Batman Shouldn’t Kill
In an effort to have more original written content in this blog, I’ve decided to weigh in on the current topic du jour of former DC movies director Zach Snyder going off on some angry rant about how superheroes kill and we should all get over it. Specifically, of course, he’s referring to how he had Batman and Superman kill all sorts of people in his dark, gritty and soundly rejected movies, Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
I think the fact that the bright, cheerful and fun Aquaman earned over $1 billion, while Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is widely mocked, is all the evidence I need to not talk about Zack Snyder anymore.
The point has been made elsewhere, and in far better verbiage than I can muster, but Batman and Superman are fictional characters. Their actions and the world they exist in are controlled by the whims of the creators.
So if the creators want a Batman who doesn’t kill, then that’s what we get. It’s ridiculous to insist that Batman would kill people in the real world because Batman doesn’t exist in the world.
Rather than get bogged down in that argument — I have been known to ramble — I just want to express my personal views on the subject: Batman shouldn’t and doesn’t kill his enemies.
A creator like Snyder is welcome to create his own take on Batman, in which Batman does indeed kill people. All creators are welcome to do that. And there are plenty of superheroes who do kill, like Wolverine, Punisher and perhaps even Captain America. But they kill in context, and that’s important.
In the context of the canon comic book Batman, he should not kill.
Batman’s whole shtick is that he wages a war on crime because of the crime that was committed against his family. And as part of his war, he will not lower himself to kill people, the way his parents were killed. So he’ll maim and he’ll punch you in the noggin, but Batman doesn’t kill. It’s a personal code. And that’s good enough for me.
I am fully capable of suspending my disbelief when reading Batman comics. I can gloss over the idea that Batman might, technically, cause gross bodily harm to his enemies. There’s no need to get that pedantic when you’re reading Batman comics.
But Batman doesn’t kill criminals.
He’s also under no obligation to kill the Joker. Batman is an ordinary civilian, and just because he’s proven capable of beating up the Joker and stopping the Joker’s murderous schemes doesn’t obligate him to break the most important law we have, to not kill another person.
If anything, blame the system for the Joker’s murderous rampages. Why doesn’t Commissioner Gordon kill the Joker? Or any Gotham City Police Officer who is armed with a gun and allowed to use it in certain circumstances? Why doesn’t the Gotham City judicial system sentence Joker to death? Why does he keep getting tossed back into Arkham Asylum?
Batman shouldn’t kill anybody. But society has plenty of ways to legally and lawfully kill people.