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"Dawn of Justice" redirects here. For the Colombian film "Dawn of Justice", see Garras de oro.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 American superhero film featuring the DC Comics characters Batman and Superman. Directed by Zack Snyder, it is the second installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), following 2013's Man of Steel. It was written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, and features an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, and Gal Gadot. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the first live-action film to feature Batman and Superman together, as well as the first live-action cinematic portrayal of Wonder Woman. In the film, criminal mastermind Lex Luthor (Eisenberg) manipulates Batman (Affleck) into a preemptive battle with Superman (Cavill), who Luthor is obsessed with defeating.

The film was announced at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con after the release of Man of Steel. Snyder stated that the film would take inspiration from the Batman comic book series The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, but clarified that it would follow an original premise. The incarnation of Batman in the film is different from the character's previous portrayal in The Dark Knight Trilogy, serving as a cinematic reboot of the character. The film is also inspired by narrative elements from the "Death of Superman" story arc. Pre-production began at East Los Angeles College in October 2013, with principal photography starting in May 2014 in Detroit. Additional filming also took place in Chicago.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice premiered at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City on March 19, 2016, and was released in the United States on March 25, 2016 in 2D, 3D, IMAX 3D, 4DX, premium large formats, and 70 mm prints by Warner Bros. Pictures. Following a strong debut that set new box office records, the film experienced a historic drop in its second weekend and never recovered. Despite turning a profit, it was deemed a box office disappointment and received generally unfavorable reviews from critics for its tone, screenplay and pacing, though some praised its visual style and acting performances. An extended cut dubbed the "Ultimate Edition", which features 31 minutes of additional footage, was released digitally on June 28, 2016 and on Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray on July 19, 2016. A follow-up sequel titled Justice League was released in November 2017.[5][6]

Plot[edit]

Eighteen months after the battle between Superman and General Zod in Metropolis,[N 1] Superman has become a controversial figure. Billionaire Bruce Wayne, who has operated in Gotham City as the vigilante Batman for two decades, sees Superman as an existential threat to humanity. After learning of Batman's form of justice, Clark Kent (Superman's civilian identity) seeks to expose him via Daily Planet articles. Wayne learns that Russian weapon trafficker Anatoli Knyazev has been contacting LexCorp mogul Lex Luthor. Meanwhile, Luthor unsuccessfully tries to persuade Senator June Finch to allow him to import kryptonite retrieved from the Indian Ocean following Zod's terraforming attempt, claiming he wants to maintain it as a "deterrent" against future Kryptonian threats. He instead makes alternative plans with Finch's subordinate and gains access to Zod's body and the Kryptonian scout ship.

Bruce attends a gala at LexCorp to steal encrypted data from the company's mainframe, where he also encounters with Clark, but has it taken from him by an antiquities dealer named Diana Prince; she eventually returns it to Bruce. While decrypting the drive, Bruce dreams of a post-apocalyptic world, where he leads a group of rebels against a fascist Superman. He is awoken from his vision by an unidentified person, appearing through a portal, who warns him of Lois Lane's crucial role in the future, and urges him to find "the others" before vanishing.[N 2] Wayne later discovers that Luthor is also investigating metahumans. One of them is Prince herself, who is shown in a photo taken during World War I. Wayne admits to Alfred Pennyworth that he plans to steal the kryptonite to weaponize it, should it become necessary to fight Superman.

At a congressional hearing, as Finch questions Superman on the validity of his actions, a bomb goes off and kills everyone present but Superman. Believing he should have detected the bomb, and frustrated by his failure to save them, Superman goes into self-imposed exile. Batman breaks into LexCorp and steals the kryptonite, planning to use it to battle Superman by building a powered exoskeleton, creating a kryptonite grenade launcher, and a kryptonite-tipped spear. Meanwhile, Luthor enters the Kryptonian ship and accesses a vast technology database accumulated from over 100,000 worlds.

Later, Luthor kidnaps Lois and Martha Kent, Clark's adoptive mother, to bring Superman out of exile. He reveals to him that he manipulated Superman and Batman by fueling their distrust for each other. Luthor demands that Superman kill Batman in exchange for Martha's life. Superman tries to explain the situation to Batman, but instead Batman fights Superman and eventually subdues him. Before Batman can kill him with the spear, Superman urges Batman to "save Martha", whose name is also shared with Bruce's late mother, confusing him long enough for Lois to arrive and explain what Superman meant. Realizing how far he has fallen and unwilling to let an innocent die, Batman rescues Martha, while Superman confronts Luthor on the scout ship.

Luthor executes his backup plan, unleashing a genetically engineered monster with DNA from both Zod's body and his own blood.[N 3] Diana Prince arrives unexpectedly; revealing her metahuman nature, she joins forces with Batman and Superman to eliminate the creature. When they are all outmatched, Superman realizes its vulnerability to kryptonite, and retrieves the spear to kill it. In the creature's last moments, it fatally wounds Superman.

Luthor is arrested and Batman confronts him in prison, warning Luthor that he will always be watching him. Luthor gloats that Superman's death has made the world vulnerable to powerful alien threats. A memorial is held for Superman in Metropolis. Clark is also declared dead, with various friends and family members including Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince attending for him in Smallville. Martha gives an envelope to Lois, which contains an engagement ring from Clark. After the funeral, Bruce expresses his regrets to Diana about how he failed Superman. He reveals to her that he plans to form a team of metahumans, starting with those from Luthor's files, to help protect the world in Superman's absence. After they leave, the dirt atop Clark's coffin levitates.

Cast[edit]

