The film's title, Batman v. Superman, is structured like a court case in which Superman is the one on trial. Which is fitting, given the charge of him being a Destructive Savior in Man of Steel. However, in some countries, the "v." in legal cases can be read not as "versus" but as "and." Which is also fitting, if this leads to the dawn of the Justice League.
A civil court case would be headed as "Plaintiff v. Defendant." In a criminal court case, it would be "state v. defendant." Why does this matter? Batman sees himself as judge, jury, and executioner. And in his eyes, Superman has not yet been acquitted.
Diana's comments at Clark's funeral make a whole lot more sense after seeing the Wonder Woman solo movie. "They don't know how to honour him, except as a soldier." She's not just referring to Clark, but to her deceased lover Steve Trevor, who died in a very similar way and was given no funeral or honors except a picture on a wall honoring the deceased in London.
Ben Affleck as Batman may seem like an odd casting choice at first; he's the kind of guy you wouldn't expect to see wearing the Batsuit. And that's the point; Batman's identity has to be hidden well, and the less likely you suspect someone of being him, the better. In Real Life, a lot of his detractors merely saw him as a rich Hollywood playboy who made bad romantic comedies and led a gossip and tabloid-filled lifestyle with women like Jennifer Lopez, in addition to someone who shouldn't have been cast as Batman. In-Universe, a lot of people see Bruce Wayne the same way: A rich, gossip-laden playboy who couldn't possibly be someone as fearsome as Batman. In truth, this wouldn't be the first time this line of thinking was applied to casting Batman; when Michael Keaton was cast for Tim Burton's film, many people protested the choice, the same as they are doing with Affleck. Keaton quoted the above logic in an interview; his performance is still hailed as one of the best in the role, with some considering it better than Christian Bale's performance.
Semi-relatedly, take a look at this version of the Batcave. The one thing missing that almost every other version has? Bats. Other versions of the Batcave inevitably lead to Fridge Logic about who built the cave and installed all the equipment. But this version of the Batcave has no conspicuous bat symbols and no odd trophies from previous villains (no giant penny for example), and is comparatively smaller-scale. In other words, if an eccentric billionaire who's known to have odd tastes and an interest in technology and fitness commissioned such a facility, it wouldn't raise too many eyebrows. Everything else - the Batmobile, the Batplane, the suits and weapons - could be commissioned secretly and brought in by Bruce and maybe Alfred.
The same applies to Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. He's the last person you'd expect to play a diabolical mastermind, which will make it seem much easier for the citizens of Metropolis to trust him. And as he's not particularly muscular or athletic, Superman would look like an unheroic bully if he ever tried to physically intimidate him.
Casting Jason Momoa as Aquaman is actually quite fitting. There's a popular theory that Batman represents the vast metropolitan cities of America while Superman represents the farmlands. Continuing that theme, who's the best choice for an American aquatic superhero? A Hawaiian.
The darkness of the teaser trailer actually makes sense. For every shot in the dark, Superman is shown practically basking in the glowing light. Fitting as many of those Superman-focused scenes show people revering him. When it bounces back to darkness, you have those who doubt his good intentions, which brings in Bruce Wayne readying himself to take on Superman. And while we're at it, who better than Batman to represent that darkness, especially considering the night-and-day comparisons the writers of their characters and fans have always made when it comes to those two.
Compare Lex Luthor's headshot◊ with Superman's◊ and Batman's◊ posters. Luthor's eyes are exposed while the protagonist's eyes are torn out, most likely symbolising how Luthor isn't blinded by ideals like his adversaries.
Why would Luthor go by the first name of "Lex" as a short version of "Alexander"? The character's pretty serious and no-nonsense in traditional portrayals, so why he would continue to go by that name is weird. It's a shortening that only a youthful, smug, and pretentious person who thinks he's smarter than everyone would use to make himself stand out from everyone else. Wait a minute...
Batman was taught that fear equals power while hope equals weakness. Superman embodies hope and charges into any obstacle with not even a hint of fear.
