Even the best movies have weird structural flaws that stand out under greater scrutiny. After all, we’re still trying to figure out how the heck The Joker backed a school bus into a bank during a robbery and reentered a line of school buses unscathed in The Dark Knight. In the case of the DCEU, there are a significant number of very much intentional “holes” that drive curiosity and questions as we move into Justice League.
It’s important to note that this is not meant to look at problems many have with the DCEU. For example, many viewers have questioned the portrayal and motivations of Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Whether you admire the Zuckerbergian modernization or not, it’s clear by the film’s end that the Lex of the DCEU doesn’t give a hoot about anyone but himself and it colors his every action. Many additional gaps remain in this extended DC film universe, though, including the likes of timelines, established heroes and villains, and geography. While we don’t want Justice League to play exposition roulette for its duration, we hope there are moments, clues and revelations that help color in some of the details that will help grow the mythology of the DCEU.
15. FLASH FORWARD
The Flash’s surprise burst into the Batcave is simultaneously the most confounding and exhilarating moment of Batman v Superman. Hot on the heels of Bruce’s dream/premonition/injusticeinjusticeinjustice (!!!), the Flash whips into picture through his apparently well-developed ability to travel through time.
As this scene is all intentional set-up — presumably for Justice League — it doesn’t seem like too much to ask to have some of the details filled in. The Flash’s chronological missteps seem to indicate something happening to Lois Lane will set Superman on a path of injustice, and cause Batman to wear an awesome Midnighter trench coat and shoot people square in the noggin. Hopefully Justice League clarifies what exactly this amazing moment meant and how it allowed Batman to have a vision of the future.
14. GOTHAM’S BACKSTORY
Over the course of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we see Wayne Manor done in, Gotham Central done in, and a Batman that’s still a myth. What the heck happened to Gotham City? The entire Batman mythos is one of the more tantalizing mysteries of the DCEU, as Zack Snyder and David Goyer choose to enter a pre-Justice League landscape with a Bruce Wayne already on the tail end of his career.
Lost in the outcry over extreme Bat violence and questionably speedy friendships is the fascinating notion of Batman entering the Dark Knight Returns phase of his crime-fighting career without ever stepping foot in the Watchtower. How did things get this bad for Batman’s city, and what was the DCEU like in his apparent decades of crime-fighting before Superman? Justice League has the chance to plant more seeds.
13. BATMAN V. JOKER
Joker’s backstory is a tricky one so far in the DCEU. While we don’t necessarily expect or even want Justice League to derail its Apokoliptan invasion with too much Joker talk, some clarity around the history of the Bat and the Clown would go a long way. Honestly, we just want a taste.
Here’s what we know so far: Joker likely killed at least one Robin, which alongside Zod’s invasion and destruction of Metropolis may have broken Bruce Wayne. Somehow, despite this “bad history with clowns,” Joker is both alive and free in Suicide Squad. Approximately 10 zillion questions remain, with perhaps the most pertinent centering around whether or not Jared Leto’s Joker is the same Joker Batman’s been fighting throughout the history of the DCEU.
12. FORGOT ABOUT DIANA
In Wonder Woman, we’re shown Princess Diana’s introduction to life outside Themyscira as the heroic goddess is quickly immersed in Word War I plotting. True to her nature, Diana changes the outcome of the war, saving countless lives in the process.
What’s strange is that by the time Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice rolls around, nobody seems to remember Wonder Woman exists, even in apocryphal mythmaking. Some elements of Diana’s presence are easily explained away. Wonder Woman works with a relatively small crew who may well have kept quiet, and she’s only seen in true Wonder Woman glory on the front of war. Except… hundreds of soldiers saw Wonder Woman take on a German enemy encampment. Did none of them go home and share their stories?
