What’s special about Superman is that he will always make the right choice – Max Landis
The Vikings used to believe that the skein of every person’s life was written by the All-Father long before they were born and that every word we speak, and action that we take is designed to carry us from one moment to the next in a predetermined journey from the cradle to the grave.
It was an idea that, whether he knew it or not, would also form the central tenet of John Calvin’s concept of predestination, that like old Norse mythology relied on the theory that success, or lack of it, was determined before birth and that whether you were to be saved and join the Heavenly cavalcade or were damned to spend eternity in Hell was beyond your earthly control.
And that same concept of inevitability would eventually lead Batman to take up arms against and fight Superman in Dawn Of Justice.
Superman Versus Batman
The moment that Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van placed their infant son in a rocket ship and sent him hurtling through the cosmos toward Earth in the dying moments of Krypton, started the countdown to the confrontation between Superman and Batman.
Growing up in the Midwest, Superman’s moral compass was set in place by his kind, but wise adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha, who instilled in him a sense of right and wrong and the idea that justice, and the law, and helping to uphold both was a heavy burden that should never be shouldered lightly.
Superman’s idea of jurisprudence and his faith in the way that it should be handled and dealt with is shaken to its core, when his alter-ego Clark Kent, while working for The Daily Planet discovers the “truth” about the masked vigilante who stalks the streets of Gotham after dark, Batman.
He considers his methods to be savage, devoid of compassion and humanity and fueled solely by a need to punish all criminality the same way, with brute force and violence.
Superman thinks Batman considers himself to be above the law, and a necessary tool in the relentless fight against the guilty, and he views Batman as an archaic and barbaric example of human history that he thought his new home had moved, and evolved beyond.
That’s why Superman confronts Batman while the Dark Knight is tearing up Gotham’s docks in pursuit of Lex Luthor’s henchmen, to warn him that his time is over and that he needs to end his one-man campaign of terror and violence.
Believing that all men deserve a second chance and that Batman is merely misguided, Superman gives him the opportunity to lay down his weapons before Superman is forced to make him do it.
Unwittingly, and unknowingly, and ensnared in the absolute certainty that he is doing the right thing, Superman, by confronting Batman simply makes his new “enemy” move his deadline forward and focus all of his concentration on the plan that he already had in place for dealing with Earth’s alien “protector”.
Batman Versus Superman
Bruce Wayne was on the ground in Metropolis when Superman fought General Zod to prevent his fellow Kryptonian reshaping the Earth in his own image.
Wayne saw the cost in human suffering first hand, counted friends and colleagues among the dead, and watched as tower blocks fell and skyscrapers crumbled in the wake of the Kryptonian duel.
He was a man who had witnessed at first hand the price that we would all eventually pay to have a god living among us, and it was a price that he was unwilling to let any of us pay.
Batman views Superman as a clear and present danger to humanity.
He sees him, wrongly as it happens, as a narcissistic, vain, single-minded creature who only cares about his own agenda and doesn’t think or worry about the lives that are ruined and lost as he streaks across the sky and pounds aliens through city streets and up and down the main avenues of small-town America.
In Batman’s eyes, Superman only sees the large picture, whereas Batman, who has spent his “career” fighting in the squalor and dirt of the streets, knows that one life can, and always should make a difference.
It’s this opposing ethos and Batman’s overwhelming belief that Superman will end up dooming humanity rather than saving it, that makes him resolve to destroy Superman, and remove him from the “bigger” picture.
When he’s confronted at the docks by the Man of Steel, rather than making the decision that Superman hopes he will, Batman decides there and then that the world isn’t big enough for both of them and that it was never meant to be shared by gods and men.
And now that Superman knows who he is, Bruce Wayne realizes that if his plan to kill Superman has any chance of succeeding, he needs to enact it sooner rather than later and that the chances of him surviving are slim at best.
But, it is a price that he’s willing to pay if it means ridding the world of Superman, once and for all.
The Final Battle
Superman’s biggest mistake when he fought Batman was believing that he was just fighting a man in a costume, and Batman’s biggest mistake was his belief that he was right about Superman.
It gave neither of them any room to maneuver and left Superman moments from death at the hands of the Dark Knight. So why did Batman hesitate and refuse to kill the Man Of Steel?
It wasn’t, as some critics would have you believe because their mothers shared the same name.
It was because, at the moment that Superman asked Batman to save his mother, Bruce saw that they shared the same goal and that to Superman all life was more important than his own and that he was willing to sacrifice everything for anyone, at any given time.
That single, brief moment between life and death told the Dark Knight everything that he ever needed to know about Superman, and that even though their methodology might be different, their purpose was ultimately the same. It was the beginning of a beautiful, if somewhat strange and slightly dark, friendship.