Major spoilers ahead for Batman v Superman!
If you’ve seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (opens in new tab) then you might have been left wondering why Batman chose to spare Superman at a very critical moment. Weak and vulnerable, Supes pleads with the Dark Knight for help and in turn reveals that both their mothers are named Martha. So, Batman decides to let him live. It struck many audiences as a little odd – really, they’re just mates now? – but according to director Zack Snyder it was necessary.
“You know we spend so much time with the Martha-Clark relationship that I think it kind of pays off there,” he tells Forbes (opens in new tab). “You realize, oh, we needed that as viewers, so we could get to a moment with Batman where that moment with Martha resonates. Because we’ve lived on with Clark’s relationship with his mother, so that moment is like, ‘Wow, that’s ringing for me and I feel it.’”
That’s a tricky explanation to get your head around, mainly because the bulk of Clark and Martha Kent’s relationship is shown in Man of Steel. How it resonates with audiences is understandable, but for Bruce Wayne? He hasn’t witnessed any of their mother-son dynamic so why should he care?
What’s more interesting, however, are Snyder’s comments on the death of Batman’s parents. The decision to include the Waynes’ murder again onscreen was met with outcry by fans, because, c’mon, it’s not like it’s not been covered in previous adaptations. Apparently, that opening sequence was vital to the moment Batman shows Superman mercy.
“When we were shooting the title sequence, that whole idea about, ‘Do we really need to see the death of the Waynes again,’ is a big thing to take a shot at again. But you realize you need it, because it actually pays off. And I really wanted to do it all the way.”
For Batman to be faced with a situation similar to his own tragic past, it’s not out of the question that it might “resonate” with him. Here’s a do-gooder in a cape whose own mother is in peril – and she happens to have the same name as his. That being said, Batman’s abrupt change of heart feels shoe-horned in so the two superheroes will quickly reach a truce. If Batman really is a good guy who values human life, wouldn’t he help an innocent woman even if she wasn’t called Martha?
Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Diane Lane, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne, and Amy Adams, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is in theaters now.
Images: Warner Bros.