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DC's Animated Injustice Ending Explained

An unstoppable force now governs the entire world. If you make the wrong move, your life could be forfeited in a matter of seconds. That's the new world order created by Superman in the world of "Injustice." The Big Blue Boy Scout is now anything but. Cross him, and it could mean the end of the line for you.

Filmmakers, showrunners, and comic book writers have all asked the question in recent years: what if Superman was evil? Garth Ennis created a terrifying world where a Superman-type by the name of Homelander is an unhinged, narcissistic sociopath. The Amazon Prime adaptation of "The Boys" comic brought that terrifying reality to live-action. Yet another Amazon series, the on-screen adaptation of Robert Kirkman's "Invincible," gave viewers a look at Omni-man, a seemingly indestructible superhuman whose bloodlust knows no bounds. Even the James Gunn produced film, "Brightburn" imagined a world where a Superman-like being crash-landed on earth but wasn't quite as benevolent as Clark Kent. 

While the 2013 video game from Mortal Kombat creator NetherRealm Studios positioned Superman as the villain, labeling him "evil" is a major oversimplification. "Injustice: Gods Among Us" told the story of a Superman who was driven to enforce peace after a tragic loss. Superman becomes a dictator, but he has come to view this shift in character as a necessary price to combat evil. The animated adaptation, "Injustice" depicts Superman's dramatic change in philosophy as well as his newly enforced global police state. Here's the ending to "Injustice" explained.

Everything to lose

To understand Superman's descent into villainy, it's important to know what event brought him so low. As a hero, the Man of Steel has always kept his civilian identity a secret for the sake of his loved ones. As we all know, the smalltown farm boy fell for the big city reporter, Lois Lane. The feeling was obviously mutual, and the two have a famous relationship. In "Injustice," the couple happily live together and Lois is fully aware of Clark's other occupation. One fateful morning, Clark excitedly breaks the news to Lois that she's pregnant. Obviously, he heard the heartbeat with his super-hearing and instantly knew that a little Kryptonian bundle of joy was on the way. 

Rapidly, Clark becomes excited about the future and begins plotting out potential schools and big life decisions to make as a newly-christened family of three. Fatefully, Lois tells him to settle down by saying, "We have our entire lives to make all those wonderful decisions." Before they get a moment to really settle in with the idea of life with a child, Superman rockets away at the sounds of Batman facing a threat. As Clark arrives on the scene to help Batman mop up the criminal element afoot, he begins to tell Batman the good news. Though, being the world's greatest detective, Batman already deduces that Lois is pregnant simply by noticing the subtle details indicating excited nerves emanating from Superman's countenance. Batman is on the trail of the Joker, which has led to the Caped Crusader's presence in Metropolis. In other words, the beginning of the film sets up the premise that Superman has everything to lose if something threatens his growing family.

The Greatest Fear

Ultimately, the unthinkable occurs. Joker enacts a plan that involves the murders of Jimmy Olsen, The Flash, and Lois and her unborn child. With the kryptonite-laced Scarecrow fear toxin seeping into Superman's system, his greatest fear was perceived as the return of Doomsday. This detail might be lost on many, but it's rather important to understanding the path Superman takes in the film.

For those unaware, Doomsday famously killed the Man of Steel. The villain was a ravenous beast of Kryptonian origin. Created by the hands of a cruel otherworldly scientist, the being known as Doomsday was once a lowly lifeform who was sent to prehistoric Krypton before Superman's kind ruled. The harsh conditions of the planet instantly killed him and the alien scientist cloned the being from the fallen creature's DNA. He continued this process over and over to speed up the evolution of the creature. As Doomsday adapted to the climate, he eventually was killed by the violent wildlife. After further cloning cycles, he himself became the apex predator. Eventually, he became an unstoppable force with pure rage and bloodlust encoded into his DNA simply from the painful genetic memories of his countless deaths. By instinct, he viewed the universe as cruel and unforgiving and only cared to end life.

His rampage on earth is famous for its crescendo into a climactic clash with the Man of Steel. The brutal fight caused the death of both Doomsday and Superman. Of course, Superman was able to return thanks to Kryptonian healing technology. However, it left a scar in Superman's mind. Doomsday was the one villain he might've been unable to stop from destroying everything. The very idea that he, or someone like him, returns instills fear in Clark because of his feelings of powerlessness.

