Movie making is the collaborative art that requires the talents of dozens if not hundreds or even thousands of people. The germ of an idea grows into words on a page and develops through rehearsals and sets and locations and acting and filming into a finished spectacle for the eyes and ears. When everything clicks, it's magic. And for comics films, it's even more so, to take the creations of writers, artists and inkers, and give them motion and sound and music.
But with so many moving parts put into play, sometimes gaffes show up here and there, even in the best made films. Sometimes the errors are things that are out of place, like modern products showing up in scenes set in the past -- or, more embarrassingly, contemporary items in alien environments. Sometimes it's a moment where a character does something important, but the film fails to follow through on showing the logical result. Sometimes it's logic itself that is lacking, leaving the viewers to wonder what happened, or to fill in the story holes from their own imaginations. Here are 20 examples of mistakes that happened in DC films and DC Extended Universe movies that the filmmakers wish you would forget.
20 THE PARTY CRASHER
In The Dark Knight (2008), The Joker busts in on the fundraiser hosted by Bruce Wayne at his Gotham penthouse. The Joker calls for Harvey Dent, the district attorney. Wayne slips away to a secret room and emerges as The Batman, while The Joker is intimidating Rachel Dawes, the assistant D.A. and Wayne's childhood friend.
Batman fights The Joker and his henchmen, but The Joker pulls a gun on Dawes and fires a shot through the window. When Batman tells The Joker to let Dawes go, The Joker tosses her out. Batman follows and rescues her ... and the movie goes to the next scene. Do the people at the party get rescued? Who knows?
19 NO WAY WITH WORDS
In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), we see Clark Kent at work at the Daily Planet ... and see that he's pretty bad at his job. Kent is a freelance stringer, not a staff reporter, which means he should accept whatever assignments he is given.
Yet Kent argues with editor-in-chief Perry White about covering the vigilante in Gotham City. White, as is his right, doesn't see that as a Metropolis newspaper's concern. At one point, White displays a page proof with a blank space where Kent's articles on football and the Friends of the Metropolis Library should have been. The blank space should have been at Kent's desk; he should have been fired.
18 UNNECESSARY MAYHEM
We learn in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) that Batman has been active in Gotham City for 20 years. We see Batman being paranoid, thanks to a dream that Superman will conquer the world. To stop him, Batman moves to steal kryptonite that Lex Luthor's companies have dredged from the Indian Ocean.
Late one night, Batman fires a tracker into a truck after a crate full of the kryptonite is loaded inside. The smart and stealthy move would be to take the kryptonite before the truck was loaded, or follow the truck and grab the kryptonite at its destination. Instead, Batman starts a chase, prompting a protracted shootout, multiple explosions and property damage, and a fight with Superman himself.
Early in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Lois Lane goes to the fictional nation of Nairomi in Africa to interview a general who is on one side of a civil war. She is met by photographer Jimmy Olsen.
As Lane begins the interview, Olsen takes out his camera. One of the general's guards takes the camera away, opens it, removes a canister of film and pulls the film out. Then he stomps on the canister, revealing a tracker -- and exposing Olsen as a CIA agent. But a modern news photographer would be using a digital camera, not a film camera; as Perry White said, it's not 1938.
16 TIME WASTED
Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) frequently show Superman passively reacting to events and not thinking for himself. One egregious example: in Batman v Superman, Lex Luthor has been maneuvering behind the scenes to pit the two against each other. To draw Superman out -- he has been out of action after failing to stop a bomb at a congressional hearing -- Luthor kidnaps his mother, Martha Kent.
Luthor says he'll end Martha Kent unless Superman ends Batman, and sets a timer, giving him one hour to do it. Does Superman spend that hour looking for his mother to rescue her himself? He does not.
15 WELCOME BACK, CLARK
Justice League (2017) focuses on Batman bringing the team together and reviving Superman to take on Steppenwolf. After they win, the movie ends with Clark Kent about to return to work at the Daily Planet. Before he enters, he hears a distress call, opens his shirt in the classic pose and flies off as Superman. That's all well and good ...
... except that the closing scenes of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) features Kent's funeral and burial in Smallville, attended by Lois Lane, Perry White, and Martha Kent. Not only that, we were shown his obituary, headlined "Daily Planet Reporter Kent Killed Reporting Gotham Battle." How is Kent's return to the land of the living explained? It isn't.
