After the fallout over Batman v Superman, we thought it would be interesting to look at whether or not the film takes place in an alternate reality.
Over the years, there have been several alternative versions of Superman in the comic books – Val-Zod, Christopher Kent, Kal-L and many others. Same goes for Batman, who has seen Owlman, Red Son Batman and even Thomas Wayne as the Dark Knight. These Pre-Crisis, Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, Post-Crisis, and New 52 versions have been remarkably different.
Injustice: Gods Among Us, for example, gives us an alternate world where Metropolis has been destroyed, Lois Lane has been murdered, and Superman has gone rogue. In fact, Superman rules over the planet with an iron fist – killing off a lot of the superheroes on Earth. That’s a big step away from Christopher Reeve’s cat-saving Superman (ignoring the angry drunk in Superman III) or the All-Star Superman version, but nevertheless, it’s still Superman.
Could Zack Snyder’s Superman be just that? An alternate reality Superman? One where he is just a little less secure about his place on Earth and where he has a major fallout with Batman. An alternate reality where these characters are killers and not the PG characters we’ve come to know and love? It’s very well possible.
Examining Snyder’s DC Universe, it’s easy to see that the are a number of changes. For example, Superman’s suit is much darker (with no red underwear). His origin story is slightly different. Jonathan Kent certainly is a lot less caring about Superman becoming a hero. And Supes isn’t loved by everyone. In this world, Batman isn’t quite Batman either. He is angrier, more reckless, and, heck, he even uses guns.
For most people, the most timeless version of Superman and Batman are found in the 80s and 90s comic books. It’s what we all expect from our heroes. But this isn’t that Batman and Superman. This isn’t that universe. This is a different world where they are a bit grittier and a bit different.
I’ve seen a lot of people questioning some of the choices and proclaiming that “THIS ISN’T SUPERMAN!” or “THIS ISN’T BATMAN!” They are. They are just not the ones you have become accustomed too.
Snyder shared his thoughts about the characters and his movies:
“The thing I was surprised about in response to Superman was how everyone clings to the Christopher Reeve version of Superman. How tightly they cling to those ideas, not really the comic book version, but more the movie version. … If you really analyze the comic book version of Superman, he’s killed, he’s done all the things. I guess the rules that people associate with Superman in the movie world are not the rules that really apply to him in the comic book world because those rules are different. He’s done all the things and more that we’ve shown him doing, right?”
Snyder went on to compare the Man of Steel to his other comic book film, Watchmen:
“It’s just funny to see people really taking it personally … because I made (Superman) real, you know, I made him feel or made consequences (in) the world. I felt like, it was the same thing in ‘Watchmen.’ We really wanted to show it wasn’t just like they thought, like the PG-13 version where everyone just gets up and they’re fine. I really wanted to show the violence is real, people get killed or get hurt and it’s not fun or funny.”
I recently watched Justice League: Gods and Monsters, a film that sees the son of General Zod sent to Earth instead of Kal-el, superhuman pseudo-vampire Dr. Kirk Langstrom become Batman and the widow of Darkseid’s son Orion become Wonder Woman. It’s a completely different take on the characters set in a completely different universe. And perhaps that’s exactly what Snyder is setting up here – a different universe.
Perhaps someday we’ll see “our” selfless Superman (the one who stands up for Truth, Justice and The American Way) cross paths with this one – kinda like All-Star Superman crossed paths with his alternates from the future at the end of Vol. 1. Until that day, sit back, relax and try to enjoy Zack’s exploration of the characters. It’s not for everyone. It doesn’t have to be. It just needs to be fun. And nobody can deny that both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman are fun.
At the end of the day, I guess both characters have become a symbol for so much more. If we look around the world today, do we need “this” Batman and Superman or Batman v Superman? Or are we missing the beacon of hope who uses truth, love, justice and compassion to conquer all? Do we need heroes are willing to kill or ones who are willing to die for justice? The answer really lies with you.
Batman v Superman stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice only has 28% on Rotten Tomatoes despite raking in $850 million dollars at the box office world wide.