DI: First off, I want to say holy crap, we've actually been keeping this up regularly. I was beginning to think we didn't have it in us- and by we I mostly mean you, since I did this last year without issue.
But you and I have had this bad habit of focusing, almost myopically, on political stuff. It’s Lex Luthor, really impacting the world kind of stuff, I know, but man, sometimes it’s just the worst combination of depressive and boring. I was talking to Lois the other day- don’t give me that look, I know it’s weird that we keep in touch, but it’s entirely journalistic courtesy, I’m not looking to poach widows- though I suppose I should be flattered you think I could even attempt to compete.
B: Don’t be. You couldn’t.
DI: Harsh. But expected.
Anyway, I was speaking with Lois the other day, deep background kind of thing
B: Doesn’t that mean you’re not supposed to tell me your information is from her?
DI: Well… your bat ears are stupid.
DI: But she mentioned that you used to tease Clark because, well, your movies did better than his.
B: Yeah, though only because, for whatever reason, it seemed to matter to him. I think it had to do with the odd messiah complex people try to build around him. Clark just wanted to help people, simple as that. He could, so he did. Nothing complex or psychological about it.
DI: So the fact that his planet was destroyed and there was nothing he could do about it, and the fact that as an adult on Earth he had the ability to save his adopted homeworld- nothing Freudian there at all?
B: Perhaps it influenced him, but that was in the background. Losing his planet, losing his parents, when he did, it barely affected him; he was a baby. His parents for most of his life were just the ones living in Kansas. By the time he found out about his birth parents, it was comparable to finding out he’d had grandparents he didn’t remember, who he used to stay with, who held him. I don’t mean to minimize the tragedy- just it’s place in his… psychology isn’t as grand as your framing would have it.
DI: Or, in other words, the death of his parents didn’t have the same kind of impact as yours.
B: Maybe; I know it didn’t have the same impact as losing his adopted father did. Clark absolutely missed and loved his birth parents. But it was an old, healed loss by the time he recognized it was there.
DI: But wasn’t that one of the things you and he bonded over through the years?
B: Not really, for the same reasons I’ve just mentioned. For Clark, his parents were in Kansas. For me, my parents are in the ground. His having a set of dead back-up parents didn’t really square that circle.
Some of it comes from the way he was raised, but honestly, having spent some time with his parents, having seen where their philosophies and his clashed, I can say pretty certainly that it’s just who Clark was. In a better world, he would have spent all that extra energy just helping little old ladies cross the street; in the damaged world we have, populated by the damaged people we have, being Superman was the equivalent.
DI: Damnit, I’m the journalist, I’m supposed to be keeping us on track. We were talking about your movies. So, batarang to your head, who’s the better director, Chris Nolan or Bryan Singer?
B: You know, they’ve both got their talents, their wheelhouses. I think Nolan’s a very solid filmmaker, and that in and of itself is a rare thing. But Singer’s no slouch, either. I think, really, their varied success came from divergent ideas, or maybe converging ideas from different perspectives.
Nolan took me, a normal man without powers, and pretends I’m more powerful than I am to emphasize my humanity. Singer took Clark, a normal man whose powers are godly, and tried to make him more human. I think the problem was in Singer’s initial assessment: that Clark’s abilities somehow made him more “other” than human. I’ve said it before, but Clark was, bar no one I’ve ever met, the most human person I’ve ever known.
I think if Clark had ever met him, he’d probably have recognized that right away. So I guess, the main point of distinction that I’d make is that while both men judged us oddly, Nolan was closer enough to the mark that his version of me was at least a little less disjointed. Singer’s construction of Clark as a messianic deadbeat dad, which I think is mixing your Christ and deic metaphors, was just odd.
DI: Have you had any input into Nolan’s movies?
B: Honestly, I stay the hell away from Chris Nolan. I don’t want a thing to do with his movies.
DI: So you’re not flattered, or whatever.
B: I just don’t want to have a part in them. On the one hand, playing an advisory role, say, would give them greater weight than they deserve. Because I’m not, contrary occasionally to my own musings, that important. There are literally hundreds of people who do what I do. And I might be a little older than most, I may have beaten most of them to the punch, but I don’t feel like I’m any more extraordinary or deserving than they are.
DI: But don’t you think telling a good story could help humanize them? Maybe get people to recognize and better appreciate the sacrifices that people have given for the greater good?
B: If I thought, for an instant, that a movie about me was going to do that, sure. But I think that idea is a contradiction in terms. A movie about me, or about Batman, misses the point. A movie about the League, I think, would be closer to telling a story, true or otherwise, about the people who really keep the world safe, and how collectively they’re able to accomplish far more than a man in black skulking in an alley alone.
DI: I get, from you and from Clark, the same kind of reverence for your fellow Leaguers as most people have for military service people.
B: They’re absolutely comparable. We come to these lifestyles from a lot of divergent paths, but the bottom line is that each and every one of us is willing to put ourselves between harm and innocent people. I can’t begin to describe how noble I consider those who have served with the League to be.
And not to speak ill of the dead, but the less like Superman they were, the more I respect them. Clark could stand in front of a bullet train without fear, but a good portion of our members are as human as you or I. They’re exceptionally well trained, skilled, and smart- but mortal. They accept mortal peril on a daily basis. They absolutely deserve the same kind of respect soldiers deserve.