[WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.]
Some six months after the theatrical release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – and not long after the “R-rated” Ultimate Edition – director Zack Snyder’s expansion of the DCEU remains one of the more divisive entries in the comic book movie genre. Nevertheless, Batman V Superman opened up a whole new realm of DC’s burgeoning cinematic universe.
True to form for such a meticulous filmmaker as Snyder, new details are still being spotted by sharp-eyed fans. The Ultimate Edition added a slew of Easter eggs for viewers to pore over, and an eagle-eyed fan recently spotted a shout-out to Superman co-creator Joe Shuster’s birthplace of Ontario. Now we have yet another Easter egg confirmation from Batman V Superman photographer Clay Enos which spotlights one of Superman’s most prominent weaknesses.
See the exchange below:
In the film’s titular gladiator match, Ben Affleck’s Batman ends up with a serious advantage over Henry Cavill’s Superman by crafting explosive projectiles filled with kryptonite gas. Batman is able to subdue the weakened Supes and gains the upper hand. Most viewers – if not all – likely never thought to ask why Superman never bothered to scan the Dark Knight’s choice of weaponry but now we now it wouldn’t have mattered. During Affleck’s training montage, we caught a glimpse of those projectiles as they were being made.
The shot didn’t linger on them too long, but the letters “Pb” are clearly etched on their side: this is the symbol for lead in the Periodic Table of Elements. As most casual comic book fans know, Superman’s X-ray vision cannot see through lead. This limitation was used as a significant plot point in BvS, with Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) engineering the bombing of the U.S. Senate during Superman’s hearing. Supes couldn’t see through witness Wallace Keefe’s (Scoot McNairy) lead-lined, explosive-filled wheelchair.
While this level of detail is one of the aspects of Snyder’s films fans can appreciate, it does beg the question of just when Bruce Wayne discovered that Superman’s X-ray vision ability could be thwarted by lead. It clearly must have happened offscreen during his extensive investigation following the tragic events depicted toward the end of Man of Steel (and retold from Bruce Wayne’s perspective in the opening scenes of BvS).
It seems like a bit of a stretch – even for something like Batman V Superman – for Bruce Wayne to have discovered Superman’s major weaknesses when the movie opens, but simply pointing out that he is the World’s Greatest Detective is good enough for most fans. This aspect of the characters’ dynamic may feel like a cheap plot point, but this weakness was already exposed by Lex Luthor. We know Superman isn’t much of a strategist – that’s Batman’s domain – so having him confidently wade into the battle without planning ahead fits his character.
Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters. Wonder Woman opens in theaters on June 2, 2017, followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash, The Batman solo movie, Dark Universe and Man of Steel 2 are currently without a release dates.