Greatest Movie Series
Franchises of All Time
"Superman" Films
(DC Extended Universe)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Superman Films (Original)
Superman (1978) | Superman II (1980) | Superman III (1983) | Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

Superman Films (Homage Sequel)
Superman Returns (2006)

DC Extended Universe
Man of Steel (2013) | Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

'DC Extended Universe' Superman Films
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
d. Zack Snyder, 151 minutes

Film Plot Summary

The film opened, during the title credits, with Bruce Wayne's (Ben Affleck) voice-over during a horrifying dream-memory/nightmare: "There was a time above. A time before. There were perfect things, diamond absolutes. How things fall. Things on Earth. And what fallen." A flashback revisited the night that young nine year-old Bruce's (Brandon Spink) parents, Martha (Lauren Cohan) and Thomas Wayne (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, were gunned down on a street in 1981 (the movie marquee closeby was showing Excalibur (1981)).

Intercut with the night of the cold-blooded murder was another traumatic event for young Bruce. As he was running through the woods on the Wayne Manor property away from his parents' funeral, he fell into an abandoned underground drywell where he found himself assaulted by screeching, swirling bats (the future location of the BatCave). On the sidewalk, Bruce screamed as he witnessed the killings by psychotic thief Joe Chill, who then fled the scene. It provided the motivation for young Bruce to one day become Batman. The narration continued about the bats: "In the dream, they took me to the light. A beautiful lie."


The next sequence was set in Metropolis, where billionaire Bruce Wayne had flown in a company helicopter, to witness the destructive battle in Metropolis between Superman (Henry Cavill) and the Kryptonians, led by General Zod (Michael Shannon) who had invaded Earth. The battle in the year 2013 was later known as THE BLACK ZERO EVENT. Afterwards, as he sped toward Metropolis' Wayne Financial Building, Bruce phoned ahead to order its evacuation. Debris from crumbling skyscrapers narrowly missed his vehicle. After stopping and running toward the Wayne Financial Building, he saw General Zod's huge starship the Black Zero positioned above Metropolis' center as it attempted to terraform the Earth and recreate it as a new planet, to resemble the old planet of Krypton. [See previous film for details about Zod's mission.]

Bruce was horrified to watch as Zod's uncontrollable heat vision-ray sliced through the Wayne Building and caused its collapse, killing Jack O' Dwyer (Hugh Maguire) as he said a final prayer - he was Bruce's colleague and the Wayne Financial director. In the rubble and dusty ruins, he found surviving but partially-paralyzed worker Wallace Keefe (Scoot McNairy) with crushed legs trapped under a fallen beam. Wayne also saved and comforted a young newly-orphaned girl whose mother had perished in the half-destroyed Wayne Financial building. He looked up and angrily watched as both Zod and Superman flew by while battling each other amidst fiery chunks of debris. Superman had single-handedly stopped the apocalyptic terraforming from destroying any more of Metropolis, and the superhero ultimately killed General Zod (by snapping his neck), although there were many human casualties and massive property damage.

Eighteen months later "Somewhere Near the Indian Ocean," two island divers discovered a large rock underwater. They lassoed it and brought the heavy object to the surface, where it was broken open with a small pickaxe. Inside, the crystal glowed a bright green color - it was the color of Krypton, an amazing discovery (and partial evidence of the terraforming efforts of Zod) that would bring problems in the near future.

Meanwhile, in civil war-torn Nairomi in Africa, two hooded journalists were dragged from a jeep and brought into the heavily-guarded company of black African warlord General Amajagh (Sammi Rotibi). The two were Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and her newspaper photographer Jimmy Olsen (Michael Cassidy), who sought an interview with the warlord. Olsen's camera was forcibly opened by the warlord's Russian bodyguard Anatoli Knyazev (Callan Mulvey) and his film reel was found to contain a CIA tracking device. As he was about to be shot to death, Olsen claimed that Lois was innocent and knew nothing about his CIA connections or the device. Afterwards, Lois was seized as a hostage by Amajagh, while Anatoli's gang fled on motorcycles (after ordered by an unknown individual to kill all of the warlord's henchmen and destroy the compound). The "sky cracked open" as Superman flew into the building where Lois was held, killed Amajagh, and swiftly saved her.

Later back in the US, a Congressional Senate committee hearing was headed by the junior Kentucky Democratic Senator June Finch (Holly Hunter) to investigate Superman's controversial and destructive rescue of Lois in Africa. Public perception of the Nairomi massacre was that Superman had caused the many murders and destruction. According to Nairomian witness Kahina Ziri (Wunmi Mosaku), after Superman's involvement, the government mercilessly attacked the villagers. [Note: Her testimony was later revealed to be false about how her parents were killed in the incident.] Senator Finch was worried about Superman's vigilantism and his lack of accountability: "The world has been so caught up with what Superman can do, that no one has asked what he should do. Let the record show that this committee holds him responsible."

