What do a hope-filled reporter, a brutal crime-fighter and a retired fighter have in common? They all carry an unnatural load of angst, as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice can demonstrate.
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- The film starts with Bruce Wayne's Super Hero Origin sequence showing the murder and burial of his parents, with a young Bruce running away into the woods as his parents are being laid to rest. It is just as tear-jerking as the previous iterations, especially with "Beautiful Lie" playing over the scene.
- Bruce's friend Jack still being in the building as Zod starts cut apart with his eye lasers, left to do nothing but calmly say a prayer as the building collapses.
- When Bruce comforts a little girl in the aftermath of Superman and Zod's climactic fight, he asks her where her mother is. She tearfully points to the ruins of Wayne Financial, which Zod razed with his heat vision just moments earlier.
- Especially cutting because the girl is roughly the same age as newly-orphaned Bruce was in the previous dream sequence.
- Wallace Keefe's anguished cry as Bruce helps him out from under some rubble.Wallace: I can't feel my legs! I CAN'T FEEL MY LEGS!
- Superman's unintentional act as a Destructive Savior in Man of Steel led to very irate protests towards him. One of the signs is a sarcastic Thanks for the "Help" with fire in the background.
- Jimmy Olsen appears, only to be shot in the face before Superman can reach him. It's especially tragic since this version seemed almost as badass as Lois.
- The famous "bathtub" scene begins quite solemnly, when Lois reflects to Clark on the collateral damage the incident with the terrorist may have caused. While she's grateful to him for saving her, she's also struggling with whether their relationship is responsible for innocent people dying. It's a heavy burden to carry, feeling responsible for that...and Amy Adams really shows Lois carrying it.Lois: I just don't know if it's possible....Clark: Don't know if what's possible?Lois: ...For you to love me, and be you.
- The trafficker that Batman branded early on in the film? The one who was holding all of those Asian women in a cage? He is later revealed to be a loving father, shortly after being killed in prison.
- Worse, we find this out when Clark hears a baby crying and discovers it's the infant child of the man who was murdered in prison, whose mother is trying to comfort it with little success. The movie's themes of parents and their children extends even to people who've done terrible things.
- The Batcave has on display a Robin suit tagged in spray paint with the message "HAHAHA the joke's on you Batman." Bruce was so devastated by the loss that he dropped his no-kill rule and let everything around him crumble for quite some time. During his initial confrontation with Clark, he even says that he has "a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns."
- This scene hits even harder if you accept the fan theory that the Joker from Suicide Squad isn't the original Joker, but is in fact Tim Drake's iteration of Robin, tortured and driven insane (he has scars where the Robin suit has bullet holes, "Damaged" literally written on his forehead, etc.). "The joke's on you," indeed.
- Alfred casually mentions that Bruce never had settled down or had any children. Unlike previous depictions of Batman who at least get to experience love (and, in one film, gets to settle down), Bruce, in the DCEU, is all alone with only his bitterness and Alfred in his life. Not to mention the implication that he had lost Robin at that point...
- The fact that this is, by far, one of the saddest and broken versions of Batman to date. This Bruce has lost Jason Todd, his Robin like all the others, but we don't know if there was another Robin before him, but there wasn't a Robin after Jason. Even if there was a time where Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon worked with Bruce, they're gone now and no mention is given to them. This is a world where Superman and the rest of the Justice League were never there to balance Batman's darkness with their light. After twenty years of fighting his personal war on crime, the only thing left Bruce has is Alfred and his bitter rage. He is fallen, broken, and hurting.
- The desperation in The Flash's voice when he appears to Bruce after the Knightmare sequence is heartbreaking, especially when he realizes that he's too soon and struggles to convey his message as the Speed Force is pulling him back.
- Not to mention, who knows what kind of physical toll the Speed Force takes on him in order for him to go so far as to time jump. How much did he sacrifice just to be too soon to do anything?
- Superman saves a young girl from a fire in Mexico, and as he returns her to her family, the gathered crowd all reach to touch him. Even he's able to put together the Christ imagery, and he's not happy about it.
