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Batman v Superman: In Defense Of Martha

As the headline suggests, yes—I am a fan of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. I am, of course, referring to the Ultimate Cut. The version that is purely Zack Snyder’s vision and untouched by the higher-ups at Warner Bros. 

While this version hits the three-hour mark, the added footage that was removed for the theatrical release provides the missing elements of the story that fills in the plot holes that left moviegoers confused. The transition from the Theatrical Version to the Ultimate Cut highlights what good can come from a studio keeping its greedy little hands off a project and the filmmakers being allowed to tell their story. Don’t get me wrong: Batman v Superman: Ultimate Cut isn’t a film without flaws, but a better structured and much more enjoyable film.

Related: Zack Snyder’s Justice League Will Have No Joss Whedon Shots

Now, while the Ultimate Cut is an improvement, it still contains one of the most debated—and mocked—scenes in film history: the Martha scene. That memorable moment when just before Batman plunges his kryptonite spear into Superman’s chest, the Man of Steel utters the words “You’re letting him kill Martha. Find him, save Martha.” A moment that stops Batman in his tracks because his prey is uttering his mother’s name, Martha Wayne. That scene was critiqued, ridiculed, and mocked by many during the film’s initial run. And I’ll admit, I’ve laughed at a number of those comedic hits on the scene. With that said, what I’m about to say may shock you.

I defend the Martha scene.

Now before you begin typing up a hit piece on me in the comments section, hear me out. That moment is a pivotal moment in this arc our two future frenemies are on together. It’s where the story changes lanes from an epic battle to an emotional connection these two icons share. 

The fault with the scene isn’t the weight behind it, but the delivery. Never would I remove this key moment in the story, but I would reword it. Altering the dialogue just a bit and changing the way it develops would have, in my opinion, lowered the amount of cynicism toward it. Please bear with me as I provide my brief rewrite of that scene.

Batman raises the kryptonite spear into the air. Just before plunging it through the House of El symbol on the Kryptonian’s chest—

Superman: “He’s going to kill her.”

Batman stops. He’s confused to hear this from this destructive alien.

Batman: “What did you say?”

Superman: “Lex Luthor… He’s going to kill her.”

Batman may be a vicious vigilante dead-set on defeating this enemy, but the possibility of an innocent in danger still gets his attention.

Batman: “Who?!”

Superman: “… my mother.”

Batman stops. He’s stunned. He backs away slowly. The last thing he would expect to hear from this creature is a plea to save his mother. In its final moments, all it could think of was calling out for the safety of its mother. Could this being actually feel emotion like a human?

Superman: (still out of breath) “He’s going to kill my mother.”

Batman has his flashbacks of watching his mother die. As this happens, Lois comes to Superman’s side. Batman sees her.

Batman: “Is it true? His mother?”

Lois Lane: “Yes. Lex has her… Her name is Martha.”

Being the skilled journalist that she is, Lois knows the name carries an added weight for the Dark Knight, who’s broken mask reveals the face of Bruce Wayne. Batman flashes back to his father, Thomas, uttering his wife’s name before dying. Out of disgust for his actions, Batman tosses the kryptonite spear far from their location.

Yes, I know. I’m just an entertainment news writer. If I were to present this to Batman v Superman screenwriter Chris Terrio, he most likely would have responded with “Cool story, but my golden friend Oscar here thinks what I wrote it just fine. K, thanks, byeeeeee.”

In the end, while I understand and even enjoy some of the jabs given toward it, I am a defender of the Martha scene due to the impact it has on the story’s duo. The turning point it creates in making Batman realize that this alien is not an enemy to destroy, but someone who shares a common bond. A man who simply wants to save his mother—the same desire that young Bruce Wayne felt on that devastating night all those years ago.

But that’s just one writer’s opinion.

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