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Ever since it was announced in July 2013 that Batman and Superman would finally be appearing together on the big screen, fans have been arguing about which hero will win the fight. Now that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a little over a week away from releasing to the public, the final bouts of speculation are underway. Even with decades of source material to consult, opinion is split on who will emerge victorious. Some are rooting for Gotham City’s Caped Crusader, others are firmly in the Man of Steel’s corner. I find myself choosing the latter, because when you boil it down, Superman is not only physically superior, but also finds himself on ‘higher" ground when this whole thing kicks off.
Let’s get the obvious thing out of the way: Superman’s powers. Thanks to Earth’s yellow sun, Kal-El is granted many special abilities, from super-strength and flight to heat vision and super-freeze breath. These make him significantly more powerful than any normal human on Earth, and even his future Justice League teammates would have a tough time taking him down. No matter how smart he is, Batman wouldn’t stand a chance if he was armed with his usual arsenal. Just look at that clip where Superman ripped off the Batmobile’s doors and just flew away after telling the vigilante to retire. He could have ended things right then and there, but Kal-El’s not down with killing anymore.
That’s why Batman needs to up his game with that advanced, Dark Knight Returns-style armor and the Kryptonite spear. The former will boost his strength significantly, while the latter will definitely weaken Superman, but they may not be enough. Superman has years of experience using his powers, and his first day as a superhero had him battling a Krytponian general with years of combat under his belt. Batman has been fighting crime in Gotham City for 20 years, but battling freaks dressed like clowns isn’t quite the same as facing down a mighty alien. Yes, the Kryptonite is definitely going to be trouble, but depending on how powerful that amount of it is, being in its presence may not incapacitate him completely. If that’s the case, then Superman still stands a chance.
However, this conflict is about more than just throwing punches. Batman and Superman didn’t just spot each other on the street and decide to throw down in fisticuffs for the hell of it. These two believe the other poses a threat to the greater good. In Superman’s case, he thinks Batman’s methods are too brutal, and after his attempts to journalistically take the vigilante down a peg as Clark Kent fail, that’s when he decides to handle things as Superman. In Batman’s case, he’s mainly reacting to what he witnessed in Metropolis and those freaky nightmares he’s having (hence that scene with angry Superman and the soldiers). Those incidents, along with his natural paranoia, have led him to believe that Superman poses a threat to humanity. The thing is, actions speak louder than words, and Clark has been proving he has his humanity’s best interest at heart.
Granted, the battle against Zod in Man of Steel could have gone better, but without Superman, all of Earth would have essentially been destroyed. Could he have done things differently? Sure, but unless Booster Gold shows up with a time machine and offers to take him back to that fateful day, Clark has to live with how things went. Since then, he’s unfairly taken the blame for all the destruction unleashed across Metropolis, even after saving his adopted people time and time again. It took him a while to finally arrive on this life path, but now he’s using his gifts for benevolent reasons. Now weigh that against Gotham City’s shadowy protector, who has been so disillusioned by darkness and tragedy that he can only see the danger Superman poses, not the help he provides. Everyone familiar with Batman knows he’s been put through the ringer and has a jaded perspective on life, but still, his reasons for disliking Superman don’t quite compare with Superman’s reasons for being cross with Batman.
My money is on Superman because he has both the physical and ideological advantage. His powers make him almost like a god to humans, and even with the fancy armor and spear, Bruce is still going to have a tough time dealing with all of the Man of Steel’s abilities. Add that to the Kryptonian having better reasons to be irritated with Gotham’s protector, and it makes more sense to side with him, even though both superheroes rank among pop culture’s best. It’s true Lex Luthor, the real antagonist, is subtly manipulating both characters, and Batman and Superman will eventually join forces with Wonder Woman to take him and Doomsday down. At the start, though, when the Son of Krypton and the Bat of Gotham are facing off, I’ll be rooting for the former.
Are you unconvinced and still find yourself cheering for The Dark Knight? You can read our Batman defense at this link!