Over the years, there have been many changes to the Dark Knight. Different costumes, gadgets, and so on but this “new” change is big. It seems as if Hollywood is demoralizing the Bat by not allowing him to save his enemies and just straight out kill them. Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is the newest film to do this but not the first. Let’s go through them!
Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman was like this as well but he just killed and didn’t bat an eye. Let me refresh your memories; the first kills were about 12 henchmen right off the back. Batman blew up a factory building along with the men when he dropped bombs from the Batmobile rims because they were shooting at the Batmobile, Batman wasn’t even in the car. Even though he wasn’t there, it stills count because it’s his car. He set the defenses. Unfortunately, that’s not the end of it. Remember that Batplane scene when Batman just opens fire at Joker’s parade, he killed at 2 more henchmen. Next was when he followed Joker to the church and encounter another one of his men. They fought for a while until the guy knocks Batman down the tower. When he goes to check if the Bat is dead, Batman pulls him down to what seems like an endless fall. Lastly, we have the Joker’s death when he tried to get on a chopper but Batman attached his leg to a gargoyle and Joker falls to his death. In this movie alone, that’s about 15 kills for the Dark Knight but it doesn’t stop there.
Tim Burton made another Batman film, Batman Returns. For the first kill Batman intentionally sets a guy on fire by using the turbo boost from the Batmobile. This next kill has to be one of my favorites and not because a man dies but the reaction Batman gives while doing it. This one takes place in a park and Batman comes face to face with this huge looking henchman, so he punches him in the face. The man looks at him like, “that’s all you got”, but little did he know Batman attached a bomb to his chest. The man looks down and back up at Batman and Batman gives the creepiest smirk and punches the man in the face again knocking him over a little bridge, and then he explodes. That is the last kill count in that film. Must have been a slow day for Batman.
I will skip Batman Forever and Batman and Robin; there aren’t any kills in there that are completely Batman’s fault. In Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, there are about 8 confirms kills and we can’t forget the comics.
Back in the 30’s and 40’s before comic books were made more kid friendly, the Dark Knight used to carry a gun. He didn’t always shoot to kill but unfortunately people died regardless. That wasn’t the only way he killed either, the caped crusader also never had an issue with snapping the necks of villains, hanging a giant by the throat from his moving bat plane or throwing them off of roofs. “Holy moly Batman! did you just kill those men?” “Yes Robin…..I am the night!”.
Director Zack Snyder made a comment on his Batman’s killings:
So, I tried to do it by proxy. Shoot the car they’re in, the car blows up or the grenade would go off in the guy’s hand, or when he shoots the tank and the guy pretty much lights the tank [himself]. I perceive it as him not killing directly, but if the bad guy’s are associated with a thing that happens to blow up, he would say that that’s not really my problem.
A little more like manslaughter than murder, although I would say that in the Frank Miller comic book that I reference, he kills all the time. There’s a scene from the graphic novel where he busts through a wall, takes the guy’s machine gun…I took that little vignette from a scene in The Dark Knight Returns, and at the end of that, he shoots the guy right between the eyes with the machine gun. One shot. Of course, I went to the gas tank, and all of the guys I work with were like, ‘You’ve gotta shoot him in the head’ because they’re all comic book dorks, and I was like, ‘I’m not gonna be the guy that does that!’
The only problem I personally have is that Batman use to tell Jason Todd (2nd Robin, now Red Hood) and Damian Wayne (Current Robin, presumably dead) not to kill their enemies because it’s what keeps them different from the criminals. In a way it’s contradicting to see Batman kill on screen but not in the current comics and animated movies. What version of The Dark Knight do you like best?