In Lois Lane's walk-up apartment in Metropolis after returning home, she ran bathwater. Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) (Superman's alias) appeared in the bathroom and they spoke about the Congressional hearings - he defended his actions: "The woman I love could have been blown up or shot...I didn't kill those men if that's what they think." Lois was worried: "I just don't know if it's possible...for you to love me and be you."

Meanwhile in Gotham City, two rookie police officers, Officer Mazzuccheli (Kiff VandenHeuvel) and Officer Rucka (Mason Heidger) responded to a distress call at the port. A group of frightened, sex-trafficked Asian women were found as captives, claiming that they had been saved by "a devil." Nearby, their low-level sex-trafficker Cesar Santos (Sebastian Sozzi) was found tied up and the subject of brutal interrogation and torture by vigilante Batman (who was perched on the wall and swiftly escaped). Santos had been branded with a bat-symbol on his bare chest. [Note: The "bat-brand" was equivalent to a death sentence among Gotham City prison inmates.]

The next day at his headquarters, Bruce Wayne/Batman reported to his loyal butler Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) about his main upper-level adversary - a weapons and human trafficker, a Russian named Anatoli Knyazev (Callan Mulvey) who was based in Gotham. He spoke about how Knyazev probably had information regarding his target - known only as the "White Portuguese" - about to bring a "dirty bomb" into Gotham City. Bruce/Batman acknowledged to Alfred that he was considered a covert "criminal" for seeking justice on his own. On the news reports and in papers, Batman ("The Gotham Bat") was criticized for the "shockingly brutal" treatment of Cesar Santos ("The second criminal found baring the bat brand"), and for his "dark brand of justice."

In Metropolis, Senator Finch (with subordinate Senator Barrows (Dennis North)) met with LexCorp Industries' young, long-haired, billionaire business mogul Alexander "Lex" Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who had inherited the company from his similarly-named father. They discussed a small green rock fragment, allegedly a piece from the 'Kryptonian World Engine' used for terraforming. LexCorp scientist Emmet Vale (Ralph Lister) described it: "The fragment is of a radioactive Xeno-mineral." When the corpse of deceased Kryptonian General Zod was exposed to the rock, there was profound biodegradation and decay of his Kryptonian cells. Luthor added: "We concluded the mineral could be weaponized, if a large enough sample was found." Then, Luthor unveiled a much larger piece of Kryptonite discovered by divers in the Indian Ocean - at the site of Zod's failed terraforming attempt under the water, when he also besieged Metropolis.

At this point, Luthor attempted to persuade the unconvinced Senator Finch to grant him an import license in order to recover more Kryptonite from the crash site. Luthor's goal was to weaponize the mineral as a "deterrent" ("a silver bullet to keep in reserve to use against the Kryptonians"), including its use against the controversial and destructive figure of Superman and other possible threatening "metahumans" of his kind ("more likely than not, these exceptional beings live among us"). He stressed menacingly: "You don't have to use the silver bullet, but if you forge one, well, then we don't have to depend upon the kindness of monsters."

In Metropolis' commemorative Heroes Park to honor Superman for saving the Earth, wheelchaired double-amputee Wallace Keefe, the paralyzed employee who had been rescued by Bruce Wayne in the rubble of the Wayne Financial building in the film's opening, was apprehended by police officers for defacing the tall, beloved Superman monument with red spray paint ("FALSE GOD"). It was reported as a "hate crime." When arrested for vandalism and a felony charge of making terrorist threats, he cried out: "I work for Bruce Wayne." After Daily Planet Editor in Chief Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) heard of the incident nearby, he declared the paper's next headline to his assistant Jenny Jurwich (Rebecca Buller): "End of Love Affair With Man In the Sky?" Reporter Clark Kent looked up at White with a disturbed look.

Back at LexCorp, Senator Finch's subordinate Senator Barrows (without Finch's approval) gave permission to Luthor for his demands: access to the wreck of Zod's crashed Kryptonian scout ship in the Indian Ocean (at the site of General Zod's World Engine), and to Zod's corpse (and DNA): "the complete remains of the dead alien for testing."

After attending an underground fight club in Gotham, Bruce Wayne met with the heavily-tattooed Russian Anatoli Knyazev at a bar, who had lost his fight bet. Following a very brief conversation, Bruce looked down at his cell phone that had successfully cloned Knyazev's phone.

In Perry White's Metropolis office at The Daily Planet, Clark expressed his concern about the vigilantism of Batman ("a one-man reign of terror"), and the importance of covering the story and exposing the super-hero, although White was only interested in Gotham's football game against Metropolis. Lois burst into the editorial meeting with a bullet from the Nairomi "firefight" in Africa. The crime lab concluded, she claimed: "Not sold anywhere commercially in the world, even black market...So who gave prototype military rounds to Tuareg fighters in the Sahara?" She was green-lighted to fly to Washington, DC to investigate further.

