You might think that a movie world fantastic enough to allow for electro-spikey monsters, flying alien strongmen with heat vision and immortal Amazonian warrior princesses wouldn’t have to resort to dreams to show something outlandish. Nonetheless, “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” offers not just one, but four glimpses into its characters’ subconscious. For all the time the characters spend asleep, they could have called the movie “Batman V Sandman.”
But what do all these naptime scenes mean? The dream and hallucinations in the movie range from short and jarring to long and puzzling. Here’s a quick and dirty guide to the dream sequences and their meaning. Warning: Spoilers abound. Obviously.
Dream Sequence One: Darkness, No Parents
The Dream: The movie begins a dream sequence that at first seems to be a flashback to the trauma that created Batman. As young Bruce Wayne watches in stylized horror, a mugger guns down his parents. Daddy tries to tackle the thug but only manages to escalate a street robbery into a double murder. The pearls from necklace entwine the thug’s gun, then spill into a gutter as Thomas whispers “Martha.”
In the first clue that it’s a dream, the pearls travel across space and time to land in the future site of the Batcave. Inside the cave, young Bruce Wayne is lifted into the light by a swirling tornado of bats with the ecstatic terror of an Evangelical Christian getting raptured up to heaven. An adult Bruce Wayne wakes up, shocked to learn yet another actor is portraying him.
Importance to the Plot: We learn Batman’s mother’s name is Martha. The whole plot of the movie depends on us knowing that. Batman and Superman become friends after finding out their mothers share a name. It’s the most out of left field “did we just become best friends?” scene since Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly bonded over velociraptors and John Stamos in “Stepbrothers”.
Dream Sequence Two: Meanwhile, Inside Stately Wayne Manor
The movie’s second dream sequence is its shortest. As Bruce Wayne places flowers in his parents’ tomb, the plaque bearing his mother’s name oozes blood. A monstrous bat creature bursts forth from the wall, shocking Wayne out of the dream. He wakes next to an unidentified woman (Vicki Vale, perhaps?) and uncorks a bottle of Chateau Margaux, a wine that is among the most expensive in the world, with some vintages selling for $225,000.
Importance to the Plot: Again, we are reminded that Batman’s mother’s name is Martha, which, again, is of utmost important. Also, it shows us that Ben Affleck is a different kind of Batman; he’s not just a vigilante crime fighter but also slick bro who appreciates fine wine and totally picks up chicks. Otherwise, it’s a red herring. After all, why would a big bat scare Batman? He loves bats.
Dream Sequence Three: Operation Desert Swarm
The Dream: Batman, accessorizing his bat cowl with a smart tan duster, negotiates for Kryptonite in some sepia-toned, dystopian desert emblazoned with a huge Omega symbol. He’s betrayed and captured by Superman’s elite Nazi-like commandos before militarized insect men descend from the sky and Superman interrogates him. He wakes up next to his batcomputer with the Flash yelling an incoherent but urgent warning at him.
Importance to the Plot: While it has little to no importance to the movie it takes place in, the scene likely sets up events in future DC comic book movies. The Omega symbol and the hordes of insect men hint at the Darth Vader-like comic book space villain Darkseid. And, presumably, the Flash’s gibberish will make sense when more context is provided in later movies. It’s very dreamlike, as the scene is a baffling sequence of jumbled images and sounds punctuated by a weird fight scene and some strange bug guys.
Dream Sequence Four: Welcome Back Costner
The Dream: Superman has a talk with his earth dad, played by Kevin Costner. Despite featuring Costner, the dream lacks a field or any mention of baseball whatsoever. Instead, Costner’s Pa Kent stands on snowy mountain peak and shares a childhood story about saving his family farm only to learn that while he ate a “hero cake,” a neighbor’s farm was destroyed as a consequence of his actions. After that rousing pep talk, he disappears, leaving Superman standing alone in the snow.
Importance to the Plot: Very little. The speech seems to be an argument against heroism, which is strikingly odd considering that the movie is not just about heroes but superheroes. Still, it’s nice to see Kevin Costner in a science fiction action movie that’s not about men with gills.