I really don’t know how to feel about director Zack Snyder’s revisionism of our classic comic book superheroes.
In Man of Steel he had Henry Cavill break the cardinal rule of being Superman: Do Not Kill Anybody, when he killed General Zod (Michael Shannon) to save a family from being burned to a crisp.
This is not to mention the many hundreds of others in Metropolis he indirectly killed when he went mano-a-mano with Zod in that urban battleground, people inadvertently crushed in the fallen buildings or killed in the streets and in their cars in the aftermath of their clash.
You don’t kill when you’re a superhero. Cardinal Rule No. 1. It’s easy to indiscriminately kill people when you’re that powerful, so the solution is never ever kill them, directly or indirectly. In fact, you take extra special care that you never do. It’s a line all the DC superheroes of my day never crossed.
It’s an old-fashioned Victorian aesthetic, a near-Puritan moral code that the comic books instituted in the old days because it was easy to cross the line when you reach the rarefied air of superhero-dom (to mix a couple of metaphors). Who decides who lives or dies? Superman? Who made him God?
Yet Snyder had Supie break that Cardinal Rule, that strict moral code, in the interest of cinematic license.
Now, again, he has Batman (Ben Affleck) doing the same thing in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now that they’ve released the Ultimate extended version, I got an even closer look at the movie, and I’m kinda appalled.
In fact, someone made a supercut (linked above) on YouTube detailing the Batman’s kill count in that film: 21 people, as far as we know. And that’s just in the days of the Batman-Superman thing. God knows how many he’s killed since he first became the Caped Crusader. And will kill in the future.
Hell, the Batman’s not even supposed to own guns, yet Snyder has him shooting from the hip with assault rifles and assorted weapons, killing the bad guys. It was another cardinal rule in the DC universe—you’re not supposed to own guns when you’re a superhero, and you’re never ever supposed to shoot anybody, even if they’re evil as all get out. Maybe with gas pellets or rubber bullets. Maybe, but only then.
Yet here we are. It’s the new 21st century morality.
Of course, I still enjoyed the movies as separate, independent entities from the comic book world, and I took them at their cinematic value.
But it’s never gonna be the same. Sheesh.