As a follow up to our previous entry Man of Steel: Why It’s Better Then You Remember, we thought it would be appropriate to take a dive into its 2016 follow up Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Breaking down some of the incredible moments from the film and the aspects Zack Snyder brought to the screen that made this highly underrated comic book movie into a cult following. While this film might have some fans divided, we are here to find all the great attributes within this divisive piece of cinema. Keep in mind, we are checking out the Ultimate Edition.
Hans Zimmer returns as the composer after his incredible score from Man of Steel, but this time comes back alongside Tom Holkenborg AKA Junkie XL. At the time Holkenborg was best known for his work on Deadpool and Mad Max: Fury Road but mixing his talent with the brilliance of Zimmer, they managed to pull of an epic and pulse pounding score best suited for these grand heroes. Most notably with the instrumental titled Their War Here featured in the opening segment as Bruce Wayne witnesses the battle between Superman and General Zod. And how could we forgot the iconic Wonder Woman theme during the final battle against Doomsday, which ended up being used in her first solo film. An amazing sound that really introduced us to Junkie XL and further proved the sheer talent of Hans Zimmer.
Just as in Man of Steel, Zack Snyder loves to drop subtle easter eggs throughout his film. Some more obvious than others, but some which require a bit of research. We get a few surprise cameos from other characters within the DC Universe including: Emmett Vale portrayed by Ralph Lister, most known for his creation of the Kryptonite powered villain Metallo. Then we get Callan Mulvey’s Anatoli Knyazev, who some might recognize as the KGBeast. However, some other minor easter eggs lingering include the Riddler graffiti in the background of Batman and Supermans battle. But how could we ever forget about the elephant in the room, with the jokerized Robin suit sitting in the batcave. While it was further explored in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, it has remained ambiguous as to what really happened to the Boy Wonder.
What made Snyder’s vision of DC’s most iconic heroes, is the way he presents them to the audience. Rather than making them look like heroes, he portrays them as god-like beings. Presenting the title characters in motions of falling, a prime example is explored through the title sequence as Thomas and Martha Wayne are shown gunned down, falling to the ground. The focus on Martha’s necklace breaking and coming down to the ground. And of course, as young Bruce Wayne collapses through a hole where he is attacked by bats. Then through the rest of the film we get brief moments rising, but of course it all leads to the rise of Superman in the next film and formation of the Justice League.
Comic Book Comparisons
Furthering the exploration of imagery, comes also in the form of depicting moments straight from the comic books. Creating a grand look at the confrontation between Batman and Superman as they lead to their epic battle. Of course, the amazing shot of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman teaming up to battle Doomsday, giving us our first live-action appearance of DC’s Trinity. Then we are given a brief shot of Batman posing in the same way he did on the cover of the comic from The Dark Knight Returns. However, Snyder’s choice of designing Batman comes straight from The Dark Knight Returns as well, from his common batsuit to the armored suit.
Further exploring Batman’s comic accurate suits from The Dark Knight Returns, we are also presented with amazing super suits from Superman and Wonder Woman. Superman’s suit is given an even darker tint of blue, red and yellow from his design in Man of Steel. While Wonder Woman’s suit is given an even darker blue than Superman’s and rather than the tradition red and yellow, it is given a bronze and gold look to it. Giving Wonder Woman a much more warrior design, rather than one of a superhero, similar to her appearance in the classic Lydna Carter look in 1975. Regardless though, the costume designs created by Michael Wilkinson will go down as some of the best representation’s in comic films.
The Realism of Superman
Snyder continued his trend of bringing Superman into a realistic realm where Superman isn’t exactly looked at as a hero, but rather an alien. As the story picks up after the events of Man of Steel, Superman must now face the natural consequences after his battle with Zod and the damage dealt on Metropolis. This time around, the question of Superman’s intentions are at question or rather if those intentions could change in the future. There is no doubt Superman is the most powerful being in the world, but what if he were to turn on us? Is he threat we could protect ourselves from? How does the government hold a being like this in contempt for the damage he is caused, and is it worth it?
Further exploring the question of Superman’s intentions, we are also presented with the answer. As Bruce enters a dream state and is given visions of a dark future where the world is an apocalyptic wasteland and ruled by Superman and his regime. Similar to the story in the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us, with an evil Superman and a resistance fighting Batman. Zack Snyder has stated previously that he would love to make a film with an evil Superman and while we may never get the chance to see that come to light, we are still given this visually stunning segment which gets further expanded in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. But come on Warner Brothers, just let him make it!
First Theatrical Appearance of Wonder Woman
Never have we been given a big screen appearance of the Amazonian Princess until Gal Gadot came into the picture. Although we have had live-action incarnations through Lynda Carter with her acclaimed and Adrianne Palicki in the failed TV Pilot, but never had we had such a powerful and accurate portrayal until this film was released. Since Snyder decided to give the role to Gadot, she has appeared in her own solo film, its sequel Wonder Woman 1984 and both cuts of Justice League. For all we care, she can play this character as long as she would like too, as of now she is the definitive Wonder Woman.
A Brutal Batman
When it was first announced that Ben Affleck was cast as The Caped Crusader, there was a lot of speculation from fans. Especially since we just witnessed Christian Bale’s interpretation in The Dark Knight Trilogy, making it a bit difficult to accept the next Batman. However, Affleck managed to prove himself as a worthy follow up to the Batman legacy. Presenting a much more brutal and relentless version of Batman that isn’t afraid to ruthlessly tear apart his enemies. If you begin a conversation with any fans of this film, all you need to say is “Warehouse Scene” and that tells you everything you need to know about just how intense this version of Batman is.
Setting up Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Let’s just pretend Josstice League doesn’t exist, now that the Snyder Cut is out and reigns supreme. After an additional four years of the long awaited Snyder Cut, we finally have comprehensive film that allows this one to make sense. While at the time of its release, we were given brief cameos of the Justice League, an insane nightmare sequence and other revelations of the future. We finally were able to see it all come to play in 2021 when HBO Max released Zack Snyder’s Justice League. While we may never see sequel’s to Justice League play out, we are still given a solid trilogy by Zack Snyder and his true vision of these incredible DC Superheroes and Villains.