45 – Ultimate Edition

coverblackRecorded July 9th, less than 12 hours after viewing.  First impressions to the Ultimate Edition of Batman v. Superman (via VUDU) after one continuous play through, skimming some extras, and going back to pause at select points.

Apologies in advance for the rambling sure to come!  Answers, insights, and commentary on:

  • Overall Impressions
  • Subtlety and symbolism of drinks as delusion
  • Repetition, parallels, references, homage, call-backs, continuity
  • Jimmy Olsen’s death and Clark Kent’s return
  • Approaching BvS with mass resurrection in mind
  • New rules for reality
  • Justice League set visit excitement
  • Recruitment reflecting negotiating with audience
  • Realism reinvigorating comics in every era
  • Heavy Metal magazine influence
  • Smoother transitions
  • Function of flamethrower in Nairomi
  • New line says Lex Senior was a liar
  • Perry White’s tragic story arcs
  • Colorado flood rescue dilemma
  • Superman’s public powers and limitations
  • Lex’s kinship with Doomsday
  • Knowing lets you go dark for the coming light

…and much more ramblings!

Secret Origin clip features Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne McDuffie, Paul Levitz, Geoff Johns, Dan Didio, Denny O’Neil, Mark Waid, and Neil Gaiman.

7/22/16 Update: I figured out the logic of planning for the flamethrower.  Not for the locals, the CIA, the press, for witnesses, or eliminating evidence.  The burnt bodies gave Kahina the cover-story to excuse your lie in the eyes of Lois and Clark.  Yes, Lex could have had Kahina lie about fire even if Anatoli didn’t burn bodies but then Lois and Clark would be on to Kahina immediately.  They’d know she was lying.  L&C might not be able to prove it, but it would get them investigating rather than doubting themselves.  Lex ordered Anatoli to burn bodies because while L&C know Superman didn’t use heat-vision, they could still believe that Kahina would come to that conclusion and testify about it.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (4K Ultra HD) | Director: Zack Snyder
Justice League Set Visit Recap | Collider
Alexander The Great vs Ivan The Terrible | Epic Rap Battle
Diana’s treasure. Action 1, Detective 31, Detective 27, and Superman 1! | MOSanswers
Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics (2009) | Narrator: Ryan Reynolds
What Is An Existential Crisis? | The School of Life
The Suicide Squadcast | Tim, Scott, and Brent
Justice League Universe Podcast | Sam and Alessandro

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  1. Bravo, Doctor!

    (More on the episode after I finish downloading and listening.)

  2. I will try to go by Doc´s chronology:
    The alcohol is from DKR, with 1 to 1 lines but Miller´s Bruce stopped drinking mid-story, as he was the “good guy”, kinda. Batflack though mixed pain-killers with alcohol as the 1st thing after getting out of bed. That is hardcore, borderline the darkest scene in the film!

    UC BvS (9,5/10 film of the year) made me bring my head score for the TC down by 0,5 to a 8/10 and it is the films Snyder wanted to make. Full stop. NO studio would fund all the “extra” scenes if they were just “fluff”. The same goes for the LoTH films. The biggest deference here is that WB did the right thing here and didn´t double or tipple-dip, as with UC Watchmen. The UC cut is THE home release, the TC is even featured as a footnote. I don´t know what TV stations will do to the film (UC BvS is still somehow a 12+ in Germany) but the TC is dead to me, burry it.

    A lot of comparisons to the bastardized Kingdom of Heaven movie cut were made recently. It´s is the closest we comic fans have, with director´s cut of Daredevil (6/10) coming thereafter, if it wasn´t for Watchmen. Ah the “fixed” Snyder home releases curse, will it ever stop… and the reason why a lot of critics will never be covered, nor should they, is ultimately (hehe) the basic characterization of the characters. JL, WW nor SS (a blogger who I trust saw the film and called it daring and anti-Marvel style) won´t “fix” this, but we could have got another magical 56% on RT (now a 55%) with 98% of the the UC coming to theaters form the start.

    The solid New52 “Justice League: Origin” arc should influence the JL film but the toon film adaptation Justice League: War was a mess. The film´s take on Darkseid was just horrible. Rock of Ages and to a lesser degree Final Crisis should have some influence too. Morrison was already tapped to develop Leto´s Joker and he is THE Fourth World writer, after Crisis. I recommend reading up on Jack Kirby´s flawed epic, at least the 2 film will go full hog Kirby Crazy. I need to see a trailer to judge more.

    Perry + Jenny (she is fulfilling comic Jimmy´s role very well in all but name) had to know the secret. ZERO doubt on my mind. Their arcs would make no sense otherwise and Perry was harsh on Clark because he knows what´s up. Both the devil and angel on Clark´s + Lois shoulder (note the typo in her final write-up on Lex).

    The flood scene was clearly in slo-mo. Not that he didn´t face a small-ish moral dilemma but can the internet stop talking about a 15 sec. scene?

    Bat-butt was in the film to not be sexist, a classic Snydra trademark.

