Zack Snyder talks about the infamous Martha scene from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film was the director's second project for the DCEU, following 2013's Man of Steel that launched Henry Cavill as the new Superman. Debuting Ben Affleck's old and hardened iteration of Bruce Wayne, the 2016 Warner Bros. project marked the studio's first team-up film that would eventually lead to Justice League. However, it was met with a divisive reception, with most criticism directed at its convoluted plot (the Ultimate Edition admiteddly solves some of its narrative issues). Those who liked it, on the other hand, appreciated Snyder's aesthetic and fresh spin on these iconic DC characters.
Batman v Superman continues to be a controversial film, especially since Snyder's departure from the DCEU left a slew of loose plot ends introduced in the film. But arguably, nothing is as discussed as the Martha scene. During the heroes' brutal slugfest, Clark pleads for Bruce to "save Martha" - his mother, who was being held hostage by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). Coincidentally, Bruce's mom is also named Martha, and having to deal with seeing the murder of his parents for decades, Clark's desperate plea appealed to his humanity, with Bruce deciding quite quickly that Superman may not be as bad as he initially thought he was. From there, the two patched things up and became allies. The sequence has been mocked online countless times, spawning a barrage of memes, but now Snyder explains what led to that scene.
During the Batman v Superman panel at the Zack: Snyder: The Director's Cuts event at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena over the weekend (via SR's Stephen Colbert ), the director went in-depth into how he and screenwriter Chris Terrio came up with the Martha sequence. As it turns out, it was Terrio who pointed out that Batman's and Superman's mothers have the same names, and from there they developed it into what viewers saw in theaters. Snyder also joked “maybe Martha [Wayne] didn’t die, and that she got put into Witness Protection in Kansas.”
“It’s funny, because we, [screenwriter] Chris Terrio and I, we did reach that point in the movie, in our discussions... we knew how to get them to fight, right? But how do you get them to stop fighting? That’s a tough one. And we sort of were just throwing down on their humanity and Batman realizes Superman has humanity, he’s not just a creature, he’s a man — he’s an alien, but he is as human as, in a lot of ways, he’s more human than him, right? He’s sort of embraced all the good parts of the human race, and so Batman’s able to sort of see, in a lot of ways, a thing that he is not. And I think that that was how we started to talk about it... Then we started to talk about how it could work, and if it was Lois (Amy Adams) that said it, maybe it’s better, it’s that kind of thing. Look, it’s a mythological construct, I have no problem with that part of it.”
Snyder and Terrio were on the right path with how they were going to have Batman and Superman come together. And it's such a nifty detail that their mothers have the same name - a tidbit that had never been highlighted prior to the film. The problem came with the execution of the scene, and how it fits into Batman v Superman's overall structure. At that point, the heroes didn't seem like they were going to stop until one of them died, and just like that, they became good buddies. For someone as skeptical as Bruce throughout the whole film, it's quite jarring that he simply accepted the information fed to him.
Perhaps if the reveal that Clark's and Bruce's mother have the same name was done differently in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it would've worked better. It's a nifty way to emphasize the fact that these heroes, despite their differences, share a similarity rooted in their love for their mothers - something that's a running theme in almost all DCEU movies.
UPDATE: The description of Snyder's idea for Martha Wayne to be in witness protection in Kansas was updated to clarify that it was a joke.
Source: Stephen Colbert
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