Later at Luthor's home, Senator June Finch told Luthor that she had blocked his request for an import license to import the mineral Kryptonite. He mocked her: "The redcapes are coming..." When he asked if he could call her June, she retorted that she wouldn't be fooled by his good intentions: "You can call me whatever you like. Take a bucket of piss and call it Granny's Peach Tea. Take a weapon of assassination and call it deterrence. You won't fool a fly or me. I'm not gonna drink it." Luthor again stressed the danger of the devil-like Superman coming from the sky.

In a brief nightmarish vignette, Bruce delivered flowers to the mausoleum/grave site of his parents on the grounds of his mansion, who had been gunned down in 1981. He imagined seeing blood dripping from the stone wall before a bat-like creature burst through the wall and attacked him.

In Washington, DC, Lois Lane ambushed the US Secretary of Defense Calvin Swanwick (Harry Lennix) in a men's washroom - he had been avoiding her phone-calls. She asked: "Is the US providing experimental military arms to rebels in Africa?" As proof, she held up the prototype military-grade bullet fired in the "Superman incident." Swanwick was angered by her line of questioning, considering it a conspiracy theory: "Superman acted like some rogue combatant to rescue her, and people died. Don't invent a conspiracy theory to put back his halo. Or yours."

Bruce Wayne spoke further to Alfred Pennyworth about his search for 'The White Portuguese.' He had already interrogated six individuals and had no new information - was 'The White Portuguese' only a phantasm? The cloning of Russian Anatoli's phone led to suspicious connections to Alexander ("Lex") Luthor. Alfred sarcastically asked: "You think Lex Luthor is the 'White Portuguese'? I can't see that he needs the income from imported arms." Nonetheless, Bruce intended to break into Luthor's house costumed as Batman. Alfred reminded him that he wouldn't have to - he had already been invited as Wayne Enterprises' CEO in Gotham City to attend a fundraiser on November 1st, to raise funds for the Metropolis Public Library.

Other attendees at Luthor's Metropolis philanthropist event included Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent and mysterious antiques dealer Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) - the curator of the Louvre Museum in Paris. Bruce left the proceedings and was guided through an earpiece by Alfred (using remote sensing equipment) to enter a lower area containing LexCorp's mainframe computer. (Note: Bruce was unaware that Clark's/Superman's super-hearing ability had sensed Alfred's voice.) While snooping, Wayne attached a transfer drive onto the mainframe to transfer and extract encrypted information. He was prevented from remaining in the area when interrupted by Luthor's loyal, right-hand personal assistant Mercy Graves (Tao Okamoto) who politely accosted him.

Upstairs, Clark suspiciously approached Bruce to ask for an interview with an opening question and other unapologetic comments about Batman: "What's your position on the bat vigilante in Gotham?...Civil liberties are being trampled on in your city. Good people are living in fear...He thinks he's above the law." Bruce responded by also being critical of the Daily Planet's hypocritical praise of the superhero, and Superman's actual threat to humanity if he suddenly went rogue. Clark overheard Alfred's secret earpiece message that the seven-minute transfer of data had finished. When Bruce went to retrieve the drive, he discovered it had been stolen - possibly by the mysterious Diana whom he saw hurriedly exiting through the building to a sports car. Meanwhile, Clark/Superman watched a TV report of a Day of the Dead celebration marred by a factory fire in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico that threatened a young girl, and he proceeded to change and immediately fly to rescue her.

A montage of TV reports and commentators spoke about the "SUPERMAN QUESTION" - the powerful, messianic Savior character who had appeared on Earth and had become controversial for intervening in human's lives - this was considered a major "paradigm shift." Some mentioned the dangers of "following people with great power down paths that led to huge human monstrosities." Astrophysicist and cosmologist Neil deGrasse Tyson (Himself) noted comparisons to Copernicus' theories and Darwinian evolution, and how man's primacy on Earth was now challenged: "And now we learn that we're not even special in the entire universe because there is Superman." On the Charlie Rose (Himself) Show, Senator Finch was critical of Superman's lack of constraints: "I'm not saying he shouldn't act. I'm saying he shouldn't act unilaterally."

Following his incarceration for public vandalism at Superman's Heroes Park, the embittered Keefe was released on bail from prison by Luthor through his assistant Mercy. Keefe was delivered to Luthor's mansion, where he was first bribed with a motorized wheelchair. Luthor urged him to testify against Superman in Senator Finch's committee hearings on the validity of his actions. During a 3 pm appointment with Finch in her office, he stated: "He made me half a man. Let me face him."

Perry White was annoyed with employee Clark for not reporting on either the football game or Luthor's Friends of the Metropolis Library fundraiser. He derided Clark for only pursuing "the god-damn Gotham bat thing...Nobody cares about Clark Kent taking on the Batman!"