A billionaire socialite and owner of Wayne Enterprises who dedicates himself to protecting Gotham City from its criminal underworld as a highly trained, masked vigilante.[10] The Batsuit in this film is made of fabric as opposed to the armored suits in previous portrayals, and a mechanical suit is also featured which Batman uses in his fight against Superman. On Batman's suit, Zack Snyder commented "I had a really strong idea about what I wanted to do – I really wanted to do sort of a fabric-based Batman; not what's become the more normal, armored Batman. That's how we evolved it."[11] Unlike previous versions who spoke in a deeper voice as Batman, this version uses a voice modulator to distort his real voice, with Affleck stating a well known billionaire would likely have his voice recognized. When asked what makes this Batman different from the previous portrayals, Affleck said this Batman "is a little older, he's a little more world weary. He's been around the block once or twice so he's a little wiser but he's definitely more cynical and a little darker and more jaded", adding that Batman has gotten "more exposed to the violence and the criminal element of that world over time."[12] The film's Batman was influenced by Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, which shows Batman in his 50s. Snyder said, "I definitely wanted an older Batman. I wanted a war-weary Batman. That's why, in a lot of ways, Ben was really perfect for me - we kind of aged him a little bit. It worked really great. I'm really excited about the Batman we created."[11] On Affleck's casting as Batman, Snyder said, "Ben provides an interesting counterbalance to Henry's Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne."[13] Affleck praised Snyder for tackling the impact of the destruction caused in Metropolis in the previous installment, saying, "One of the things I liked was Zack's idea of showing accountability and the consequences of violence and seeing that there are real people in those buildings", adding, "And in fact, one of those buildings was Bruce Wayne's building so he knew people who died in that Black Zero event".[14] Brandon Spink portrays a young Bruce Wayne.[15]
A Metropolis-based Kryptonian survivor and a journalist for the Daily Planet who uses his extraterrestrial abilities to protect humanity. Superman's suit in Batman v Superman is somewhat similar to that in Man of Steel, but with enhanced, high-tech-style surface detail and a shinier, more metallic-looking cape.[16] A quote written in Kryptonian was added into Superman's symbol which says "Where we had thought to stand alone, we will be with all the world".[17] As to how Superman has embraced his role as a hero since the previous installment, Cavill said "He's more used to this gig, doing his best to save as many lives as he can", further explaining, "He is no longer frantic. He's no longer a wet-behind-the-ears kind of superhero." And as to how Superman views Batman's approach to crime fighting, Cavill said "He doesn't agree with his form of justice. For this farm boy, who tries to do things the right way, justice at any cost is not something he can come to terms with" hoping to use his position as a journalist for the Daily Planet to "show the world what this Batman dude is doing."[18] The film addresses the destruction caused by Superman and Zod in Metropolis, a part of Man of Steel that was criticized for being too extensive for Superman, to which Snyder responded "I was surprised because that's the thesis of Superman for me, that you can't just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences".[14] On what the public perception of Superman is in the film, Cavill said "In this movie, everyone has split into different directions as to how they feel about this alien", adding, "Some people love him, some hate him. Other people fear him. Is he a tyrant?"[19] When asked how Superman has evolved since Man of Steel, Cavill said "Superman himself isn't that different. He does, however, have to deal with a new set of problems because he's now been revealed to the world. This film is more about how the world in general – and Batman in particular – sees this alien, and less about the evolution of Superman." Cavill described Superman and Batman as being the "two sides of the same coin. They have the same goal, but use very different methods to achieve it. Understandably, that leads them to clash with one another, and their conflict is an historic moment."[20]
A reporter for the Daily Planet and love interest of Clark Kent.[21][22] About her role, Adams stated that "Lois is still sort of like the key to the information. She's the girl going out and getting it and figuring it out and putting it together and all of that, so she's very much involved."[23] When asked on her thoughts on portraying Lois Lane in the film, Adams replied "I love that she's fearless. I'm not that way so it's really fun that she really is not afraid of the consequences." On Lois Lane and Clark Kent's relationship in the film, Adams said, "What's great about this is that, as far as the relationship with Lois and Clark goes, when we meet them you can tell that they've been in a relationship for while," further explaining, "So it was great to get to develop that sort of intimacy and that sort of friendship that I've developed with Henry, to get to bring that to the screen."[24] She also described Clark Kent as being Lois Lane's connection to humanity and said, "She may have some tunnel vision, but she's got a job and moral standards. [When] we met her before, she would do anything to get the story – now Clark has instilled some faith in humanity in her. Her relationship with Clark is the closest thing she has to anything faith-based, you know? Although moving in with Clark brings issues."[25]
An eccentric young businessman and hereditary CEO of LexCorp who is obsessed with defeating Superman.[26][27] Luthor is usually depicted as bald in the comics while the film's version of Luthor depicts him with hair throughout the majority of the film. When speaking about his portrayal of Luthor compared to previous portrayals, Eisenberg said, "When you're doing a movie like this and playing a character that's already been played, the further away it is from those previous incarnations the better", adding, "Because chances are, especially with a guy like Gene Hackman or Kevin Spacey, you're not going to get favorably compared." Eisenberg explained his character's background as having "a core of reality", saying, "[Luthor] has a backstory that's tragic and an emotional inner life that's authentic. That's in the movie. It was my interest in playing the character with a real emotional core, and this writer, Chris Terrio's interest in creating a character that seemed viable in reality." On Luthor's behavior and attitude towards Superman, Eisenberg said, "He is a narcissist of the first order but complicated in that way as well in that he is terribly troubled and competitive and vengeful. He looks at Superman not as somebody to destroy but as genuine threat to humanity."[28] Eisenberg described his role as Lex Luthor as his most advantageous role yet, saying, "In a lot of ways Luthor is more of a stretch than any character you would do in an independent movie, which is normally the place you stretch. So in that way it was not at all compromised. If anything it was the best, most advantageous role I've ever been given. The opportunity to do an interesting character on a movie of that scale is incredibly rare."[29] Eisenberg describes a theme in the film, saying "It raises the question of how one man can have so much power. These are the kind of things that we talk about authoritarian states. They're addressing geopolitics in this movie and not in a way that's pretentious or esoteric".[30]
Clark's adoptive mother.[21] On her role as Superman's mother, Lane stated, "I always said if I had a son that would be the ultimate test. Raise a good man — there's something noble about that." When asked on her experience working with Zack Snyder on Batman v Superman, Lane said she was impressed by Snyder's imagination and added, "Who gets offered the opportunity to bring such things to the screen for millions of people? That's tremendous. It's an honor and a burden, and I can't imagine shouldering that load."[31] On Martha Kent's support for her son Superman, Lane stated, "I think that she's reminding him he does have a choice", further explaining, "He doesn't have to be yoked to this destiny. He can actually feel the pleasure of making the choice."[32]
The editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet and Clark and Lois' boss.[21] When asked about reprising his role in the film, Fishburne said, "I was happy to come back to the character. I got really excited when I read it and I saw what was at the center at the movie, which was this huge fight between these two titans."[33] On Perry White's role in the film, Fishburne said, "He's dealing with the fact that his medium looks like it's going the way of the dinosaurs, so that's a difficult position to be in", adding, the "good news is he's got a great reporter like Lois Lane and a new great reporter like Clark Kent who are interested and hungry to do the job."[34] Describing Perry White's working relationship with Lois Lane, Fisburne stated, "She's my favorite child and she's my problem child."[35] On his experience filming and his character's interactions, Fishburne said, "It was really just a couple of days in the beginning with Lois, Clark, and Perry. And the rest was just me with Lois, figuring out how to get her where she needed to go. But the relationships I think were established really well in Man of Steel."[36]
Bruce Wayne's butler, chief of security and trusted confidant.[26][37] Irons described his take on Alfred Pennyworth as being "quite a different Alfred than we have seen so far. Zack Snyder had very clear views about what he wanted. I would just say he's more hands-on perhaps than just a butler."[38] When asked what makes his Alfred different than from previous portrayals, Irons said, "Zack Snyder, the director, wanted to create a completely different Alfred. So I felt I didn't have to carry any baggage from previous ones. It's sort of a reincarnation, if you'd like. I had a feeling I was creating my own Alfred, more of a man who can actually do anything if he has to."[39] According to Irons, Alfred is "a bit of a grease monkey, and he's very involved in the decisions Bruce makes."[40] On how Alfred would be in the film, Irons stated, "He has an interesting history. He's a very competent man. He's the sort of man I think anyone would like to be married to. He can sort of do everything: change light bulbs, blow up bridges if he has to."[41]
United States Senator from Kentucky who heads the political argument on Superman and his actions.[42][43] Describing her experience on being in the film, Hunter said, "It was really fun to be part of a giant, massive piece of machinery, headed up by Zack Snyder, who is thoroughly at home in that uber mega environment. Most people would have a nervous breakdown with that kind of pressure, and he's enthralled."[44] When asked how she got involved in the film, Hunter said, "Zack asked me. He came to me with an offer, and I was like, 'Yeah, that would be fun.' It's fun to mix it up. I have scenes with Superman. He looks phenomenal. And to see Ben [Affleck, who plays Batman] and Henry [Cavill, who plays Superman] together is quite formidable."[45] On acting in a superhero film, Hunter stated, "Being somebody who's like a theater geek that I am, I can just go right back to Aeschylus and Euripides and Sophocles. They were writing about gods and goddesses versus humans, and how gods could distort, pervert or help people get what they want. And so, for me, this didn't feel foreign because that was the translation that it went through for me; that was my filter."[46] On her character's views on Superman, Hunter stated, "What is her problem with Superman? That absolute power corrupts absolutely. When power is acting autonomously, unilaterally with no legislation, with no boundaries, with no law, except for the ones that he deems in his own mind, that can be detrimental."[46] Describing her character, Hunter said, "I thought that, you know, as a senator, she brought her female-ness to the job in how she listened, in her curiosity, in her ability to evaluate", adding, "[It] felt very female to me."[47]
An immortal Amazonian warrior that is the crown princess of Themyscira.[49][50] Wonder Woman's suit is made out of chrome-painted polyurethane, and she uses her hand wraps and sword harnesses.[16] Gadot described her character as having "many strengths and powers, but at the end of the day, she's a woman with a lot of emotional intelligence".[51] Describing Wonder Woman's compassion, Gadot stated, "It's all her heart—that's her strength. I think women are amazing for being able to show what they feel. I admire women who do." On her thoughts on portraying Wonder Woman, Gadot said, "You know Wonder Woman; she's amazing. I love everything that she represents and everything that she stands for. She's all about love and compassion and truth and justice and equality, and she's a whole lot of woman. For me, it was important that people can relate to her." Describing her role in the film, Gadot said, "In this movie you get a glimpse of who Wonder Woman is — she's being introduced into this DC Comics universe. But we were talking about her strengths, her façade, her attitude. Why is she acting the way she is?" On Wonder Woman's battle scene with Doomsday, Gadot stated, "I remember after we did that take, Zack came to me and he said, 'Did you just have a smirk?' I said, 'Yeah.' And he asked, 'Why? I think I like it, but why?' 'Well, if he's gonna mess with her, then she's gonna mess with him. And she knows she's gonna win.' At the end of the day, Wonder Woman is a peace seeker. But when fight arrives, she can fight. She's a warrior and she enjoys the adrenaline of the fight."[52] Gadot also stated "I don't want people to think she is perfect", further explaining, "She can be naughty."[53] On Gadot's casting as Wonder Woman, Snyder said "Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role."[54] Gadot underwent a diet and training regimen, practiced different martial arts and gained 17 pounds of muscle for the role.[55][56] Gadot was previously offered the role as Faora Hu-Ul in Man of Steel but declined because she was pregnant at that time; this allowed her to be later cast as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[57]
An amputee employee of Wayne Enterprises who is crippled during the destruction of Metropolis and holds Superman responsible.[58] McNairy describes his character as a type of character who he has never played before and stated "getting into that thing was definitely something I had to wrap my head around emotionally in order to play that character."[59] When asked if the character was being kept as a surprise until the film's release, McNairy said "I don't know if I'd call it necessarily a surprise. I would say it's a character that lends itself to the story being told."[60] On his thoughts on being in the film, McNairy stated "Playing in that world with comic books you've been reading since you were a kid, being someone in that world, it's awesome."[61]
A Russian terrorist who works for Luthor.[42] On casting Mulvey in the film, Zack Snyder stated, "I just had the good fortune to work with Callan on 300: Rise of an Empire and was very impressed with his incredible talent," further adding, "He's a fantastic actor and I'm looking forward to having the chance to work with him again."[62] On working with Snyder again, Mulvey stated "Zack is such a visionary, so I know it's going to be an amazing project. Talent as a director aside, people really love working for Zack and being on his sets, which says it all really."[63]
Assistant to Luthor.[64] On her role in the film, Okamoto said "It was so fascinating. I didn't have a big speaking role. I used to act as sassy girls all the time as a model so that wasn't so challenging to me. But I enjoyed it so much, being mean. I tried to be mean."[65] On Okamoto's casting, Snyder said "Tao is a striking presence whose beauty is aptly rivaled by her amazing abilities as an actress. I'm really excited to have her joining us on this adventure."[66]

