The 22 Most Outrageous Moments in 'Batman v Superman'
Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, including the revelation that Superman's real name is Brad! (OK, false. But everything else is true, so beware.)
This weekend, Zack Snyder's eagerly anticipated -- and, in some corners of the internet, widely feared -- Batman v Superman debuted to a massive $170 million US box office. While we weren't exactly thrilled with the movie's dour demeanor, that doesn't mean there aren't fun Easter eggs, potential sequel theories, and bizarre moments to unpack. Put on a grim facial expression and get ready to relive this fully loaded blockbuster.
Batman's parents die in front of him for the billionth timeThe original 1989 Batman did it. Christopher Nolan did it. The Arkham Asylum video games did it. Fox's Gotham did it just last year. But to remind us why Bruce Wayne assumed the identity of Batman decades ago, Snyder walks us through a murderous night at the movies one more time. And in ultra-slo-mo! In case we wanted to know how many pearls Martha Wayne wore when a thug planted two bullets in her chest, here was the Nightline of cold-opens. Nothing says "Get pumped for a comic-book blockbuster!!" quite like fetishized murder.
Superman cooks a perfect pair of eggsWe all know Superman can cook with his heat vision. Judging from his hip eyewear and tastefully decorated apartment, Zack Snyder's Clark uses Blue Apron with Lois on the weekdays and checks out the best dim sum restaurants in Metropolis on the weekends. He's foodie-chic. So what a joy it was to see him cook up a pair of symmetrical eggs in Batman v Superman. If the whole "hero" thing doesn't work out, Clark would make a great line cook at Denny's.
Batman becomes the Lord of the BrosZack Snyder's version of the Caped Crusader is basically an aging bro. Don't believe us? There's an extended sequence where Batman lifts big weights in slow motion and pulls a huge tire like he's on an episode of Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge. It wouldn't surprise me if the DVD has a deleted scene where Bruce Wayne shops for Muscle Milk and hangs a Boondock Saints poster in the Batcave. The movie ends with Wayne announcing, "Men are still good," while Hans Zimmer's score pounds away like a fist pumping in the air. It's just like Harvey Dent said: You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become an Entourage fan.
Jesse Eisenberg channels Jim CarreyAs the reviews pile in, a villain has emerged: critics hate Jesse Eisenberg's Zuckerberg-ian take on Lex Luthor. Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashawaty described Eisenberg's performance as "a grating cartoon of manic motormouth tics." He's not wrong! Eisenberg is always on in Batman v Superman, sporting slim-fitting suits and enunciating random words in his many nonsensical monologues. He's impossible to look away from. Like Jim Carrey in Batman Forever or Jack Nicholson in the 1989 original, it's a performance that pushes the boundaries of taste. For that, we salute him -- and his obnoxious socks.
There are so many pundits in this movie!Batman v Superman is the first superhero movie that's about a political buzzword: "optics." In the movie, both Batman and Superman are perceived as public figures waging a constant PR war with the press, and Snyder serves up a clown car of modern talking heads to help "contextualize" both heroes. In one sequence, we see footage of Andrew Sullivan and Neil deGrasse Tyson waxing poetic about Superman as he flies around the world performing good deeds. Later, Westboro Baptist Church stand-ins burn Superman dolls in effigy. Anderson Cooper shows up toward the end. It's like watching a blockbuster morph into a Vox explainer right before your eyes.
Robin's defiled cameoDuring a casual stroll through the Batcave, Bruce Wayne lingers by a case holding the costume pictured above. Unfortunately for the entry-level viewer, it's one of many backstory clues predicated on the audience's comic-book knowledge. The moment teases Batman's past with Robin, who didn't survive the events leading up to Batman v Superman. It's a reference to 1980's Batman: A Death in the Family, where Joker beats Robin to death with a crowbar -- a moment we wouldn't be surprised to see on Snyder's R-rated Blu-ray.
Holy twist, Batman -- White Portuguese is a boat!There's a great Batman hiding in the carcass of Batman v Superman, like he's Leo in The Revenant. Ben Affleck brings the intelligence, Jeremy Irons commands the controls at home base, and together, the two put Batman's detective legacy to work. If only the mystery were the least bit decipherable. Batman v Superman spins its wheels as Bruce Wayne unravels the truth behind the arms dealer "White Portuguese," which turns out to be a boat with the most noir-friendly name imaginable.
Batman hits Superman with a kitchen sinkIt's the big fight you've been looking forward to since you mashed two action figures together as a child. So what's the big climatic moment? Batman goes WWE on Superman by hitting him with a kitchen sink.
"I'm not a lady, I'm a journalist!"Amy Adams actually says this line, a defensive slam that will be debated in Women's Studies classes for the next decade. We see what screenwriters David Goyer and Chris Terrio were going for. The fact remains: you can be a lady and a journalist. Yes, it's true! An important fact to remind kids in the audience.
Kevin Costner's ghost monologueMovie Rule No. 113: if you are dead and appear to a loved one in a ghostly vision, you may only communicate in opaque metaphors. After dying in a freak tornado accident in Man of Steel, Kevin Costner returned as Jonathan Kent (yes!) to deliver words of wisdom to his mountain-climbing surrogate son (wait, what?). In a movie where Superman literally takes a battle to the stars, Costner's T.S. Eliot-lite opining had us spacing out.