Tragedy and renewal

While Doomsday was only a figment of Clark's fear-induced brain thanks to the Scarecrow toxin, the reality was that Lois was the person he projected Doomsday onto. The Joker used Superman's trauma and desperation to create further tragedy for the hero. It's a defining moment that ultimately breaks the hero Superman has become. Feeling desperate and powerless the moment gives way to Superman's brutal execution of the Joker. Stunned, Batman looks on as his friend succumbs to his understandably overwhelming anger and sadness committing an act that defies the principles the Justice League stands for.

Joker's death may have been the result of a rash emotional reaction, but Superman doesn't regret his decision. In fact, Superman pushes forward on the idea that someone needs to force criminality to stop altogether. He views his past attitudes toward crime-fighting as reactionary and weak. Superman feels that he must now take a proactive hardline approach to prevent crime from occurring. He renews himself by committing to the world that he'll protect them even if he has to infringe upon personal freedoms to do so.

Differing moral philosophies

Before Superman kills the Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime reminds Batman that the entire persona of the Dark Knight was born out of tragedy. How Joker knows this in this particular universe is unknown. Does he actually know Batman is Bruce Wayne? Or can he simply perceive that Batman is what he is likely because of a past trauma? Regardless, the Joker poses the question, "What do you think he'll become, hmm?" referring to Superman.

Batman's philosophy is rooted in the purity of justice. Ultimately, however, everyone's idea of what justice actually may differ. Batman believes criminals must account for their crimes through law and order. Superman used to espouse this ideal. Now, he has become an executioner. Instead of policing criminals, he views them as unchanging monsters who must be ended regardless of a public court of opinion. The problem with this idea is that he now takes upon himself the same responsibility that an entire collection of individuals (a jury) typically does through discourse and careful considerations. Overriding a judicial system is a fast-track to a totalitarian state.

Wonder Woman and other heroes side with Superman. Wonder Woman actually views Batman as being the one responsible for the countless bodies left in the Joker's wake over the years because he'd never brought himself to kill the villain. This blame based only on cause and effect disregards the idea that an individual is responsible for their own choices — a philosophy Batman obviously maintains.

Desperate times...

The story of Injustice presents viewers with a third-party perspective at the cycle of hypocrisy within an individual or individuals who decide to smash democracy in the name of doing "what's best." The first major indication of Superman's blindness to his own misdeeds comes in his failure to predict how world governments and those in power will act when their power is ripped from them. If we look at Superman, the Joker robbed him of his power to protect Lois and his unborn child. Out of fear, anger, and desperation, he killed the Joker. When backed into a corner, Superman did the unthinkable.

This continued feeling of desperation within the Man of Steel causes him to not consider his own experience when dealing with the leaders of the rest of the world. In a state of panic, the U.S. President sanctions an operation where operatives raid the Kent farm and take Jonathan Kent hostage to use as leverage against the Man of Steel. Of course, this only further provokes Superman into more extreme actions.

A line in the sand

As much of the world's population knows all too well, ethical and political ideologies can often cause division among the closest of allies. It's the major source of conflict throughout the globe. Even as countries may oppose one another over different views in these areas, the same goes for friends and family. Within the bat-family, young Damian Wayne (Robin) was raised in a world where assassination was the answer to ever problem. While Bruce Wayne has done his best to train his son under his own moral code, Damian can't help but feel Superman is taking the most logical course of action. Damian and his father are both strong-willed individuals who harbor completely opposing views in this case. There is no middle-ground which only leads to resentment between the two.

Quickly Damian defects and joins Superman and Wonder Woman in their crusade to rid the world of evil. They start by moving the prisoners within Arkham to an inescapable void. Batman and Nightwing arrive to stop them, but the moment only results in a fight when the Arkham inmates are released from their cells by Harley Quinn. In a moment blinded by his own aggression and anger toward his father, Damian kills Nightwing. The Boy Wonder instantly regrets his actions as Dick Grayson was his friend and mentor and, ultimately, a brother. The moment seals the fate of Batman and Damian's relationship as the Dark Knight sadly carries Dick's body away while disowning his son.

Nightwing's second calling

In the world of comic books, no one is ever truly gone. Nightwing finds himself in the afterlife where he is granted a power to walk among humanity as a spirit and hold influence over them should he desire. He's given the moniker of Deadwing.

