Family and an attitude of volunteer heroism are major themes in Zack Snyder’s three DCEU movies — Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League — lending themselves to moments in which the action moves to the wayside and wholesome feelings are allowed to breathe. This
gives the characters a chance to show their softer, more vulnerable sides.
Whether these moments show loved ones interacting with each other, heroes helping strangers in gentle ways, or personal moments of introspection, there is no shortage of warmth in this series. These scenes pull at the heartstrings of fans who cherish these characters and their journeys.
Few things are more wholesome than a character-building moment between a father and son. In Man of Steel, when Jonathan Kent takes a young Clark into their cellar to reveal the truth of the boy’s otherworldly origins, Clark is overwhelmed and doesn’t take it well. Jonathan acknowledges his adopted son’s terrible burden, and though he gives words of encouragement, Clark asks, “Can’t I just keep pretending I’m your son?”
What does the trick is a hug and the affectionate response, “You are my son.” The line references a moment from Superman: Secret Origin (2009) by Geoff Johns. The scene can resonate with many parents and their adopted kids.
After exploring the world for presumably as much as a decade searching to find his place in life, Clark finally returns home to Smallville to reunite with his mother, a welcome moment for the two of them. Overjoyed, he reveals he had discovered the true nature of his birth parents and why he was sent to Earth, though Martha is fearful that this foreshadows her son being taken from her.
“I’m not going anywhere, Mom,” Clark says with a comforting hug to quell her tears. “I promise.” This sentiment would later prove tragically false in Batman v Superman when humanity manufactures a monster to kill Martha’s beloved son. Still, this remains one of the sweetest moments between mother and son in the three films.
Following the intense battle in Smallville during which Clark saved Martha from General Zod, he returns to the damaged farmhouse to reunite with his mother, finding her recovering cherished items from the debris. “I’m sorry,” Clark says, sad for the damage sustained by their old family home. “It’s only stuff, Clark. It can always be replaced,” Martha says, knowing where her priorities are.
Clark replies, “But you can’t be,” expressing his relief after Zod’s recent attack that his mother, who raised and understands him like no one else, is still alive. It’s a warm moment when the two can relax after recent events by reminding themselves what matters most.
In Batman v Superman, while Lois dwells on the recent tragedy in Nairomi from the apartment she shares with Clark, he arrives home to find her in the bath. He had bought flowers and offers to cook a meal to surprise her. The atmosphere turns somber when Lois brings up the consequences of the Nairomi incident that had been weighing on her mind, leaving Clark feeling bummed.
Almost like a child, he hands Lois one of the roses he brought. After a few moments, the troubled atmosphere transforms when a smile crosses Lois’ face. A job well done, Clark then excitedly steps into the bath, shoes and all, to enjoy an intimate moment with the woman he loves. Flawlessly melding sexuality with romance, it is a cute peek at the life Lois and Clark share.
After watching the world discuss Superman’s impact on humanity, Clark finds himself troubled by how his existence has been taken by the world. So he phones his beloved mother in the middle of the night. Martha asks him what’s wrong, to which he replies only, “No, nothing, I just… Hi.” Smiling warmly, Martha returns the greeting.
In this moment, Superman is looking for comfort and simply needs to hear his mother’s voice. There is a deeply endearing quality to this scene which reminds viewers that even Superman needs his mother sometimes.
In one of the best fight scenes of Zack Snyder’s trilogy, Batman unleashes hell to save Martha Kent from Lex Luthor’s henchman Anatoli Knyazev and his thugs, plowing through a horde of bad guys before confronting the Russian mercenary holding a flamethrower to the gentle Kansas mother’s head. A gunshot and an ignited gas tank later, Martha is safe beneath the Dark Knight’s fireproof cape.
“Don’t worry, I’m a friend of your son’s,” he reassures her, to which she gestures to Batman’s back and replies, “I figured. The cape.” To Batman, this was like saving his own mother of the same name who died all those years ago. It is a moment of levity filled with intense relief that emphasises Martha Kent’s innocence.
Zack Snyder described Wonder Woman as “a warrior for love,” destroying villains to protect the innocent. In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, taking down a group of terrorists at London’s Old Bailey to defend a bunch of children on a school trip exemplifies this depiction of the character. This reaches its high point when a little girl asked Wonder Woman in the aftermath, “Can I be like you someday?”
“You can be anything you want to me,” replies the Amazonian demigoddess. It is an especially poignant and meaningful message considering Barry Allen, once a perfectly normal human being, became a literal god of speed and time. In this world especially, anything is possible.
During a dark period in his life, struggling with depression resulting from losing what he believed was his humanity, the cybernetic Victor Stone unearths his new power to manipulate the world’s technology however he wishes. One of the first things he does is explore CCTV footage to observe a struggling single mother working as a waitress.
Victor uses his mastery of technology to transfer $100,000 to her bank account. The moment she reacts with awe and hugs her children at the ATM, knowing things will be so much better from then on, is tear-jerking. Victor smiles as he watches, a good Samaritan whose humanity re-emerges. In this moment, he becomes a hero to a woman who needed something other than laser beams.
When Clark finally restores his memories following his resurrection and a trip down memory lane through the Kent farm, he spends a beautiful moment with the two people most important to him: Lois Lane and Martha Kent. As he expresses his gratitude to be alive again by playing with a butterfly, the scene is almost surreal in its warmth.
This is the first time Clark and Martha were reunited since he came looking for her advice one quiet Smallville evening before the Capitol hearing in Batman v Superman. The scene takes its time, allowing the moment to settle. These kinds of scenes, especially Clark’s connection with nature, are part of what makes Henry Cavill so accurate to Superman’s source material.
Henry Allen fears that his son’s drive to liberate him from prison is holding him back in life, working multiple jobs to pay for a law degree instead of finding his own way. He believes Barry has potential that deserves better than for Barry to waste it on a potentially fruitless effort to undo a conviction.
Following the climactic final battle, Barry returns to his father to reveal he got a job in a crime lab, a real job for his own sake, with the potential of building a successful career. While a small step, it is huge for Henry Allen, who despaired that his son was wasting his life. He is utterly ecstatic and filled with pride that his son is now moving ahead, coinciding with Flash’s character development in the DCEU.
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