14 TICK TOCK
Superman (1978) was the first big-budget presentation of the Man of Steel's origin. With a $55 million budget -- the largest-ever for a feature film at the time -- little expense was spared. The famed Pinewood Studios outside of London housed the Krypton sets, and none other than Oscar winner Marlon Brando was cast as Superman's father, Jor-El.
The prestige of having Brando in the movie brought with it a certain number of headaches, including a cavalier attitude about basic aspects of acting, like learning lines. Viewers get a fleeting glimpse of his carelessness during the scene when Jor-El puts baby Kal-El into the spacecraft that will carry him to Earth: Brando is wearing a wristwatch.
13 GET THE STORY!
The morning after Superman debuts in Metropolis in Superman (1978), Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White rallies the troops, with the charge to find out all there is to know about him. "I tell you, boys and girls," White thunders, "whichever one gets it out of him is going to have the single most important interview since God talked to Moses."
Fortunately, ace reporter Lois Lane has the inside track. She opens a note reading "Tonight at eight your place -- hopefully -- a friend." At the appointed hour, Superman shows up and takes her on a whirlwind flight around the world. And when it ends, does she write the story? She does not. She goes on a date with Clark Kent!
12 THE SWEET ESCAPE
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) completes director Christopher Nolan's trilogy of films, bringing to cinematic life elements from the Batman comics storylines "Knightfall" and "No Man's Land." From "Knightfall" we get Bane, the cunning bruiser who terrorizes Gotham. Bane spent his childhood in The Pit, a remote prison beyond the center of the middle of nowhere, incarcerated for his father's crimes.
In the film, as in the comics, Bane bends Batman over his knee and breaks his back. But the movie Bane makes it worse by dumping Batman in The Pit, where he must recover from paralysis without so much as a Band-Aid. After that, Batman claws his way out of the deep, deep hole and makes his way to back to Gotham ... how?
There are other problems with The Dark Knight Rises (2012). While Batman is trapped in The Pit, Bane consolidates his power in Gotham, operating from a base in the city's sewer system. His plan is to sow chaos, culminating with the destruction of the city with a bomb fashioned from stolen Wayne Enterprises technology.
Desperate to find Bane, Gotham Police Commissioner Gordon has sent various search teams into the sewers, which brings no results. Then follows the stunning decision to have "every available cop" join the search. This backfires because while the entire police force is in the sewers, Bane fires explosives blocking the tunnels, trapping them below for five months.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) ended the movie franchise for almost 20 years, until Superman Returns in 2006. Star Christopher Reeve wanted to make an earnest statement about nuclear disarmament, but the film is marred by an inadequate budget, poor execution, and shoddy special effects.
One example: The ever-conniving Lex Luthor creates his own superbeing with a strand of Superman's hair that he adds to a device he attaches to a nuclear missile that's fired into space. But how does Luthor obtain the strand of hair? He and nephew Lenny steal it from a museum, where it is on display holding up a 1,000 lb. weight. But they use bolt cutters -- which shouldn't have been able to cut the indestructible follicle.
9 NOT DRESSED FOR THE OCCASION
Another example from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987): The Daily Planet goes bankrupt and is bought by media baron David Warfield, who reconfigures it into a tabloid. He sends Perry White packing and installs his daughter Lacy as the new publisher and editor-in-chief. Luthor's creation, known as the Nuclear Man, makes its way back to Earth and seeks his "father."
Along the way, Nuclear Man becomes smitten with Lacy and battles for her love, causing destruction. Superman tricks him into an elevator and takes him, elevator car and all, to the moon. Nuclear Man returns to Earth, grabs Lacy and carries her into space, and Superman rescues her. How does Lacy survive unprotected?
8 WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?
Cyborg was introduced in a New Teen Titans one-shot insert in DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980). The strongman and tech wizard of the team, he was repositioned as a major player in the DC Universe. When the DC Extended Universe moved to expand beyond Superman and Batman, he was brought in via Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Then he was in Justice League (2017) as a team founder, just as he is in the New 52 reboot.
But there's a continuity snarl. In Batman v Superman, Cyborg gains his abilities because of his father's experiments on a Mother Box. But Justice League states the Mother Box didn't activate -- and Cyborg wasn't established -- until after Superman passed.
