Monday, 17 March 2014

5 Artistic Reasons Why Batman Would Beat Superman and Vice Versa

Two men- one writer. The winner? Whoever the writer wants it to be.

Ever since Man of Steel 2: Superman Vs. Batman was announced, the internet has been burning with arguments about which of DC’s heavyweights would win in the upcoming bout. Fans have compared stats, argued about moments in comics, and pitted virtues against vices to try to figure out who would realistically beat who.
There’s an inherent problem with this thinking; it suggests that this fight will be taking place in the real world- one not controlled by the will of screenwriters and directors. There are plenty of reasons that either Batman or Superman will come out on top here, but it’s got nothing to do with skills or powers or even who the cooler character is. The winner will ultimately be whoever the writers think should win. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of top 5 reasons why each character would win from an artistic perspective.
Let’s start with Batman, shall we?
"Finish this sentence: BECAUSE I'M..."

5. The Dark Knight Returns
When Man of Steel 2 was announced, lines from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns were read. The Dark Knight Returns a Batman story in which, yes, Batman beats Superman in a massive techno-suit. You’ll recognise some moments from it in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. In recent interviews MOS2’s creative team have mentioned that The Dark Knight Returns is one of the texts that they are working off. It makes sense to use that story, as it’s probably the most popular Batman/Superman fight out there, and it does more than just hint at a probable Bat-victory.
4. It’s expected
Even without the press releases surrounding The Dark Knight Returns, there’s still an expectation that Batman will win the fight. He’s become well-known as a strategist. I said that I wouldn’t focus on character traits for this, but people seem to be expecting a Batman win here- even if they haven’t read The Dark Knight Returns.
3. It’s a more interesting victory
Superman punches Batman, and Batman loses a head- that’s not an interesting fight. Batman watches Superman from the shadows, puts together a kryptonite ring and systematically lures Superman into a fight- that’s an interesting fight. Brain vs Brawn (and before anyone complains, I know Superman has brains too) is always an interesting contest- especially when brain wins. It allows writers to be clever with how they write their fight scenes, and writers so very much like being clever. With that in mind, yes, a Batman victory would be very likely.
2. Batman’s character is appeals to a wider audience
Batman has a HUGE fanbase compared to Superman these days. It’s sad, but Superman doesn’t get the same following: he’s perceived as being overpowered, too goody-goody, and just not as tough as Batman despite being able to punch people through buildings. Batman, on the other hand, is about embracing inner darkness that we all find so appealing. His character speaks to our inner desires to let the darkness out once and a while. It speaks to that teenage boy dream most of us have had at one stage or another to instil fear in those that we see as a threat. Superman, on the other hand, instils boring old hope. With that kind of fanbase, the rage that could result from Superman winning this fight could be terrifying.
1. It would put Affleck’s Batman in a good light
The complaints worldwide about Ben Affleck as Batman haven’t exactly helped Affleck’s case, here. He needs to do something pretty cool if he’s going to win over the hearts of Batman fans; many of whom became converted through Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. So what’s something cool that Affleck’s Batman could do? How about beat up the most powerful man in the DC universe?
Yeah, that would do it.
Affleck needs to be put in a good light, and being the Batman who beat Superman could be just the ticket for him.
So that’s the reasons Batman would win, but it wouldn’t be right if we left it at that, though. So here are the reasons Superman would win from an artistic perspective.
"I'm not finishing your damn sentence!"

5. Canon
Yes, everyone knows that Batman beats Superman in The Dark Knight Returns. What tends to get ignored, however, is the fact that Frank Miller’s story is an “alternate universe” tale that has nothing to do with DC’s main comic storyline. If you look at DC’s mainstream storyline, Superman has beaten Batman multiple times. If writers are looking for material, they could find a lot more to use that works in Superman’s favour. The creators of MOS2 have mentioned that they are not directly adapting The Dark Knight Returns, so it would make sense to look at some of these other stories, too.
4. No Kryptonite yet.
The big arguments for Batman beating Superman is that Batman is a planner. Part of that argument involves the fact that Batman keeps kryptonite in the Bat-Cave just in case Supes goes rogue. The problem with putting that angle in MOS2, however, is that kryptonite has yet to be introduced to DC’s new cinematic universe. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen, but we have to assume that, for the moment, kryptonite doesn’t exist. Without Superman’s most popular weakness handy, it would be hard to write a believable way to defeat the Man of Steel.
3. Superman is actually more relatable
You can talk all you want about how Batman is relatable because he has no powers. But at the end of the day, Batman is a one-percenter. Born into a life of luxury, having all the money he could possibly want, it gets hard to sympathise with Batman unless you’ve gone through his life story.
Superman, on the other hand, may have powers up the wazoo, but, at heart, he’s the 99%. He’s a blue collar man raised by simple farming folk with a middle-class job as a human-interest reporter. Compare that to the rich boy, who is rumoured to start MOS2 being buddies with Luthor, and it’s pretty clear who writers are more likely to sympathise with.
2. Superman is DC’s front man
If Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman are DC’s holy trinity, Superman is their God. As much as Batman fans like to pretend otherwise, Superman is really at the centre of DC’s universe. Look at as many pictures of the Justice League as you want; I guarantee you, Superman will be at the centre. He’s the one taking on DC’s most powerful villains, he’s the one pulling of DC’s greatest feats. In the edited words of Morgan Freeman “And you’re thinking of taking on this man? Good Luck!”
1. This is Superman’s movie.
If there’s one argument that artistically justifies Superman winning this fight, it’s this one. This is the sequel to Man of Steel. So far as we are aware, this is a movie about Superman, not Batman. Supes is the star, not the Dark Knight, despite all the attention being given to Ben Affleck. Do you really think they’ll make the titular character lose? Sure, it’s happened before, but it’s highly unlikely.
In all honesty, though, there are plenty of reasons a writer could make either character lose. What do you think? Are there other artistic reasons I missed? Leave a comment below.

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