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It's Time To Talk About That Superman Scene In Zack Snyder's Justice League

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Even though he doesn't join the fray until more than midway through Zack Snyder's Justice League on HBO Max, Superman's big return is one of the movie's most pivotal scenes. However, it's not nearly as important as what comes after the hero's resurrection. After the Justice League uses one of the Mother Boxes to resurrect Clark, he wakes up disoriented and tears through the team at Heroes Park until Lois Lane calms him down.

Afterwards, he heads to the farm with Lois in order to come to terms with his return from the dead, before heading to his ship to pick out a suit to wear into battle. As he walks through his ship, Clark hears the voices of his fathers — Jor-El and Jonathan Kent — offering him advice and urging him to show the world love and mercy. As they speak, the ship offers Clark an array of suits to choose from, including his classic red and blue number, but he ultimately settles on the black one.

On the surface, Superman's decision to don a black suit feels ominous. After all, the color black is most often associated with death and mourning, but in Clark's case, the choice is all about rebirth and embracing his Kryptonian heritage — something both of his father's have urged him to do.

Superman honors his fathers by choosing the black suit after his return

The most important part of this pivotal scene isn't the black suit itself, it's Superman's reason for choosing it. Snyder's decision to have Jonathan and Jor-El's words overlap to create one cohesive message for their son is crucial to the emotional impact of the moment. Even though his fathers are two very different men, their messages say the same thing: We love you, we're proud of you, you have to stay strong, and you can't lose yourself.

At one point, Jor-El says, "All the hopes of dreams of Krypton live in you now." Meanwhile, Jonathan urges Clark to show the world his true self. "You're gonna have to make a choice," he explains. "A choice of whether to stand proud in front of the human race or not. You need to show them who you are."

Ever since he was a child, Clark has been hiding part of himself. He's either Clark Kent, the wholesome son of Martha and Jonathan, or he's Kal-El, an alien among humans whose powers make it impossible for him to ever be seen as anything other than Superman. But the truth is, Clark is both of these people at once, and his fathers knew the only way for him to truly find peace is through embracing both sides of himself.

By choosing the black suit, a suit rooted in his Kryptonian heritage, Clark is finally taking a step toward embracing his history as he fights to save humanity even though he's already made the ultimate sacrifice once.

Superman's black suit is an homage to the comics, but it has a totally different meaning in the film

In the comics, Superman wears the black suit, also known as the recovery suit, after his resurrection because it will help him physically heal. But in the film, he doesn't need to recharge his powers after returning from the dead, as evidenced by the way he absolutely destroys the Justice League at Heroes Park. In fact, Snyder never makes any mention of the black suit possessing any special abilities or attributes at all.

For Clark, the black suit is more of a metaphor than anything else. In an extensive interview with I Minutemen, Snyder delved into the meaning behind Superman's decision not to immediately return to his famous red and blue outfit.

"The black suit, you can say that in modern Krypton, when he left, everyone was wearing black suits," the director explained. "So it is sort of linked to, in some ways, the old world. I think it's a more direct relationship to his family. In a lot of ways, the blue suit, to me, represents his place on Earth. The blue suit is his suit of a hero, the suit of his destiny, whereas the black suit is more personal in a lot of ways, more about his family. One is outward, and one is inward."

At this stage, Clark is reflecting on who he is at his core. He's not ready to return to being the world's hero — at least not in the way he once was — but he is determined to uphold the values that Jonathan, Martha, and Jor-El instilled in him.

Snyder had a multi-step plan for Superman's return to his classic suit

Fans fought long and hard to ensure the Snyder Cut became a reality, but ultimately, this film was just part of a much larger story the director wanted to tell. In a February interview with Vanity Fair, Snyder broke down his plans for a Justice League trilogy, which was set up via Cyborg's bleak vision of the future prior to Superman's resurrection.

A big part of the trilogy would have been tied to Superman's character arc as he slowly became the stalwart hero fans know from the comics, and left behind the more conflicted man he is in the modern day films. During an interview with ComicBook Debate, Snyder explained his thought process behind putting Superman in the black suit, and where he wanted to take the character in subsequent films.

"Superman had to, at every step, sort of level up and learn something, and be something different. What I had planned was that the final step for Superman, [was] his real return, or his real coming into what I would consider the classic Superman," the director said. "We don't really get it in this movie, the classic Superman."

Instead, fans are given a raw version of Superman who heads into battle even though he's still reeling from being brought back from the dead. In the end, the black suit scene is about showing Clark at his most vulnerable moment deciding that he's not going to hide who he really is from the world anymore. While he understands the comfort his red and blue suit brings to the people of Earth, at this point in his story, he knows he can't go back to who he was before his death. All he can do now is move forward in a way that honors his family, and for now at least that means rocking the very Kryptonian black suit.