The demise of Scoot McNairyThrough scene-stealing roles in movies like Killing Them Softly, Black Sea, and Gone Girl, character actor Scoot McNairy became the go-to guy for emotionally raw dirtbags. A small role in Batman v Superman should've been his opportunity to shine -- set photos convinced fans he would play a grizzled Jimmy Olsen -- instead, he… blows up the Capitol Building with a bomb in his wheelchair? Defaces a Superman statue? Sends angry checks to Batman? Scoot deserves better.
When the comic book movie stopped to play trailers for other comic book moviesMarvel movies make you wait until after the credits to watch the teaser for the next installment. Batman v Superman makes its intentions clear: you, the viewer, are in this for the long haul. So take a look at what's coming up, courtesy of stolen MPEG files! Snyder dares to pause his movie twice through its two-and-a-half-hour running time: first, to tease 2017's Wonder Woman -- with a photographic cameo by Chris Pine -- and again when Wonder Woman discovers Lex Luthor's metahuman files, an array of YouTube-grade clips teasing the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Aquaman's clip is especially egregious -- apparently, the wave-wielding warrior sits at the bottom of the ocean just waiting for James Cameron to shoot submarine-camera close-ups. Egregious.
Wonder Woman's wailing guitar lick rocksBatman v Superman is wall-to-wall noise, a series of drum beats and horns that would make noise-rockers cower. That is, until Wonder Woman shows up. The scene-stealer is fierce in her own right. Then the guitar kicks in, with all the fire of the Doof Warrior.
Batman goes Inception with a dream within a dreamDubbed the "Knightmare," the most baffling sequence in Batman v Superman is a potent dose of franchise salvia for the hardcore fans. To break it down: halfway through the movie, Batman appears on a cliff, looking over a crumbling, smoldering Metropolis. Comic-book geeks recognize this as the work of Darkseid, an alien being who will inevitably appear in a future Justice League movie. When Batman enters the city, a battalion of Superman-branded soldiers take him down, followed by a wave of insect gunmen. What the ever-loving hell...
The second dream, which Bruce Wayne awakens to directly, introduces us to the Flash, although, unless you know that the character's speedy abilities allow him to cut through the fabric of spacetime -- and dream reality, apparently -- you'd never recognize him. The Flash tells Bruce he was right: Superman is bad, and Lois Lane is the key to saving the world. Based on the end of the movie, this is all setup for the sequel. Does your head hurt more or less now?
America nukes SupermanThe plot of this movie is so overstuffed, grand moments that would be climaxes in any other action film get lost amid all the growling and grimacing. At one point, the U.S. government fires a nuke at Superman in space -- after about one minute of consideration -- and it barely lands. Superman floats through space for a few minutes, shakes it off, then returns to battle. Batman v Superman is so big, nukes are forgettable.
Why does Perry White want Clark to write about sports?We get it: Batman v Superman isn't Spotlight. But the newspaper scenes in this movie are very weird. Laurence Fishburne's Daily Planet editor Perry White keeps yelling at Clark to file a piece about a baseball game, and saying things like, "I logged into your Dropbox to find copy!" Come on, everyone knows Superman prefers Slack.
Superman loves Lois so much, he can recognize her specific 'pounding on concrete' soundLex Luthor knows it, and so do we: put Lois Lane in danger, and Superman will swoop in to save her. When she's hours away from Metropolis in the middle of terrorist-infested Africa, Superman is there. When she falls off a building, Superman stops moping on his terrace and saves her. Batman v Superman puts the hero's Lois-sense to the test by trapping the reporter in a pool of water under a slab of fallen debris. A mile away, mid-battle, Superman hears her tap-a tap-a tap-a. As Ricky Martin once said, there's something about the way she bangs, she bangs.
Michael Shannon's dead Zod morphs into DoomsdayWhy does Doomsday look like a turd? We're genuinely curious about this one.
Mommy issues save the dayImagine if Batman and Superman took five minutes to talk through their predicament. They would have discovered that their mothers share a name, Martha, a fact that eventually stops their face-smashing, cape-spinning, bone-breaking battle right in its tracks. Motherly love and hugs -- and they say Batman v Superman doesn't have a heart.
Jeremy Irons drinks his way through the whole movieJeremy Irons' Alfred is undoubtedly one of the movie's few bright spots. He smirks, cracks jokes, sips his drink, and helps fly Batman's plane like a little drone. It's like he knows he's starring in a grim funeral march of a movie and was like, "Fuck it, let's have some fun!" We'd watch a whole movie where Irons goes on an Alfie-style bender. Free Jeremy Irons.
So many endingsModern blockbusters rarely tie things up with a neat bow. The last Avengers movie fumbled its way to a conclusion, and I think Peter Jackson's Hobbit films are still ending as I type this. But Batman v Superman really stretches your patience as it lumbers towards the triumphant "Directed by Zack Snyder" title card. There are multiple funerals, slow-motion cannon fire, Terrence Malick wheat fields, tense monologues, and even a haircut. It's the bloated ending this mess deserves.
The movie's final shot pulls another InceptionBatman v Superman throws in a last-minute shocker: Superman is dead! Killed by a one-two punch from Batman's Kryptonite spear and Doomsday's dung fist. Or... was he? The final shot inches close to Superman's coffin to catch an unseen force rumbling up a few specks of dirt. Maybe glum Bruce Wayne stomped away from the grave and moved the Earth. Or maybe something in Doomsday's genetically engineered blood rejuvenated Superman's dead corpse. What, you thought they'd make a sequel without Superman?
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