Additionally, Robin Atkin Downes performed the motion-capture and voice work for Doomsday, although never named in the film, a monstrous creature created by Kryptonian technology after Luthor mixes his own blood with General Zod's DNA.[9] The role was kept under such heavy secrecy that Downes did not know who he was playing until the second trailer was released.[67] On his role, Downes stated that he was proud to be part of the film and expressed his admiration in helping bring Doomsday to life in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[68] When asked why Doomsday was chosen to be in the film, Zack Snyder stated "To go up against heroes like Batman and Superman, we wanted to introduce one of the DC Universe's most iconic and powerful villains", further explaining, "He is essentially an unstoppable force. He poses a real threat to the world within the film."[69] Snyder has confirmed Doomsday will return in the DCEU, stating "Well, you have Doomsday, right? He doesn't just crawl out of the ground. He has his own mythology, right? So that has to be explored."[70] Downes has previously provided voice roles for various DC animated films and shows as well as DC video games.[68]Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan portray Thomas and Martha Wayne, Bruce Wayne's deceased parents,[71][72]Patrick Wilson portrays the President of the United States in a voice role, and Michael Cassidy portrays Jimmy Olsen, a CIA agent.[73] Reprising their roles from Man of Steel are Harry Lennix as Secretary Calvin Swanwick,[74] Christina Wren as Major Carrie Farris,[75]Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent,[76] Rebecca Buller as Jenny Jurwich, Chad Krowchuk as Glen Woodburn, and Carla Gugino as the Kryptonian A.I. Kelor.[77] The corpse of General Zod also appears in the film in a crucial role; however, Michael Shannon did not film any scenes for the film and the corpse was created using the physique of fitness model Greg Plitt and a head-shot of Shannon.[78] Mark Edward Taylor portrays Jack O'Dwyer, an executive of Wayne Enterprises.[79][80]

Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, and Ray Fisher appear as Barry Allen / Flash, Arthur Curry / Aquaman, and Victor Stone / Cyborg respectively in brief appearances, which led to their inclusion in the Justice League film.[81][82][83][84][85][86][87][88]Joe Morton appears in a role as Silas Stone, Victor's father.[89] U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy makes a cameo appearance as Senator Purrington, whilst U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow also makes a cameo as the Governor of New Jersey.[90][91]Neil deGrasse Tyson, Soledad O'Brien, Anderson Cooper, Nancy Grace and Charlie Rose appear as themselves. Jena Malone was cast as S.T.A.R. Labs scientist Jenet Klyburn, but her scenes were cut from the theatrical release, along with Man of Steel characters Coburn Goss as Father Leone and Joseph Cranford as Pete Ross; they were restored for the Ultimate Edition home media release.[92] Talk show host Jon Stewart has a cameo in the extended cut. To further establish the interconnection between the films of the shared universe, Chris Pine appears on Diana Prince's photo as Steve Trevor, which he reprised in Wonder Woman.[93][94][95]

Production[edit]

Further information: Batman in film § Batman vs. Superman, and Superman in film § Batman vs. Superman (2001–2002)

Development[edit]

"... after Man of Steel finished and we started talking about what would be in the next movie, I started subtly mentioning that it would be cool if he faced Batman... You're in a story meeting talking about, like, who should [Superman] fight if he fought this giant alien threat Zod who was basically his equal physically, from his planet, fighting on our turf... You know, who to fight next?... But I'm not gonna say at all that when I took the job to do Man of Steel that I did it in a subversive way to get to Batman. I really believe that only after contemplating who could face [Superman] did Batman come into the picture."

— Snyder, on how Batman came into the film[96]

In June 2013, Warner Bros. announced that director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer would return for a Man of Steel sequel,[97] with the studio considering the release for the film in 2015.[98] The following month, Snyder confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con International that the sequel to Man of Steel would feature Superman and Batman meeting for the first time on film. Goyer and Snyder would co-write the story, with Goyer authoring the script,[21][99] and Christopher Nolan involved in an advisory role as executive producer.[100] According to Snyder, the film would take inspiration from the comic The Dark Knight Returns.[101]

In November 2013, Snyder clarified his film would not be based upon the aforementioned graphic novel. "If you were going to do that, you would need a different Superman. We're bringing Batman into the universe that now this Superman lives in."[102]Batman v Superman marks the first appearance of Wonder Woman in a live-action, theatrical film,[48] which Warner Bros. had been developing as far back as 1996.[103] In December 2013, Chris Terrio was hired to rewrite the script, due to Goyer's commitments to other projects.[104] Further commenting on the influences, Terrio revealed in an article published by the Wall Street Journal that the movie would draw inspiration from Nolan's Batman trilogy, Italian semiotician Umberto Eco's 1972 essay "The Myth of Superman", and the W.H. Auden poem "Musée des Beaux Arts" which contrasts the quotidian details of normal people's lives with the epic struggles of mythological figures. According to him, "In superhero stories, Batman is Pluto, god of the underworld, and Superman is Apollo, god of the sky. That began to be really interesting to me — that their conflict is not just due to manipulation, but their very existence."[4]The Joker and the Riddler were supposed to appear in the film, but Snyder ultimately decided to cut them from the final script.[105]

The film's official title, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was revealed in May 2014.[106] Snyder stated that having the "v" in the title instead of "vs." was a way "to keep it from being a straight 'versus' movie, even in the most subtle way".[107] Henry Cavill later stated, "I wouldn't call this a Superman sequel [...] This is Batman versus Superman. It's a separate entity altogether. It's introducing the Batman character and expanding upon the universe, which was kicked off by Man of Steel."[108]Forbes noted that although the film originated as a sequel to Man of Steel, it was "revamped into a backdoor pilot for Justice League and/or an eventual stand-alone Batman movie."[109] As part of a settlement with his heirs, this is the first Batman production that lists Bill Finger as a co-creator.[110]

Casting[edit]

Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Harry Lennix and Christina Wren reprise their roles from Man of Steel.[74][75][111] Joining the cast are Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth,[111]Ray Fisher as Cyborg,[86]Jason Momoa as Aquaman,[84][85] and Tao Okamoto as Luthor's assistant Mercy Graves.[64]Scoot McNairy and Callan Mulvey were cast as Wallace Keefe and Anatoli Knyazev, while Jena Malone was cast as Jenet Klyburn, a character that was featured exclusively in the Ultimate Edition home media release.[42][58][93][112]

Dawn of Justice is Affleck's second film as a comic book superhero; he played Daredevil in the 2003 film of the same name,[113] and was initially reluctant to accept playing Batman, citing that he "felt [he] didn't fit the traditional mold. But once Zack [Snyder] showed [him] the concept, and that it would be both different from the great movies that Chris[topher Nolan] and Christian [Bale] made, but still in keeping with tradition, [he] was excited."[114] Affleck previously stated in 2006 that Daredevil had "inoculated [him] from ever playing another superhero".[115]

Snyder cast an older Batman to be a layered juxtaposition against a younger Superman; while "bear[ing] the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain[ing] the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne."[10] Nolan was involved with the casting of Affleck and he was the first actor Snyder approached for the part.[100] The director had also discussed the part with Josh Brolin.[116] Bale admitted he wanted to play Batman again after The Dark Knight Rises,[117] though he stated that his Batman does not belong in any other film and he was never approached by Warner Bros. to play the role again.[118][119]

On casting Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Snyder offered, "Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions".[26]Bryan Cranston was considered for the role before Eisenberg was cast.[120] Producer Charles Roven revealed that this incarnation of Wonder Woman would use the character's origins from 2011's The New 52 reboot of the DC continuity, wherein the character would be a demigoddess, and the daughter of Zeus. This deviates from the character's original origins, where she was "a clay figure brought to life by the gods".[50]Olga Kurylenko was considered for the role of Wonder Woman before Gadot was cast.[121]Dawn of Justice is Ray Fisher's feature film debut,[122] and the first live-action film to feature Cyborg,[123] whose role will become more significant in future DC Comics films.[124] It is also the live-action theatrical debut of Aquaman.[125]

