I think many of us are excited for the new film coming out next month, entitled, “Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice”. We have decades of experiences in the comics in which Batman and Superman face off, have disagreements, but eventually help each other and keep a grudging mutual respect. But we have never seen it play out in a film. I have loved super heroes since I was old enough to recognize them in a comic, and on the tube. I am now 45 and I still love super heroes. What I love the most is that they are heroes. Not perfect, not pristine in every way, because that would make them unrelatable. But they are heroes, they seek justice, and many of them like Spider man, Superman, and even Batman, have a higher integrity and a drive to put what is wrong, right again. Is this not why we love them? Because they have the power to change things, and usually we don’t.
But what if heroes are no longer heroes? What if those we look to, to have a code, to do the right thing, no longer embody those ideals? What if out heroes are really reflections of society, and society is simply getting tired of them. What if our beloved heroes end up no better than us, no better than the evil they fight?
In the above article, it is revealed that Batman is not against killing criminals. It suggests that he is, as the article states, willing to do whatever it takes to get justice. here is a quote from the article:
Batman is not giving people a chance… He is more than a vigilante. He has become not only the cop, if you will, he has also become the jury and executioner.
Now we all like Batman having some rough edges. He has never been as morally high grounded as his Metropolis counterpart. But he is a hero, and we can trust him. Well… can we really trust him now? Is he still a hero, when he ignores the societal means to deal with injustice, and is willing to be executioner to get the job done? I don’t like it one bit, and I think those who love real heroes, not the anti-heroes of today, will not like this either.
Now lets look at Superman. Now I do not have any quotes for you, suggesting that Superman is an anti-hero now. But my personal demands for the Man of Steel are much higher than they are for Batman. Watching the first Superman films, reading the classic comics, and even watching Smallville have left me with an identity of who Superman is supposed to be. To me he is almost messianic in nature. Yes he is flawed, and can make mistakes, and even become lost at times. In the end though, he is the paragon and pillar of the best that man can hope to achieve. I am not so sure Superman is quite Superman anymore. Maybe not an anti-hero, but not the paragon either. I won’t know for sure until I see the film. But the trailers have left me cold, and the last Superman movie left me cold.
Now we get to Wonder Woman. I will admit, I am a prisoner to the Wonder Woman on TV in the 70’s. While the Feminist movement was lost on me as a kid growing up, I did get the sense that Wonder Woman was a woman of integrity and compassion. She used her lasso to get the truth, and she always did her best to limit hurting people, even the worst criminals she faced. She was someone to trust with your life and your city. Look at the above picture. Is this Wonder Woman? She wields a sword now. A SWORD!! So is she going to kill people too, or is this just for Doomsday sake. I get it…. don’t bring a fist or a lasso to a fight to the death against a monster who can easily end you. But I don’t like the look. Yeah she is an amazonian warrior, I guess we always have been told this, but now we see it.
Obviously I can’t truly judge these characters and this film, without seeing it. But there is a trend out there for the rise of the anti-hero. We think being a hero is boring now. We need to make them more complex and flawed so that they are more interesting. But to me, resorting to this is just lazy. If you can’t let us keep are paragons, and make them engrossing, then find someone else who can. I for one will not be giving future films multiple views and endorsements, if this is all we can expect. I will be watching, and I won’t settle for less than what we have been given by those that started and managed these characters and kept them heroes over the decades.