Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is coming out on March 24. The movie draws heavily on comic book lore, but if you don’t have to time to read them, this is what you need to know.
Let’s start with the obvious: why are they fighting? If you recall Man of Steel, the last Superman movie, Superman fought General Zod in Metropolis, eventually killing Zod and destroying a lot of the city in the process. One of those buildings that went down is Wayne Tower, belonging to Bruce Wayne (Batman, but you knew that, right?) A shot of a newspaper in one of the first Batman V Superman trailers shows that dozens of people died when Wayne Tower collapsed, so Bruce Wayne says Superman “has the power to wipe out the entire human race and we have to destroy him.”
You may be wondering why Wayne Tower was destroyed in the first place, considering that traditionally Batman is in Gotham City while Superman is in Metropolis. Wired reported that director Zack Snyder said in 2015 that he changed DC geography and put Metropolis and Gotham City next to each other, so Batman and Superman are practically neighbours.
What do we know about this Batman? This isn’t the same one from the other movies. He’s older, and more brutal when it comes to taking down criminals. He’s angry because people died when Wayne Tower went down.
If Batman fighting Superman sounds familiar, it’s because the film draws heavily on the iconic 1986 Frank Miller comic book The Dark Knight Returns. There, they fight because a corrupt government wants Superman to take out Batman.
We can’t forget Wonder Woman, the third superhero in this movie. Diana Prince is an Amazonian warrior princess who has superhuman strength, can fight as well as Batman or Superman, and has magical items like the Lasso of Truth (that compels people to, well, tell the truth) and the Bracelets of Submission, which she can use to deflect bullets, and apparently create shockwaves, as we see in the trailer.
Gal Gadot, the actress who plays her, actually served in the Israeli army for a few years before she became an actress.
Now let’s quickly talk about the villains. Lex Luthor (played by Jesse Eisenberg) is Superman’s arch-enemy. He’s very rich, very smart, and the trailer shows that he has a block of Kryptonite – Superman’s only weakness. The trailers suggest that he brings back General Zod, who we see in a body bag.
The second trailer introduces a giant grey monster that may or may not be Doomsday, another all-powerful murderous monster created by genetic experiments because comic book movie scientists never learn. Doomsday in the comics can evolve so that whatever defeated him once can’t be used against him again, and he’s famous for having killed Superman. They fight and both die in the process.
But that’s probably not going to happen, because DC needs Superman for more movies.
The title Dawn of Justice is a nod to the Justice League, DC’s all-star team of superheroes. Wonder Woman is one of the founding members; along with the Green Lantern (with the green power ring), The Flash (superhuman speed) and Aquaman (King of Atlantis and ruler of the Sea) who will all get their individual movies. We’re going to get a Justice League movie in 2017 and another one in 2019. We’ll be watching these movies for a while.