The casting of Affleck, Gadot, and Eisenberg was criticized. Affleck's casting caused significant backlash from comic book fans, with multiple online petitions demanding his removal from the role; unlike previous Batman actors, he was not considered intimidating enough for the role by the protesters.[126] Conversely, PopMatters journalist J.C. Maçek III supported Affleck's casting as Batman, stating, "Way back when the news was new I wrote a PopMatters article defending the choice of Ben Affleck as Batman. I'll let that one speak for itself."[127][128] Via social media, fans criticized Gadot's small frame in contrast to Wonder Woman's warrior-like build in the comics.[129] Responding to this, Gadot stated that she had been participating in various training regimens to achieve a body that stays closer to the source material.[130] Fans also criticized Eisenberg's casting, feeling that the then-30-year-old was too young for the role, and not physically imposing enough.[131] Upon the film's release, both Affleck and Gadot received considerable praise for their performances, despite the overall negative reception of the film itself.[132][133]

Design[edit]

Michael Wilkinson reprised his duties as costume designer. He updated the Superman suit from Man of Steel so that it "feels fresh and right for this installment of Zack Snyder's comic-book universe".[134] The first Batsuit featured in the film is influenced by The Dark Knight Returns;[135] unlike the suits seen in previous live-action Batman films, it is made of cloth instead of armor and is a cast of the physique of fitness model Rossano Rea.[136][137] An image of the Wonder Woman costume was revealed at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, in which the costume desaturates the red, blue, and gold colors that make up the costume of most versions of the character.[138]

A second Batsuit was also unveiled at Comic-Con, and unlike the first, it is armored.[139] Aquaman's look in this film shows him "tattooed in Maori-like patterns", and wearing a suit "decked out in shades of gold, black and silver armor".[140] According to the Warner Bros. Studios lot, the next generation Batmobile combined inspiration from both the sleek, streamlined design of classic Batmobiles and the high-suspension, military build from the more recent Tumbler from The Dark Knight Trilogy. Designed by production designer Patrick Tatopoulos, the Batmobile is about 20 feet long and 12 feet wide.[141] The glasses Cavill wears as Clark Kent are made by British spectacle designer Tom Davies.[142]

Filming[edit]

In September 2013, Larry Fong joined the crew as cinematographer, having previously worked with Zack Snyder on 300, Watchmen, and Sucker Punch.[143] Initial filming commenced on October 19, 2013, at East Los Angeles College, to shoot an American football game between Gotham City University and rival Metropolis State University.[144] At the end of the month, construction began on the Kent farm seen in Man of Steel for the film.[145]Principal photography involving the main cast of the film began on May 19, 2014, in Detroit, Michigan,[146] with scenes featuring Gal Gadot as Diana Prince being filmed early on May 16.[147] While filming in Michigan, the production spent a total of $199 million in the state.[2] The scene of a state funeral at the Arlington National Cemetery, a tribute by the United States Army,[148] was actually filmed in Michigan as well, using green screen.[149]

Additional filming began in Chicago, Illinois in November 2014.[150] Other locations included the Michigan Motion Picture Studios, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, Yorkville, Illinois, and New Mexico.[151][152][153] Sequences of the film, including a scene depicting the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents, were filmed using IMAX cameras.[154] The planned shoot in Morocco was shifted to New Mexico due to incidents related to the 2014 Ebola outbreak.[155] Principal photography wrapped on December 5, 2014.[156]

Music and soundtrack[edit]

Main article: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (soundtrack)

Hans Zimmer composed the film score,[157] emphasizing a challenge not to reuse the themes he established with the Batman character from Christopher Nolan's trilogy.[158]Junkie XL, who provided additional music in Man of Steel, also returned for this film, helping to compose the theme for Batman.[159] Originally, Zimmer enlisted Junkie XL to compose the Batman material, with Zimmer planning to focus solely on the Superman side of the score, but the final Batman theme was written by both composers as a collaboration.[160] Zimmer noted that he had significant trouble in finding a new angle from which to tell the story and after the release of the film, Zimmer announced that he was retired from superhero films.[161] The soundtrack album of the film was released on March 18, 2016 by WaterTower Music.[162]

Songs featured in the film include: "Kang Ling (An Instrument Made From A Human Thigh Bone)", a traditional song performed by the monks of the Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery, Dharamshala; "Night and Day" and "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" written by Cole Porter and performed by Richard Cheese; "Shostakovich: Waltz II (Jazz Suite No. 2)" written by Dmitri Shostakovich[163][164] performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Chailly; and "Amazing Grace" arranged and performed by John Allan[165] and again performed by the Canadian Scottish Regiment Pipes and Drums and the United States Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band.[166][167]

Release[edit]

In November 2013, Warner Bros. announced that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice would be released on July 17, 2015. In January 2014, however, the studio announced that it was delayed from its original release date of July 17, 2015, and moved to May 6, 2016, in order to give the filmmakers "time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story."[168] The release date was moved once again in August 2014 from May 6, 2016, to March 25, 2016, with a Warner Bros. insider saying the studio was "not flinching" in regards to the previous opening date being on the same day as Marvel Studios' Captain America: Civil War, but instead stating that March 2016 was a "fantastic corridor" for them.[169] According to sources obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. considered the possibility of having a 70mm release for the film, which was partially shot in the 65mm IMAX format.[170]

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice premiered at Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City on March 19, 2016,[171] followed by a New York City premiere on March 20 at Radio City Music Hall.[172] Following the Brussels attacks, Warner Bros. originally cancelled the red carpet of the London premiere, but decided to carry on with the premiere for the fans.[173] The film was released in the United States and the United Kingdom on March 25 in 3D.[169][174] It opened simultaneously in North America, China and Japan, the world's three largest film markets, as well as additional international territories,[175] with the exception of Poland, where theaters do not open on Good Friday.[3] The film debuted simultaneously across 30,000 screens in nearly every major foreign territory across 61 markets, including China, with domestic open across roughly 4,242 locations of which 3,500 theaters (85%) were in 3D, 390 IMAX screens, 470 PLF locations, 150 D-Box theaters and ten 70 mm prints.[176][177][178]

Marketing[edit]

An estimated $165 million marketing effort helped promote Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[179] At the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International, Snyder introduced the film's first footage intended to be exclusive to the event.[180] A teaser trailer was scheduled to be screened in selected cinemas on April 20, 2015.[181] However, on April 16, the trailer leaked online,[182] and within a few hours Snyder officially released the trailer to Twitter.[183] At the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International, Snyder and the cast attended to present an initial trailer of the film. The trailer was, unlike the teaser, which received mixed response, positively received by attendees, who gave the trailer a standing ovation.[184] Mark Hughes of Forbes said the trailers "both set the stage for a story about the world's distrust and fear of Superman, Batman's rage at Superman and intention to duke it out with the Man of Steel, and Wonder Woman's participation in a big fight featuring the 'Trinity.'"[185]