Batman stated that a hero can be anyone, while Superman was taught that, with his potential, he can be something no normal person can be.
Superman's collateral damage was accidental and broad, while Batman's was intentional and precise.
Superman's grieving over his adoptive father led to him leaving home, discovering himself and learning how to fly. Batman's grieving over Rachel only worked against him, to the point where his wealth and physical well-being deteriorated.
And possibly the biggest divide of all: Batman is staunchly against killing to the point where he retired after committing murder (or manslaughter, depending on your point of view). Superman agrees, but killed someone for the greater good, using that as motivation for never letting it happen again.
Meta Brilliance: From a marketing perspective, the third trailer revealed that Doomsday will appear at some point, which may seem like a huge spoiler, except the trailer also revealed that Batman will at some point be attacked by what appears to be a swarm of bug-people, so while one question was answered, another was raised.
So far most of the marketing for this movie has been playing Superman as the bad guy, which doesn't make much sense given that we've seen his heroic side already. But maybe that's the point: the film uses the subtitle Dawn of Justice and what's so just about a superhuman fighting a middle-aged man with no powers of his own? With the majority of superhero movies (especially Superman's) depicting their protagonists going up against villains who aren't as powerful as themselves, maybe Dawn of Justice is trying to show what it must look like from an underdog's perspective?
Bruce stating that if there's even a 1% chance of Superman going rogue that he needs to be stopped seems downright paranoid, but to the Occupy generation, Bruce himself is a 1%-er and he's one of the most dangerous men on Earth. You can never be too careful in the DC Universe.
Additionally, a 1% chance being all the evidence Bruce needs to prepare against Superman is in-character for Batman. Aside from being the "World's Greatest Detective" among the superhero community of the DC Universe, the Dark Knight is one of the best tacticians on the planet. Although subjective, no tactician would ease off when there's still a minimal chance things will go awry. Batman planning ahead for multiple contingencies is something he would regularly do.
Also consider that Batman's grudge against Superman is initially rather petty and misinformed, blaming him for the destruction in Metropolis rather than the invading Kryptonians. In other words, he's a commentary on the fanboys who complained about Man of Steel.
Diana Prince rolls her eyes when Luthor starts talking about the Greek origins of the word "philanthropy" and then warbles on about Prometheus. You can see Diana as an Amazon thinking, "Great, another mortal who doesn't know anything about Greek culture!"
Especially since Lex gets the story completely wrong! Prometheus didn't try and stop Zeus from destroying humanity, he gave humanity the gods' divine fire, and his punishment wasn't a lightning bolt, it was being chained to a cliff and having his liver eaten once a day. To someone who lives and breathes Greek mythology, this would be an incredible lapse.
Batman's willingness to kill if necessary all stems from the loss of Robin. In A Death in the Family, Batman seriously considered murdering the Joker for what he did to Robin, but was talked out of it by Superman. Here, Batman has never met Superman before, so he went off the deep end with next-to-no resistance (Alfred may have tried to reason with him, but we've seen how well that goes). Also keep in mind that, more than likely, there was not another Robin after his death, so that's one less person who would otherwise be able to pull him back from the brink.
Behind-the-scenes photos also reveal that the controls for the machine guns on the Batmobile were actually jury-rigged into the cockpit as a later modification, and end up occupying the exact space over the passenger seat where Robin would have sat.
His willingness to kill only intensifies after his Knightmare, but there's an utilitarian reasoning behind it. First, he manages to kill several of Luthor's thugs to get to his chunk of Kryptonite, then he kills even more trying to rescue Martha. Given that the Superman in his Knightmare was bitter over the loss of a loved one, part of the reason he rescued her was to earn his trust and further discourage him from turning into a dictator. Any time Batman kills someone, it's to avoid that dystopian future he envisioned.