11. WONDER WOMAN IN HIDING
Speaking of the disappearance of Wonder Woman from public knowledge, what made Wonder Woman effectively hide from public heroism? We get a taste of the impact the “world of man” has on her in Wonder Woman with an entire rescued village horrifically gassed, but surely Diana princess of Themyscira was not simply depressed into inaction for decades. The oddest element of this disappearance is also the notion that Wonder Woman would in any way be concerned about an old photograph proving she had been around since World War I (unless she simply wanted it for sentimental value).
There are plenty of theories that could explain Wonder Woman’s low profile, but some of our favorites include her brief allusions to familiarity with alien monsters like Doomsday in Batman v Superman. Could Wonder Woman have been fighting aliens in… space? Aliens like… Mongul?! Someone named Patty Jenkins please say yes.
10. BAT SIGNALS FROM METROPOLIS
While we aren’t looking for Westeros style maps opening Justice League (although how can we say no to the Game of Thrones theme intro?), the proximity of DC’s most famous cities raises some logistical questions (these cities are across a bay?). Likewise, we have to ask the more pertinent question why nobody at the Daily Planet would have been more interested in a story about a “Bat Man” vigilante in a city next door.
After all, in Batman v Superman, Ben Affleck’s Batman quite literally turns on a bat signal and just waits for Superman to show up. Ignoring for a moment that this is either the worst or best way to court a new friend, placing Gotham and Metropolis so close but having the Batman remain a complete and utter mystery needs some explanation.
9. LEX LUTHOR AND DARKSEID
What does Lex actually know about the fourth world, Apokolips, and Darkseid? Prior to his experiences with General Zod’s Kryptonian computer system, Lex seems to indicate at least a metaphorical knowledge of the parademons of Apokolips, but by the end of Batman v Superman he’s practically Bruno Mannheim’ing his way to complicity.
In a deleted scene from the theatrical version, Lex (neck deep in Kryptonian blood and guts) is shown communing with Darkseid’s general Steppenwolf, prior to his arrest. This helps explain Lex’s claims from his cell that the bell has already begun for Darkseid and his minions to begin their invasion of Earth (or something). The biggest question remaining is how in the name of Granny Goodness did Lex find his way to a video Skype with Steppenwolf and what communication did they have?
8. CYBORG’S MOTHERBOX
We essentially learn two things about Cyborg from the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice introduction to Victor Stone. First, his dad is responsible for some serious Frankenstein/body horror science to bring his son back to life. And second, somehow the Stone’s got their hands on an honest to goodness Jack Kirby’s Fourth World motherbox.
There’s no question that this Apokolips technology will play a major role in Justice League as the league forms to fend off the forces of Darkseid. The main question is how a motherbox found its way to Earth in the first place. Have New Gods traveled to Earth before? Could the existence of a motherbox in Cyborg’s origin connect the character to Kirby creations like Orion or Mister Miracle? Hopefully Justice League will begin to clear some of this up.
7. BRUCE WAYNE: MURDERER
There’s been more than enough talk in the wake of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice about Batman’s apparently loosened regulations around capital punishment. The question isn’t whether or not the character of Batman should behave this way, but instead how long has he been so cavalier about vigilante murder?
It’s possible this attitude is ingrained in a Batman reading too many Punisher comics from day one of the DCEU, but there are several indications this is a new phenomena. In many ways this ties into that enticing history of Batman we know so little about, but we have to wonder if Batman is essentially recovering from a psychotic break. Will he be similarly brutal in Justice League or begin to walk these impulses back?
6. HEROES AND SUICIDE SQUAD
It’s a classic comic book dilemma: There’s an enormous disturbance in one comic, but where are the other heroes and major characters of the universe? The Marvel Cinematic Universe has struggled with similar suspension of disbelief, with the frequent “um, they’re busy or in space?” refrains of comic books echoing across the proceedings.
Suicide Squad walks into a familiar trap with a supernatural invasion and massive explosion in the middle of a city with no heroes working that day. We know Suicide Squad is intended to take place prior to the formation of the Justice League, but we don’t have a good sense of how these heroes interact with the world around them. If the Flash is active, wouldn’t news of a disaster like this get his attention? Justice League can help clarify where these heroes have been.