    In which year is the film set? Ii was supposed to come out in 2015 film and the Lex files went up to 2015.

    I find American news coverage to be mind-boggling in general. Even CNN went down the drain but I loved the Miller-esque socially commentary and the shocking good extras. It made the world lived in.

    Lex created Bizarro post Crisis multiple times, some of them had paternal sub-tones. Makes sense to me.

    I found it fascinating that older viewers, or parents, were the ones who gave BvS the higher test screening scores (this info is from Forbes). BvS was all sorts of things but it wasn´t a teen flick, that´s for sure.

    I lastly recommend the Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade one-shot (leave DKR III alone) and Rebirth Action Comics (the Doomsday fight got pretty bleak in No.2) and Wonder Woman Rebirth for current and comparable Snyder-verse characterization.

    PS: Bruce had a Power-Suit (it will be reprised in JL), not a Mech, and this was the “real” Jimmy to me (the death of innocence), until stated otherwise BUT the “Talon” codename, from the New52, must be noted. Hm.
    Thx for the “Behind the Sword in the Stone” recombination. Excalibur 1981 is awesome.

    • “Perry + Jenny (she is fulfilling comic Jimmy´s role very well in all but name) had to know the secret. ZERO doubt on my mind. Their arcs would make no sense otherwise and Perry was harsh on Clark because he knows what´s up. Both the devil and angel on Clark´s + Lois shoulder (note the typo in her final write-up on Lex).”

      Judging from her seating position in the conference room I think Jenny has since become some time of higher-tier writer or junior editor in the Planet. I do think Perry and her know Clark’s secret but kept it quiet and not press the issue unless he ever decides to tell them. After all, they and the absent Lombard were the PoV Characters we got last time on the ground.

      What was the typo, btw?


      “Bat-butt was in the film to not be sexist, a classic Snydra trademark.”

      To not be sexist and also to showcase the beauty of male nudity and sexuality alongside female beauty with Lois in the bathtub and Diana’s various dresses and nightgown. And they’re done well here, because maleness can as often be badly objectified as much as femininity can if they don’t know what they’re doing.

      (Is “Snydra” supposed to be a complimentary nickname, btw?)

      • It was in the taxi thing, hups:
        All of this means that it is highly unlikely that there will be any resolution to the Taxi Union dispute in the near future as both sides simply have too much to “loose”.

        About the male gaze thing: I don´t 100% agree with my link, especially in the actual comic scene, but there is nothing wrong with putting idealized bodies in your films and shows about 21st century Greek gods. Just make sure to frame it appropriately. http://www.the-fanboy-perspective.com/objectification-in-cbms-goes-both-ways.html
        Or having justified nudity in your mass market superhero story. DKR III (don´t bother) featured a scene where Wonder Woman breastfeed her and Clark´s son, with a fully visible breast and no news outlet picked up on that. A rare victory…
        (The Hail Snydra memes are just too good, or the ones with him with a gun. Especially as he endorses them.)

      • I got spammed and Doc moved on. Again, minus the link:
        The typo was in the taxi thing: All of this means that it is highly unlikely that there will be any resolution to the Taxi Union dispute in the near future as both sides simply have too much to “loose”.

        About the male gaze thing: Type in the-fanboy-perspective and Objectification in CBM’s goes both ways into google. I don´t 100% agree with my link, especially in the actual comic scene, but there is nothing wrong with putting idealized bodies in your films and shows about 21st century Greek Gods. Just make sure to frame it appropriately! Or having justified nudity in your mass market superhero story. DKR III (don´t bother) featured a scene where Wonder Woman breastfeed her and Clark´s son, with a fully visible breast and no news outlet picked up on that. A rare “victory”…

        The Hail Snydra memes are just too good, or the ones with him + a gun. Especially as he endorses them.

  3. Patty Jenkins on Wonder Woman, as the press tour has now properly started:
    “When I made Monster and they asked me what I wanted to do [next], I immediately said, ‘I want to make Wonder Woman,” says Jenkins, during a break from production on the Leavesden set of her dream job. “Everybody knew I wanted to make a superhero movie.”

    “Part of the reason I’m in such a good mood is this is the movie I’ve wanted to make my entire life,” she says. “I feel so grateful that I get to be able to do this.”

    • This is my favourite of all the interview by Gal Gadot:

      “”And that naiveté stems from her upbringing? She’s a young idealist who’s been taught that the world is very simple: it’s black or white, bad or good. It’s how she was raised. It’s what she believes in and there is something charming about the simplistic way in which she sees the world. But once she falls in love and starts her journey with Steven Trevor (Chris Pine), he educates her about the complexity of mankind. There is no such thing as only good and bad, black or white. It’s complicated.””

