them up. Snyder gets away with this by having Batman focus his vigilante efforts on sexual predators, which is Hollywood’s universal get-out-of-jail free card. With sexual predators, you can do anything you want and the audience will forgive you.
Still, it’s pretty clear that this Batman has been breathing in too much mildew. Affleck is puffy and slow and has no friends and even less wit to make him appealing (let alone lovable). In fact, he is so isolated that, in spite of his own delirious rampages, he decides that Superman is the one who has crossed the line from Vigilante Eagle Scout to Dangerous Showboat. So Batman figures it’s time to take Superman down.
But, what does he do? Well, Batty brings a spear to the fight that is forged out of the darkly glowing green mass of kryptonite that keeps most of the movie’s plot alive.
OK, now all bets are really off. Of course, there are a few punches thrown and a few buildings in the immediate background turn to rubble, accordingly. But John Wayne never threw acid in his opponents’ eyes. He stood his ground for love and glory. None of this spear-packed-with-kryptonite stuff.
Outside of the Bat Cave, we call this cheating, you sonar-challenged, upside down rodent.