2016 is home for what is likely the most anticipated superhero movie ever, with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice set to hit theaters on March 25. We already that this movie will introduce and set up a series of DC superhero movies that will follow over the course of the next several years. With the Marvel superhero universe already well established, Zack Snyder will attempt to build off of Christopher Nolan’s gritty, darkened Batman series to create something as successful as the Marvel series but altogether different.
This film has the benefit and/or the curse of standing on the shoulders of Nolan’s hugely successful The Dark Knight Trilogy, considered by many to be the best superhero series ever put to film. While Snyder’s first Superman entry, Man of Steel (2013), was successful in its own right, it wasn’t met with nearly the same critical acclaim as was its Batman predecessors. Now faced with a new Batman (Ben Affleck), Snyder will attempt to bridge the gap between these two iconic heroes and bring them together for the first time on the big screen.
What follows is a list of 12 things that may be useful to know before seeing the film. Since we haven’t seen the movie yet, nothing on this list is a spoiler, but some of the information will lead you to draw your own conclusions which might come true, so beware of your own brain. Ultimately, this is a primer for the movie. While the origin stories are definitely subject to stray from the canon, there will certainly be little nods for all the DC fanboys out there. Read the list. Impress your friends. Be in the know.
12. Which Batman Is This?
This incarnation of Batman will be a much different version of the man we’re used to seeing. As mentioned in the trailers, this Batman has been at his job for 20-some-odd years. What we do know is that the source material for the Caped Crusader will be Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. In that story arc, Bruce Wayne has been retired from his night job for about 10 years but is pulled back in by Harvey Dent, eventually leading to a showdown with Superman. While the story line will almost definitely not follow the comic directly, the inspiration tells us to expect a grizzled, impatient, more jaded and, perhaps, more brutal Batman than we’ve seen in the past.
11. Who Is Lex Luthor?
Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg in the coming film, is the billionaire owner LexCorp. Luthor is best known as Superman’s arch nemesis, an evil mastermind/mad scientist who uses his smarts and manipulative personality to antagonize Supe. In the trailers we see Lex with a full, luscious head of hair, much different than his usual sparkling, Mr. Clean bald head. We do know that Lex will lose his hair, which was caused in different ways in the canon. Whether by kryptonite poisoning, by fire or some other means, Eisenberg has proudly proclaimed his love for the hair-loss scene in Batman v Superman, so we expect it to be awesome. Also, keep an eager eye for Mercy Graves, Luthor’s super tough bodyguard and personal assistant.
10. How Does Batman Keep Up With Superman?
The basic question in this showdown is how. How does man-sized Batman stand up to the seemingly infinitely powerful Superman? Well the simple answer is that he can’t… or, at least, couldn’t if Superman wanted to kill him. But Superman doesn’t kill and won’t kill Batman, so it’s not an issue. Knowing this, Batman still needs to be able to take a beating and maybe even give one back. This is where the mech armor suit that we see in the trailer comes in. Apparently, this suit won’t enhance Batman’s strength, like Iron Man’s Hulkbuster suit, but it will help him defend against the mighty Superman. There’s also the possibility that the suit utilizes kryptonite which will greatly weaken Superman as well. Keep in mind, that Batman will also use his brains and Superman’s own naivety to his advantage. Expect traps to be set, bait to be taken and the field to be balanced. Otherwise the fight scenes would end pretty quick.
9. Who Is Wonder Woman?
For the first time in over 70 years since her creation, Wonder Woman will finally make her big screen appearance. Born as demigod Princess Diana of Themyscira, the Amazonian warrior princess, played by Gal Gadot, also uses the secret identity of Diana Prince. Wonder Woman is an excellent fighter with otherworldly strength, indestructible bracelets (Bracelets of Submission), a golden tiara that doubles as a throwing weapon, and the Lasso of Truth. In the past, Wonder Woman has used the identity of Diana Prince as an entry to gain better knowledge and infiltration, so it might be a solid bet to expect that Diana will have some connection to Lex Luthor, or perhaps she simply uses Diana to keep tabs on Batman and/or Superman. She has also played her part in leading the Justice League in different arcs, so we won’t be surprised to see her show some control over the other members.
8. Who is Aquaman?
Aquaman has been the victim of quite a bit of ridicule over the years because of his sometimes underwhelming and fishy superpowers. While his story has seen some revisions as well, Aquaman was born as Orin, an outcast from the lost city of Atlantis. Aquaman also goes by the name of Arthur Curry and is half-human, half Atlantean. His powers include superhuman strength and speed, as well as the ability to control the seas and sea life. His signature weapon is the Trident of Neptune which has the power to control sea life and cut things; it’s pretty sharp. It’s unclear what Arthur Curry’s role will be at this point, but expect him to be a brooding type, a remnant of his outcast past.
