What happens when one person has just too much power and there is no one checking that power?
That’s a question you might expect to associate with this year’s presidential election, but it’s the central theme of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the superhero smackdown opening in theaters on Friday.
It’s hard when watching the movie, which has a major political storyline involving senate hearings questioning Superman’s actions and a senator played by Holly Hunter, not to think about the current political landscape and the 2016 presidential election. And audience members aren’t the only ones with the political in mind.
“One of the things that I say in this movie is, ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely,'” Hunter told USA TODAY on the red carpet for the film’s NYC premiere. “Thomas Jefferson was talking about. We’re talking about that today, very much so. It’s serendipitous that it happens to be so acute right now in current events, but there you have it.”
Ben Affleck, who is making his big debut as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the movie, doesn’t see it quite that simply.
“I don’t see this movie as overtly political. I think that would be a mistake. I don’t think you want to get pedantic with a movie like this. I think that’s dangerous.”
But he did note that while it’s a not a “political movie,” it does bring up very thought-provoking political themes.
“(The screenwriters) had many conversations about politics and the nature of politics in movies,” he said. “This is a movie that has a substance to it … and is provocative. I don’t think it’s strident, I don’t think it’s preachy, but I think it does raise the question of, ‘What happens to us when we become afraid of one another?’ which is a very current theme. It doesn’t mean to lecture at you or to hector you, but I do think that it’s a ballsy movie and evocative, and a movie that isn’t just about two cartoon characters slugging it out.”