The long chocolate-filled weekend may be over, but there’s one pile of Easter Eggs that we’re still trying to work through – all the secrets, hints and foreshadowing hidden throughout Zack Snyder’s superhero epic Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which divided critics but has tasted success at the worldwide box office.
So put aside the leftover Lindt bunnies and crème eggs, and delve deep into this movie’s most interesting references and winks to the comics.
1. SO MUCH from The Dark Knight Returns
This film is chock-full of influences from Frank Miller’s influential 1986 comic, from an ageing Batman and a dead Robin right down to Batman’s mecha-suit and even the film’s titular battle itself.
Still, one moment you might not have noticed was when Superman is hit by a nuclear missile and goes a bit zomebie-y, which is lifted directly from the pages of the comic – though in that case it was down to some of Batman’s machinations, whereas it’s thanks to the US military in the movie.
2. Justice League…Assemble!
Hardly an Easter Egg as it’s so overt, but we’d be remiss not to mention all the nods this movie makes to other DC heroes and their upcoming movies. So we see video footage of Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, Ray Fisher’s Cyborg and Ezra Miller’s super-speedy Flash, who also turns up in a slightly psychedelic time-travelling cameo warning Batman (Ben Affleck) about dangers they may face together in an upcoming sequel.
Despite actually appearing as a main character in the film, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) also has her Easter egg-y moments, with Lex Luthor’s (Jesse Eisenberg) file on her including a First World War picture apparently taken during her upcoming prequel Wonder Woman, complete with her love interest in that film Chris Pine (aka double-named hunk Steve Trevor).
3. Flash in the pan
Speaking of the Flash, the film’s time-travelling cameo for Ezra MIller may be a callback to 80s comic storyline Crisis on Infinite Earths, where the scarlet speedster runs through time warning heroes including a bemused Batman.
4. Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen
One of the film’s most shocking deaths happened off-screen and probably passed you by. Early on in Batman v Superman, the photographer with Lois as she meets a terrorist is revealed to be a secret agent in disguise, who is quickly executed. However, a look at the film’s credits revealed that this was none other than longtime Superman sidekick Jimmy Olsen, snuffed out before we even got the chance to meet this version of him. Oh well.
5. Something something something Darkseid
Much like dictator and part-time glove model Thanos in the Marvel movies, Darkseid is an intergalactic conqueror (ruler of a planet tastefully called Apokolips) who looks set to be the DC films’ Big Bad.
Alluded to by Lex Luthor at the end of the film (and in a painting he had of Satan on the wall), Darkseid is also hinted at in Batman’s dystopic vision of the future where Superman kills indiscriminately, with the outer-space despot’s iconic Omega symbol (he fires “Omega Beams” as well) seen on the ground (above).
Oh, and these insect-men lifted straight from Attack of the Clones? They’re Parademons, the shock troops of Apokolips.
A recently-released deleted scene from the film also seems to hint at his involvement as Lex Luthor communicates with someone who may by Darkseid or one of his lieutenants. In other words, like Luke Skywalker we may all soon be feeling the power of the Darkseid.
6. Oh, Mother Box, where art thou?
In the film, a mysterious pulsating cube is seen to help turn wounded athlete Vic Stone (Ray Fisher) into the cyborg hero called, er, Cyborg. As it turns out, this also relates to Darkseid, as this device is an advanced computer (capable of interdimensional teleportation among other things) called a “Mother Box” that comes from his home planet. More Mother Boxes also appear in this deleted scene, and frankly it’s all very confusing.
7. Robbin’ us blind
We’ve gone into this in more detail elsewhere, but the basic premise of this plot point from BvS is that classic Batman sidekick Robin is implied to be dead in this movie, with his costume mounted in the Batcave – however, some believe that there may be more to this story than the movie was telling us…
8. Joker in the pack
Another reference to the clown prince of crime can be glimpsed in Batman’s future Mad Max-style nightmare, with a gun used in the scene having a Joker playing card taped to it.
Lex Luthor henchman Anatoli Knyazev (played by Callan Mulvey, aka that guy who was one of the baddies in the lift from Captain America 2) isn’t just a hired thug in the original Batman comics. In fact, he’s a cybernetically enhanced warrior called KGBeast (yes, really) with a vendetta against Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego. Perhaps his death by fire in Batman vs Superman was less permanent than we thought…
10. The Death of Superman
Several moments from the classic comic are riffed on in the new movie, with Superman’s apparent death at the hands of Doomsday (and vice versa), his S-Shield-stamped coffin and the moment where Lois Lane cradles his broken body all lifted directly from the work.
Speaking of Doomsday, the way BvS’s final villain was created was rather different to his ancient, endlessly-regenerating over tens of thousands of years comic-book equivalent.
However, Lex Luthor’s mixing of Kryptonian General Zod (Michael Shannon) with his own DNA does bear some similarities to the creation of Superman villain Bizarro (a twisted version of the man of steel), who in his latest comic-book appearances is said to be a combination of Superman and Lex Luthor’s genetic material specifically created to destroy Superman.
It also bears a close resemblance to the origin of Superboy, himself a mix of Supes and Luthor.
12. Heavy metal
Though you probably missed him on screen, another classic comic-book character apparently appeared in the movie. According to the credits, Ralph Lister played Emmet Vale – the scientist who built a Kryptonite-powered cyborg called Metallo who became a popular Superman enemy.
13. “It’s not 1938 any more!”
This crack by Daily Planet editor Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) as to why his newspaper is filled with sport and culture articles (the horror) instead of hard news refers back to the publishing date for the first time Action Comics introduced Superman to the world. Grim and gritty tone/visuals not included.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is in cinemas now