I’ll have to give it to DC for trying to establish more in its movies than the regular hero vs. villain outing, well, most of them. However, their recent efforts came out as slightly convoluted on those terms. Coupled with that, DC had the mammoth task of matching up to Marvel’s shared universe, which is already in its third phase and churns out films at least twice the frequency DC does.
It is natural then, having little time to accomplish much, somewhere, some things were left unexplained, some questions left unanswered, some of them deliberately put in there to allow fans to run brazen with speculations and explanations, something that I believe is essential for the comic book fandom to thrive; some of them never made it to the final cut in favour of a tighter script and shorter runtime (looking at you WB!) and some of them were just by products of lazy writing, and were naturally not intended. Here is the list of of DC movie questions that left me wondering long after the lights came on.
1. Friendly Neighbourhood Batman?
In the DCEU’s timeline, Batman has been around for nearly two decades. Naturally, he has been doing a lot of crime fighting, and has obviously attracted more than a few eyeballs. It is a given, that in this fictional world, a lot of influential people would have put in a lot of resources to find who the man behind the mask his, especially his enemies, to gain some sort of leverage over the Bat.
Four movies in, the DCEU does ask us to take a few leaps of faith here and there, since two of the most important and influential people in this shared universe, Lex Luthor (BvS) and Amanda Waller (in a mid-credits scene from Suicide Squad), seem to already know Batman’s secret identity. It is understandable that they would have used their influences and an infinitum of resources at their disposal to get to it, but the films merely gloss over these.
2. Joke’s On You!
2016’s ‘Suicide Squad’ was not a very good film, I think everyone would agree with me here. The characters were handled well and it was an entertaining watch, but in the end turned out to be just okay, owing to its mediocre writing. However, the one thing that bothers me more about the film is how the Joker miraculously survives what is clearly an Apache helicopter crashing into the side of a building and exploding; he does, presumably by jumping from it, like Quinn did moments ago in the scene. What we saw in the final cut was just him appearing unscathed in the end to rescue Harley Quinn from Belle Reve.
There is supposedly a scene, where the Joker is shown surviving the crash with a half burnt face (Buh-Bye!), but unfortunately it was left on the editing floor for reasons better known to WB execs. A gorgeous image of Leto’s Joker from the same sequence just emerged online, making me all heartbroken that it didn’t make it to the final cut. Either way, I guess we’ll never know.
3. “It’s Lois! Lois Lane! She’s the Key!”
‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’ is full of easter eggs and references that either help in setting up DC’s envisioned shared universe, or in establishing its continuity. Probably the mother of all easter eggs came in when, following the excellent Knightmare sequence from the film, Bruce (presumably) has a vision of Flash visiting him through what appears to be a space-time distortion, and tells him Lois Lane is the key to the whole thing, that he had always been right about “him” and encourages Bruce to find “them”. A lot of questions for one scene that is incidentally awfully low on answers. I, for one, could see a lot of ‘huh?’s and head-scratches in the theatre right after the scene ended.
However, those familiar with DC’s lore know that DC may probably be hinting at an ‘Injustice’ style storyline, where Lois Lane is killed, sending Superman into full rampage mode. I guess we will have to wait for Justice League this year to answer that. Till then, it’s all really a lot of fun comic book speculation!
Continuing straight from our previous pointer. Bruce Wayne, after recovering the drive from Diana, begins decrypting it to recover information pertaining to the ‘White Portuguese’. The screen cuts to black, and Bruce has a vision of a seemingly post-apocalyptic desert landscape, with a tyrant Superman and parademons. Immediately after it ends, Bruce wakes up, startled, and sees an apparition of the Flash warning him about Superman. Cut to Bruce waking up, again.
Now for the questions. Is the ‘knightmare’ that Batman has an alternate reality or a plausible future? Could it be just a bad dream, or something else altogether, like a distorted memory from the far future implanted to warn Bruce? Does the Flash actually travel back in time from a horrific future to warn Bruce to change the course of things? Or is it another one of Bruce’s visions? If no, why are the papers still flying around when Bruce finally wakes up? Also, am I asking too many questions? Maybe. A number of fan theories have emerged online and are all amazingly interesting to read, for each of them offers a wildly different interpretation of this highly talked about scene. Vision or not, it was the last nail in the coffin, convincing Batman that he had to stop Superman.
