Take note of the date, comic book fans. Today marks a very important moment for the future of the DCEU. This morning, without warning, Ben Affleck posted a video to social media seemingly confirming the presence of Slade Wilson a.k.a Deathstroke in an upcoming DC movie, possibly Justice League. Obviously at this point we still have more questions than answers (who is the actor? how does he really factor into Justice League? etc.) but now we can at the very least begin speculation regarding the sort of role that Deathstroke will play when Justice League hits theaters. He's a character with a long and storied history in DC comics, but the one moment we need to see actually stems from the world of video games.
By now you may have already guessed where I am going with this: the fight between Slade Wilson and Batman from Batman: Arkham Origins. Although it's generally considered the bastard offspring of Asylum, City, and Knight, Arkham Origins still features a well-crafted boss battle between these two DC icons that completely deserves the silver screen treatment. It's a beautifully choreographed, standout sequence that perfectly encapsulates the physical discipline and strategic prowess of each of these comic book legends.
Check out the fight below:
There are a few major reasons why the DCEU needs a fight like this -- aside from the fact that it simply looks cool. For starters, we need to see the DCEU Batman face a legitimate challenger. The sequence in which Batman rescues Martha Kent during Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will go down as one of the single best superhero fight scenes of all time, but none of those two dozen henchmen ever had a chance against The Dark Knight. Deathstroke is one of the few human characters in the DC mythos who can pose a legitimate one-on-one threat to Batman, and the movies need to introduce an element like that in order to escalate the stakes. We want to see Bruce Wayne break a sweat and bleed because that's what makes him human -- and therefore interesting.
This is something that Christopher Nolan understood with his creation of The Dark Knight trilogy. After two movies of Batman's overwhelming physical dominance, Nolan introduced Tom Hardy's Bane to level the playing field and present a distinct combatant that could convincingly take down The Bat. Zack Snyder can do the same thing with Slade Wilson by having Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor hire Deathstroke once he realizes that typical armed thugs aren't enough to stop the Caped Crusader. Just a thought.
Deathstroke isn't like other Batman foes; he's intelligence, strength, and ruthlessness, all wrapped in one package. That battle from Arkham Origins epitomizes how these two characters are two sides of the exact same coin in their usage of weapons and tactics. A prolonged, exhausting battle between The Terminator and The Dark Knight could showcase both of them digging into their respective arsenals and skill sets, with the winner being decided simply by who wants it more.
Additionally, the fact that Steppenwolf and the forces of Apokolips will soon make their way to Earth means that we will see the scale of the action increase dramatically. We love Batman, but he's not the most useful character when Parademons swoop down from the sky. Remember Dawn of Justice? Batman didn't get to do much when Doomsday showed up. Keeping a human threat like Slade Wilson at the forefront of the conflict gives Batman something to do during the events of Justice League, and it frees up screen time for the more powerful members of the superhero team to take on the larger threats. Zack Snyder needs to balance large and small scale action, and Deathstroke affords him that opportunity.
If Deathstroke is indeed on the way, a fight with Batman is seemingly a no-brainer, but what do you want to see from this DC icon when he shows up on screen? Let us know in the comments section below to keep this conversation going! Justice League will hit theaters next fall on November 17, 2017.