Spoiler Tsunami! Thoughts On the Batman vs Superman Ending

Spoiler Tsunami! Thoughts On the Batman vs Superman Ending

[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B01DEBC7Q6]I had no interest in this movie – at all – until the last fifteen minutes. And so, as such, this ENTIRE POST  is 100% spoiler material. Even this entry point spoiler warning is probably riddled with spoilers because you now know there is a spoiler worthy of protection. I didn’t know that going in – so just do yourself a favor and just stop now. Good. Now, let’s drop in an enormous photo to block out the rest of the writing below. Ok? Great.


Now that all the spoil free folks are gone, let me chuckle a bit about my picture. Most people don’t read comic books. And so it’s fairly safe, and heck, Zack Snyder already revealed that photo months ago in the second trailer for the movie. But that? That is Doomsday. And what did Doomsday do that was probably the most famous thing in all of comic book history??

I’ll get to that.

So as I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of these big budget massive comic book movies. They have zero character development and zero in the way of interesting screen writing. But I’ve spoken about this over and over again. But it was DOOMSDAY that made me go watch this movie. Because, it would seem, that all the interesting plot lines? Were written in my childhood. All the rich pathos and the most fascinating intrigues happened directly in the middle of my middle of my middle school and high school years, or better known as my, spend-every-single-penny-that-circles-even-close-to-my orbit-on-comic-books stage. (Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it’s exceedingly accurate.)

The two most significant events in the comic book world for the movie universe has been the Knightfall series (wherein Batman has his back broken by Bane) and Doomsday. Sure, I paid attention to the X-men, (personally preferred the X-factor series, but I think I just tilted on the geek-meter, and you guys are starting to worry about me. Which is fair.) but the story was always the same in my mind… “WE ARE MARGINALIZED!!! FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES AND RIGHTS!” or some such. Batman was the book I identified with… a man (key) – actually an orphan (key-er), avenges (key-est) the death of his parents by fighting scum and villainy throughout Gotham. Bruce Wayne is a recluse, hiding behind his wealth, and the mantel of the bat. Superman was alright, mainly because continued to wander through the Batman universe. But otherwise I wasn’t interested.

Then came the Doomsday plot line.

dark-knight-fallsNow, the reason Doomsday was brought in from a DC universe standpoint was mainly because of flagging sales in the Superman universe. They’d overproduced Superman storylines, and over sold books that weren’t really interesting anymore. Jump forward… 2 years ago, what happened with the most recent Superman movie? It flopped. Well, in my book it did anyway. I can’t remember a single plot line of that movie. Oh, yeah, Superman’s dad died… Kevin Costner. Diane Lane survived. But I only know that because ‘Martha’ is a huge plot line in the Batman vs. Superman movie. But otherwise, it was a waste of celluloid… or 1’s and 0’s? What is it these days? Anyway. (Can one waste a one or a zero? I’m so confused.)

So we have flagging Superman comic book sales. We have flagging Superman movie sales. Maybe if Doomsday worked for years ago, he’ll work for today? Maybe? Could be? So we take the idea from Doomsday, and couple it with one of the greatest comic book series of all time – the Dark Knight Falls, by Frank Miller, and we lash the two ideas together into certifiable movie gold. No? Frank Miller was a demi-god in the comic book world back then. I guess he still is. But he could make gold out of anything. Single handedly.  Basically the story went that Batman ended up killing the Joker while the entire global community watched on. Joker had shot Barbara Gordon in the spine (pre-dating her rise as Oracle, yes, too far down the rabbit hole, I understand) and then Batman rings the Joker’s neck at the end of the book, “The Killing Joke”. Batman escapes capture by the police but Superman sees and hunts Batman down. Which ultimately leads to Batman’s “death”… thu-thump…. thu-thump… thu-thump. Sort of.

batman-marthaBut with Batman vs. Superman the movie, they draw much more from the Superman line of the story with regard to Doomsday, than they do the Batman line. And so we have a fight between Batman and Superman with Bruce fairly pissed that the strong upstart alien gets all the sunshine and spotlight in the comic universe. Bruce steals Lex’s kryptonite, and fashions weapons out of them. Which makes the fight quasi-equal. But at the pinnacle of the battle, Superman begs for Batman to save, “Martha’s” life. MARTHA?!? WHY DID HE SAY MARTHA…. coincidence of their mothers both having the same names. This snaps Bruce into the realization of what he’s done. (Yes, this is a true statement, their mother’s are the same, but really? Anyway. I want to get to Doomsday DANGIT.)

