It’s been about three months since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice premiered. I like it. It wasn’t perfect, but it left an impression on me, a very positive one, and they can only learn on their mistakes in the future. There is hope for DC movies to come.
However, looking at the reactions of people, I realized that one scene is particular was ridiculed the most and got a lot of negative reactions, and I don’t know why. What I’m talking about is the scene when Batman is about to end Superman with a Kryptonite spear, but Superman whispers ‘Martha’, and it prevents Bruce from destroying him. Of course that the fact that his mother’s name is Martha played a significant part in the whole situation. And, their mothers do have the same name. But, it was only for a moment, enough to stop Barman’s momentum. Still, after the moment of shock was over for Bruce, there was something else that made him see the error of his ways and let him appreciate Superman as a person, and as a companion, a fighter for the same cause. He didn’t see him as Superman anymore, he finally understood that he was Clark more than anyone else.
The ‘Martha’ line was just a bridge to that realization. What was on the other shore was the truth about Superman’s nature and the humanity that hides behind the cape and the costume. At the beginning of the movie, when Batman watched Superman and Zod flying around, high above him, beating each other and causing the buildings to collapse, he saw two great powers going up against each other, but at the same time destroying lives of those who were under them, with concrete falling off from their punches onto the people of Metropolis below them. Two essentially reckless forces clashing, and those less powerful, or those not powerful at all, basically depend on the mercy of the ones above. And Bruce thought on how dangerous the position in which Superman puts humanity in is. In that moment, Superman become an unreachable cape in the sky, but he did not see hope, he saw a threat. But, others saw hope. In a way, at the beginning of the movie, Bruce Wayne starts at the same place as Lex Luthor. Fortunately, he escapes that place.
So, for a while, Bruce Wayne watched Superman being formed into this almost omniscient protector. High in the clouds, Superman is untouchable, he is a saviour, but a very distant one essentially. He is incomprehensible, and as time passes, Batman stops thinking of him as a person. Then, when he hears Clark pleading for his mother, he reveals the humanity in him. And this is where I think the greatest misunderstanding of this scene happened. A lot of people, and rightfully so, immediately turn to the fact that her name is Martha, and that it is his mother. Basically, they say that a coincidence saved Superman and then later made him and Batman friends and allies. But, it is not just his mother. She is a specific person. Caring about the humanity is an abstract. Even though we strive to achieve it, we cannot fully be dedicated to it. Superman is someone who is inspiring and we all aspire to his greatness, but his levels of empathy seem too demanding for us, and that is why his humanity is never considered. Which is one of the reasons why people do not suspect he has a secret identity. He is out in the open, ready to take punches and sacrifices no one else can take. People cannot even conceptualize Superman as an ordinary citizen, let alone a journalist from Kansas. That is why no one thinks Clark Kent is Superman, because no one thinks that the protector of the Earth could ever have a personality outside a saviour one.
However, caring about particular person, or a group of people is a human feature, it means that there is someone special we care about in this world, and that we will do anything to protect them and fight for them. Martha gives Superman a purpose to focus all his powers and his entire mind and body to achieving a single goal of saving her. That is what impressed Batman, and that is when he finally saw Clark as a person with the same doubts, fears, and needs that he himself has. The name Martha itself the way it is became symbolic later, but in that initial moment, it was meaningful in terms of Superman’s personality, not Batman’s. The idea I am trying to get across is that it could have been any name that Clark shouted. It would have been just the same. It could have been Lois shouted, or Jonathan, it would still be the same. Bruce would stop for a second, probably think it was a trick, but then he would be explained and he would realize what he was about to do. That is also interesting about Batman, even in his darkest hour, he can still be reached. This is the difference between him and Luthor. Lex never questions his actions and thoughts, but Bruce can be reasoned with, even when it hurts him to admit his mistake. It is the difference between villains and heroes.
The movie isn’t perfect. It had a very strong opening, good first part, but Lex was unsatisfying, but that is a topic for another time, perhaps. So was Lois Lane. However, it was impressive, there were traces of something great in there, and it gave me the most amazing physical Batman on screen in live action. It is a beginning of DC’s comic book universe, which I hope will keep getting better, especially with another instalment premiering this summer. Admittedly, I am a DC fan, and I would like them to succeed because there are so many more compelling stories they could tell.