The over-inflated blockbuster, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Sepia Tone, came out this past weekend, reigniting an age-old debate against nerds, “who’d win in a fight, Batman or Superman.” Which is most easily answered by this: SUPERMAN HAS LAZER EYES! Superman goes into the atmosphere, finds Batman like more murderous Google Maps with death ray eyes and Batman turns into a puddle of goo. The real question is, who is the better character? A demi-god or a billionaire with an S&M fetish?
Unlike Zack Snyder, I have a pretty good understanding of the characters after a lifetime misspent reading these modern folklores. Batman is stuck in an endless infantile revenge fantasy spawned during a moment of great trauma. He lacks trust and empathy except for other young children who faced a violent orphaning moment (hence, Robin). His inability to develop meaningful, adult relationships is characterized most acutely by his perpetual bachelorhood and deepest human connection being with someone on his payroll. His alter-ego only serves to maintain a facade that allows him to buy more self-indulgent, branded, bludgeoning gadgetry.
Superman is typified by being the ultimate outsider. An orphaned alien whose entire planet and species no longer exist, who is then taken in by a loving, adopted family, causing him to live among a people with whom he can’t relate but empathizes with and desperately wants to be accepted by. That’s why Clark Kent exists, so that he can pretend to be one of us. Unlike Batman, he has developed many deep friendships and emotional love connections. He trusts in humanity and its potential, using his astounding powers in the most responsible way because, as a guy who lost his entire species, is determined not to repeat that cataclysm even on a per-person level.
That brings us to the title. Both are American citizens (I think, but then again, how did the Kent’s get Superman a Social Security card or birth certificate?) and eligible to vote in presidential elections. So, given the current crop of candidates, who would each vote for? It seems obvious to me, given his character, Batman would vote for Trump. This seems potentially controversial, and provocative, but let’s look at the character. Bruce Wayne is a billionaire who sees only the worst in people. He views people as criminals first. He’s an isolationist who tends to inflame and revel in violence. Batarangs probably aren’t the most aerodynamic design, but Batman can’t help but brand everything Batman. He has to put “Bat” on the front of everything he touches. Batmobile, Batcave, Batwing, bat bat bat bat bat on everything no matter how garish the design. Sound familiar? And Trump’s hair is kind of like a cowl.
More nebulous is who Superman would support. Let’s see, a powerful guy who still feels insecure about confidently acting in the best interests of every person, has a paranoid distrust of corporations (thanks, Lex Luthor) and is more effective as a symbol than his lofty, possibly naively optimistic ideas who is the product of two Jewish parents. Nope, I just can’t put my finger on what candidate Superman would support.
I know people enjoy Batman for the general simplicity of punching problems until they go away, but that same simplicity is what allows an orange-faced goon with the inverse of “ideas” to be a popular candidate, while Superman is an unattainable ideal but exists as a symbol of hope.
But yeah, sure, root for Batman, the billionaire who gleefully doles out head trauma to the mentally-ill, rather than the benevolent, living superlative who’s concerned with human progress.