His intelligence being reworked from scientific genius to Manipulative Bastard ties in with his entrepreneurial skills. He's not treating Superman like an enemy that needs to be crushed with force, but a rival company that he can run into the ground with the right strategy. He even tries to get the government to assist him, similar to how some businesses try to buy elections so that they can prosper under their preferred form of government. Then there's creating Doomsday which, for all we know, is part of another plan to keep Luthor relevant even after Superman is dead, much like how hardware and software distributors will always try to sell you upgrade after upgrade.
And he's certainly no slouch in the scientific genius department either. From taking over a Kryptonian ship to creating Doomsday, both all by himself, it's pretty clear that while he may enjoy playing the Manipulative Bastard, he can just as easily switch roles any time he likes.
Luthor has collected evidence and footage of metahumans around the world, and one of them is...Cyborg? Vic is just that, a human with robotic parts, so why would Luthor count him as the same kind of person as Aquaman, Flash, and Wonder Woman? There's also the fact that Vic isn't even Cyborg yet. But then you see the footage in its entirety. It's not Vic Stone that Luthor is interested in, but the Mother Box that Silas Stone was using to repair his son.
Superman's self-sacrifice in the end may seem a bit pointless, but considering Luthor had only an hour before he tried to kill both his mother and girlfriend, he must have realized that Luthor would just keep coming after him and his loved ones. By dying, he could at least indulge his enemy and protect the people closest to him.
At first, it might seem odd that Diana actually can hurt Doomsday with her sword, hold him with her lasso, and use her shield and bracelets to defend against his attacks. Then you remember that Kryptonians have two glaring weaknesses: Kryptonite and magic. Diana's entire gear (since made by the gods) is magical and indeed she herself is this as well. Since it's established that magic simply bypasses Kryptonian defenses (since it doesn't play by the rules and is illogical in nature), it's no wonder she was able to hurt Doomsday this badly. It does come as a nice surprise that the creators did remember this fact.
At the start of Lex's "gladiator fight," Superman tries to explain things right off, but after a few exchanges, he stops. You'd think he would continue given that, one way or another, he needs to stop this fight as quickly as possible. However, consider what it would look like if he did: Superman saying things and he's interrupted with an attack. "My mother's !" BAM! "Luthor is" POW! "We need to work" CRUSH!. It would be comical, and you do not want your title fight to be comical.
When Lex is in prison, Batman arrives and threatens him by saying "Wherever you go, I'll be watching you." This sounds illogical at first, since Lex won't be getting out of prison anytime soon, but considering he committed treason and murder-by-proxy, it's not unlikely that Lex may be getting the death penalty. Knowing this, Batman's threat can be interpreted as "See you in Hell!"
The actual fight between Batman and Superman seems underwhelming with Batman managing to kick Superman's ass quite easily thanks to Kryptonite, despite the hype of which DC icon would win. But if one were to view the film with Batman as the villain/antagonist of the story, the fight's short and one-sided nature actually makes sense. It's not about who would win in a fight, but rather about just how far Batman has fallen in his vendetta against Superman. His dominance over Superman is not of a heroic underdog fighting back against a god, but rather a cruel bully harming a good man pleading for his aid to save his mother from being killed, going against everything Batman fought for. Batman had already lost the moment he started fighting while Superman ultimately won by making Batman realize what he has done.
It also makes sense on a purely physical level. This Superman is established as a very capable brawler, which in tandem with his superpowers, ordinarily makes him an almost insurmountable opponent. But when he's brought down to the level of a man's strength? A brawler isn't going to perform well against The Batman who is only a master combatant in over a dozen martial arts and fighting disciplines.
Still regarding the fight between Batman and Superman the end of it may look like a cheap downer, but it's perfectly logical. To be even able to consider killing Superman, Batman convinced himself that his foe was a non-human. A monster, a god, a beast to slay. Then, when Superman is at his mercy, he sees Lois pleading for his life and Superman pleading for Martha's life. Suddenly Superman, in his eyes, stopped being a monster and became Clark Kent, a man with a loving mother in the villain's clutches and a significant one ready to plead mercy for him. And while Batman has no qualms into killing a beast, or doesn't shed a tear for a villain killed in jail or shredded by ricochet, he still can't bring himself to kill a man.
