Embracing one simple idea from the comics could allow DC fans to enjoy ultra-grim and traditionally heroic versions of Batman, Superman, and the rest at the same time.
Zach Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is out now, and though the movie has been a success at the box office, the critical and fan response has been…not so great.
For a lot of fans, the tone of the movie, like Snyder’s Man of Steel before it, is overly dark and serious.
Even worse, the depiction of Batman and Superman is very far removed from traditional depictions of them as paragons of morality. Superman is willing to kill and seemingly indifferent to thousands dying in collateral damage of his battle with General Zod, and Batman is seen shooting guns and killing criminals, two things most other versions of the character have sworn against ever doing.
Snyder’s Batman is basically an unhinged psychopath, and his Superman is an arrogant, aloof sociopath.
The traditional versions of Batman and Superman would undoubtedly look at Snyder’s interpretations of them and see a pair of super villains. But as much as this interpretation of the DC Universe closes a lot of doors in terms of what sort of stories can be told in DC movies, it does open up a possibility to do something totally unprecedented in superhero cinema and totally in line with the long tradition of DC Comics.
In most DC comics, as well as current DC television shows like Supergirl and The Flash, there are actually multiple parallel universes.
This idea has given writers and artists the opportunity to show different versions of the same characters, and give us evil versions of heroes, heroic versions of villains, and everything in between. Though Marvel Comics also uses this idea, it's far more central to the tradition of DC Comics.