Warner Bros. Consumer Products partnered-up with "a powerhouse slate of global licensees for a broad, multi-category licensing and merchandising program", including Mattel, Lego, Rubies, Funko, Thinkway Toys, Hot Toys, Junkfood, Bioworld, Pez, Seiko, Converse and among many other licensees to sell merchandise related to the film.[186][187]Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was also a licensee for the film, offering a special edition Jeep Renegade in exchange for a near-exclusive product placement deal; aside from Bruce Wayne's Aston Martin, all vehicles in the film were either from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, or Iveco.[188]Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Cross Fire, an original companion novel tied to the film, telling a tie-in story set before the events of the movie, was published by Scholastic Corporation.[189]

A five-issue comic-book prelude exploring what happened in the weeks and months leading up to the events of the film was released as a tie-in with Dr Pepper's character-branded bottles.[190] Also, there are a series of four minicomics found in Batman v Superman-branded General Mills cereals. Additionally, those who purchased Batman v Superman-themed Doritos Family Fun Mix at Walmart received the comic book prequel Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Upstairs/Downstairs.[191]Rocksteady Studios released a downloadable content for the video game Batman: Arkham Knight that featured the Batmobile and Batsuit from the film.[192]

The third trailer debuted on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on December 3, 2015. It received positive responses,[193][194][195] with Scott Mendelson of Forbes calling the trailer a "Saturday morning cartoon nerd's wildest dreams."[196] Molly Driscoll of CS Monitor stated that it looks like the film "will continue the trend of adapting comic book stories as timely tales."[197] Graeme McMillan of The Hollywood Reporter noted that based on the trailer's content, the film might be the anti-Civil War, referring to Marvel's Captain America: Civil War as "Superman and Batman complete the comic book trope by overcoming their differences to fight a common foe, alongside a third hero, who saves them both — that feels the most fresh, especially in light of the Civil War trailer. While that ended with a showdown between three heroes, this trailer moves beyond that to show three heroes standing united."[198] However, it was criticized for revealing that,[199] with Rob Tornoe of NewsWorks pointing out that this trailer was targeting the "broadest audience" rather than just fans, as studios try to "maximize a film's opening day box office."[200]

The Batman and Superman costumes from the film at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con

Superman: Birthright is a twelve-issue comic booklimited series published by DC Comics in 2003 and 2004, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Leinil Francis Yu.[1]

Originally, this series was meant to be a non-canon version of Superman, showcasing his origin and updating him for the 21st century. Soon after, it was decided to make the series canon, and thus it replaced John Byrne'sThe Man of Steel series as Superman's canonical origin story.[2] This editorial position lasted until the 2005–2006 Infinite Crisiscrossover event, and the release of the new origin story; Superman: Secret Origin in 2009.

Plot[edit]

The story begins with a retelling of the destruction of planet Krypton. Jor-El laments the fact that his world accomplished "miracles no one will remember" while he is busy preparing infant Kal-El's voyage. Kal-El's shuttle pod fires into space moments before the planet's destruction. Jor-El and his wife Lara regret that they will never know if Kal-El survives the journey.

Time winds forward to present day West Africa, where an ethnic conflict between the fictional Ghuri and Turaaba clans is claiming lives (this conflict is very reminiscent of the Hutu and Tutsi wars in Rwanda). Clark Kent, a freelance reporter in his early twenties, arrives to cover the conflict, and to meet with the Ghuri political leader and human rights activist, Kobe Asuru.

They first meet as Kent is forced to protect Asuru from an assassination attempt. Kent deflects a hail of bullets away from Asuru, but in the chaos and confusion of the firefight, is able to deflect suspicion of his superhuman powers. Over the course of several days, Clark and Asuru establish a rapport and become friends. Asuru emphasizes the Ghuri tradition of honoring ancestors through wearing symbolic clothing and working for human rights. While Clark and Kobe establish a quick connection, Kobe Asuru's sister Abena is suspicious of Kent's motives and at one point accuses him of cultural imperialism and acting in a condescending "white savior" manner to the Ghuri.

Alone in the African savannahs, Clark tries out his developing superpowers, flying ahead of birds and animals and playfully wrestling a lion.

Later, Clark interviews the Turaaba politician Rep. Kebile who dislikes Kobe and oppresses Ghuri rights. While protecting Abena Asuru from a thrown bomb, Clark hears a commotion and flies back to the rally (carrying Abena Asuru on his back) where Kobe has already been fatally stabbed. Enraged, Clark grabs the fleeing assassin and throws him into a wall, demanding to know who hired him. The terrified killer raises his arm—pointing directly at Kebile, who is incidentally surrounded by media. Kebile is besieged with questions and is later forced to resign. A final Africa scene reveals Abena Asuru, who has assumed her party's leadership role after her brother's death, now knows Clark is a super-powerful being, but she promises to remain silent.

Clark returns to Smallville, determined to learn more about his alien heritage. He tells his mother Martha that he wants to unearth his spaceship. He and Martha use the data tablet that came with Clark from Krypton to examine holographic records of Kryptonian history. Inspired by Kobe Asuru's stories of honoring tradition, Clark realizes the S insignia had great significance on Krypton and seemed to symbolize the Kryptonians' hope for a better tomorrow. He refuses to wear a mask while taking flight. Martha's solution is that only Clark's human half requires a disguise. She dresses him in professional, nerdy attire that stands apart from his usual look and gives him prescription glasses to wear. She promises they will refract light so no one will notice his startling blue eyes (which would otherwise give him away). Clark learns to slouch and act nervous and clumsy, to distance his civilian identity from tall, self-assertive Superman.

He travels to Metropolis to apply for a position at the Daily Planet. When he arrives, he finds robotic anti-terrorist helicopters criss-crossing the sky. Upon reaching the Planet building, he sees the publisher, Mr. Galloway, berating Jimmy Olsen for fetching him the wrong yogurt. Lois Lane appears and yells at Galloway for humiliating Jimmy. When Galloway storms off, Clark introduces himself to Lois and is immediately smitten with her. He finally meets Perry White for a one-on-one interview, but it does not go well. Moments later, a miniature robo-chopper hovering outside goes berserk and opens fire on the Daily Planet building. When no one is looking, Clark ducks out to change into his costume and flies off to repel the helicopters. When he rips a radio transmitter off one of the wrecked units, he uses his powers to trace the signal to the incomplete skyscraper in the distance: LexCorp.

Clark bursts into Lex Luthor's office, just as Luthor is speaking to someone via radio. He tells Luthor he saw the signals and knows he sabotaged the Army choppers. Luthor is amused that he thinks anyone could possibly convict him on such evidence and demands to know who designed the technology that allows him to fly. At that moment, LexCorp's armored security barges in, with Lois and Jimmy right behind them. When Lois asks what Lex's connection is to Metropolis' new hero, Lex pretends to endorse the caped figure, saying, "He is a friend to Lex Luthor". The next day, the Daily Planet webpage dubs the hero "SUPERMAN". Luthor is ready with a cover story: a disgruntled Army employee was behind the attacks. LexCorp has stepped in to produce the robotic helicopters now that the Army's model has been recalled. But the LexCorp connection is an unprecedented black mark on Luthor's sterling reputation; Perry decides that Clark has earned his shot.