5. “You Let Your Family Die!”
Perhaps one of the best, if not the best story arcs ever published under the DC banner is about Jason Todd’s transformation to the vigilante Red Hood. Given the massive popularity of the character and the emotional pathos associated with him, it then comes as a surprise of sorts that it has never been adapted onto feature film. However, from the looks of it, it seems things are going to change.
One meteor sized easter egg in BvS was the appearance of an encased Robin costume in Batman’s lair while a sulken Bruce Wayne looks at it in regret. The costume has the words “Hahah, Joke’s on you Batman” sprayed onto it in a very Joker-esque way. While it is accepted that Joker IS the man behind Jason Todd’s murder, the DCEU threw another conundrum our way when Harley Quinn was described as an accomplice in the murder of Robin, in her character introduction at the beginning of Suicide Squad. The pressing questions here then are: Does Jason Todd have a larger role in the DCEU? Will he reappear as the Red Hood? Or was it simply there to add more depth to Snyder’s troubled take on the character and add to the Batman mythos? A little patience I believe, and our raging questions will be answered with subsequent movies. Till then, speculations ahoy!
Another one from ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’. One of the major problems I have with BvS is the way they chose to handle Lex Luthor’s character. Sure, they knew it was a gamble in the first place, parts of which did pay off, but in the end, I couldn’t help but believe that absolute character motivation was missing even though Snyder gave him a LOT to deal with. Lex first appears to outright hate Superman, then appears to have a problem with Superman being in a position of absolute power owing to his abilities, dabbles in daddy issues, and then turns into a complete megalomaniac.
One of the key scenes in the film that allowed him to execute his sinister plan was when he gains access to the Genesis Chamber of the crashed Kryptonian ship, where he asks Kryptonian Siri to feed him knowledge from a hundred thousand different worlds. While in there, he learns about how he can metamorphose Zod to create Doomsday, you know, just in case. Still understandable. How and why then does he end up summoning Steppenwolf, who is seen in possession of three motherboxes? Why does he say, “He’s hungry, and he’s coming!” (I am assuming Darkseid) while he is being incarcerated? How did his motivation here change from the abovementioned to total annihilation? Too many questions with not a lot of answers! And, I like the movie too much to simply attribute this to bad writing. I hope Snyder and co. prove me wrong on this one.
7. Where are the Metahumans?
Don’t get me wrong. A Suicide Squad movie was needed! Not sure if the one we got was. The movie was fun and all, but we all know story wasn’t its strongest pursuit. Once the lights came on, I seemed to be fixated upon a question that left me baffled. Amanda Waller has a plan in place for recruiting top incarcerated villains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for reduced prison sentences, owing to their disposability. While the threat is clearly not black ops level, bordering on apocalyptic, the Squad is recruited and save the day in the end, eventhough it may have seemed highly unlikely. Now the stinging question: Where are the Metahumans? We are aware by this point in time, that the metahuman thesis is true, and also that Amanda Waller had information on them in place. The world lost Superman, but there are others willing to help! (The Flash, Wonder Woman, maybe Batman too.) Conspicuously though, they seem missing from the action, content in catching criminals while the criminals save the world. Remember the animated movie, ‘Batman: Assault on Arkham’? That seemed more like a mission for the squad!
I might as well go ahead and name this article ‘the ten biggest unanswered mysteries from BvS’. It’s true, the movie is full of them! For the many startling scenes this movie has, this one had me completely off guard. While visiting the Wayne crypt in the grounds of Wayne Manor, Bruce pays his respects to his deceased parents, when suddenly he sees blood oozing out of one of the gravestones. When he proceeds to examine it, the stone cracks open and a bat like creature emerges from it to terrorise Bruce. Speculated by many as being Man-Bat, this too turns out to be one of the many visions Bruce has throughout the film, although I hardly doubt this will have any consequence in future movies, unlike the Flash sequence. But it remains to be seen whether it was actually the Man-Bat casually haunting Bruce as one of his rogues, or some deeper imagery involving Bruce introspecting on the monster he was slowly becoming? From what I can say, he has got to control all that alcohol intake.