7 SUPERMAN NEEDS A SHAVE
Speaking of Superman in Justice League (2017), his resurrection -- after his passing in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) -- is key to the formation of the team against the world-bending threat of Steppenwolf. But after Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad (2016) disappointed critics and fans, Justice League went in for reshoots after production wrapped, partly to reflect the sunnier tone of Wonder Woman (2017).
However, the cast naturally had gone on to other projects. Henry Cavill moved to Mission: Impossible -- Fallout (2017) as a CIA assassin, and grew a lovely, bushy mustache for the role, which he was required to keep. So for Justice League, the mustache was digitally erased -- not entirely successfully in each scene.
6 A LITTLE TOO MODERN
Wonder Woman (2017) was a rare critical, commercial and popular success for the DC Extended Universe. It tinkered with Wonder Woman's origins and history, having her leave her homeland of Themyscira to engage with the wider world during The Great War, not during World War II as in the original comics. Whatever the period, more than a few anachronisms slipped through.
A promotional poster shows a scene not in the movie, but one showing off Wonder Woman's strength: She is lifting a tank over her head. However, it isn't just any old-timey tank; Bleeding Cool identified it as a T-28 medium support tank, made for the Soviet Union in the 1930s, well after Wonder Woman's World War I time frame.
5 A LITTLE TOO EARLY
Part of what makes Wonder Woman (2017) such a hit is that she is an inspirational figure, within the story. The centerpiece battle where she liberates the Belgian village is the moment where she comes into her own as a hero and as a leader.
So naturally, there is a joyous celebration following the fight, with music and general merriment. In a cafe where the people party, a song from French chanteuse Edith Piaf plays on a gramophone. Which is neat, save for the fact that she was born in 1915 and would have been only three years old during that scene, well before she established her career in 1935.
4 NOT THE A-TEAM
Suicide Squad (2016) follows Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice from earlier in the year. It begins with Amanda Waller selling government officials on the notion of creating Task Force X, a covert squad meant to handle metahuman threats. Which is not a wholly bad idea, although Superman could take out the entire group with a sneeze.
The most powerful of the Suicide Squad is Enchantress, a demon kept under tenuous control by archaeologist June Moone. It doesn't take long before the Enchantress slips out of Moone's -- and Waller's -- control. Worse, the Enchantress awakens her brother demon Incubus and they lay waste to Midway City, with the Squad and Waller trying to contain the damage from a mess she started.
3 DRESSED TO IMPRESS
Batman spends time in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) finding out about other metahumans. At one point, he watches surveillance camera footage of a convenience store robbery that is thwarted by a speedster. Later, he has a dream in which the speedster -- the Flash -- gives him a cryptic warning.
In Justice League (2017), Batman brings together the team, seeking out prospects one by one. He visits Barry Allen in his home, questions him about his abilities, and takes note of his homemade outfit: "Silica-based quartz sand fabric, abrasion resistant, heat resistant...it's what they use on the space shuttle to prevent it from burning up on re-entry." But where and how did Barry get those things?
2 READY FOR BATGIRL
In Batman and Robin (1997), Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's ever-loyal butler, gets an unexpected visitor: his niece, Barbara Wilson. Barbara has come to care for Alfred, who has the early stages of MacGregor's Syndrome -- something he hasn't told Wayne himself.
As Alfred's disease progresses, he lets Barbara in on the secret of Batman, with a disc full of data, including schematics of the Batmobile and other vehicles. Soon after, Barbara makes her way into the Batcave itself, where an AI version of Alfred tells her he's made a costume. But how could he know a niece he hasn't seen in years would want to be Batgirl -- or would have any of the skills to pull it off?
1 WHO DOESN'T LOVE A PARADE?
The big-budget film Batman (1989) was a wild departure from the campy 1966-68 TV series, moving in a more action-oriented vein. But in earnestly opting to be a serious take on film superheroes, it was blind to its own silliness. Like how its Batman had a cape and cowl that was so stiff, he couldn't turn his head.
The film also gave us Jack Nicholson as The Joker, who was as hammy in the role as Cesar Romero on TV. The Joker's reign of terror across Gotham includes staging a parade where he planned to poison the city with a deadly chemical. Oddly, the public is not kept from the parade, and there are no police in sight!