Lois and Clark visit Luthor at the massive towers that form his corporate headquarters. Luthor greets them both, but when Clark extends his hand as if they are old acquaintances, Luthor coldly dismisses it, claiming to have never met him. He presses a button on the console in his desk and the room transforms into a holographic theater. Luthor asserts that he is first and foremost an astrobiologist, and describes many lucrative LexCorp inventions that were designed solely on his theories of possible space life. He then pulls up images of Superman and makes an official statement; Superman is not of this Earth. Clark reports Luthor's findings to Perry, who orders he write it up. Clark protests, knowing that the revelation that Superman is an alien will drive people away and points out that they have no real proof. Perry insists, saying Luthor is the leading authority on this matter, which is proof enough. When Superman now goes out to rescue those in need, people are too fearful to even go near him.

While sulking in an empty restaurant, Clark hears a commotion as a suspension bridge across town inexplicably blows up. Superman speeds off to reconnect the bridge cables, but another explosion rocks the bridge. In his office, Lex Luthor watches the disaster and triggers bombs along the support column, making it appear that Superman is the one tearing it down. As the finishing touch, a mechanical drone in the water aims kryptonite radiation at Superman, causing him to collapse.

Realizing he has made an enemy in Lex Luthor, Clark looks back on his childhood in Smallville when a young Lex arrived in town. Lex was a quiet genius, but his intelligence alienated him from everyone around him. Lex's parents were unloving and ruthlessly trained him to become the next Einstein. Clark muses that "they were underestimating him". Despite his contemptuous exterior, Lex warmed to Clark when he discovered they shared a common interest: astronomy. Unfortunately, Lex was so "fundamentally disturbed" that he started spending increasing amounts of time locked in his makeshift laboratory next to the Luthor mansion. During one of these periods of seclusion, Clark visited Lex, who allowed Clark inside to unveil his new invention, a sub-space communicator. Lex hoped that with a piece of meteor rock (Kryptonite), he would finally be able to open a wormhole into visions from an alien civilization. While aware of the radiation emanating from the rock, Lex assured Clark that it was perfectly harmless. Clark, stricken with sudden pain, staggered back looking ghastly; he was experiencing his first bout of Kryptonite poisoning. Lex misread Clark's expression and believed he had become afraid of him like everyone else. Dismissing him from the lab and commencing with his experiment, he managed to open a portal into events and times of the planet Krypton for a moment, but his generator overloaded and exploded, engulfing the house in flames. Lex, his hair burned off, staggered through the flames to uncover the piece of Kryptonite that was integral to his machine. He neglected his father, who was buried beneath rubble and burning alive. In the present day, Lex begins piecing together instruments to recreate his failed experiment from long ago in the bowels of the research facility, hoping to retrieve the alien visions he saw before. As expected, the Kryptonite creates a wormhole and Luthor is greeted with a wealth of visions from the history of Krypton.

The next day, the newspapers blare warnings of an upcoming alien invasion, showing photos of alien warships bearing Superman's insignia. At the Daily Planet, Clark hears that the footage has been analyzed by experts and has been confirmed to be un-doctored and 100% legitimate. Having seen footage from the data tablet that was in his spacecraft, Clark knows Luthor must have used similar methods to uncover these images. Soon afterward, Metropolis is besieged by giant, monstrous-looking warships that bear Superman's logo on their face, including a giant mechanical spider. They begin killing indiscriminately. Troops empty out of the vehicles in Kryptonian garb, all bearing red capes and S-shields with their faces covered. Just as Superman is about to intervene, Luthor uses the spires of his skyscraper to project a citywide "web" of Kryptonite radiation from which Superman cannot hide. When the city police start firing on the vulnerable Superman, he assumes his Clark guise and meets up with Lois, who comments on how sick he looks. Upon returning to the newsroom, which is in chaos, Perry yells at Clark for coming to the office without a story on this crisis. Stripped of his powers and faced with imminent dismissal, Clark leaves a notice of resignation on his desk. When Lois catches him leaving, she calls him a "spineless worm" and then storms off.

The "alien commander", a man dressed in armor, calls himself "Van-Gar" and declares war on Earth. Clark, his confidence restored by Lois' sermon, dons his costume and charges Van-Gar's troops before they can open fire on a crowd of innocents. When Superman labels him and his men "actors", Van-Gar beats downs the weakened hero and whispers to him they're "not in it for the money". They believe Luthor is right and that Superman will turn on those weaker than him. Meanwhile, Lois sneaks back into the LexCorp building, which Luthor ordered abandoned. She sees Luthor giving orders to his men over his tele-screen and grabs his priceless shard of the Kryptonite with the "S" engraving out of its energy core, disabling the entire machine. However, she fails to notice Luthor, who emerges from the shadows behind her. With the Kryptonite removed, most of the robots attacking Metropolis are revealed as holograms and vanish, along with the Kryptonite web over the city.

Back at LexCorp, Luthor grabs the Kryptonite crystal from Lois' hands and demands she tell him how much she knows. When Lois tells him everyone will know about his hoax, Lex drags Lois to a wall, where he uses a remote control to open out to a balcony. He reveals that he placed a Kryptonite bomb inside the suit of every "Kryptonian" soldier and that they are primed to go off and take out Superman in the blast. However, his men don't know about the bombs, since Luthor "sort of left that part out of the hiring brief." He then shoves Lois off the skyscraper balcony. Superman is still down below and grappling with Van-Gar, whose armor suddenly starts glowing green. Superman soars up with Van-Gar in his grip, ripping the bomb off moments before it explodes. In the instant before Lois hits the ground, Superman rushes up and catches her just in time.

Superman returns to LexCorp, where Luthor is feverishly trying to reconnect with the static images to Krypton, this time to establish direct contact. Luthor begins requesting to be sent weapons before the machine overloads in his face, embedding several Kryptonite pellets in his face. Visions of the imminent destruction of Krypton swirl on the view screen; back on Krypton, many years in the past, one of the Kryptonians points to the sparring adversaries and says he can see them on his viewing screen, and he wonders if they are real. A desperate Luthor screams out "No! I am real!... We can save each other!" Jor-El and Lara appear seconds after they have launched baby Kal-El and say goodbye to one another. An awestruck Superman realizes that is his name: Kal-El. Luthor attacks Superman from behind, telling him he's doing him a favor, it's agony to be alone in the world. Superman tells Luthor he wasn’t always alone, he made his choice, and punches him several times across the jaw. A bloodied Luthor lies defeated as Superman runs up and calls out something into the void; but the transmission is cut off too soon, and Superman thinks his parents never heard what he was trying to tell them. In the aftermath, Luthor is scarred from the Kryptonite shrapnel that sprayed in his face, and is facing indictment. Clark Kent writes the article that ruins Luthor's reputation, although Luthor has already assembled his lawyers and will probably beat the charges. "Van-Gar" was actually the leader of a group of extremist survivalists. Clark and Lois resolve their differences, with Lois revealing she intercepted Clark's resignation letter, knowing he would not quit. Clark takes the opportunity to try to ask her out and is instantly rebuffed. He jokingly asks if Lois would like him better if he could "leap tall buildings in a single bound". Lois, stuttering, asks Clark if he thinks she has a "lame crush" on Superman, implying that she does.

