How 'Justice League' Changes Batman

Justice League introduced the moviegoing world to The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman, but arguably its [...]

Justice League introduced the moviegoing world to The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman, but arguably its biggest impact on the DC Extended Universe was the way it reset Ben Affleck's Batman.

In Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Dark Knight Detective was a grumbling, brooding borderline sociopath who set out to murder the Man of Steel based on paranoia. By the time Justice League rolls around, Batman has realized that his previous actions were foolish, and that the only way to save a world facing the kind of stakes seen in Man of Steel is to rally together with larger-than-life heroes, rather than opposing them.

The end of Batman v Superman was about Bruce Wayne realizing that he was not infallible, and that he needed to learn to trust in people who had done nothing to earn his enmity. That is a lesson he carried through to Justice League, and one of the most interesting scenes in the film is actually one that does a kind of cracked-mirror reflection of the comics.

In an issue of the 2005 event miniseries Infinite Crisis, Batman is arguing with Superman and Wonder Woman when he tells the Man of Steel "the last time you inspired anybody was when you were dead." The insult was so cutting, and so absurd in some ways, that it became a popular internet meme for DC fans.

In Justice League, Batman attempts a similar pressure point on Wonder Woman, critiquing her for failing to stand for humanity in the hundred years since Steve Trevor's death. Her aggressive response is not what Superman's passive one was in the comics -- he simply walked away -- but it also served a different purpose: Batman was not actually angry with Wonder Woman, and did not appear to be trying to hurt her. Instead, this was his misguided attempt at team leadership and motivation. It was shortly after this that he revealed his true feelings -- that the team needed Superman.

"He's more human than I am," Batman admitted of the alien he once tried to kill in cold blood, introducing a popular theme from the comics: while Superman is a godlike alien, he chooses to live among humans and find happiness there. Batman is a mortal man with no powers, but chooses to place himself above the rest of humanity.

In Justice League, he realized that was wrong, and started to take steps toward fixing it.

Justice League is in theaters now.