Later in the exhibit area of the Gotham City Museum of Antiquities, Bruce accused Diana of the theft of his drive at the fundraiser: "The other night, you took something that doesn't belong to you. Stealing's not polite." She quipped: "Is it stealing if you steal from another thief?" They both realized that their common enemy was Lex Luthor. She claimed that she had only "borrowed" the drive, because Luthor had a photograph that belonged to her. Diana added that she couldn't acquire the photo from the drive, because it was impenetrable due to military-grade encryption - and that she had deposited the drive back in the glove compartment of Bruce's car.

In the Batcave, as Bruce slowly decrypted the drive, he fell asleep and had an apocalyptic vision/dream of a dystopian Earthly future during a period known as the Injustice Wars. The battles were fought between Superman's Regime and Batman's Insurgency. An aging, dust-covered Batman appeared from an underground bunker, and with binoculars viewed his Insurgency truck convoy approaching toward him in the distance. After they arrived, he asked if they had retrieved the Kryptonite rock he had asked for (to defeat the tyrannical Superman) : "Did you get it?" A LEXCORP box was opened to reveal the Kryptonite rock, but it was actually a trap and ambush. As Batman was held at gunpoint by his own lieutenant (an undercover Regime agent), his Insurgency followers were helplessly gunned down. He singlehandedly fought off most of the Insurgents, but was eventually overwhelmed, restrained and captured, as flying Parademons also invaded the area.

During the nightmare of an alternate future, Batman awoke and found himself imprisoned in a bunker by Superman's troops - his upraised arms were chained up above him. A dark and malevolent-looking Superman arrived, and used his laser-heat vision to kill the other remaining, imprisoned resistance fighters nearby. Standing face to face, he then pulled off Batman's cowl to unmask him. He expressed how grief-stricken he was over the death of Lois Lane, and how everything had been taken from him: "She was my world. And you took her from me." Suddenly, Superman reached into Bruce's chest and ripped out his heart.

Although he was snapped out of his dream-vision, Bruce reappeared in another brief dream. Superhero Flash (Ezra Miller) with superhuman speed, a time traveler from the future who arrived in a sparking energy portal, spoke to him with a portentous warning about Lois Lane's crucial role: "Listen to me now! It's Lois! It's Lois Lane! She's the key!" But then the Flash realized he had arrived too soon: "Am I too soon? DAMN! I'm too soon!" He then brought a new warning and directive about the impending threat of Superman: "You're right about him! You've always been right about him! Fear him! Fear him! Find us, Bruce! You have to find us!" Bruce woke up from his second dream as the drive finished decrypting.

At his desk at the Daily Planet, Clark received a letter with a Gotham Free Press newspaper clipping of Batman's Torture and Branding of the Human Sex Trafficker. He became enraged after viewing Polaroid photos of the corpse of Cesar Santos, marked with the words: "Judge," "Jury," "Executioner," and "Justice?" [Note: Luthor was orchestrating the viewpoint that the Batman should be treated as a criminal.]

Bruce searched on the decrypted drive for the term "White Portuguese" - and surprisingly learned that it was a ship (not a person) scheduled to deliver Kryptonite to Lex Luthor. He told Alfred about his findings. The ship was due to dock at Gotham City, not with a "dirty bomb," but with a weapon - the Kryptonite rock found in the Indian Ocean three months earlier ("A mineral capable of weakening Kryptonian cells - the first sample big enough to mean something"). Bruce's intentions were to steal the rock fragment from Luthor, not just to keep it from him or to destroy it, but to weaponize it in his own war against Superman - to kill him:

Bruce: That son of a bitch brought the war to us two years ago. Jesus, Alfred. Count the dead. Thousands of people. What's next? Millions? He has the power to wipe out the entire human race and if we believe there's even a 1% chance that he is our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty. And we have to destroy him.
Alfred: But, he is not our enemy.
Bruce (cynically and determinedly): Not today. Twenty years in Gotham, Alfred. We've seen what promises are worth. How many good guys are left. How many stayed that way.

Returning to Washington, DC, Lois continued to press Secretary of Defense Calvin Swanwick on a rainy night, to determine the origins of the bullet recovered from the warlord's camp: "If you think Superman is a murderer, then throw it away. But, I don't believe you think that."

At the Gotham port where the White Portuguese docked, Batman was perched high above as Knyazev (with his henchmen) coordinated the loading of a wooden LexCorp crate (with the Kryptonite rock inside) into a freight truck. Batman fired and implanted a transponder tracking device onto the back of truck. He then attacked the truck convoy in his Batmobile and was able to kill many of LexCorp's henchmen during a frantic car chase. Superman suddenly interrupted the Dark Knight's pursuit and caused the Batmobile to crash. The caped superhero approached the burning car, tore the doors off, and threatened that the Bat crusade was dead, and that Batman should cease his activities: "Next time they shine your light in the sky, don't go to it. The Bat is dead. Bury it. Consider this mercy." Bruce/Batman asked: "Tell me. Do you bleed? (Superman flew off) You will." Upon his return to the Batcave, Bruce learned - through his transponder - that the truck had arrived at LexCorp's Research Park.

