After Christopher Nolan’s widely acclaimed Batman trilogy and a high-octane Man of Steel film by Zack Snyder, the stakes and expectations were sky high from Batman v Superman. The movie, however, has turned out to be one of the most polarizing films to be released in 2016, with critics trashing it as an ‘incomprehensible mess’, ‘too boring’ and god knows what. On one of the various forums online, I even came across an aesthetics professional claiming that the movie was a spectacular pile of shit visually. Whoa, I thought, even if you consider Zack Snyder’s direction as dry, he is supposed to be a master of visuals and Batman v Superman looked quite great. I asked him, why do you consider it to be a visual mess?
This is what he replied- ‘I did an HSB analysis of the Superman covers in the layout above and on several promo shots of the BvS movie. The B value in the Superman of the cover layouts are generally 34% or higher, with only the darkest being below 40%. The promo shots of the BvS movie, the B value is at its highest 31% unless it is specifically a specular effect in which case it reaches 41%
So, Zack Snyder may know all these stories, but he clearly has no idea what color Superman’s suit is supposed to be. If he shoots a film where a specular artifact is a B of 41% whereas the source material has shadow artifacts at a B value of 34%, then clearly there is a disconnect.’
Wow. Unbelievable. I had no idea people were doing such a hair-splitting analysis of what was supposed to be simply a comic book movie which was faithful to its source and would be highly entertaining to watch. Other complaints I heard were that people were wondering what Lex Luthor actually wanted and why was he so pissed off at our superheroes. Zack Snyder is a comic book guy and for once, we have a superhero movie that is exclusively meant for DC fanboys. Heck, the movie is filled with Easter eggs and DC references, and finding them out is one of the most satisfying experience that a comic book fan can ever have!
Here we have listed 5 super-cool Easter eggs in the movie, as well as references to the DC universe (in case you missed out). A major scene which has left many viewers puzzled has also been explained. Have fun!
- Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen
One of the major characters, no less than Superman’s best friend Jimmy Olsen, is killed off at the start of the movie and we barely notice it. Remember the photographer accompanying Lois Lane, who is revealed to be an undercover CIA agent and is subsequently executed? Hell yes, that’s him. Jimmy. The guy is bumped off even before we can get to know him.
- Batman villains
This must have been quite obvious when Bruce Wayne says to Clark Kent ‘Maybe it’s the Gotham City in me, but I just have a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns.’ An obvious nod to the Joker. Also, remember the scene in the Batcave with a costume which had graffiti sprayed on it, reading ‘HAHAH JOKE’S ON YOU BATMAN’? It most certainly implies the death of Robin aka Jason Todd, who was probably killed earlier on by the Joker (referring to the comic ‘A Death in the Family’, where the Joker beats Robin to death). I am hoping we will see some kind of background story in Suicide Squad and a confrontation between Jared Leto’s Joker and Robin.
The Riddler is also referenced in the movie- we see a question mark (trademark of the Riddler) on one of the pillars when Batman plants the Kryptonite spear. Remains to be seen whether we would see any appearance of the Riddler in flashbacks or something similar.
- Loads of stuff from The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman comics
Batman v Superman is literally filled with references from Frank Miller’s 1986 comic The Dark Knight Returns- right from an aging Batman, dead Robin, Batman’s uber-cool mecha-suit and the film’s epic battle between the two superheroes. Also, the scene where Superman goes all zombie-like when he is struck by a nuclear missile? That is copied frame by frame from the comic, although it is Batman who is responsible for Superman’s super weird physical destruction.
Many scenes have also been lifted from The Death of Superman. For instance, the apparent death of the Man of Steel (and Doomsday), the S-Shield-stamped coffin and the scene where Lois Lane cradles Superman’s broken body.
- KGBeast, Stryker’s Island, Homage to the first Superman comic
Anatoli Knyazev, who looks like one of the numerous henchmen of Lex Luthor is no ordinary thug but in fact, a cybernetically-enhanced warrior called KGBeast (in the comics), who is a Batman antagonist working for, yeah you guessed it, KGB!. Did he die by gunfire in Batman v Superman? Seems highly unlikely.
