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Killing in the Nolan Multiverse

As Christopher Nolan has re-imagined DC's greatest heroes, matters of life and death have gained a fresh maturity.

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

June 28, 2013 - 7:00 am
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ManOfSteel_TheDarkKnightRises

This one comes with a serious SPOILER ALERT. If you have not gotten out to see Man of Steel and plan to do so, you may not want to read further. The same goes if you’ve somehow managed to get this far without seeing each entry in The Dark Knight trilogy.

Final warning!

Throughout the Dark Knight films, Bruce Wayne pursues his crusade against crime following a single rule. He refuses to kill. That sole self-imposed limitation becomes a huge liability in the second film once his enemies begin to leverage it against him. Nevertheless, he abides by it until the end, never killing even when the act could be wholly justified.

By contrast, the recently released Man of Steel produced by Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan from a script co-written by Dark Knight scribe David S. Goyer ends with Superman choosing to kill his Kryptonian nemesis, General Zod. Acknowledging that each franchise takes place in different universes, there nonetheless exist significant stylistic and thematic similarities which spawn from their common artistic pool. We may therefore ask whether Superman’s morality proves inferior to Batman’s. Is Clark less of a hero because he chose to kill? Does Bruce present a higher standard?

As we mull such questions over, we do well to consider the inadequacy of Bruce’s standard in the Dark Knight finale. Recall that Batman is rescued by Catwoman, who kills Bane in the process. Since Batman goes on to remove a nuclear weapon from Gotham City, it can be accurately said that Catwoman’s willingness to kill ultimately saves not just his life, but millions of others. Can we derive a lesson from there?

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd be willing to cut Superman more slack over killing Zod if he hadn't shown such reckless disregard for human lives all through that final battle. He never makes any attempt to move the fight to a less populated area and does things that have to have caused thousands, if not tens of thousands, of innocent deaths.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
That was a very powerful scene and it also provided a great teaching moment for my teenage son who was right beside me.
Like any real hero, Clark Kent hated what he had to do - take someone's life - but he did not back down and did what he had to do to protect many more innocent lives. No moral person takes joy in destroying evil, but it has to be done.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep, keep supporting those leftists! They need our money to keep up their work of destroying America!

Hypocrites.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Christopher Nolan: Closet conservative.

42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wish he didn't donate to Obama, though...
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
That may demonstrate that he's so far in the closet as to elude even himself.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Many of us have been one of those.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
As Christopher Nolan has re-imagined DC’s greatest heroes . . .
DC's heroes? Oh, you mean the comic books! Whew, for a moment there I thought you meant there are "heroes" in Washington, DC.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, then comics in 1940 were mature, cuz other than using a gun in one of the earliest Batman stories, he swore off such things and didn't kill. That's not Nolan. And even if it was, his moves are so lifeless I wouldn't care. His Batman films make money for reasons completely beyond me.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
They're entertaining, engaging, and stand on actual values.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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