- The use of Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL's music ("Day of the Dead") and Superman's vacant expression during his rescue montage, where he's shown saving people other than Lois, gives the impression that all the opposition he's been getting has worn him down to the point where being a superhero just feels like work and not a calling.
- And his expressions in a lot of these scenes show he knows that people are going to look on him with utter reverence or utter hatred, and the one superpower he doesn't have is the ability to change their minds. People will worship him or try and kill him, and nothing he does will change that...simply shift people from one group to the other. This iteration of Superman is truly an outsider to humanity at large, and he knows it.
- After Lex blows up the Senate in order to frame Superman, Superman tells Lois that he could have stopped it, but he didn't. He's starting to believe the slander against him when they say that Superman is apathetic. It's clear that he's suffering Survivor Guilt.
- Superman isn't even blamed for very long, as the news media immediately identifies the source of the bomb, which has nothing to do with him. Knowing Lex, he knew this, which means he murdered all those people, including his own loyal assistant Mercy Graves, just to hurt Superman emotionally.
- The immediate aftermath of the Senate bombing is quite painful to look at, with Superman clearly having "I could have stopped this" written all over him as he looked at the flames burning all around him. He has tears in his eyes and the scene cuts away just before they fall.
- The Ultimate Cut makes this cut even deeper. He's later shown getting as many survivors out of the wreckage as he can, he then freezes for a moment and looks at all the casualties and the crowd screaming for his exile. The look he carries is the look of a man who believes genuinely that he's failed.
- He tells Lois "I'm afraid I didn't see it because I wasn't looking." Superman has come to see his idealism and belief in people's fundamental goodness as a flaw to be exploited.
- As Supes finally concludes the "ideal" he's supposed to represent is "just a dream of a farmer from Kansas," Lois sounds like she's struggling not to break into tears as she tells him "That farmer's dream is all some people have. It's all that gives them hope." It's clear she's including herself in that...and seeing Clark lose his hope in himself is too much for her to bear.
- In the scene after Lex blows up the Senate, Clark exiles himself to the Arctic. That in of itself could count as a tearjerker, but what really hits it is what Clark finds at the top of a mountain: Jonathan Kent, his adoptive human father. Is it a ghost? A hallucination? Doesn't matter. What does matter are the last words said between the two men.Jonathan: I miss you, son.
Clark: I miss you too, Dad.
- A newspaper clipping of Wayne Tower being destroyed has been defaced with a cruel taunt about Bruce's orphanage.
- When Diana sees the photo of herself in 1918 with Steve Trevor and several others, you can see just how much it hurts her to look upon the faces of friends who have been dead for years.
- The footage of Silas Stone trying to save his son, Victor, from dying. Vic's just a head, torso and arm, and his father is facing the very real likelihood that he can't save his son. He has no wife, no other children; Vic's all he has and the world wants to take even that from him.
- Even when the Mother Box that Silas found starts repairing Vic, it's pretty hard to watch, as he's immediately brought back to life and in horrific pain.
- Lex's Motive Rant towards Superman shows us what lies deeper than the disturbed sociopath he is: He is an incredibly traumatized man who suffered at the hands of his son-of-a-bitch father. The fact that he is on the verge of crying in the middle of it shows just how badly it affected him.
- Seeing Wayne Manor in a derelict state, and that it has been that way for years by the start of the film. Bruce is so grieved by his losses that he has let his family home wither away into ruin.
- The final scene in that location is of Alfred trying and failing to convince Bruce not to kill Superman. It's just sad to see Bruce ignore Alfred's advice, since he knows it's a suicide mission, only persisting due to the legacy he wants to leave behind.
- Bruce and Alfred's last talk before he goes off to fight and try to kill Superman. Bruce's line "This may be the only thing I do that matters." He just sounds so tired and defeated by life. Twenty years of fighting crime and Gotham is still considered a Wretched Hive; that would weigh heavily on anyone.
