SPOILER WARNING: The following article discusses in detail some of the biggest plot points in Justice League.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is guilty of a lot of things, but no one can say it didn’t lay out a lot of groundwork. The film that brought a live-action Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman together for the very first time also set-up what looked like years of plot points in the DC Extended Universe, including a potential future invasion by Darkseid and a vague but apocalyptic warning from The Flash, who popped in from the future to yell at Batman one of the film’s most unexpected moments.
In case you need a refresher, the moment comes after Batman (Ben Affleck) falls asleep as his work station and dreams of a future where Superman (Henry Cavill) had turned evil and taken over the world with an army of parademons. Batman wakes up to find The Flash (Ezra Miller) emerging from a swirling vortex, yelling “Bruce! Listen to me now! It’s Lois! Lois Lane! She’s the key! Am I too soon? I’m too soon! You were right about him! You’ve always been right about him! Fear him! Find us, Bruce! You have to find us!”
And you know, when you only have a few seconds to deliver a message that could save the world, you really need to be more specific than that. All we know for certain is that Lois Lane is important, and that Batman has “always been right about him”, but even who “him” is could be up for debate. After all, Batman has probably always been right about a lot of people. But in this context – and given the plot of Batman v Superman, which was largely about Bruce Wayne’s paranoia about Clark Kent – it stands to reason that Flash was probably talking about Superman.
That’s all we had to go on for over a year. A prophecy about Superman (probably) turning evil, with the caveat that Lois Lane could stop or prevent the tragedy. There was also that bit about the Justice League going missing, but presumably if Bruce Wayne could avoid the first catastrophe, the subsequent catastrophes probably wouldn’t come to pass. That’s usually how that kind of thing works.
Which brings us back around to Justice League, the new film that brings the whole team of superheroes together and even resurrects Superman for good measure. Of course, resurrecting Superman has side effects. Superman’s initial reaction is blind rage, and his first act is to mow down the whole Justice League. Pretty easily too. Heck, he probably would have killed them all if Batman hadn’t brought Lois Lane along to calm Superman’s spirits.
Boy, it’s a good thing Batman thought about THAT, isn’t it?
Consider also that Justice League finds the titular team fighting Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds), an emissary of Darkseid, who almost certainly would have conquered the world had Superman not intervened in the end. And again, Superman only intervened because Batman brought Lois Lane into the mix. If that hadn’t happened, it seems logical to suggest that Steppenwolf would have conquered Earth, and that a rogue Superman would have been flying around, pissed off and maybe even outright evil… just like in Batman’s prophetic vision of the future.
Of course, none of that happened. Everything turned out okay, folks! Superman’s good again, the Justice League didn’t go missing, all’s well that ends well. And yet it’s not 100% satisfying because that really big plot point from Batman v Superman wasn’t technically addressed, on camera, at all.
It’s possible that a direct reference to Flash’s warning is one of the many scenes from Justice League that didn’t make the cut, or were re-shot entirely after Zack Snyder left the project. There were apparently quite a lot of those. But all we really needed to have some proper closure was Batman alluding to the warning, or a flashback to that moment, shortly before the resurrection of Superman. That would have cleared everything right up, and sealed the pesky time travel loop.
Instead, we have a situation where it would make SENSE if the time travel loop is closed, that the apocalyptic future has been canceled, and that everything has been wrapped up with a tidy little bow. Sure, Darkseid will probably come back eventually, since he’s still out there somewhere, but the DCEU wouldn’t be a foregone conclusion, and have the freedom to expand beyond plot points which were (arguably ham-fistedly) foreshadowed in Batman v Superman.
Again, that would make SENSE. However, until someone actually addresses this plot point – preferably in a storyline, but even a behind the scenes commentary or deleted scene would suffice – we’ll always be left wondering. Did Batman heed Flash’s warning, or did it only LOOK like he heeded Flash’s warning? How can we really tell for sure?
All signs point to the idea that Justice League tackled this plot point, but under the radar, moving on as quickly as possible without calling attention to the idea that the new film was just sweeping previous story ideas under the rug. Maybe that’s exactly what happened. But only time, the filmmakers and/or future films will let us know for certain.
Top Photos: Warner Bros.
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on Canceled Too Soon and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.