      I think this is what Dr Awakward have been reinforce about that black and white ideal view and how it is play out in the gray area of DC world similar to ours

      • I just discovered that the Wonder Woman film is misogynistic and “doomed” (RT calls it a “rotten idea”, what a solid foundation for future criticism…) because the 3 credited writers are all men. How dare WB!
        Not that she was created by a man (look him up!) or that her exceptionally received Rebirth or New52 reboot are written by men, but whatever. It´s not that i read all her important post Crisis runs, where Gail Simone´s run (i am usually a fan) was ironically one of the lesser one.
        Ladies and gentlemen, DC is “officially” wrong again. Lol. 5 rotten films a row, mark my words.
        https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/article/hollywood-is-officially-hunting-for-pokemon-go-rights-and-more-movie-news/ has all the links, but leave that trash alone, focus on Rebirth.

  4. I just discover your podcast and thank you! This is great, superb analysis, i have been dying to find interesting in depth comment on the film among all the criticizm, not always constructive, on the internet. You picked lots of interesting details and interpretation that are exiting, the alcohol thing was great. Keep up the good work!

  5. So, glad I’m caught up! This site has become my only hope for the DCEU, as many people do not share clarity or comprehension on a significant-level. Thanks, Doc.

    However, I do have a question because I likely missed the answer. Why couldn’t Superman find his mother? Zack explained that in a deleted scene, he did try, but couldn’t because there was so much confusion in the city. But I do not know why he couldn’t in either cuts. I figured he couldn’t hear her because she couldn’t make a sound due to the guns being pointed at her, but I wonder why he wasn’t able to see her…

    • Thanks for listening.

      There’s many way to resolve this, but I think the meta-reason is that they’re intentionally keeping it ambiguous for now to keep from writing themselves into a corner. Superman’s senses have the potential to confer a near omniscience which can start to become nearly impossible to write around in a completely rational story. Just imagine how hard it would be to write Superman if he literally knows the position of every person in the world and can hear every word they speak and see their every action (and in some renderings, read their every electromagnetic transmission). The objections you’re already hearing now with this movie, would only grow worse if they started to pin down his powers with too much specificity. You wouldn’t be able to let him make last-minute saves if you limit these powers too much… but you wouldn’t be able to construct plausible plots if you expand his powers too much.

      So they’re leaving it fuzzy for now and the entire dilemma is somewhat mirrored with the bombing, without getting specific, we can make it a mix of inability and unwillingness.

      • I always felt that it was simply explained by her being gagged. She was abducted in Smallville and in that scene made little noise or cry for help before being gagged. Superman at that time was either in Metropolis or still in solitude in the Arctic. In a grounded world, which Snyder is clearly going for, the laws of physics would likely dictate what Superman can hear and when. Not sure if the sound waves from a cry in Kansas would navigate the Earth’s curved surface to reach him in either location, and even if they did they would arrive *much* later than the incident occurred. Would Superman even recognize it among everything else he hears – and more to the point, filters out. The scene Snyder refers to with regard to Superman looking/hearing for his mother once he’s made aware of her abduction is meant to be another “what if” that these movies are so good at. What if Superman tried to search for his mother’s cry for help among all other cries for help nearby, using his hearing alone. He would encounter, and suffer through empathy/inaction, all of the misery within a city of millions. It’s not hard to imagine how dark that “what if” scenario could play out, and it sounds like it was just too dark for any release, and just might not have been appropriate at that point of the film when the audience is already driven desperate for a bit of hope.
        So I think it can be explained by virtue of the limitations on the physics of sound, and by the fact that Martha was gagged very quickly upon abduction. It would be very hard for Superman, if not all omniscient as Doc points out, to even attempt to find her.
        This leaves us to explain Superman’s arrival in Nairomi to save Lois. I think that can be explained by him training himself to be entirely tuned into her cry for help, among all others within Super-earshot, and possibly some level of uninvited stalking/oversight of Lois where he mostly doesn’t deny her agency (doesn’t prevent her from going into potentially dangerous situations) but keeps very close track of where she is generally at any given point, possibly zooms nearby and back from time to time to make sure all is well. This might explain the delay in reaching Nairobi after a lot of stuff has aready gone down, but how quickly he reacted to the rooftop push.
        I’d be curious about your thoughts on Kal’s ability to react in a timely manner to Lois in danger. Africa, and Lex’s rooftop push.

        • Super-hearing is a tricky power because there’s no scientific way for it to really work (discussed way back in our powers episode at the start of this podcast). I think they’re going to keep it vague so that it can’t quite be pinned down. I think it boils down to whether you want or believe Superman is omniscient and I’d say that most takes on Superman aren’t, even if he’ll selectively show off-the-charts super-hearing feats. It’s not logically satisfying, it’s squishy and subjective, but that seems to be how it works in most portrayals.

          In our powers episodes we also talked about Clark being able to ID people in ways we’re not used to… like heart beats, lie detection, and bone structure (because I had forgotten the scene were he reads Hamilton’s name tag). I think that’s within the scope of comic Superman, but seems like it might be a little alien to this Superman. We’ll get more data points soon with more movies so we’ll judge it then.

