Although Man of Steel proved to be a divisive film in its own right, it wasn’t until the release of part two of the unofficial Zack Snyder trilogy, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, that fans and critics alike truly began to worry about the future of the DC Extended Universe. In fact, after BvS’ disappointing critical and commercial response, Warner Bros. reportedly considered removing Snyder as the director of Justice League – a film that suffered from its own share of woes.
However, while Justice League was very much the product of two directors (the other being The Avengers’ Joss Whedon), Snyder has no qualms when it comes to reminding us, and even embracing the fact that BvS is his cross to bear. Even now, just over two years after the film’s theatrical release, Snyder is still offering up explanations for obscure Easter eggs and hidden bits of symbolism that were lost on even the most dedicated of his followers.
If you constantly have to explain the punch line of a joke after you tell it, it’s likely for one of two reasons: either the joke is too sophisticated for the audience, or it simply isn’t funny. That being said, does Snyder’s need to still explain BvS after all this time mean that the fault lies with the moviegoers, or is the more likely answer that it lies with the movie itself?
For the sake of argument, let’s take a look at some of the symbolism and “deeper meanings” behind scenes in BvS that Snyder has revealed over the past few days. In fact, we’ll start with one that Snyder himself referred to as “an easy one.”
On Vero, Snyder posted a still shot of Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne waking up after a nightmare. (Not the “Knightmare,” though we'll get to that later.) In this scene, Bruce glances over at the sleeping woman in his bed and then proceeds to swallow a couple of pills and wash them down with a swig of wine. In the caption, Snyder explains, “The Mapplethorpe [painting] above his bed I chose to represent the erotic as a drug that Bruce uses sex to momentarily forget his pain.”
Fair enough, though it’s also worth noting that Snyder doesn’t appear to be responding to any direct questions about the scene. Instead, it appears he simply took to social media to explain the symbolism by his own volition, which could indicate that he’s received inquiries about it in the past, or that he merely felt it needed to be explained.
Another bit of symbolism Snyder recently opened up about is the meaning behind Batman building a kryptonite spear to use against Henry Cavill’s Superman. Posting a photo of the iconic painting depicting a crucified Jesus being stabbed by the blind Roman centurion Longinus, Snyder wrote, “Why with all the technology at his disposal would Batman build a spear… here’s why.”
Of course, the idea of Superman being used as a Jesus metaphor is nothing new, as it’s a thematic element Snyder has favored throughout all three of the DCEU films he’s helmed. Why, after two years, he felt the inclusion of such an allegory bears repeating is anyone’s guess.