7. Who is Cyborg?
Cyborg is the genius son of two scientists. Early on he was rebuilt with metallic prosthetics for much of his body after being terribly disfigured. Named Victor “Vic” Stone, Cyborg’s metal enhancements grant him superhuman strength, among other abilities like infrared vision. His genius-level IQ and computer interfacing abilities make him a tech wiz, while his usual cannon arm is his primary weapon (often both arms are weaponized). While Cyborg is a later addition to the Justice League, his tech abilities make him a nice addition to the team. We won’t know the extent of Cyborg’s powers until the film drops, but his more recently gained attributes, like the teleportation Boom Tube technology, make him extremely powerful.
6. Where Are Metropolis And Gotham?
There’s always been a debate about where Superman’s Metropolis and Batman’s Gotham City actually are geographically. While the earlier movies, comics and fans have claimed New York City (or Chicago) in one way or another as both Metropolis and Gotham, Zack Snyder has made it clear that <em>Batman v Superman</em> will be changing the landscape, somewhat. During the San Diego Comic Con, Snyder said “The big rule that we broke is that we put Gotham and Metropolis right next to each other.” But this may not be as rebellious as he thinks. Several comics in the past have described the two cities as nearby each other. Let’s just say that the canonical locations have always been blurry, to say the least, and this new setup is just more of the same.
5. Who is The Flash?
Born Barry Allen, a slow and tardy forensic scientist, The Flash became flash-like when chemicals were spilled him because of an ill-fated lightning strike. After this, Allen found he was the undisputed fastest person in the world, seen by others as a faint blur when he passes at full speed. With the recent popularity of the CW TV series The Flash, Barry Allen is well-known to audiences and may not need much of an introduction. We can, however, expect to see some indication of his speed, possibly even working with the police force. Even though Grant Gustin won’t be donning his red tights on the big screen in Batman v Superman, as Ezra Miller was cast instead, fans of the Scarlet Speedster are excited nonetheless to see their beloved character run his way into movie theaters.
4. Where is the Justice League?
Unlike Marvel’s strategy with The Avengers, the characters who make up the Justice League won’t be introduced in standalone movies, except for Batman and Superman of course. At this point, who from the Justice League will appear in this film and how much screen time is a little unclear. We do, however, know that at least four other members should make an appearance: Aquaman, Cyborg, The Flash and Wonder Woman, who will be getting a bigger part than the other three. Outside of these six members, Justice League fans may have to wait for other founding members Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern until at least 2017 when The Justice League movie hits.
3. Who are the Villains?
Much to the chagrin of fans, the latest Batman v Superman trailer revealed a little too much of one of the other villains for the film, the one and only Doomsday. Doomsday is an ancient monster from Krypton, but it may be in the film that he is a twisted creation of Luthor, spawned from the corpse of General Zod (see Michael Shannon’s appearance in the trailer), similar to very strange Bizarro. Doomsday possesses impossible strength and regeneration/adaptation abilities, making him a deadly foe for Superman, also one that famously killed the Man of Steel in “The Death of Superman.”
As an aside, fans have noted that the flying minions visible in the trailers might be Parademons, which hints at the inclusion of the supervillain Darkseid.
2. Will Robin or Bat Girl Be In This?
With the news that Jena Malone could play Commissioner Gordon’s daughter Barbara Gordon, fans will no doubt be expecting Batgirl to debut at some point in the future of these films. But there’s an outside chance that Malone might instead play Carrie Kelly, a version of Robin in the comics. In the trailer we see a Joker-vandalized suit in a display case, which looks very much like Robin’s armor. This is possibly a reference to the comic “A Death in the Family,” in which the Joker kills Jason Todd, the second incarnation of Robin. It’s Carrie Kelly who then takes up the Robin persona and helps the Bat. This could be an interesting crossover with Suicide Squad, so be on the look out for more hints of this arc. The Joker, however, also paralyzes Barbara Gordon, which leads her to become Oracle, a computer expert, so either character (or a mash-up of the two) would help blend the two films and be an amazing addition to the team.
1. Where is the Joker?
If, how and why the Joker comes into this film is anyone’s guess, but keeping with the Jason Todd link brings up some interesting possible plotlines. In Batman: Under the Hood, it is revealed that after Todd was tortured by the Joker and killed, he was brought back to life by Talia al Ghul. But what comes back is a different Todd; he is changed and mentally deranged, turning into the Red Hood, an antihero who willingly abuses his power. This provides a few possibilities for the Joker’s motivations. It could be that the Joker is mocking Batman for not being able to save his friend, or it could be that Jason Todd/the Red Hood is angry at Batman and pretending to be the Joker, or it could be in line with some circulating theories that questions the Joker’s true identity altogether, but that’s a story for another day. Enjoy the show!