The Batman Breakdown.
I have always been a big fan of Batman vs Superman. Since the day it came out I have always been in awe of everything that is a part of the movie. I did write an article about why BvS is so close to my heart but I think that one article is not enough to do justice to the attachment I have for the film. I will try and break down each character of the movie and talk about what I learned from them and how they helped me on my road to recovery. It will be about 6 or 7 different articles and will be a part of the DCEU Love category. This is something that is really personal for me and something I have had trouble putting in words until now. I will try my best to express what I feel and it is something that might provide you with some real insight into my mind.
Let us start with the caped crusader and half of the movie title. In the movie we see a Batman that has been fighting crime for 20 years now. It has been a long and difficult journey for him as no matter how many criminals he has stopped, new ones seem to pop out from the dark. He has lost people close to him. Jason Todd (Robin) was killed by the joker and Batman still blames himself for putting a child in harm’s way. He considers Jason’s death as the biggest failure of his life and keeps his suit hanging in the Bat-Cave to remind himself of his failures. In all the time, Bruce seems to have lost his social side, the Bruce Wayne side, and has been consumed by the Bat. He identifies himself as Batman now and not Bruce Wayne. Bruce is the mask that Batman wears. This clear from the scene when he has to attend the charity event at Luthor’s house and the anxiety he faces while having to face the people as Bruce Wayne.
When I was depressed, I would say I had lost my own identity as well. I did not know whether I was this mess who couldn’t stop hurting and hating himself or the old happy boy I used to be. I struggled to figure out who I truly was. It was tough to accept that I was ill. I had horrible thoughts about doing horrible things and I wondered if I could think something up, would it be any different from actually doing it? I could empathize with the struggle for identity that he faced and the uncontrollable self hate within him that pushed to become more and more brutal with each passing night.
He is a fallen hero who has turned towards the dark side and is becoming more of a villain than the idealistic hero that he was when he began his journey. This was something that made me associate with him on a personal level. I did not know whether I was a good person anymore. I did not know if everything I had done in my life had been actually ‘good’. I was losing my moral compass and I had started having more extreme thoughts than I used to. Batman in the same way had started branding criminals and even though he did not kill them, these criminals were later killed in the prison and Batman did not care one bit about it.He had had faith in his cities judicial system for a long time but now he acted like the judge, jury and executioner and he had a new terrorizing aura about him. The day Superman was introduced to mankind was the day Bruce had decided to take him down. He may justified his actions by considering Superman a threat to humanity but in reality he was just projecting all the darkness and hate he had within him onto the Superman and considering him a villain when the real villain lay within Bruce himself.
Batman vs Superman was a redemption story for Batman. From saying, “How many good guys are left? How many stayed that way?” he ends up saying, “Men are still good.” Towards the end of the movie.
Before he goes off to fight Superman, he is prepared to die or change the world. He thought that he wouldn’t have any legacy until he did something that changed it. “Criminals are like weed.” He believed. This came at a time for me when I was questioning whether I would really be remembered if I passed away right now. Batman was right as well. The world only remembers the people who changed it, everyone else perishes under the perpetual attacks of time. Seeing Batman say what I was thinking made me feel a bit better about myself and in the end when he says the monologue about his new found faith in people, it seemed like I needed something like that in my life as well. It helped me find out what exactly it was I was looking for, Inspiration.
When Bruce was about to kill Superman he heard him cry for his mother’s sake. Here was an alien who, as Batman believed, had caused the deaths of thousands of people and the last thing he wanted was for Batman to save his mother. The moment he heard his mother’s name he zoned out and remembered everything that he had been through. The fatal night his parents were killed, the things he had done after that, the struggles he had encountered, the people he had lost. All of it came flooding back triggered by the name of his dead mother. It was something that happens to me as well. It does seem hard to believe but there are a few words which have such a strong connection to my past that I just go in flashback mode and sometimes struggle to get in the flow again. It does happen to me and it was what happened to Batman as well. Once it all came back, he had a look at the place he found himself, the spear he was holding in his hand and the helpless couple who just wanted to save each other from harm. Momentarily he couldn’t believe the path he had gone down and threw the spear away. A metaphor of how he was letting go of his past and becoming what he had always wished to be, a guardian.
Bruce was inspired when Superman pierced Doomsday with the spear that had actually been created to kill him and sacrificed himself to save the world. He did not think anyone capable of doing such a thing for the world. Especially not a person he thought was going to destroy the same world if he got the chance. Moreover the allegory and symbolism in the movie clearly shows that Bruce was a man with no clear path until the end of the movie when he knows where he has to go and what he has to do.
He had now found a new light within himself to fight for justice and not impose it on people. He was truly born again. Even though no one had to sacrifice themselves to inspire me but the love and support everyone showed me the day I shared that facebook post was enough to remind me that ‘Men are still good.’
I had given up on our species for a while but as Bruce Wayne put it, “We fight, we kill, we betray one another but we can rebuild, we can do better, we will, we have to.” I still get goose bumps every time I hear this line and every single time I watch the movie.