Sunday 25 August 2013

Batman v Superman: Who would win?

A combined logo revealed during Comic-Con in San Diego. 
Warner Bros.

With the news at Comic Con in San Diego last month that Warner Bros was going to follow Man of Steel with a Batman/Superman sequel, speculation immediately started about what type of film this would be. 

Would it pit the two superheroes against each other? What would the plot involve? How can they both 'fight for justice' if they are at each other's throats? and probably one of the most important questions: Who would replace Christian Bale as Batman?

The new Batman! 

While Warner Bros had from the beginning hinted at the possibility that the two superheroes could be enemies at some point in the film, it was only a couple of days ago that the studio started an internet frenzy by announcing that it would be Ben Affleck who would don the batsuit this time around. 

Given that Affleck's last superheroic outing as DareDevil didn't exactly wow critics and comic fans alike, it is unsurprising that there is a public backlash against the choice. In fact, some people are so against him that they have signed a petition to 'remove Ben Affleck as Batman'. The petition at last count was up around 60,000 signatures!

But not everyone is a hater.... Joss Whedon gave his approval via twitter: 
Affleck'll crush it. He's got the chops, he's got the chin -- just needs the material. Affleck & Cavill toe to toe -- I'm in.

It might also be helpful to remember that in 2006, most people hated the idea of Heath Ledger taking on the role of the Joker (see examples here) and yet he went on to be universally celebrated for it. 

What do you think? Is Mr Argo any match for Henry Cavill's Superman? And for that matter - who do you think would win in a fight - Batman or Superman?

Although no official images have been released by Warner Bros for the upcoming film (other than the one they put together for ComicCon: see top image), some fans have put together some ideas of what the Batman/Superman concept might look like. 

I've included a couple of my faves here for your enjoyment! 

Designed by: ddsign at Deviant Art see more of this designer here

Designed by  JoshMC at Fan Art Exhibit

Click here for a few more...


  1. Personally, I thought Affleck did an adequate job as DareDevil, and that it was a pretty good film, if not *totally* faithful to the character of the source material - I was definitely in the minority though. Regardless, he ought to be able to portray the brooding, detached Bruce Wayne to a T, and an endorsement from Whedon is as good as it gets!

    I still haven't seen Man of Steel, but generally speaking I think Superman's brute strength would eventually be outsmarted by Batman's intellect.

  2. The interesting idea behind Batman versus Superman, as you have pointed out, is how can two superheroes possibly ‘fight for justice’ in the same movie. When thinking about Batman and Superman together, it is hard to imagine that two iconic superhero vigilantes would ever go against one another. Each superhero fights against the ‘evil’ of society, going outside of the traditional confines of the justice system to prevent crime. However, I feel that two vigilantes fighting for what is ‘right’, will always have tension between them, and it is for this reason that I am excited to go see the movie.

    Outside of broad themes such as fighting for what is ‘right’, and crime prevention, Batman and Superman are very dissimilar. Superman, born with his superpowers, creates the alter ego Clark Kent to fit into society. That is what makes Superman so compelling. He IS a superhero. When Superman exercises his justice he is doing so as himself.
    On the other hand, Bruce Wayne is not a superhero. He possesses no powers, except for his above average athleticism, and billions and billions of dollars. When Bruce Wayne exercises his justice he is doing so no longer as Bruce Wayne, but as a completely new entity – Batman.

    In the reading by Reyns & Henson for this week, it was argued that ‘elements of culture convey the meaning of crime’. Following this line of thought, I believe that the two superheroes are reflecting two different representations of what justice could be.

    Superman never truly goes against the law of Metropolis, instead he tries to fill in for inadequacies that exist within the justice system by doing what traditional law enforcement cannot.

    I would argue that Bruce Wayne, by using an alter ego like Batman, represents an important characteristic of a traditional justice system. He goes from the rogue billionaire with loads of charisma, to an emotionless, dry vigilante. By detaching himself from personality and emotion, he is trying to incorporate the idea of impartiality, which legitimises Batman to the public. I believe this could represent an alternative for the people of Gotham, as many of Batman’s adventures involve the complete failure of the legal system.

    I can only predict that because of these differences the relationship will be dynamic. At times there may be enough of an incentive for the two heroes to come together as a way of completing their objectives, while at others, their actions could act as a barrier for the vigilantes in achieving their goals. What the audience will gain from such an entangled relationship is an oversight into just how subjective vigilante justice can be. It will be interesting to see how the writers of Batman versus Superman will resolve such different ideas of justice.

  3. Building from the solid foundation that Josh has laid down, I would like to add some elements to this depiction of Superman and Batman. Firstly, I wholeheartedly accept Josh’s assertion that Superman’s role is an auxiliary to the traditional justice and legal system, and that Batman exists almost wholly outside of, and in contradiction to, this process, instead administering the task of justice himself. However, I would argue that there are some substantial similarities in the manner that they perform these tasks, suggesting that despite their different powers and aims, they align in terms of their overall perceptions of justice and punishment. Both superheroes (accepting that Batman is deserving of the title) have an inner code of morality, their ‘one rule’ that is alluded to in The Dark Knight, which carries across nearly all representations of the characters. This is namely that neither hero will take a life.

    This is supposed to act as a check on their power, given that the ordinary forces responsible for justice have no practical way to bring these figures to account. However this is entirely self-regulatory and in some circumstances can be seen as mere talk, as Batman kills Two-Face at the climax of The Dark Knight, just as Superman slays General Zod in Man of Steel (oops spoilers). Crucially, this inner law is in agreement with the weightiest crime in the ordinary legal system, that of murder. As alluded to above however, Batman will never see the inside of a court just as Superman will never be arrested, save by his consent. This in essence creates a troubling sense of justice surrounding these vigilantes (Superman qualifies as such in that he is never formally granted any authority), given that even when they break their self-decreed rules, there is no justice or due process for them, lending credence to the age-old adage “who will watch the watchers?” This is achieved in the ordinary system with a sophisticated system of appellate courts, legislators and various regulatory bodies, but these heroes only answer to themselves, which I feel is how the majority of the tension in the upcoming movie will be created, as Superman and Batman espouse such different views on the existing system of justice.

    Much of this variation is due to, as Vollum and Adkinson point out, the differences in the origins and the worlds they inhabit. Superman is still at heart, a ‘hopeful’ character and this is reflected in the cheerier world of Metropolis, when compared to the dark streets of Gotham, and the dark character of Batman who has instead become a symbol of hope, whilst maintaining a weary disregard for the corrupt system, with only a few upstanding administrators within its ranks. This only emphasises, as Josh said, how subjective justice can be, both as a concept and as a practice.

    I only have one last thing to say on this topic, addressing the critical opening question of “who would win?” In the animated film Justice League: Doom, one of the villains accesses and implements Batman’s contingency plans to immobilise the Justice League (in the even they went rogue), as well as adding a plan for the elimination of Batman. Batman is able to subvert this ploy, but Superman is powerless to stop the plan from succeeding against him, which was of Batman’s design, and the only reason he survives is due to the actions of the other members who were able to escape their respective plots. Therefore, I have to back the Dark Knight to triumph over the Man of Steel.