Before the US Congress' hearings to be held by Senator Finch, she conducted a press conference to invite and summon Superman to testify the following day at the US Capitol, and to explain his various acts of vigilantism. She announced that the superhero must explain the validity of his actions: "The world needs to know what happened in that desert. And to know what he stands for. How far will he take his power? Does he act by our will or by his own?"

In the next scene, Clark returned home to Smallville to visit his mother Martha Kent (Diane Lane), a small rural farmer, where she advised him: "I never wanted this world to have you. Be their hero, Clark. Be their monument. Be their angel. Be anything they need you to be. Or be none of it. You don't owe this world a thing. You never did."

During a further discussion with Secretary of Defense Swanwick, Lois was told: "C.I. [The CIA] thinks the desert was a setup. Somebody wanted Superman to look guilty." According to classified information, the metal bullet's manufacturer was identified as made by a private company - LexCorp Industries. He also specified that Luthor had placed "private security contractors at the desert compound" to ambush and frame Superman. But Swanwick wouldn't agree to "go on record" and publically testify.

Just before Finch's Senate hearing was to commence, Luthor showed up to condescendingly berate the Senator: "I'm just here to tell my story. That I was willing to finance a Kryptonian deterrent, but a certain junior Senator from Kentucky decided to block it. Yes, the Chair of the Committee on Superman is soft on security." While watching the proceedings on TV, Bruce asked his financial assistant if former Wayne Financial employee Wallace Keefe, a double amputee, was receiving his monthly Victims' Fund checks. Wayne discovered that Wallace had been rejecting all payments with hateful return messages written in red ink on the checks.

Despite media speculation about Superman's participation, the superhero flew to the US Capitol and arrived to testify and answer questions. As she began to speak, Senator Finch was startled when she noticed an ominous jar of Granny's Peach Tea (urine) on her desk - a present from Luthor who was absent from his hearing seat. At that moment, a bomb secretly placed by Luthor inside Keefe's wheelchair detonated. The massive blast killed everyone in the vicinity, including Luthor's assistant Mercy Graves, and Senators Finch and Barrows. Only the invulnerable Superman survived. The bombing was presumably and malevolently orchestrated by Luthor, although news reports speculated that the suspected bomber was Wallace Keefe - but in any case, Superman would be held responsible.

[Afterwards in her DC hotel room, Superman admitted to Lois that he didn't see the bomb in Keefe's lead-lined wheelchair. He blamed himself for not looking. He also claimed that the whole idea of "Superman" had never been real even in the first place, with it only existing as "the dream of a farmer from Kansas." Although Lois encouraged him to remain as a symbol of hope for humanity, and pointed to the S symbol on his chest, he flew off and went into self-imposed exile.]

Incensed and enraged by the explosion, later that day, Bruce/Batman broke into the heavily-guarded LexCorp's facilities in Metropolis, injured and killed a number of security guards (who defended themselves - numerous bullet cartridges on the floor attested to their efforts to shoot and kill Batman), and stole the Kryptonite rock from its container. In its place, he left his calling card - a Batarang. Returning from DC, Luthor sped on his motorcycle into his LexCorp's facilities and looked around at the severe damage as a result of Batman's theft.

Although Luthor had successfully eliminated some of his opponents and Superman had vanished, he no longer had the Kryptonite to use as a weapon. With the five fingerprints of Zod he had earlier extracted from Zod's corpse, he gained access into the Fortress of Solitude (and its Genesis Chamber) in Heroes Park. He was able to activate Zod's dormant scout starship with Zod's Command Key. A female AI (artificial-intelligence) voice greeted him, and asked: "Would you like to assume command?" When Luthor agreed, he was given access to the starship's Kryptonian archive with information and accumulated knowledge of 100,000 recorded alien worlds. After requesting "Teach me," Luthor learned the contents of the archives.

Meanwhile, Bruce engaged in intense physical workouts in his Batcave to prepare his body to be more powerful for his fight against Superman. He constructed two anti-Superman, Kryptonite-powered weapons (encased in lead to render them not visible), by converting Luthor's stolen Kryptonite rock into (1) a Kryptonite-tipped spearhead with a thick shaft, and (2) three gas grenades (created from left-over dust from the laser-cut spear). And then while accessing Luthor's stolen (and decrypted) disk drive, in a folder marked META_HUMAN, he accidentally came across files on four immortal "metahumans":

  • Wonder Woman (aka Diana Prince) - including recent surveillance photos of Diana in Paris, and an 1918 photograph of her as immortal warrior Wonder Woman in Belgium, serving on a superhero team
  • Flash/Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) - with superhuman speed
  • Aquaman/Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) - an Atlantean warrior with the ability to live underwater
  • Cyborg/Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) - with a cybernetically-enhanced body

Back in the Fortress of Solitude, as part of his diabolical plan to destroy Superman, Luthor dragged General Zod's corpse into the Genesis Chamber. With a knife, he cut his own palm and let the blood drip onto Zod's face, as he lamented: "You flew too close to the sun." The AI voice warned against genetic modification: "Action forbidden. It is been decreed by the Council of Krypton that none will ever again give life to a deformity so hateful to sight and memory. The desecration without name." Luthor responded that the Kryptonian Council had been destroyed on the planet, and was long-gone. He was given permission to proceed with an ancient ritual - the splicing and merging of his own DNA with Zod, in order to re-create a forbidden Kryptonian abomination-creature that he later named Doomsday.