  6. Thanks Doc, I have been waiting very impatiently for your discussion of the Ultimate Edition.

  7. With the additional 30 minutes of footage…BvS really feels more like a true sequel to MOS. I really enjoyed the fleshing out of Clark’s story arc and his interactions with the citizens of Gotham. And the additional scene of Superman saving a woman from the Capitol and observing the devastation and looking at Lois really is a good flip to the scene where he arrives at the Capitol amongst protesters.

    I liked how they added reaction shots of concerned citizens who see footage of a burning Superman effigy. In a post Donald Trump presidential campaign world mixed with social media…the media blaming Superman with a false narrative is not far-fetched.

    And I liked how Lex got a dose of his own medicine with the transfer to Arkham Asylum from Batman.

  8. I just got finished listening to this episode. Great work as usual.

  9. I thought it was odd that, in the Extended Cut, Diana is shown to be given a drink, she walks with it, and then puts it down so your theory about the drinks makes a lot of sense for me. There’s definitely intention behind that because every action needs to have a reason to take place.

    I also like your point about Batman and Superman’s motivations involving orphaned children. Hadn’t made that connection, but it’s there.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Thank you!

      I’m growing to appreciate the film more each time I get a chance to watch it… each time I come away with something new.

      • I myself went through the film with a fine tooth comb and though that the “our” reddit spotted nearly everything by now (the community “fixed itself” last month) but NO. From this week alone:
        Bats is connected to the Oracle network, the color mural in the Wayne crypt has Superman´s color scheme and Doomsday´s battle with the helicopters is a King Kong homage (what didn´t i spot that?). BvS is best compared to Morrison´s writing style. It´s the “Pax Americana” of comic films.

  10. We all got the Martha scene and the multiple layers, but this 3 months old video i just found is interesting, as it suggests a not wholly positive psychological attack on Clark´s end. The case is argued well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeTz72lQkPY
    I will note that he tries to say Kent but Batman boot crushes the word. So the theory isn´t 100% waterproof.

    Fun fact. We have been here before, tune to minutes 3:30: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG1MCU-idJs

  11. Once again, another great podcast. My two cents about the flame thrower is that it was to destroy any clues and to implicate Superman. Sure, a forensic investigation could be performed that would uncover the truth about the incident, but you have to get investigators into the area. I doubt that a developing country such as Nairomi, which more than likely is an anarchistic nation, similar to Somalia (ruled by warlords), was going to let any investigators into the country (especially when it could uncover atrocities they might not want the rest the world to know).

    Sure, the CIA could have been watching the entire incident via satellite, but why would revealing that they were involved just to clear Superman’s name be of interest to them? The only times I have known the US Government to reveal satellite photos or the use of drones was when ever they wanted to announce that they took out a terrorist leader, but in this case they didn’t (how many times do they announce that a CIA operative and a drone was destroyed in an attempt to cover up said operatives actions?). Suffice it to say, the bodies were burned to destroy any evidence that would implicate LexCorp and foul play in the incident. With incinerated bodies, it would be difficult to tell that those people were shot and it would be easier to conclude that Superman, who has heat vision, may have had something to do with those deaths.

    • You agree with both my prior interpretation in the Lex episode and in this episode that evidence isn’t getting out. That’s the problem. If evidence isn’t getting out… why stage heat vision? Someone has to see that, connect the dots, and get that testimony / evidence out of the country for that to be the motivation plan to do that. You would need people reporting on something they saw or assumed. Maybe that’s what happens off-screen, but it isn’t what we see (and that has problems too, more on that in a bit).

      Kahina’s testimony is fabricated. She wasn’t at the compound to see Superman arrive, to see him use his heat vision, or to face the repercussions of gov’t reprisal… as Senator Finch says, her parents are alive. So if her testimony isn’t based in observation or fact or presence, there’s no motive to stage it as heat vision for the sake of her testimony. She could say she saw Superman come down, she could say she saw his heat vision, she could say her parents are dead… regardless of what happened. Clearly Kahina isn’t worried about contradictory testimony either… so that cuts against off-camera reports. There aren’t any villagers saying, “You lie! Your parents live!” Etc.

      I also don’t want to get gruesome or forensic, but even laymen can tell when there was death-by-shooting versus gas-fire. Especially if you’ve been around death, fire, and war in a conflict zone. As Anatoli’s men leave, you see one empty a gas can on a body and just tosses it to the ground. There’s the smell, the bullet holes and blood on the walls, the bullets in the ground, etc. It’s not a show or scene that would convince you in-person. So the flamethrower as heat-vision doesn’t hold up if that’s the primary goal under scrutiny.

      I completely accept that’s how the majority of people are going to choose to interpret it and that it makes the movie flow better for them. That’s fine. I just think there’s a better reason waiting to be reasoned out which overcomes the above objections.

      • “I completely accept that’s how the majority of people are going to choose to interpret it and that it makes the movie flow better for them. That’s fine. I just think there’s a better reason waiting to be reasoned out which overcomes the above objections.”