And so just like that, mortal enemies are friends. Wonder Woman arrives. Now we have a trifecta of goodness to fight the inbound Doomsday. But, the ending of a Doomsday battle is sort of Pre-ordained by the cosmos. Right? And if you don’t know Doomsday, trust me… the ending of a Doomsday battle with Superman anyway, is a pre-ordained certainty. Thus my only interest in this movie.


So yeah, Doomsday kills Superman. Actually, Superman’s stupidity kills Superman. In the comics Doomsday, being from the hell of Krypton grew up through a genetic modification program to develop him stronger and stronger into this beast. He fights a ton of supers on his way to Earth (killing Green Lantern actually) and then he fights Superman – the only being able to fight him without the use of technology. And as the two brutes beat the crap out of each other Doomsday gets the upper hand. Superman only barely kills Doomsday, but in so doing, ends up killing himself as well.

The question I have… and the point of this entire post is to think through the storyline and whether or not this is the ending for Superman we all deserve? Throughout the movie Lex refers to Superman as a god. It is an overt – non-subtle – reference to our own desires as a culture to kill God. To pull him out of the sky and impale him on our own expectations and disdain. We want to put him on trial in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We want to ask why He fails us. He is omnipotent, and therefore he is on trial for dropping the ball or possibly making a mistake. He’s on trial because terrible things happen to good people. God is on trial because life is hard… and we need a scapegoat.

And as a society I get that. I understand the quick turn in our movies. I get that we want justice. And we are generally upset with the evil and the chaos in the world. But do we really want justice? Really?

Reminds me of Kafka’s The Trial when Joseph K. gets carted off. No clue as to why. No clue really as to the allegations against him. But he doesn’t put up much of a struggle, because he knows he isn’t exactly innocent either. He sort of continues to ask why he’s on trial, and the judge is asking if K wants an acquittal or a protraction, but an acquittal is actually never heard of, but a protraction is his best option… seeing as though… and you know… say no more, say no more.

Are we really innocent? And is everyone else really guilty? Should we hope for justice and judgement for everyone but ourselves? Or should we realize that justice really isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Maybe we should come to terms with the fact that justice is a painful affair and real justice – complete justice would be an awful awful turn of events.

And in our handwringing at God are we sure we understand what it is that we are doing? Really?


So we come back to Superman. Our God proxy. We have decided that we want to kill God. Reminds me of Nietzsche’s most incompletely quoted quote (and only quote really we know – what about “I AM NOT MAN, I AM DYNAMITE!” or “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” or maybe, “The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” But I digress.) “God is dead”… which should instead be completely quoted as, “God is dead, and we have killed him.” Which is a different story entirely. It tells stories and epochs about our unbounded desire to be freed from God and his “chains”.

And so we killed Superman too.

But with his passing we wonder at what we’ve lost. We wonder if justice really is the logical conclusion – especially for a perfect being. We wonder how well we would stand up to that particular judge and his impartial gaze. I know that I wouldn’t fare well, no I would not fare well at all. And so I declare publicly, I will have nothing to do with this society and it’s search for judgement. I will have nothing to do with this zeitgeist that so savagely seeks for vengeance and war across the seas.

I choose the path of mercy. And grace. In so doing, I must learn to forgive those that hurt me… either inadvertently or intentionally. I choose forgiveness and turn my back on this holier than though justice cry.

And most importantly, I look forward to the return of Superman. Because we know he in fact does return. We know there is no America with out a Superman…

or without a God.