In exile in the faraway snowy and icy region of the Arctic, on a snowy mountain-top, Clark/Superman in civilian clothes trudged up to speak (in a vision) to his adoptive father, Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner), who was constructing a mound with stones. He recalled a childhood incident when he was twelve. During a rainstorm and flood, he heroically saved the Kent farm, but consequently the blocked water wiped out the neighboring Lang farm. He suffered from nightmares about their drowning horses, until he met and married Martha: "She gave me faith that there is good in this world. She was my world." He encouraged Clark and let his son know that he both loved and missed him.

In the abandoned ruins of Wayne Manor, Alfred vainly attempted to persuade Bruce to give up his crusade against Superman: "You know you can't win this. It's suicide." Bruce was firm: "This may be the only thing I do that matters...This is about the future of the world. This is my legacy." He stated that he felt a kinship with his earliest ancestors who were hunters. News commentators continued to report about the mysterious disappearance of Superman following the tragic US Capitol explosion. Shortly later in Gotham, Bruce/Batman, now wearing an Armored BatSuit, was fully armed with Kryptonite weapons and prepared to combat Superman. Atop a building, he pointed the Bat-Signal into the cloudy, stormy sky, as Luthor from his own LexCorp tower watched from across the bay.

Two kidnappings by Luthor's agent Knyazev and his men occurred in rapid succession, to lure and draw Superman back. In Smallville, Martha Kent was seized and in Metropolis, Lois Lane was also abducted. She was flown by helicopter to LexCorp's helipad atop the facility's tower where Luthor awaited her arrival. After telling her: "And I believe the straightest path to Superman is a pretty little road, mmm, called Lois Lane," he pushed her off the edge of the tower.

Superman rescued Lois in mid-air, put her on the ground, kissed her, then returned to the top of the tower to confront Luthor. The crazed megalomaniac predicted that Superman and Batman would battle it out: "Fight night! The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world. God versus man. Day versus night. Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham." To get Superman to fight Batman, Luthor mentioned that his adoptive mother Martha had been kidnapped and held hostage - and displayed pictures of her in captivity to prove it. He delivered an ultimatum: "If you kill the Bat, Martha lives" - otherwise, she would die by fire. He ordered: "To save Martha, bring me the head of the Bat." Superman had only 35 minutes remaining to act - marked by Luthor's kitchen timer.

Meanwhile, CNN reporters were at Heroes Park, where they described strong electrical discharges being emitted from the Fortress of Solitude. As Lois was about to take a taxi to the Daily Planet offices in Metropolis, Superman informed her of his plan to try and reason with Batman: "I have to go to Gotham to convince him to help me...Or he has to die."

Elsewhere, Diana received an email from Bruce - telling her: "Cracked Luthor's drive, found your photograph. But it doesn't belong to IS you. Who are you? Where have you been?" She viewed video surveillance footage of the other two metahumans in action, including the video diary of scientist Dr. Silas Stone (Joe Morton) resuscitating his mutilated son Victor Stone (after a near fatal accident) with the use of a Mother Box (a cube-shaped piece of alien technology) to cybernetically enhance his lost body parts. [Note: in the future, Victor Stone would become the meta-human Cyborg.] Diana did not respond to Bruce's email.

After returning to the Daily Planet offices in Metropolis, Lois requested a helicopter to take her to Gotham, to hopefully stop the conflict between the two superheroes, who were already face-to-face atop the old Gotham City Police Department building marked by the Bat-Signal in the sky. There, Batman in his armored BatSuit had set up pre-emptive weapon traps - sonic cannon emitters, and automated machine guns, but they were quickly blasted by Superman's laser-heat vision. The release of a kryptonite gas grenade was more effective - it detonated in Superman's face and severely weakened his power, but then Superman's strength and powers gradually returned. They knocked each other through various lower floor levels of the building as their colossal battle continued. A second kryptonite gas grenade was fired at Superman, again choking him. Batman smashed a bathroom fixture over the newly-weakened Superman's head, knocking the latter unconscious. He then carried Superman's badly-wounded, limp body to an opening and tossed him several stories downward.

Batman then grabbed his pre-positioned Kryptonite spear, put his BatSuit's boot on Superman's throat, and threatened with the harsh lessons he had learned from his parents:

I bet your parents taught you that you mean something, that you're here for a reason. My parents taught me a different lesson. Dying in the gutter for no reason at all. They taught me the world only makes sense if you force it to. You were never a God. You are never even a man.