9. The Superman Safety Beacon!
Two movies down, and from what it appears to be, Superman does have a special connection to Lois Lane. Appearing as if almost out of nowhere, the character seems to be at her constant beck and call, saving his lady love every time she courts trouble, in one instance, probably from halfway around the world. While it’s generally attributed to his super hearing abilities, it’s almost as if the lady had a panic button on herself, given her knack for getting into trouble. While it may lead to a larger, overarching storyline in the upcoming movies, since Lois is the key to something big, for now it does require some suspension of disbelief. What is this special connection? And why is it, so to say, selective? We know for sure that Clark was unable to locate the kidnapped Martha Kent!
A plausible explanation for the latter was provided by Snyder himself, wherein Superman does try to locate her but is overcome by all the cries of help and misery he is able to take in from the city. The unanswered mystery here is, why or how is he able to do the same in Lois’ case? Alas, like a lot of other scenes that made sense and were essential in driving the narrative, this one too didn’t see the light of the day and was left out on the editing floor.
10. Fernet Branca for Mr. Wayne?
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ was a fitting finale to Nolan’s brilliant trilogy of Batman films. Apart from everything going on for it, the film had a redeeming final five minute act, where Batman supposedly sacrifices his life for the people of Gotham, giving his all for the city and the people he loved. It was an emotional sendoff for the dearly beloved character, but then Nolan can’t help but end his films with a bang. Moments after seeing his sanctuary in Gotham City, we see Alfred spotting Bruce with Selina Kyle at the café in Florence he earlier told Bruce about. Now this could either be Alfred just fantasising about Bruce embracing the normal life, or it may have actually been true, eventhough there is strong evidence for both sides. While I consider it highly unlikely Bruce would’ve survived the fall into the water and the radiation from the blast, considering he did fix the autopilot, it also seems implausible that Alfred would envision him with Selina Kyle, who he encountered just once as a maid, and on a computer screen. The bat signal back at Gotham city is also fixed, and the ID on the software patch used to fix the autopilot does say Bruce Wayne. *head scratching intensifies*
Either way, it gave something for the fanboys to scream about and for admirers to be happy, for it is a satisfying end, albeit somewhat ambiguous, signature Nolan style.
11. The Dark Knight Always Returns!
Now this is one of the scenes in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ that has spawned numerous explanations, theories, and speculations, all of them though, involving a lot of maybes. After his inspiring ‘rise’ from the prison pit where Bane left him for dead, perhaps one daunting question faced both the audience, and Bruce Wayne: How would he return to Gotham now, stripped of all his fancy toys and wealth, and most probably just on the verge of a complete recovery, also given that Bane’s plan is in full effect by then, with the only ways in and out of Gotham City being heavily monitored? For some reason, Nolan left out the explanation for this to be figured out by the fans, and boy, did they have the time of their lives doing it!
While a more cynical outlook dismisses this as a plot hole, many from the fandom have claimed that all that was required was a little insight into Bruce’s journey in becoming the Bat. In the first entry in the trilogy, Bruce is gone seven years and learns to survive out in the world, on limited resources. “He probably had a lot of contacts”, claimed one, while in a heated discussion among friends. The second one explained something about Underground Railroad tunnels leading to the outskirts of Gotham. The third one rose and said, “It’s easy, because he’s Batman!” and the conversation was put to rest. This is what I intend to go with the next time someone asks me this question.
12. “Wanna Know How I Got These Scars?”
Indeed, I do! The Joker, as a character has always undeniably been surrounded by a lot of intrigue, and his origins have mostly been shrouded in mystery, except for maybe a few instances where they were hinted at. I believe the most elaborate account of the madman’s origins is provided by the comic book story arc ‘under the hood’ and its animated movie adaptation.
However, in most other movie adaptations, directors made the smart move of not dealing with the Joker’s origins altogether (except Burton’s Batman), and it paid off hugely as it added to the unpredictability of the character. Origins, more often than not, lend motives. Take the case of the exceptional ‘The Dark Knight’! What made it click apart from Heath Ledger’s sensational acting was the way the character was written, gushing in like a storm out of nowhere, and leaving nothing but chaos in its wake. Every time Ledger’s Joker threatens somebody disapproving, he tells them a story as to how he got those scars. First, to Gambol, how he got them from his fiendish father, and second, to Rachel, how he did it himself to make his wife smile. Menacing as he is, the result is pretty much visible on their faces. We would have heard it a third time too, but damn it Batman!
Read More: Best DC Movies of All Time