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In the ending battle and aftermath of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we know that

Superman is "killed" when he defeats the monster. Everyone believes he is dead. There is a funeral for Clark as well in Kansas, along with the funeral for Superman that many attend.

My question is, if there was so much attention and ceremony around this event, what is the explanation for the last scene?

Dirt levitates on his grave and we are to believe Superman is alive again? What I'm getting at is it seems off to me to have multiple ceremonies and everyone accepting that he's dead for him to just magically heal and come back. He's obviously proven his healing abilities after surviving the nuke. Why wouldn't Bruce, Lois, Martha, Wonderwoman, etc. expect him to heal again? As viewers we know he will come back (you have to have Superman in the Justice League movies), but in the movie's universe, it seems inconsistent.

  • Is there any way to at least make a bit of the actual question visible here? Also keep in mind that spoiler blocks inside the question body are not required on this site. You can use them if you want to be careful with regard to other users, but then please use them judiciously and in a way that doesn't obscure the entire question. – Napoleon Wilson Mar 29 '16 at 16:13
  • It's the so-called Genesis effect so the next movie will probably be The Search for S. – his Mar 29 '16 at 20:21
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    @NapoleonWilson you can make however much visible as desired if you want to edit, but out of the popularity and recency of release of the movie, I wanted to respect viewers and not spoil anything. – Dominic G. Mar 29 '16 at 20:28
  • @DominicG. Well, I'll have a go at it if I find the time, or after I've seen it. As I said, we can still respect your wish to hide spoilers, just open things a bit more so that you ask the actual question and at least part of its context in visible text. Hiding spoilers doesn't have to mean hiding the entire post. – Napoleon Wilson Mar 29 '16 at 20:54
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    @DominicG. Have a look at the help center. Spoilers are no problem at all here, at least for the movie that is the topic of the question. You basically only need to (and only should) use spoilers when you spoil a movie that is not the main topic of the question. – his Mar 29 '16 at 21:46
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There are two aspects of the ending you're asking: one we can sort-of explain and one we can only make some reasoned speculation. (If you're still reading this, you will be spoiled...)

First, there's the whole question on how Superman can "die" in the first place. I think, to understand why people might believe this, don't forget that he's not the first Kryptonian to die in this universe: Zod was killed at the end of Man of Steel in a very similar situation.

We've seen Superman heal from a lot of serious damage, up to and including a targeted nuclear blast, but the key in all of those cases was that he was still alive when it happened. His extreme resistance to injury prevents him from, and his accelerated healing lets him survive almost any disease, damage or injury that he does suffer. But if something managed to break through his defenses and kill him, he can't come back from that.

When Clark snapped Zod's neck, he was able to do that because he was also Kryptonian, so Zod's bone and muscle strength was no help. And once his neck was snapped, he was dead, and couldn't come back. The same thing happened with Superman: Doomsday was already strong enough to injure him; combined with the green kryptonite Superman was wielding, Doomsday managed to inflict a fatal injury on him, and he died.

At least, that's the explanation that everyone seems to buy into. And if the movie had ended about 30 seconds earlier, it would explain everything. But, it didn't, which brings up the second part of your question:

What was that weird dirt jumping effect right at the end? It's never explained -- it's intentionally left unclear as a cliffhanger so we'll all want to watch Justice League and find out. However, the most reasonable explanation is that Clark was never really dead, just "mostly dead" and healing slowly. There's a few bits in the movie that we can use to back up this theory:

  • When he was blasted with the nuke, it took several minutes for him to recover, during which time he was unconscious and seemingly dead.
  • When he was exposed to Kypronite, even after the mineral was gone it took several minutes for his powers to return.
  • In the Doomsday fight, he suffered far worse injuries around far more highly concentrated kryptonite.
  • Clark relies on sunlight to heal himself, but he was take out of the sun and put in a box.
  • If you listen closely enough during the final scenes with Bruce, Diana, and Lois, you can hear a very low thumping noise -- which I would later interpret as Clark starting to come awake and move around in his coffin.

In that case, the "bouncing dirt" effect is just a result of Clark, in his coffin, starting to stir and jostling the dirt around; presumably the shot cut off just before a fist punched through the coffin into the air around him. We will, presumably, find out in the sequel.


On a side note, it's hopefully entirely unrelated, but the mysteriously levitating stuff is a recurring visual element on The Flash whenever there's a whole lot of Speed Force going on in the area.

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    The levitating dirt theme is a recurring Man of Steel theme as well. – Möoz Mar 29 '16 at 23:12
  • On a related note, the whole funeral-but-still-alive thing, especially with the faintly audible heartbeat, was also one of the many direct references to The Dark Knight Returns employed by the movie (though with Superman instead of Batman). – Napoleon Wilson Mar 31 '16 at 12:40
  • Care to share your views on this related question? – Napoleon Wilson Mar 31 '16 at 12:43
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Bruce, Lois, and Wonderwoman don't actually know much at all about Superman and his almost limitless regenerative powers. Martha who has the most idea of his abilities had never seen him sufferer any injuries until he faced General Zod and his cronies. Even then they were only on a par with Superman.

Superman himself in these new reboots still doesn't know a great deal of his own powers or his own healing. Doomsday is a world ending type power and we can see him grow stronger each time it is hurt as that is his Doomsday power.

Also, Zack Snyder himself took inspiration from the Death of Superman arc where we know he dies by the title so it's not seen as inconsistent, but not everyone knows of these stories (there is a great cartoon movie of this too).

Finally, here is an interesting link to pretty much your question.

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