He cut across Superman's left cheek with the green-glowing spear, then raised the weapon to kill Superman. The downed Superman strained to say: "You're letting him kill Martha." Batman paused upon hearing his own late mother's name: "What does that mean? Why did you say that name?" Superman added: "Find him. Save Martha." After a mental flashback to the night of his parents' murders, Lois suddenly appeared after arriving by helicopter and rushed to Superman's side to answer the Batman's question: "It's his mother's name!" Shocked to his senses, Batman suddenly realized his folly in fighting Superman, and that the real threat to Martha Kent was Lex Luthor, not Superman - he tossed the spear away.

A dangerous situation remained at Heroes Park, where Zod's scout starship emitted electrical charges and drew power from the city. And there were only 10 minutes remaining to save Martha. Batman promised Superman: "Martha won't die tonight." He learned from Alfred that Russian Knyazev's previously-cloned phone and his thugs had been tracked to an abandoned warehouse near the port of Gotham City. Batman set his BatWing plane on course to the location, to rescue Superman's mother. Lois discarded the Kryptonite spear into a deep pool of water so that it could no longer be used to harm Superman.

Batman was aided by Alfred, who reported through thermal imaging that there were "two dozen hostiles on the third floor," and then took over the BatWing as its remote pilot. Batman was dropped onto the second floor where he broke through the floor underneath the surprised thugs, and disarmed or killed most of them. He fought others to the death in hand-to-hand combat. In the room where Martha was held prisoner, Batman confronted Knyazev, shot the Russian's flamethrower tank, and appeared to incinerate Knyazev (while shielding Martha with his flame-proof cape).

Superman flew to the Fortress of Solitude, just as Luthor's kitchen timer counted down to zero. Superman confronted Luthor, who challenged back that he had a winning back-up contingency plan: "I gave the Bat a fighting chance to do it, but he was not strong enough. So, if man won't kill God, the devil will do it!" There were total blackouts in Metropolis as Luthor's plan came to fruition. He had used Kryptonite technology on Zod's crashed ship to unleash Doomsday -- an "ancient Kryptonian deformity" (a monstrous, bloodthirsty, artificially-bred creature) that hatched or was birthed from its matrix right before Superman's eyes. It growled as it attacked and punched Luthor! A mortal duel or battle then commenced between Superman and the Doomsday creature - they broke out of the Fortress and while fighting destroyed the Superman Statue in Heroes Park. The military's Apache helicopters ordered to fire at the creature atop the LexCorp building's tower (with homage to King Kong) seemed to only make the monster more powerful and energized.

Suddenly, Superman propelled Doomsday into outer space to continue the fight. The President ordered the firing of a nuclear megaton missile at the alien monster, although Secretary of Defense Swanwick expressed his disfavor. The nuclear armament struck Doomsday (as the alien was held and perfectly positioned to be a target by Superman), just as Batman joined forces on the ground in his BatWing. As a flaming projectile, Doomsday fell from space into uninhabited Stryker's Island (east of Metropolis), and appeared to be unaffected - and quickly regenerated its strength. Swanwick worried that the monster was "unkillable" and that they couldn't attack it any further. Outmatched, Batman realized the futility of striking Doomsday: "It's Kryptonian. Only Kryptonite weapons can kill it." He theorized that the Kryptonite spear back in Gotham could defeat the creature.

In space, listless and unmoving from the nuclear blast, Superman gradually revived and resumed the battle, after being reenergized and returned to full power by radiation from the sun. Batman's attempt (with firepower) to lure the creature back to Gotham failed, and his BatWing crashed after being blasted by Doomsday's heat vision. Unexpectedly, Diana Prince - costumed as the Amazonian Wonder Woman - saved Batman by deflecting the creature's super-hot beams of energy directed at him with her wrist bracelets. In tandem, the three superheroes Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman fought together to try and defeat the monster. Meanwhile, Lois Lane raced to retrieve the glowing Kryptonite spear from where she had cast it into a deep pool of water, but her efforts failed and she began to drown. Hearing her distress cries, Superman rescued her, retrieved the spear (although he was temporarily weakened), and returned with it to the colossal fight.

Wonder Woman lassoed Doomsday, to give Batman an opportunity to weaken the monster with the last of the three Kryptonite gas grenades, while Superman impaled the creature in the chest with the Kryptonite spear. However, Superman heroically and sacrificially appeared to be mortally-wounded when also stabbed and exposed to the deadly substance. Lois was devastated when she arrived and saw Superman's lifeless body.

