One of the most ridiculed moments in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice takes place when the two superheroes stop their deadly battle when they realize both of their mothers are named Martha. The scene is meant to humanize both characters and depict that, despite their countless differences, they can relate over their commonalities. Storyboard artist Jay Oliva attempted to offer new insight on the mocked scene.
"I thought, 'Did they not understand what that whole point was?'" Oliva shared with the ComicBook Debate podcast about people who mocked the scene. "The whole reason why the movie starts with the death of Bruce's parents is to set up the fact that that traumatic effect has basically given little Bruce, and now adult Bruce, PTSD. He's had it all his life. I mean, it's something that I even did in Dark Knight Returns Part 1. I played up the fact that he has PTSD. If you notice I do flashes… when the train goes by overhead it's flashing on the ground and that gives him those flashes of when his mom gets killed."
He continued, "So, at that early stage I was already playing the fact that you had a Batman who had PTSD, you know? So, Zack was just setting that up and if you watch that film, really, without having any kind of preconceived notions or whatnot or just waiting for the 'Martha scene'… he sets it up. So, that way at the end when Batman's gonna kill Superman, the 'Martha' is a trigger to get Batman out of this kind of bloodlust vengeance."
The issue many viewers took with this scene wasn't necessarily the concept of it, but rather found its execution to be clunky. Oliva contested that Superman revealing this detail about Batman's mother was potentially the last resort, knowing that he could weaponize Martha Wayne's connection to Bruce.
"In my head, I put together the fact that the reason why he didn't say 'Save my mom' was that Clark already knew who Batman was, because remember Clark's an investigative reporter," the artist noted. "He already figured out who Bruce Wayne was and I think he knew Bruce Wayne's past because everybody knows about the Wayne's being murdered. Of course, he may not know but I think he put two and two together and knew that in order to get through to Bruce, would be to have to appeal to the word 'Martha,' about the name of his mom who also happens to be the name his mom. But he's trying to get through to this guy who, again, has this bloodlust."
Despite Oliva and director Zack Snyder seemingly having the best of intentions for the way the sequence was handled, something about it didn't entirely connect with audiences, leading to the moment getting the meme treatment across the internet in the years since.
Do you think the scene was executed poorly? Let us know in the comments below!
[H/T ComicBook Debate]