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One of the more unusual scenes from the latest Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer featured Gotham’s Dark Knight outside of his natural environment. Dressed in desert gear, he appears to have infiltrated some kind of compound and fights soldiers wearing Superman shield patches. These are the same group of soldiers that were seen kneeling before Superman in the movie’s first trailer. We offered speculation on what might be going on here, but there was one thing we missed, and unless you’re an eagle eyed viewer, it probably eluded your gaze as well: Batman may have killed someone.
Props go to Comicbook.com for noticing that at the 2:40 mark (as seen above), Desert Storm Batman appears to be snapping one of the soldier’s neck. What’s unclear is if Batman used one of his secret ninja moves to simply paralyze the guy (likely for life) of if he actually killed the guy. If it’s the latter, this would be a remarkable departure from the modern interpretation of the character. Aside from his earliest stories and alternate continuity tales, Batman traditionally doesn’t kill his enemies. Oh, he’ll beat, subdue, torture and leave them scarred (physically and emotionally) for life, but he’s unwilling to take a life. The Tim Burton Batman films made an exception to this rule, but Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy placed a lot of emphasis of Bruce Wayne being unwilling to kill (though he’s perfectly okay with leaving people on crashing trains).
One possible explanation for this neck snapping moment in the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer is that this moment isn’t really happening. We speculated that these desert scenes could be the product of a paranoid dream Bruce is having of a world where Superman has taken control of the planet, and Batman decides to break into the compound to take the alien despot out. So if it’s a dream sequence, perhaps things have gotten so bad Dream Batman has no problems with snuffing out his adversaries. This will to him formulating a plan to destroy the Man of Steel in real life using his high-tech armor and maybe even a Kryptonite spear.
Although we can’t say for sure whether the DCCU’s Batman will kill bad guys, there have been other hints that he is more ruthless than other incarnations. In April’s teaser, there was a shot of him holding a scoped rifle, a visual harkening back to The Dark Knight Returns. However, it’s unclear whether the gun will shoot standard bullets or just some kind of tranquilizer. The Batmobile also has front mounted machine guns, although maybe like previous iterations of Batman’s wheels, these will only be used to blow obstacles out of the way.
We’ll find out what exactly is going on in this sequence when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters on March 25, 2016.