        Of course this would have to have taken place “off screen” But it might be possible that some low res cell phone footage of the burned corpse was televised after the incident. This might lead to speculation about Superman using heat vision.

        • That’s a decent apologetic. Let me think it through in writing.

          You’d have to add some nuance to it though: It HAS to be Anatoli’s men who take the footage.

          They can’t just hope that someone is going to come along and capture the scene, that the images will get out, and that the images will meet their specifications by accident, such that they planned on burning the bodies to get those images. Anatoli’s men would only take footage of the burnt bodies too. If it was a local camera, they would have shot footage of the CIA coming in on horseback and helicopters to get Lois… and if they were willing to share the burnt body images globally, they wouldn’t edit out the CIA… which ruins Lex’s “it’s all Superman’s fault” narrative… so this isn’t a situation they wouldn’t have planned for.

          Not only could they not control the local’s footage, they can’t control the local’s technology or gear and guarantee only low-res footage is shot, rather than hi-res forensic evidence. Instead, given how cagey these rebels are about being tracked and their location being known, it’s more likely no one local is allowed to have the kind of tech which might result in a drone strike seconds after a social media post.

          That’s consistent with the idea the images aren’t getting out. That makes it a little suspicious if images are getting out.

          Another thing about the images, they would likely have to be silent. If you’re shooting video posing as a local, you’d expect the video to reflect how a local would act, speak, be shaken up, etc. Footage paired with Russian commands wouldn’t work, for example. I think you can get there, eventually, with a workable apologetic based on video footage but it feels like something that should have been on-camera if actual.

          • I don´t think that the burned bodies are supposed to “make sense” and it obviously can´t hold up to scrutiny. Lois was there for example. That´s why the hearing was NEVER allowed to have a discussion on it, they died the day it was supposed to be examined. The CIA was covering up everything, the footage is questionable at best (redacted?), witnesses were lying or got cooked, parts of the senate were corrupt and random people were pooping into the trail, as Wallace.
            All they knew is that Superman caused an international incident, which he did.
            I don´t see plot- holes. Just an ongoing investigation that was led astray. The Blue Ray making-offs call the media a 3rd protagonist. We are the media too, in a way. Hm.
            PS: We are skinning the cat pretty deep here aren´t we?

          • Oh I agree it would have to be Anatoli’s men. It would not work any other way. I like what you are suggesting about it being silent. Perhaps an anonymous video sent to a cable news network that was supposed to be taken at the scene.

            The US Government would never admit the CIA was there and witnessed what happened. And any American cable news network in today’s media culture would play it nonstop having every so called expert on to talk about what it would mean if Superman is outright killing terrorist. This could clearly lead many to be concerned about him. Facts wouldn’t matter, which sadly reflects current events now in many ways.

      • @DrAwkward, the people covering it up (LexCorp) probably didn’t want a formal investigation in the way of forensics or a CSI and knew that a developing nation like Nairobi (more than likely a anarchy not unlike Somalia) wouldn’t let an organization like the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight into the country to investigate. The information about the burned bodies could have come out in the way of reports from journalist who probably got to the scene to interview bystanders. I could see LexCorp operatives paying off civilians to make up stories as well since they did pay the actress to testify in front of the Senate committee. This is not really far fetched since the Bengazi attack on an American compound cause a similar confusion. Many people thought that the attack was the result of a protest over an anti-Islamic video released in the US and that the President’s administration tried to use that to cover up for their ignoring of early warnings of an attack (which were not factual). The same way this misinformation got out is the same way that Lex Luthor was hedging would happen with the Nairobi incident. I hope that makes some sense.

  12. What do you think about the “The Might and the Power of a Punch” special feature? Clark was definitely holding back and Bruce was … being a bully? Seriously, how can Batman say Superman was not brave even after Clark fought trained soldiers with super powers? I hope Batman apologizes for being a bigot/bully.

    • I was happy to get some numbers and trivia, but wished they had shown their work in a few places. It was really gratifying to hear some of my Kryptonite ideas confirmed. I also was hoping for some explanation or rationale to some of the trickier decisions in the fight, but they didn’t really get into it or go that deep. Mainly, I was happy to get a segment that acted as if BvS was mostly real… like the special feature in MOS which was staged as a documentary in-world. I’m still holding out hope for future editions with more expansive extras.

      I think Bruce’s remorse is clear in making a promise, going through with it, fighting alongside Clark, paying for / attending his funeral, then carrying his torch… I don’t expect him to say sorry, but I do hope he shows some sort of emotion to Clark’s return beyond just stoicism or surprise.

      • How would Clark know how much force would be okay to use against Batman in a mech suit? Too much force and Batman gets killed. Which I suppose is why Batman showed up in powered armor and not in his regular bat-suit to make it less likely Superman would accidentally kill him.

        • The movie shows you that Superman is comfortable with his powers now. Think about it, he has to open doors, shake hands, open cans etc without destroying everything. So it’s not a stretch to understand how well honed he is in scaling his power as he’s had to do it his whole life.