- Similarly, Superman's realization that he may have to kill Batman so he can save his adoptive human mother. The look he gives Lois before flying off shows how tormented he is at the thought of having to kill again and that maybe he can't live up to his own status.Superman: No one stays good in this world.
- Similarly, Superman's realization that he may have to kill Batman so he can save his adoptive human mother. The look he gives Lois before flying off shows how tormented he is at the thought of having to kill again and that maybe he can't live up to his own status.
- The fight between Superman and Batman, despite its awesomeness. Superman comes to apologize for what he said after damaging the Batmobile, as he realizes he was wrong to try to force Batman to quit, which pushed Bruce "further off the cliff into the abyss," so to speak, and made the Dark Knight of Gotham fully willing to kill the Last Son of Krypton. Despite the fact he's still clearly disagreeing with Bruce's methods and is considering him a remorseless, out-of-control psychopath, Superman is willing to humble himself so he can ask for help in saving his adoptive mother Martha, though it's clarified to him just how far the situation between has worsened as he has to fight for his own life as well, while weakened by Kryptonite gas. It's clear Clark is wondering how things have escalated to such a bad situation, and Bruce then proceeds to mock his ideals and beliefs, saying that he's "not even a man." Clark then intentionally triggers Batman's PTSD, and you realize Superman went into that fight fully ready and willing to be murdered just so his mother could be saved by who he considers (or considered) an off-the-rails vigilante.
- When Batman has Superman at his mercy, Superman cries out "Save Martha!" Batman is shaken by that and screams to know why he's using that name. Lois then rushes in and tells him that Martha is the name of Superman's adoptive mother. Batman has a look of sheer regret.
- What could be more heartbreaking than this? Consider: Clark was so ready to believe that he was going to die that he wanted his last words to be him begging Batman to save his mother in his stead. He thought he wasn't going to make it out of that fight alive.
- Superman's Heroic Sacrifice. After realizing that the only way to kill Doomsday is with Kryptonite, Superman uses Batman's Kryptonite spear to deal the fatal blow to Doomsday despite being severely weakened by it. He is impaled on Doomsday's spikes, but pushes on until both are killed.Superman: (To Lois) ...I love you.
Lois: [tears streaming down her face] No. Clark, you can't—!
Superman: This is my world.
Lois: No, Clark, don't!
Superman: You are my world.
- The fact that these last words of Superman to Lois echo Jonathan's own words about Martha.
- Lois crying over Superman's body while Batman and Wonder Woman look on.
- The aftermath is pretty heartbreaking as well, setting itself apart from the The Death of Superman storyline in that it is the public that receives an empty coffin, while Clark's body is left to be buried by Martha in Smallville. She's lost both her husband and her son now, which is evident when she places a photo of Jonathan in Clark's hands. During the wake, we see Shelby the dog sadly resting by Clark's coffin.
- And when the rest of the city is shown, there is no one in the buildings. Superman's death was a country-wide loss for every citizen.
- It is also revealed after Clark's death that he was going to propose to Lois.
- Even forgetting the Foregone Conclusion that he's going to regenerate and come back to life in time for Justice League (2017), the event itself and the impact it has on everyone is utterly heartbreaking, plus it's made all the more crushing by the poignant soundtrack "This Is My World." The kicker is the string version of Superman's theme over the empty buildings montage, which is replaced by the piano as it cuts to the Kent residence. Despite coming from another world and possessing godlike powers, Superman still died a humble man, first and foremost.
- Related to the above, the fact that Lois is going through a major Heroic BSoD, not saying a word on-screen after Superman's death. It'd have been hard enough to watch her bawling her eyes out at the funeral. Seeing her barely emoting AT ALL, clearly traumatized into emotional numbness? Gut-wrenching.
- Especially when you see her putting her hand to her chest after receiving the ring...as though she's wondering what's wrong with her—why she can't feel.
- In Man of Steel, Lara expresses worry for baby Kal-El's fate on Earth, saying "they'll kill him," but Jor-El responds with optimism and hope. And at the end of this film, it appears they did. Without Kal, the future of Krypton is truly gone.