During the last moments of Krypton, Jor-El and Lara look at a viewing screen with a static image crackling from it. A figure, barely visible and wearing the S-shield on his chest, says, "Mother... Father... I made it!" Realizing that their efforts were successful, Jor-El and Lara kiss as the building collapses around them.

Behind the scenes[edit]

The project was given to Mark Waid with the original request to give readers an origin to redefine Superman for the 21st century, a series that anyone on Earth can pick up and get in on the Superman story. To Waid, this was something he had wanted to do since seeing Superman: The Movie, considering this series as the Mark Waid Superman story because he wanted to have everything he ever loved of the character in it.[3]

By comparison to other origin retellings, Waid wanted some differences. His Superman is not infallible, as Waid argues that it is not Superman but Clark Kent that readers should relate to. Doing this made Waid avoid a "Clark-is-dull" trap as showing a Clark who gets chewed by the boss, whose dry cleaning gets lost, who longs to connect and be accepted, help make the character a touchstone. Another difference was having Africa in the origin which, as Waid has it, helps establish Kal-El/Clark as a citizen of the world, laying important ground and making him a journalist and not a typist.[3]

Changes in continuity[edit]

  • In this series, Clark has the power to see the "aura" that surrounds all living things and fades away at the moment of death, something not shown in the Man of Steel mini-series. Clark can literally "see" when a person or animal dies, an experience that he finds profoundly disturbing. Because of this, Clark refuses to take a life, making him a vegetarian. This was influenced by a passage in Elliot S! Maggin's novel Miracle Monday. This "Soul Vision" created controversy among some segments of fandom, and as of now, its status in continuity has yet to be explored. However, in other comics he informs both Lex Luthor (in Lex Luthor: Man of Steel) and Superboy that he can see their souls.
  • The Superman: Birthright miniseries reinstated several Silver Age elements of Superman, one of which is Kandor. After the mini-series was completed, its place in canon was shown in Superman (vol. 2) #200. Superman was thrown out of time and saw both versions of his origin: the Man of Steel and Birthright limited series. Entering the universe of the Birthright limited series, he experienced temporary amnesia. Afterward, he discovered/remembered the new history:
    • The city had been shrunken and was kept in the Fortress of Solitude.
    • When shrunken in Kandor, Superman again has no more powers in the Red Sun Krypton-like environment.
    • The city is once again from Krypton (but populated by non-Kryptonian aliens as well as native Kryptonians).
    • The citizens also recall Brainiac stealing their city from Krypton, and not the wizard Tolos.
    • It was not explained how Tolos got a hold of the "bottle city" from Brainiac. It had been speculated and later confirmed by Geoff Johns that Brainiac encountered the wizard and he stole one of the bottle cities from Brainiac's collection.
    • Apparently, a hundred years have passed in the city (while the world outside has aged normally). Because of this, Superman (or the ideal of him) had grown to god-like status and is worshiped in Kandor. The city had been shrunken and was kept in the Fortress of Solitude.
    • The planet Krypton, described in the Byrne Man of Steel series as being 50 light years from Earth, was now said to have been located in the Andromeda Galaxy.
  • Among alterations to Superman's power spectrum, Superman's enhanced vision was strengthened, capable of detecting x-rays (hence his ability to see through walls), as well as "seeing" the transmissions and detection radii of satellites, enabling him to fly between and around their fields of vision to travel incognito. He has been able to see radio waves as early as the 1980s, as he traced his enemy the Toyman's radio broadcast in Alan Moore's Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? two-part story. This is primarily a case of showing how Superman deals with today's ever advancing communications technology.
  • As in the Silver Age comics, Superman uses his eidetic memory combined with his super-speed to learn and comprehend vast amounts of knowledge.
  • Franklin Stern, a character from post-Crisis continuity, is no longer publisher of the Daily Planet. That position belongs to Mr. Galloway, a rotund, obnoxious man.
  • Lex Luthor is stated several times during the story to be a leading astrobiologist. In pre-Crisis continuity, Luthor was a brilliant scientist with no specialty, then later an industrialist in post-Crisis continuity. Birthright's version of Luthor is a combination of both versions of the character, and though his knowledge as a general scientist is apparently unmatched (he is referred to as the smartest man in the world), astrobiology is his particular forte.
  • Lex Luthor is shown to have spent some time in Smallville, Superman's hometown. He attended high school with Clark Kent for at least a few months, befriending him in the process. This is a departure from the previous continuity, where he was born and raised in Metropolis' notorious Suicide Slum neighborhood. Though the Birthright limited series is no longer canon, it is known that Clark met Lex at some point early on before he became Superman, having been referenced in the 52 maxiseries (which was co-written by Birthright author Mark Waid). Also, Luthor now admits to being from Smallville, while in Birthright, he refused to admit he had ever been to the town and had erased all evidence of his being there.

Removal[edit]

The Infinite Crisis storyline altered Superman's history so that Birthright and John Byrne's The Man of Steel mini-series were removed as Superman's canonical origin. This was reinforced by then-monthly Superman writer Kurt Busiek's statement that the post-Infinite Crisis Superman's origin had yet to be established.[4] The new origin was later revealed in the Superman: Secret Origin mini-series.[5]

In other media[edit]

Elements of Superman: Birthright can be found in the film Man of Steel (2013), starring Henry Cavill as the titular character. Clark Kent's discovery that the "S" symbol was a symbol for "hope" on Krypton is inspired by Birthright.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  1. ^Waid, Mark (w), Yu, Leinil Francis (p), Alanguilan, Gerry (i). Superman: Birthright (2003 - 2004), New York: DC Comics
  2. ^Singh, Arune (11 March 2004). "Super-Stars (Part 1): Mark Waid's "Birthright", the Official Origin". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  3. ^ abSuperman.nu, Mark Waid and Gail Simone talk Superman: Birthright.
  4. ^Bailey, Neal (April 2007). "Byrne is Dead... Long Live... YOD!". Superman Homepage. 
  5. ^Superman: Secret Origin (September 2009 - February 2010)

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