        • For this one, I think one of the prequel comics does an excellent job of giving us more insight into how our Superman really handles being a hero in the minutia.

          In the comic, some talking heads discuss just exactly what Superman would have to consider, act on, and calculate, at the same time, in the middle of a rescue on a runaway train. And what they bring up is very important – how does Clark not crush a hand when shaking it? How does he not pull a door off it’s hinges? How can he push Batman, and it only throws him 80 feet, and not across a city?

          I believe our answer here is linked in to Clark’s upbringing, his time on earth, his adapting, stated in Man of Steel. He has had time to hone his senses…including touch, which would be his tactile feedback, which would directly inform his actions on a strength level. Our hero is so much more than a strong man, he is a hero of incredible restraint and control – he only ever unleashes his strength when he is aware of his opponent (Doomsday) or is in a complete rage (Zod) and even then, we have to infer that he holds back. By his very nature, probably the only time he has never actually held back is the neck snap.

          To Clark, the mech suit would be probably the same to him (on the scale of strength) as wood. Breaking wood and metal is more than likely very close for him – whereas for us, it would be a large difference. So it makes sense that his control is quite fine and nuanced, even in a heightened situation.

          All of this should lead to a “world of cardboard” speech – I truly hope that we will see that from our Superman. As an introvert, I believe it could be just as a heroic character moment for him to exclaim to an equal or stronger adversary that he has never tested his true limits, but he knows that right now, he can fully unleash himself. And then actually follow that through with a brilliant physical hero moment. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it!

          • And then Darksied used his agony matrix on Clark. Bummer. Is Clark ever going to get some fighting skills?

  13. Great episode Doc! I am so eager to listen more of your insights in the UC version.
    I think it is still ambiguous on Clark’s X-ray vision and how much Lex or Bruce know about it. Using lead may just because it is known to be able to block x-ray and kryptonite radiation.
    About that scene with Lex on the top of LexCrop tower facing the golden sunset. The voice about “anonymous and credible tips” synced the smirk on Lex’s face, I think it suggested he spread such “tips”. Also, it is corresponding to Lois asked Perry to run the Nairomi story from “an anonymous source”. Her truth got rejected but his lie got all around.

    • Thanks for listening, that’s a nice insight into a parallel with the anon-tips and trust.

      I agree it isn’t explicit how much they know about Clark’s powers.

      • Just got another idea. Actually in the whole world, no one has ever seen what it would be like to be killed by superman’s heat vision because he had never done that. So framing him with burned body seems make sense?

        • Thanks, interesting idea, but doesn’t really address my objection. The world knows how quickly Zod’s heat vision dropped Wayne Financial and they know that steel and concrete is thermally more resistant than meat and bone. You could still argue around that, but that’s not the point of my objection. The objection is the “plan” and “need” to create an untrue fact.

          Rather than explain this exhaustively, perhaps a rhetorical question… if they planned and needed to burn bodies for Kahina to link Superman to fire… why didn’t they need to kill Kahina’s parents or fake their deaths? Why did they have to do one but not the other? Think about it.

          • “Rather than explain this exhaustively, perhaps a rhetorical question… if they planned and needed to burn bodies for Kahina to link Superman to fire… why didn’t they need to kill Kahina’s parents or fake their deaths? Why did they have to do one but not the other? Think about it.”

            But since Kahina was paid to lie and help spread Lex’s propaganda, why would they have to kill or fake her”parents” deaths. It is clear that no one ciuld investigate the veracity of her claims so should it matter?

          • “It is clear that no one could investigate the veracity of her claims so should it matter?” So why doesn’t that apply to lying about Superman bringing the fire? Why do you have to plan for one but not the other?

          • (I don’t really have a good conclusion yet, this is just I’m thinking aloud.) The CIA actually know almost all the truth, but it’s in their best interest to keep the truth from the public and let people blame Superman. I think the government have always been worrying about superman acting unilaterally in international problems. So they wanted push Superman to make some sort of statement anyway.
            But Superman and Lois both know there’s CIA action in play, so there’s always a risk that Lois or Superman bring this up and demand an explanation from CIA/government. The burned body made it hard to find any evidence about who exactly died at the scene (actually it seems no civilian died at all, thanks to Superman), allow the CIA/government can easily deny responsibility. Whatever Lois/Superman could say would only be their side of story without hard evidence against Kahina’s.

          • The killing by fire could have been to panic the villagers themselves. Rumors would spread, the survivors who were out of the compound wouldn´t trust the CIA operatives at the scene and the bodies wouln´t the leave the scene during a civil war. This is a local seed of distrust, not one the US forensics back home, or lawyers as you.

  14. Guys you are not alone, along with people apologizing to Zach Snyder because of the Ultimate Cut, but it is also becoming a cult classic


  15. “It is clear that no one could investigate the veracity of her claims so should it matter?” So why doesn’t that apply to lying about Superman bringing the fire? Why do you have to plan for one but not the other?”