5. LEX’S JUSTICE LEAGUE FAN FICTION
Riddle me this, Eisenberg: What did Lex Luthor plan to do with those Justice League files (and neatly corresponding team logos) anyway? Ignoring the obvious part played by the nefarious “moving the plot forward” it seems unlike Lex that he’d simply be sitting on information regarding the Earth’s known meta humans. How sure are we that Lex didn’t have a secret laboratory experimenting on a captured powered being already?
Similarly, why doesn’t Batman — the world’s greatest detective — have resources to find anyone aside from those Lex already tracked? Surely Lex didn’t catch ’em all, right? While the Justice League roster has been pretty clearly set in stone through these intros, we’re hoping the movie itself can begin planting the seeds for a growing number of meta humans across the DCEU.
4. BATMAN AND AMANDA WALLER
The post credits Suicide Squad teaser showcases a clandestine meeting between Squad director Amanda Waller and Bruce Wayne. It seems a bit odd that Bruce would need additional files on Flash and Aquaman given the lengths he went to in order to get Lex Luthor’s data on the will-be Leaguers. Nonetheless, we can imagine Waller’s files contain depths of information even Luthor hadn’t accumulated.
What’s more questionable is Bruce Wayne telling Waller he can protect her from information getting out about her role in the destruction of Midway City. Seemingly this is that esteemed Wayne influence and money at work, but if Batman is actively protecting the Suicide Squad (despite his remark that Waller should “shut it down”) it raises the question if the Squad is leverage Batman can bring to the fight in Justice League.
3. LOIS IS THE KEY
During Flash’s ill-timed run into the Batcave, we hear him warn Bruce that “It’s Lois Lane. She’s the key!” The warning is paired with Batman’s vision of an Earth seemingly overrun by anti-life. In the context of Batman’s fight against an apparently tyrannical Superman regime, it makes sense that a tragedy befalling Lois would be the element that sets him on a path towards authoritarianism.
What we don’t yet know, though, is if protecting Lois is actually what Flash is calling for. That assumption comes from a familiarity with the Injustice narrative, and assumptions that the DCEU could be moving in that direction, but this is beginning to feel dubious. The general conversation within DC Entertainment seems to indicate a desire to move away from stories that vilify Superman, and Injustice is the king of them all. So what exactly is Lois the key to then?
2. NEW FLASH ON THE BLOCK
By the time we see Flash making a cameo in Suicide Squad, the fastest man alive has upgraded from stopping grocery store lootings to apprehending super-criminals like Boomerang during a bank robbery. Flash is also fully adorned in his armored red and yellow costume, and seemingly confident enough in his role that he’s able to take a moment to pause for quippy banter.
So how long has Flash been acting as Central City’s hero, and is he still under the radar? Unless the DCEU’s Flash is using the same egregiously illegal prison system of the CW’s Flash, he’s at least been acting long enough for police to catch, charge, and lock away Boomerang in Belle Reve prison. It seems likely that Flash should be less of a mystery to the public by the time Bruce Wayne finds him in Justice League.
1. HISTORY OF POWERS IN THE DCEU
In Wonder Woman and Batman’s final conversation around the grave of Superman, Wonder Woman tells Batman “They said the age of heroes would never come again.” This statement implies there have been previous heroes in the DCEU, somehow lost to the world. Who are these heroes and where did they go?
Likewise, since Batman’s been in action for years, what heroes and villains were active during his prime? We know some version of The Joker and Robin, but what other players in the Batman mythos are ingrained in the DCEU? There’s a lot of history to this timeline that has yet to be explored, and it’s one of the most interesting things about the cinematic universe’s construction. We’re looking to Justice League to provide some answers.
Which of these holes do you hope gets filled? Let us know in the comments!
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