However, this is negated by the fact that Batman kills in the story, which makes him look like a hypocrite, as he clearly has no qualms about killing men.
There is actually an explanation for the infamous "Martha" twist. At the very beginning of the "gladiator fight", Clark calls Batman "Bruce" to establish that he knows Batman is Bruce Wayne. That means that Clark is aware of his backstory, which means he's aware of Martha Wayne's death. Clark wasn't just throwing out his mother's name in the hope that Batman would realize he was making a mistake, he purposely called her by name because he knew their mothers had the same name.
Lex didn't release Doomsday without a contingency plan. He managed to pit a man who has killed a Kryptonian against a man who could potentially kill a Kryptonian. Whichever one comes out alive would be able to stop Doomsday, but because he's much more powerful than Superman or Zod, victory would come at the cost of their lives. Lex was planning to kill two capes in one night.
Also, even if neither hero managed to stop Doomsday, Lex knows that "he is coming." In the comics, Lex brought Doomsday back from the dead and offered him to a certain New God in exchange for Earth's safety. He may have had a similar exchange in mind in the movie. But, without either Doomsday or Superman to stand in Darkseid's way...
Unlike previous films that confirmed the identity of the man who killed Batman's parents, this film leaves it up in the air. We know nothing about this guy or his motivations for killing Thomas and Martha. He's a blank canvas. Then we see Batman in a similar scenario whose misguided sense of right and wrong drives him to kill Superman, only to be reminded of how his parents died. The Wayne killer is Batman's Shadow Archetype.
There's actually a deeper part to this, in this universe Thomas Wayne's last words are a cry to his wife, trying to save Martha Wayne, Clark's last words were him crying out to save Martha, this forces Bruce's Memories of that night, but now he is the killer, this is what forces him to his My God, What Have I Done? moment, leading to his HeelFace Turn.
Luthor calling Superman by his full human name becomes a little funnier when you realize that they both share the same middle name, "Joseph."
With The Reveal that Luthor's going to plead insanity and get a lighter sentence comes some implications regarding his master plan. We only see him after he's started plotting against Superman and he'd clearly anticipated more than a few casualties along the way. With such high stakes, it wouldn't be beyond his scope of reason to imagine his plans failing and him getting caught, so he'd try and get some sympathy by acting mentally ill. Now obviously it would seem suspicious if he just suddenly started acting up right when it's most convenient for him, so it's entirely possible that the quirky, twitchy Lex we've seen so far is just an act. Even his talk of bells seems to have been just in case anyone could hear him. His Xanatos Gambit there is ultimately really a Batman Gambit... foiled by Batman himself when he arranges for Lex to spend his time being criminally insane in Arkham Asylum instead of the comparatively cushy typical mental hospital he was probably expecting to end up in.
The glimpse of Steppenwolf does more than just set up Justice League (2017), it also reminds the world that Kryptonians aren't the only aliens out there that could pose a threat. With the need for a unified Earth now stronger than ever, the creation of a certain task force makes total sense.
When Bruce and Clark first meet at Luthor's charity event, there is two separate shots of Luthor shaking both their hands; he comments on Bruce's handshake ("Good") as if he's confirming that Bruce has the strength Batman would have in his civilian identity, then he shake's Clark's hand and also confirms that Clark is Superman due to his exceptional grip ("Wow, that is a good grip!"). He isn't just egging them on with his next comment, but he's further confirming personally that they are who he knows they are; after all, how many times has Luthor met Clark Kent in person?
If one were to connect the dots in the Knightmare scene where Superman says "She was my world" at that time, he could be referring to Martha Kent instead of Lois Lane. Notice when Lex divulges the information of his mother being held hostage he's just about to lose it, and compare it to whenever Lois was in danger. Therefore, by saving Martha Kent, Batman believes that the Knightmare scenario would no longer be a possibility and that 1% chance is no longer on the horizon. Also note Lois being the key (what Flash says in the other dream sequence). She was the key to Batman finding out that "Martha" was the name of Superman's mother. Without her intervening, Superman would be as good as dead. Once Batman found out, his emotion changed. His mindset went from murder to saving instead.