Stryker’s Island is also referred in the movie as an ‘uninhabited place’ (where part of the fight takes place against Doomsday). In the comics, the island is a Metropolis prison which hold some of the most dangerous enemies of Superman.
The movie also pays homage to the first Superman comic, published in 1938. This is seen when Perry White tells Clark during an argument, ‘It is not 1938 anymore’.
- Darkseid, Motherboxes and the Knightmare scene explained
Finally, we come to our most important part of the movie- the Knightmare sequence which has left many befuddled and left fans and critics alike scratching their heads as to what it actually meant. Many have felt that the scene was out of place and Flash’s appearance was quite strange. To understand the scene definitely requires a prior understanding of the DC universe. Here, I have attempted to explain the entire thing but first watch this deleted scene from Batman v Superman released by Warner Bros.:
In the Knightmare sequence, we see a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland with torn and deteriorating buildings (which we can assume to be Gotham or Metropolis). Right away we see the Omega symbol and Batman (who has become a hardened killer), coming to inspect a semi-truck loaded with characters who we can assume to be Sons of Batman (or similar background characters). There is a box in the back of the truck which emits a green light and we think that it’s kryptonite and all is well. Bang! It’s all a setup and we see Sons of Superman fighting alongside with Parademons from Apokolips. The Sons of Batman are murdered, and Batman is captured and subsequently executed by Superman himself.
Then comes one of the most crucial scenes that is definitely going to set up the Justice League movie. Bruce Wayne suddenly wakes up from the Knightmare dream sequence and the Flash makes an appearance. BRUCE!” he screams, halfway through the portal/halfway still in ‘LISTEN TO ME RIGHT NOW! IT’S LOIS! LOIS LANE! SHE’S THE KEY!’. His voice falters. But he still screams, ‘AM I TOO SOON? TOO SOON. YOU WERE RIGHT ABOUT HIM; YOU WERE ALWAYS RIGHT ABOUT HIM. FEAR HIM! FEAR HIM AND FIND US YOU HAVE TO FIND US BRUCE!’.
As suddenly as he appeared, the Flash vanishes into the portal and Bruce Wakes up all rattled for the second time.
Towards the end of the movie, Lex Luthor tells the Batman that it’s all too late for the world and ‘something is in motion’. Luthor says, ‘ The god is dead’, referring to Superman’s death and this news has reached other supposedly powerful celestial beings in other parts of the world. During the movie, we also see the rise of Cyborg and a MotherBox bringing him alive. We also saw the MotherBoxes and a strange alien creature with whom Lex Luthor is trying to communicate with in the deleted scene.
The entire chain of events in the movie, as well as the Knightmare sequence was not Bruce’s internal fear of Superman becoming a super-villain but it actually symbolized the forthcoming of Darkseid- a demi-God villain in the Superman comics who rules a hellish planet and has levels of power far exceeding that of Superman’s. He seeks to control the entire universe and for this, he uses MotherBoxes to find planets with life- terraforming or destroying the planet in the process, stealing its resources, capturing every living thing, and organically changing it on a molecular scale into monsters called ‘Parademons’. The freakish alien we saw in that deleted scene? That is probably Steppenwolf or one of Darkseid’s lieutenants.
Those who are not turned into Parademons, become Darkseid’s followers through an Anti-Life Equation, which can be basically considered to be a magic possession spell. The Justice League has only defeated him once in the comics, in a story called Final Crisis, which literally ripped apart time and space and collapsed reality! You get an idea of how devastatingly powerful Darkseid is- this fact is also signified by the painting in Lex Luthor’s home showing devils coming from the sky- hell is practically unleashed on earth and our superhero buddies are going to need LOADS of help to stave off this threat.
So instead of being distraught that the movie was riddled with too many characters and became incoherent, you can be absolutely stoked about the impending encounter between JLA and Darkseid which is expected to radiate awesomeness of galactic proportions!