Superman's death by sacrificing himself to kill Doomsday only seared Batman's obsession about the Man of Steel into his psyche even further. By the conclusion of BvS, Bruce Wayne was standing with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) at Clark Kent's funeral in Smallville, Kansas - a funeral Wayne paid for. Remember, just days prior, Bruce spent two years and untold amounts of his billions trying to himself kill the man being buried in the ground. Now, Bruce Wayne spoke of vows and promises he made Superman, "to honor him." "I failed him in life," he tells Wonder Woman. "I won't fail him in death." When he saved Martha Kent, Bruce Wayne seemingly put to rest his failure to save his parents and made his peace with that trauma of his past. In its place was a brand new trauma to drive Batman: how he failed Superman.
Which brings us to Justice League, which only continues Batman's obsession with Superman. Now, Batman is more frightened than ever. Even more than he was of Superman's potential to be Earth's destroyer, he's terrified of the coming invasion by the forces of the planet Apokolips, which was foretold to Batman by a time traveling Flash (Ezra Miller) and in a dream sequence (where Superman was the despotic killer he was afraid he was). Batman needs to form a team to stop the aliens coming to invade. He knows, having faced Doomsday and realized his own limits against such power, that despite his weapons and technology, he is not enough. He needs metahuman warriors. As we see in the Justice League trailers, even with Wonder Woman by his side, Batman doesn't seem satisfied by finding the Flash, Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Despite all of their combined power, Batman finds his new League lacking. Because they don't have Superman.
The Justice League is Batman's best effort and Hail Mary to not just honor Superman - whom he now says was "a beacon of hope to the world" - but to have a heroic force powerful enough to replace him and defend the Earth. If Superman had lived, Batman may not even feel the need to have a League. And yet, even putting Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg together, Batman still feels the new team is inadequate. "Divided, we are not enough," Batman says in the new trailer. "The world needs Superman." Batman is just trying to hold the world together as he desperately attempts to live up to the example Superman set, while yearning for the deciding factor that Superman would be - if he were alive.
Luckily for Batman, all of the evidence in Justice League's promotion - including the new final trailer - suggests Superman will return. How Superman returns is the big question for Justice League to answer. Will the Man of Steel be resurrected just in time to be the difference between the League being able to save the world or face ultimate defeat? Or will Superman somehow return changed and evil? How will either affect Batman, who has now shifted his driving obsession to living up to the example set by the Man of Steel whom he failed in life? For Batman in Justice League, everything is about saving the world - the way Superman would have - and may yet again.
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017