With the recent release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice R-Rated Ultimate Cut, the uproar over Batfleck‘s murderous ways has reignited. One of the Caped Crusader‘s defining traits has, for a long time, been his steadfast opposition to killing. But director Zack Snyder decided to completely ignore that side of the character, giving us a Batman who wasn’t afraid to get a little blood on his hands. Recent kill count compilations have pegged him with 21 murders in BVS. That seems pretty backwards, especially when you consider how much emphasis Christopher Nolan put on the no kill rule in his Bat-Trilogy.
However, are we being a little too lenient on BatBale? He may have never intentionally killed a man, but that doesn’t exactly mean he was morally impeachable. Remember the famous scene at the end of Batman Begins where he informed Ra’s Al Gul, who was hurtling to his death on an out of control subway car, “I’m not going to kill you… but I don’t need to save you”? Well, would that line of defense really stand up in a court of law, or was Batman legally obliged to save his enemy’s life?
We spoke with James Daily, an expert in Super Hero Law (A real thing!), to try and get some answers. Daily is a lecturer at Washington University in the St. Louis School of Law and Co-Author of The Law of Superheroes and he had some truly amazing thoughts about how the laws of man would effect the world of Supermen. When asked about the case of Wayne vs Gul, he had this to say:
“Jim Gordon… actually causes the train derailment so Batman’s legal fate is kind of bound up with Gordon’s. Neither Batman nor Gordon intended to kill R’as, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not murder.”
So it seems like the case actually has multiple defendants, with Commissioner Gordon just as much on the hook as The Dark Knight. But could these so called “saviors of Gotham” really be found guilty of murder? Daily presented a few angles the prosecution could take:
“…depraved indifference murder, when somebody does thing to show a depraved indifference to human life and somebody dies, then that’s murder… In this case, Gordon was pretty recklessly shooting missles around at the monorail and sure enough, somebody dies as a result.”
Oh what a crazy, legal world we live in. To think a man could spend the rest of his life in jail just for shooting missiles through the streets of a major metropolitan area! But that doesn’t mean there’s no recourse for our heroes. Daily also had some tactical advice for the defense:
“… justification or necessity, which is also known as the ‘lesser of two evils defense… basically, you’re arguing that avoiding the greater evil clearly outweighed the lesser evil… I think they could make the argument that it was worth the risk of blowing up the monorail, even knowing the possibility that might cause some deaths.”
However, at the end of the day, Daily doesn’t let Batman off the hook so easily.
“Batman’s already put himself on the hook from the get-go. He does have an obligation to, if not save Ra’s, then at least prevent him from being killed.”
So there you have it: no Batman is completely innocent! But what do you guys think? Should Batfleck and BatBale be sharing a jail cell at Gotham Penitentiary, or should we cut them a little slack? Let’s discuss!