Warner Bros. CEO Teases “Tired And Weary” Batman For 'Superman Vs. Batman'

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by Edward Davis
September 13, 2013 9:37 AM
8 Comments
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When director Zack Snyder first announced "Superman Vs. Batman," at Comic Con this summer, he asked Harry Lennix (General Swanwick in “Man Of Steel”) to read from a key line in Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novels, “The Dark Knight Returns.” Facing off against Superman, Batman said: “I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you."

Over the summer we pondered What Kind Of Batman Will Superman Face?, and 6 Things You Can Likely Expect from “Superman & Batman” and it appears that we’re on track. Yesterday Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara told the suits at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference that Batman will be “tired and weary and seasoned and been doing it for awhile.”

It’s only a nugget of information, but it essentially confirms once more that WB, Snyder and writer David Goyer are taking elements of “The Dark Knight Returns” graphic novel and transposing it on to this modern story. In “The Dark Knight Returns,” which takes place in a future alternate universe (i.e. it’s not what will happen to Batman eventually) Batman comes out of retirement close to his ‘60s to fight back a mutant army that is threatening Gotham. They key element that Snyder/Goyer/WB seem to be mining is the “weary and tired” idea. Yes, the Batman is Miller’s version is not only old, he’s been through decades of war that has made him cynical and angrier than usual.

So no, Ben Affleck — the actor cast as Batman much to the chagrin of nerds who believe that the actor would saunter into the production as Daredevil and ruin everything — won’t be playing a 60 year-old Dark Knight. But he will be playing one who is, as it sounds, a little mentally exhausted at fighting the good fight all these years against crime.

So what does it mean? For one, as we assumed, it likely means that we'll spared yet another origin story, which is a smart play considering that between Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan's films, there are probably two generations of filmgoers who already know about the orphaned boy turned superhero.

That being said, the key here will be making it distinct from the version played by Christian Bale. His Bruce Wayne was also weary (and a little bit retired too), and by "The Dark Knight Rises," was already finding his joints in severely rough shape (yes, Nolan and co. read the same comics). Additionally, he was still an optimist about the power of the Batman symbology, but we think it'd be interesting if Affleck's take found Bruce a bit cynical about it all, and less persuaded that what he's done is worth a damn. In any event, there are lots of interesting directions this can go.

But to nerd nitpick for a minute, here’s what doesn’t parse. In “Man Of Steel” we’re kind of meant to believe that Superman is the world’s only known hero. Even David Goyer recently suggested that the arrival of this super being would galvanize and aspire other super powered humans on Earth to come out of hiding and follow in Superman’s footsteps saying: "...we’re implying there are other superheroes in this world. But I don’t know that they’ve come forward yet. The idea is that Superman is the first one. There might be people helping people, but not in costumes, and that Superman comes forward and announces himself to the world. In him announcing himself, he’s the one that changes things." 

If this Batman is “weary and tired” are we to believe he’s been fighting crime for a few years now and never came on Superman’s radar? Or anyone's radar? Sure, he had Zod and other foes to face, but that does slightly feel odd that we’re to believe, all along there was another vigilante hero just a few cities away that he wasn't aware of, or at least hand an inkling about. Guess we'll see...

Thoughts? Share 'em below. "Superman Vs. Batman" arrives on July 17, 2015.
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8 Comments