    Yeah, you have a point. I guess I would say that they didn’t care if there was evidence that was so well faked that it would stand-up in a court of law. As with an earlier speculation of lowres cellular video being leaked, all they needed was to create an air of suspicion that Superman could be a killer. And this would cause the media to constantly debate the issue regardless of its actual truth.

    Not to get into politics, but look at the loud and vocal percentage of people that believe Hillary Clinton is a murderer because of Benghazi or shared “confidential” emails. Whatever one thinks of Secretary Clinton, there is not one single piece of evidence that suggests she is personally responsible for any deaths from those two events. Yet a small but vocal number of people believe she is regardless of evidence, facts or common sense. Isn’t that all Luthor needs when it comes to turning some people against Superman?

  16. After some more thinking, burning the bodies seems more about making it impossible to identify who exactly died in that dessert. (Actually, it seems no civilian died at all, Thanks to Superman. ) Since CIA would not say a word, it made Lois/Superman unable to give any evidence of their side of story. But the bullet accidentally brought back to the State by Lois made this effort useless.

  17. I would like to add some thoughts to the discussion why Anatoli burned the bodies. It is unclear and may be the only real “plot hole” among many purported ones. It occured to me, however, that there may be another explanation.
    First: why haven’t they killed Kahina’s parents? Sen. Finch mentioned after her meeting with Kahina that she was paid but also threatened. What if she was threatened with the death of her parents? Maybe they had to be alive to force her to testify?
    Second: we all know the evidence (burned bodies) wouldn’t “survive” a real investigation. There was not any investigation due to the situation in the country and CIA didn’t reveal anything. The only evidence that was presented to the public (and to the audience) was Kahina’s false testimony. The whole situation would have much more sense, however, if there would be additional witnesses, who had not possibility to investigate but who would see the bodies. Their testimonies could be recorded and presented during the hearings. I see two possibilites: 1) the women who were crying and showing the bodies (they were hidden somewhere during the incident and were not real witnesses), 2) Python’s men. We know that Python was a CIA-man, but I think it possible that his men were not – they could be just hired for the job (by Lex?). I was even wondering if Python himself was not sent to the compund by Lex. He accepted sending the drone but defied the order. Why? Maybe he was just decent enough that he wanted to help (because he did no approve the policy of sacrificing civilians). On the other hand, it is possible that he had a completely different agenda – like leading potential witnesses to the compound.

    • To be clear, this isn’t a plot hole. Nothing in the film says, “Lex ordered Anatoli to use a flamethrower so that Kahina could claim Superman used heat-vision.” The film itself is appropriately ambiguous about it and does not contradict itself. The contradiction comes from people immediately leaping to the quoted interpretation, because there’s a disconnect between planning to generate evidence when never intending to present true evidence to begin with based on presumed unavailability of exonerating or contradicting evidence (like “I saw bullet wounds, I smelled gasoline, I saw gas cans, I saw white men drive in, I saw white men drive out, I saw no white bodies, I saw piles of guns and bodies” etc).

      I’m not challenging the film. I’m challenging an interpretation that doesn’t hold up if you assume it to be the plan from the beginning. For example, there’s no contradiction if Lex didn’t tell Anatoli to do it and had no designs of linking the attack to heat-vision. If it is entirely Anatoli’s initiative, then it doesn’t matter what script Lex subsequently fashions for Kahina… he may have looked at the situation and decided to add in a heat-vision implication after Anatoli did what he did… because then there’s no problem of pre-planning porous hearsay which is exclusively condemning, suspicious, and fearful (when there is plenty of exonerating or contradicting things the same hearsay could say), because it WASN’T planned. However, then you need to explain Anatoli’s initiative, which I alluded to in the podcast with a throaway theory that Anatoli is just creepy and likes flamethrowers… but ideally we can reason out something better than that.

      Regarding Kahina’s parents, I think you’re missing the point I’m trying to make. It isn’t an issue of what advantage leaving them alive gives them. It’s an issue of why they have to manufacture one fact (heat-vision) and not another (parents’ death), with the conclusion that they didn’t have to manufacture EITHER fact. It was arbitrary and unnecessary and a flaw in the belief (a viewer interpretation, not what the film says) that the flamethrower was to frame for heat-vision. Put another way, if this was all planned from the beginning and they were under time pressure and anxious about Superman’s arrival, they absolutely could have left WITHOUT burning bodies and Kahina’s testimony would have been EXACTLY THE SAME. Without a single spark of flame, Kahina could STILL say, “Then came fire.” because who is going to exonerate Superman? Who is going to contradict Kahina? If Lex was worried about Kahina being contradicted, he wouldn’t have put the deaths of her parents in her script because they’re actually alive back home.