Superman stabbing Doomsday with the spear when he could have had anyone else do it seemed stupid, but reflect on the movie. People began to hate on Superman because they worried that he might use his destructive powers for evil. Namely, Bruce and Lex shared this belief. However, by sacrificing himself, he's showing everyone that he is benevolent, not malevolent.
The Flash's big surprise cameo in this film consists entirely of him traveling through a portal between dimensions (or possibly through time) to deliver some crucial message to Batman regarding Lois Lane and the forces of Apokolips. Historically, the Flash has been symbolically linked to the Roman god Mercury, who also possessed superhuman speed and even wore a winged helmet that inspired the one that Jay Garrick wore in the 1930s. Mercury is primarily known as the Messenger God of Mount Olympus, so it makes perfect sense that the Flash's big introductory scene would involve him delivering an important message.
Intentional or not, Superman killing Doomsday (who, in this version, is the mutated corpse of Zod) creates an Ironic Echo of Zod's words to Clark in Man of Steel. Superman killed Zod in that film, and it's clear that not a day goes by when it does not haunt him. But if he had to do it again, he would.
Luthor tells Superman if he kills him or flies away, Martha will be killed, BUT Luthor did not tell Supes to not talk Batman down, so it's likely Superman was taking a third option.
Luthor adding his own blood to Zod to create Doomsday, knowing full well that Batman had a weapon that weakened Kryptonians. Given that Luthor has been in proximity to trace amounts of kryptonite, he clearly has an immunity to it. So giving Doomsday some of his own genetic data meant he had a stronger resistance to the mineral. So strong that Superman had to drive the kryptonite spear all the way through Doomsday's vital organs to kill him.
A lot of people, when they heard there would be a movie with both Batman and Superman in it, were hoping that one of Batman's major villains would be in the film. But, just like in The Dark Knight, the main characters consist of a hero, a villain, and someone who's torn between being a hero and being a villain. Batman is a villain for a major part of the movie who is turned back to the light near the end. Harvey Dent was a hero for a major part of The Dark Knight who was turned to the darkness near the end.
Many have commented on the inherent hypocrisy of Batman condemning Superman for collateral damage, while he himself does pretty much the same thing (if on a much smaller scale). In fact, the film itself comments on this via Stealth Pun; notice that Bruce Wayne's small cottage on the lake is, basically, all wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling window panes. That's right, he lives in a glass house, and he's throwing accusations (stones).
As stated in Voodoo Shark, Wallace Keefe's wheelchair containing a bomb encased in lead should have made it suspiciously heavy. He got it from Lex Luthor, whose company specialises in metals. Presumably he designed the wheelchair itself and possibly the bomb inside it to be much lighter than normal to offset the weight of the lead casing.
A lot of people misinterpret Bruce doing a heavy workout regime to mean it's to train to have the strength to take on Superman (and even lift and throw him). That's not so, because according to the universe's wiki, the suit itself augments his strength by 28 times. No, the workout is for him to be strong and agile enough to actually use the powered armour, which itself is heavy and tiring as all hell.
Some people have criticised the younger, more joking interpretation of Lex Luthor in this film compared to more recent comic adaptations. However, viewed from the right perspective, it makes sense; this young Lex has achieved the same level of corporate influence most Luthors achieve when they're older, which he pulled off by being smart enough to make the necessary business and technological connections, but that youthful success means that he's never really mastered the maturity to go with that brilliance, hence him making such relatively impulsive plans as creating a forbidden super-being using alien technology with no clear sign that he even had a plan to stop it after it killed Superman.