  • Anand Holtham-Keathley | September 14, 2013 3:42 PMReply

    It's just a movie so am I probably wasting my time. But for what it's worth, here is my two cents. References to Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns," (TDKR) leads me to several feelings and thoughts. First, the whole antihero genre embodied by TDKR and Alan Moore's "Watchmen", I feel needs to be handled more delicately than I have seen done with superheroes even Miller and Moore. Certainly adding complexity to the superhero genre is a positive thing in general. But in particular TDKR seems to me to simply ignore important parts of established character developement in order to establish tension which, to my mind, feel artificial. It embodies an alternative universe where Ronald Reagan is still president and acting very war-like, with Superman being his hitman. Yah, that's not happening. Clark may be all Mom and apple pie, but no matter how many flags are being waved in his face he is not going to lend himself to that kind of manipulation. He is too responsible for that. But here is my key complaint; in the original cannon Clark, being aware of his potential for doing harm especially if someone controlled his mind, gave the one person he trusted the way to control him and if needed, to kill him. And who did he trust that much? Bruce Wayne. So, back to TDKR where the story has been so twisted that Clark and Bruce no longer trust each other; Clark is sent by Reagan to stop Bruce and Bruce uses Kryptonite on Clark. As you can see from what I wrote previously, I have two problems with this; Clark would not have followed the order, and Bruce would have not attacked Clark even if Clark was confronting him. Just would not happen. So, you can imagine my concern when the movie, "Batman vs. Superman," (BvS) is introduced with Bruce saying to Clark, "I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you." Clark KNOWS Bruce can beat him. Clark gave him the tool to do it. The whole antihero concept just does not work with these characters. That is why when Moore wrote Watchmen he used whole new characters; the ones that already existed just did not fit. Moore has said that he is concerned that his example, which he had thought was at the furthest end of the spectrum, has simply become a jumping off point for even nastier stories. Moore has expressed dismay that "[t]he gritty, deconstructivist postmodern superhero comic, as exemplified by Watchmen ... became a genre". He said in 2003 that "to some degree there has been, in the 15 years since Watchmen, an awful lot of the comics field devoted to these grim, pessimistic, nasty, violent stories which kind of use Watchmen to validate what are, in effect, often just some very nasty stories that don't have a lot to recommend them." (Wikipedia) My final point is I strongly disagree with how the BvS movie was introduced and I hope they do not follow up with that point of view. Bruce older, tired, weary; sure. Human. Got that. But Bruce and Clark actually attacking each other? Really, they are just both too smart for that. You under rate their characters by being too cynical. Yes, they are complex, but they are not stupid. There, my 2 cents. Peace.

  • Mike | September 13, 2013 5:47 PMReply

    Another Batman movie . . . "tired and weary"?

    Yeah, sounds about right.

  • bsisbs | September 13, 2013 11:19 AMReply

    Thrown through a building that collapses on him, Man of Steel gets up and flies off. A 100 ton train lands on top of him and drags him about 2miles before smashing through a building, Man of Steel gets up and flies off. Stands directly underneath a machine that is capable of toppling buildings and destroying the earth, Man of Steel defies it and destroys it.

    Batman--older, weary, tired, and cynical is the thing that gets him?? give me a break. I'll be avoiding this movie or at least stealing it.

    I simply can't wait for the superhero BS to die a horrible death.

  • Do Your research | September 13, 2013 6:46 PM

    Dude why are you posting on here if you don't know the history or background to a superman vs. batman story. If your are really interested pick up a comic and read it and stop trolling like a little girl.

  • alexander potempkin | September 13, 2013 10:41 AMReply

    I'm interested to see how the story is staged.. i'm not a firm believer in Snyder's abilities but thought 'Man of Steel' was great fun. The point about Superman being represented as the first superhero in the world is interesting, and one i'm sure they'll find a way of avoiding in the second go around.. what i'm hoping for most are some iconic images between the two.. (the shot in the beginning of the dark knight as Batman descends down through the parking garage onto the van) (Joker holding his head out the window as cop lights and the cities dusk ambience move through the city with him).. those are the things that really stick with me from Nolan's films (not really the topical story lines or maze-like logic).. anyway, I'm glad The Playlist spends time focusing on these things as well as doing festival coverage (can't wait for '12 years...' and 'Gravity'!)

  • Washington | September 13, 2013 9:41 AMReply

    Did none of these nerds watch The Town?

  • Mike | September 13, 2013 5:49 PM

    I can practically guarantee you that nerds that freak out over Batman movie casting have absolutely not seen To the Wonder. I would put money on it that their cinematic intake is decidedly limited.

  • C1A | September 13, 2013 2:30 PM

    Or Reindeer Games? Or Mallrats? Or Dazed and Confused? Or To The Wonder?

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