In the aftermath, a number of events occurred in rapid succession:

  • Superman was reported dead in the Daily Planet: "SUPERMAN DEAD - NIGHT OF TERROR MORNING OF LOSS"
  • Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent was also declared "Killed Reporting Gotham Battle"
  • Luthor was admitted to a supermax prison, where his head was shaved bald; he had been "Arrested In Connection With Capitol Bombing"
  • Clark Kent was given a private funeral ceremony (with his corpse in a wooden coffin) in the farm-town of Smallville, attended by Lois, Diana, and Bruce; Martha Kent delivered an envelope sent by Clark to the grieving Lois, who was lying down in Clark's bedroom; inside was a surprise engagement ring
  • In Metropolis, a memorial parade, gun salute and candle-lighting ceremony were held for Superman in Heroes Park - with a flag-draped empty casket (marked with the S symbol)

After the Smallville funeral and burial, Bruce vowed to Diana that they must form a Justice League of meta-humans during Superman's absence: "I've failed him in life. I won't fail him in death. Help me find the others like you...they'll fight. We have to stand together." Diana responded: "A hundred years ago, I walked away from mankind. From a century of horrors. Man made a world where standing together is impossible." But Bruce responded positively: "Men are still good. (voice-over) We fight. We kill. We betray one another. But we can rebuild. We can do better. We will. We have to." Diana added: "The others like me. Why did you say they'll have to fight?" Bruce answered ominously: "Just a feeling."

During Batman's visit to Luthor's prison cell, he warned and threatened: "Whatever you do, wherever you go, I'll be watching you." Luthor resolutely gloated back that there were more threats to come from what he had learned about Kryptonian technology:

But the bell's already been rung. And they've heard it. Out in the dark. Among the stars. Hmm. Ding dong, the God is dead. But a bell cannot be unrung! He's hungry. He's found us. And he's coming! Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding....

As Bruce departed from the Kent family's farm cemetery and Lois dropped dirt onto the top of Clark's coffin, it appeared to start resurrecting from its grave. Very slightly, it levitated upward (with the sound of a heartbeat) - suggesting that Superman was still alive.

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

This superhero adventure/action film, a sequel to Man of Steel (2013) (also directed by Zack Snyder) brought together as a hybrid, two DC Comics characters: Superman and Batman. It was the first feature-length live-action film to bring the two superheroes together. Also, it was the first live-action film to introduce another popular superhero from the DC Universe - Wonder Woman (aka Diana Prince). It was also the first theatrical film to include Barry Allen/The Flash, Arthur Curry/Aquaman & Victor Stone/Cyborg.

This was Ben Affleck's second film as a comic-book hero - he had previously portrayed the title character in Daredevil (2003). His choice to play Batman was initially criticized by fans.

The film's tagline: Who Will Win

The film's plot pitted Superman/Clark Kent against Batman/Bruce Wayne as the red-caped hero battled his long-time nemesis Lex Luthor. The portrayal of Batman seen in The Dark Knight Trilogy was different in this film - therefore it was considered a cinematic reboot of the Dark Knight's character. The film's Batman was influenced mostly by Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns - a 1986 four-issue DC Comics book miniseries that portrayed billionaire Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) returning from retirement (in his mid-50s) to fight crime, and to combat a younger Superman.

It received no Academy Award nominations. Of its seven Golden Raspberry Awards for its worst elements, it acquired four wins: Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor (Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor), Worst Screen Combo (Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Superman), and Worst Prequel, Remake, Ripoff or Sequel. Everyone agreed that the 'scene-stealer' and best talent in the film was Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

With a production budget of $250 million, and box-office gross receipts of $330.4 million (domestic) and $873.6 million (worldwide). After its initial opening, the film experienced a significant drop at the box-office and never recovered.

It received criticism from both reviewers and fans alike for its somber tone, incoherent story with too many strands and unidentified locales and characters, and heavy emphasis on special effects to the detriment of the plot. In response, Warner Bros. in mid-2016 created DC Films in order to give focused responsibility for future DC Comic's film to a dedicated team.

Chronologically, it was the 2nd film in the DC Extended Universe series of films. Of the first five films in the series, it was the 2nd most profitable film, falling behind Wonder Woman (2017).

Jack O' Dwyer
(Hugh Maguire)

Lois Lane
(Amy Adams)

Jimmy Olsen
(Michael Cassidy)

Anatoli Knyazev
(Callan Mulvey)

Superman/Clark Kent
(Henry Cavill)

Senator June Finch
(Holly Hunter)

Bruce Wayne/Batman
(Ben Affleck)

The Armored Bat-Suit

Alfred Pennyworth
(Jeremy Irons)

Senator Barrows
(Dennis North)

Lex Luthor
(Jesse Eisenberg)

Wallace Keefe
(Scoot McNairy)

Perry White
(Laurence Fishburne)

Jenny Jurwich
(Rebecca Buller)

Secretary of Defense Calvin Swanwick
(Harry Lennix)

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
(Gal Gadot)

1918 Photograph of Wonder Woman

Mercy Graves
(Tao Okamoto)

(Ezra Miller)

Martha Kent
(Diane Lane)

Jonathan Kent
(Kevin Costner)

Dr. Silas Stone
(Joe Morton)

Doomsday Monster

Greatest Film Series Franchises - Sections
Series-Introduction - Index to All Films | Series-Box Office

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