Part of why Wonder Woman shares so much of the grief for Superman's death is not just because of her well-known empathy and compassion, but also because she shared a role in bringing it about with Batman. She dismembered Doomsday's hand, causing it to sprout bone claws as a compensation, which he later used to impale Superman.
Humanity is so far gone that Wonder Woman decided it wasn't worth it and hung up her cape. Her remaining as diplomat Diana Prince may in part be because she couldn't go back to Themyscira with her head hanging in shame, as she willingly left it in the first place to do what the rest of her people didn't want to do anymore. She's 5,000 years old, and what should have been a speck of time passing in her general lifespan thoroughly shattered her wholehearted belief in humanity. That's a century compared to five thousand years. Damn.
In the DC Films Presents: Dawn of the Justice League TV special that aired on The CW, Jesse Eisenberg says Lex has been keeping an eye on Bruce and Clark, and knows "everything" about both. This puts his interactions with them in a much more sinister light.
All Kryptonians are built with a singular purpose: to serve as a soldier, as a scientist or engineer. Doomsday was created with one basic focus in mind: TO DESTROY. Even after Superman was dead, he would not have stopped until everything on this planet was also dead...
Doomsday develops complete immunity to whatever harms him. Kryptonite was the only thing that could harm him in this movie. Oh and there is more: in the comics, Doomsday's power is resurrection with invulnerability to whatever killed him. Superman might not be the only one on his way to recover...and Kryptonite may not work again.
Someone on Krypton had already made a Doomsday-like monster, and it was so bad the Council refused to name it and forbade any similar experiments. Now combine this with the Fridge Horror above: How likely are we to have twoDoomsdays walking around?
Even though the scene shows Superman with his eyes closed, Superman watched all those people in the Senate hearing chamber die.
The Knightmare becomes more terrifying the longer one sits back and thinks about it. The sheer cruelty displayed by Superman and his army is shocking, but when one takes the presence of Darkseid into account, it becomes clear that he likely is largely responsible for this. With Lois Lane and/or Martha Kent both likely dead in this Bad Future, Darkseid would have ample opportunity to corrupt and twist the devastated Superman into being his vassal on Earth. Hence why his Parademons are shown working alongside Superman's forces instead of simply attacking everything in sight. "Knightmare" doesn't begin to describe it.
It's no secret now that Batman has stopped enforcing his one rule so heavily and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty if criminals get in his way. At first, this might seem to come off as a result of his jadeness kicking in after fighting for so long and just not giving a damn anymore...but then you remember that he also had a Robin prior, and likewise, it isn't a secret that Robin was killed prior by the Joker. Thus it brings a darker context to both Bat's portrayal now, and speaks volumes about the Joker's power (despite the fact he has yet to appear in the movies) in that he has potentially achieved his victory over Batman finally by breaking him and leading to his massive amount of jadeness when he dons his cowl again.
Lex Luthor Sr. was a highly-regarded businessman and by all appearances a model citizen of Metropolis. But in private... Lex Jr. says there was no god to shield him from his father's "fists andabominations". What did Lex Sr. do?
And what did Junior do once he realized no god was coming to save him? How, exactly, did Lex become an orphan?
And what about his mother? No one ever mentions her, ever alludes to her in anyway, and outside of the fact that he exists, there is absolutely no evidence she ever did (if that even counts as evidence in the DC universe, where cloning is a completely valid possibility). In a film where a significant aspect of the plot has to do with a connection between the hero's mothers, it seems odd that no one ever brings up the villain's.
There's a expresion on Mexico, "(s)he has no mother" when a person is really bad, as Luthor himself is. So maybe it was a stealth pun that we don't even know the whereabouts of Lex Luthor's mother but how a villain her son is?
Judging by the magnitude of the blast during the Senate hearing, there is a pretty good chance that Lex took out a good majority of the United States Legislative Branch of government.
Superman's uncharacteristic gloominess may stem from accumulated guilt over all the times he failed to save someone. He couldn't reach Jimmy Olsen in time, so who's to say that this wasn't the first?