      Regarding the locals, there’s too many potential exonerating details they could share. They heard the exchange of gunfire, they heard Anatoli scream “Move out!”, they heard the motorcycles take off, they know who’s dead (there’s no reason to mourn if the piles of bodies are all Anatoli’s men) and who isn’t. Lex couldn’t count on the narrative from the locals being heat-vision. If Python’s men are plants spreading the lies then we’re back to the Kahina conundrum, because Python isn’t going to spread classified info, but if only liars are, then there’s no need to create a flame… your liars can say anything they want with or without burnt bodies.

      Again, this isn’t an issue with the film, it’s with a superficial interpretation that needs serious gymnastics to hold up, which makes it suspect as an interpretation… even if widely held. [Edit: So the interpretation is OK with an elegant answer below!]

  18. EUREKA!! I FIGURED THE FLAMETHROWER OUT. Whew! It’s a massive mental relief.

    The answer is so elegant and simple, I’m kicking myself for not getting it until now. It would have saved a lot of unnecessary circular reasoning and recitation of nit-picking how porous the escape of evidence is.

    Further, you’ll like this, because it saves the majority opinion that it was for heat-vision… so everyone else ended up right… they just haven’t defended the position with THIS point yet.

    Answer: The flamethrower is to cover Kahina for Superman and Lois!

    Do you see it? Yes, absolutely, Lex could have Kahina lie about fire even if Anatoli didn’t burn bodies BUT then Lois and Clark would be on to Kahina IMMEDIATELY. They’d KNOW she was lying. They might not be able to prove it, but it would get them investigating rather than doubting themselves. Sure, L&C know Superman didn’t use heat-vision, but they could believe that KAHINA would believe he did based on the burnt bodies.

    So the burnt bodies weren’t for the locals, for the CIA, for the press, for witnesses, for forensics, etc. The burnt bodies were to give Kahina a cover-story to excuse her lie in the eyes of Lois and Clark. That justifies Lex ordering Anatoli to do it!

    Simple, logical, and necessary. Thank goodness!

    • Bravo, Doc! Your solution is really simple and brilliant. Lois has seen the bodies and would understand that other people could believe it is Superman’s fault. Regarding my earlier suggestions (to explain my thoughts) – I didn’t mean Python’s men were liars paid by Lex (it wouldn’t make sense as you mentioned), just placed there to witness something Lex wanted them to witness. I think I understand your point of manufacturing one fact (bodies) and not another, but I meant they manufactured the “heat vision fact” for other witnesses, but did not bother to manufacture Kahina’s parents deaths (not necessary to fake it and they had to be kept alive). I must add, however, that I like your explanation much, much better 🙂
      End note: You are right it is not a plot hole (even if it couldn’t be explained), just some detail that is not clearly stated.

  19. So Dr, will you make a special Episode about the Comic-Con Justice League Teaser?

    • Sorry, I’m in the middle of an intensive trial. Very unlikely anything coming out in a timely fashion.

      I have two episodes recorded, but not edited, and a few stray notes from Saturday SDCC**, but most likely, a Suicide Squad reaction is the next episode. Then I’ll go back and either finish the recorded episodes (two BvS deep dives) or the SDCC stuff… also depending on news / announcements, I might switch over to my notes on unrecorded episodes (I have a bunch on the history of Superman and the Justice League). Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time right now.

      It’s convenient, because I was going to go dark for Suicide Squad anyways, so I’m too busy to be spoiled even if I was seeking them out.

      One line impressions: The future looks bright, I can’t wait for Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman looks epic, and I guarantee everyone will be clamoring for another Superman film after Justice League.

      **When I do trial prep, I typically record myself to check for clarity / flow… so a few times I’d make spontaneous comments about all the new stuff we saw, but not enough to piece together an episode or quality recording.

      • I suggest looking up the SDCC interviews and presentations themselves. batman-news.com (i am a post BvS regular, same name) covers the DCEU in general and has them all. The new Suicide Squad footage as very spoiler heavy btw. Be cautious everyone.

        JL´s aspect ratio of 1:85 is new for Zack, the grounded cinematography looks like his Dawn of the Dead, and the waves that hit Jason Momoa are real. He is from Honolulu and the BvS extras explained that the wants to do his culture justice, so he is going all in. 90s Aquaman is THE role he was born to play.
        Flash will also get more streamlined suit by the end of the film. The current one has over 100 parts and is one of the most intricately designed hero costumes yet. The aggressive humor is inserting too, very in-character. Over a phenomenal shown, especially for Wonder Woman. They went full 300!
        Her film is destined for scrutiny, most of these will be. The reception for the films was very strong but “winning” Hall H is historically proven to mean nothing the usual corners had the usual things to say, so there is that. Eh, not my problem. That´s even good in a small way. All this triple guessing just shows how iconic these characters are.

        My biggest takeaway is how organic all we saw looked and that WB´s auteur approach will be kept.
        The MoS universe is still going strong! Flash S03, (X-men) Legion by Fox and Doctor Strange also had strong showings. The future for US comics is indeed bright. Brighter than I ever dared to expect!
        (@Doc I got caught in mod limbo a lot in this tread, even without links. What gives?)

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