‘Batman vs. Superman’ Spoilers Discussion: Darkseid, Justice League and That Ending
If you watched Batman vs. Superman, you probably left with a couple questions. What was going on in that “Knightmare” sequence when Bruce Wayne has a vision of an apocalyptic future with Superman ruling an army, flying Parademons and a massive Omega symbol in what’s left of the Earth? And who was that mysterious figure who appears to Bruce and warns him about someone — “You were right about him!” — while telling him that Lois Lane is “the key?” Is this a dream? A vision? A hallucination? And, WHOA that ending! What does all of this mean and how will it impact the Justice League movie and the future of the DC Cinematic Universe? We’ve got your answers!
In our newest spoiler discussion video above, ScreenCrush Editor-in-Chief Mike Sampson and Film Critic Matt Singer address all the film’s big questions. MAJOR SPOILERS ahead, obviously!
What Is Going On in the Knightmare Scene?
In the early 2nd act of Batman vs. Superman, Bruce Wayne is at his computer attempting to decrypt some computer data he’s stolen from Lex Luthor. The scene abruptly cuts to this “Knightmare” vision. Bruce is prone to nightmares — we’ve seen two already at this point — so it’s unclear whether this is another dream, or a vision sent to him from…well, we’ll get to that later.
But Batman, now dressed in desert gear, looks out onto a ruined wasteland that we’ll assume is Earth because of the crumbling remains of a city skyline on the horizon. There are what appear to be giant alien ships in the sky and explosions all around. In the ground is a massive symbol, the Greek letter Omega. Batman looks out upon the destruction with a pair of binoculars and then meets with an operative who is supposed to be delivering him Kryptonite. But it’s a trap. Batman has been set up by a group of soldier working for Superman (they have the “S” insignia on their sleeve of their uniform). Batman attempts to escape but is overwhelmed by a swarm of flying soldiers who descend on him. Batman is captured and taken to an underground bunker where he is tied up alongside two others. Superman arrives and in the scene you’ve seen in the trailers and TV spots, Superman rips his mask off and with his heat vision, destroys the two others who are tied up next to Batman. As he’s about to do the same to Batman, Bruce snaps awake, still seated as his computer.
His vision is not done, however. Through some sort of wormhole, a mysterious figure appears to him to send him a warning. While it’s never confirmed who that figure is, it appears to be The Flash traveling back from an alternate future. He’s not wearing the traditional Flash costume and doesn’t have the shaggy hair of the Flash we see in Lex Luthor’s files, but coming through a wormhole to warn Bruce Wayne seems like the kind of thing only The Flash could do. His appearance would seem to confirm the existence of the multiverse in the DC Cinematic Universe.
In the DC comics universe, there have existed multiple universes, or The Multiverse, a concept first introduced in 1961 with the addition of a second Earth. More parallel universes followed, allowing for infinite versions of characters and worlds and ways for authors to explain away clashes with continuity. This would allow and explain the reason for the DC movies and TV shows all existing at the same time; the both exist in multiple universes. But what Flash is trying to warn Bruce about is unclear. Nothing he mentions — “You were right about him” and that Lois Lane is the key — seem to come into fruition in this movie, but could be hints about the future. What is Lois Lane the key to? Is Darkseid able to turn Superman to the, ahem, dark side as Batman sees in his vision?
What Are Parademons?
The winged, flying soldiers that descend on Batman are called Parademons in the comics, though they are not mentioned by name in the film. They are, essentially, the Chitauri of Batman vs. Superman. They don’t have much in the way of superpowers or intelligence, but attack in swarms, overwhelming their opponents. They occasionally travel with giant dogs of war called Hounds (though we don’t see them in the movie). What is most interesting about the Parademons is not what they do in this movie, but what it means for the future.
In the comics, Parademons are the “shock troops” of a planet called Apokolips, which exists “somewhere between the physical universe and Hell” and is lorded over by a tyrannical ruler named Darkseid.
Who Is Darkseid?
Think of Darkseid (pronounced “Dark-side”) as like the Thanos of the Justice League movies (in fact, Thanos, created by Marvel after DC and writer-artist Jack Kirby debuted Darkseid in 1970’s Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134, was roughly based on Darkseid). He’s one of the most powerful beings in the DC universe and his strength is matched only by Superman. While that may sound similar to Doomsday, Darkseid is far more intelligent than the monster Lex created at the end of Batman vs. Superman. Darkseid’s main strength are his Omega Beams, powerful energy beams that shoot from both his hands and eyes. The Omega Beams can also resurrect the dead making it very impossible to kill or defeat his armies. Like Apocalypse in the X-Men universe, Darkseid can also increase his physical size. He’s got super strength, super speed, telepathy and telekinesis, and he can fly. So yeah, he’s gonna be a tough guy to beat.
While Darkseid is never mentioned by name in the film, he’s surely the person Lex Luthor is referring to at the end of the film when Batman visits him at the Metropolis supermax prison. “The bell has been rung,” Luthor warns Batman and Darkseid and his minions are coming. But what is the “bell” that called Darkseid to Earth and what does Lex Luthor have to do with it?
Is Superman Really Dead?
This may be the least surprising news of the day, but no, Superman is not dead. How do we know? Well, this movie was called the Dawn of Justice and Justice League starts filming in a few weeks. There’s no Justice League movie without Superman, so as much as Batman vs. Superman can tease the death of Superman, the very last shot of the film — soil rising off the top of Clark Kent’s casket — indicates we’ll see Superman back before very long.
The film’s ending is at least faithful to Doomsday’s first major storyline in the comics, 1992’s The Death of Superman. In the comic, Superman and Doomsday both punch each other so hard, they each succumb to their wounds and die. In the film, Superman and Doomsday each stab each other (Superman with a Kryptonite spear, Doomsday with one of his boney appendages) and each die. In the comics, Superman was reborn when the Last Son of Krypton took his body to the regeneration matrix in the Fortress of Solitude. Considering Superman already appears to be alive in some capacity inside the coffin he was buried in back on Smallville, the movies may not even have to get that elaborate with his resurrection.