What some viewers may not know is that Nightwing's transformation into Deadwing is the Injustice universe's version of DC hero Deadman. In DC history, Nightwing and Deadman as Dick Grayson and Boston Brand respectively actually share a similar past. Both were acrobats in their former lives. Dick Grayson witnessed the death of his parents during a sabotaged performance. Boston Brand was also killed during a performance, but was resurrected in spirit form as Deadman by the Hindu god Rama Kushna. He could possess any living being at will and, afterward, would be able to interact with the individual. Instead of Boston Brand, however, the Injustice universe sees this scenario playing out with Nightwing.

Breaking into the Fortress of Solitude

The dissenting heroes gather in a secret location to discuss a plan to break into the Fortress of Solitude and steal a red sun cannon. If you're unfamiliar with the implications of this weapon, here's a little history. Superman's homeworld, Krypton orbits a red sun. The people of Krytpon are as frail as the average human on their homeworld. Once their bodies absorb the radiation of a yellow sun, like our own, they're given the abilities that Superman has. A cannon that emits the radiation of a red sun would nullify Superman's abilities making it easy for the heroes to take him down.

Upon arrival at the Fortress, Batman and crew find that Superman is keeping Jonathan Kent here out of harm's reach. Immediately understanding what an unstable Superman might think if he finds the heroes there, Batman insists they abort the mission, but it's too late. Superman arrived and a fight break's out as he fears the heroes are attempting to threaten Jonathan Kent for leverage. Amid the scuffle, Green Arrow fires a kryptonite arrow that Superman swats to the side and accidentally kills Jonathan. In his rage, Superman kills the Emerald Archer. The moment is saturated with dread as the heroes all understand that Superman has held back simply because they were his friends. But now, he's completely unhinged, and lethal force is on the table even towards those he once called allies and friends.

All bets are off

Following the scuffle at the Fortress, Superman sinks deeper into despot territory as he publicly decrees that any individual with super-powers who does not join forces with him will suffer consequences. He has partnered with Ra's Al Ghul, who only acts as the little devil sitting atop his shoulder pushing him further toward Ra's Al Ghul's evil schemes. In Batman lore, Ra's Al Ghul actually espouses a similar position to the Kryptonian dictator. He's always dreamed of burning Gotham to the ground in the name of vanquishing corruption. Where Ra's and Superman differ is that Superman still isn't at a stage where he's comfortable committing mass murder wiping out entire cities or committing the genocide of an entire country just to eliminate corruption.

The cycle of hypocrisy also continues. Superman and Wonder Woman oversee a campaign by Cyborg and Hawkman to dismantle Myanmar's military installations. Superman, then asks, "Casualties?" Wonder Woman replies, "minimal." The irony is that at the beginning of Superman's new crusade he destroyed a U.S. military drone that was about to strike a terrorist target. Military leaders were angered by Superman's actions and discussed the event, stating there would have only been minimal civilian casualties, but they concluded that was the reason Superman interfered. Superman is now finding himself in the same position as the governments he aims to control.

A police state

To assist Superman in ramping up his campaign to keep an eye on the public and potential rebels in the superhero camps, he imprisoned Mr. Terrific and stole his T-sphere technology to police the streets. As Catwoman and Batman survey the new police state that Superman has created, they witness a gathering of teens and young adults who idolize the Joker as a symbol of freedom from Superman's oppression. A T-sphere spots the party and Superman arrives horrified that the Joker is being memorialized. The party-goers begin calling the Man of Steel names like "fascist." This angers Superman who swiftly murders everyone in the building. Batman attempts to go aid the dying innocents, but Catwoman stops him knowing that it's suicide.

Later, Wonder Woman sees the footage of the atrocities Superman committed realizing the Man of Steel murdered a bunch of kids solely because they angered him. She begins to have her doubts as this crosses the line of her own moral boundaries. Batman once stated that after committing the act of murder, it becomes easier to do again and again. That is why it became a part of the Dark Knight's moral code. While he'd likely be thrilled with the Joker's death, Batman knows what it means for his future should he give in to those urges.


Because of Ra's Al Ghul's aid, the Man of Steel now seemingly trusts the assassin. Ra's introduces Superman to Amazo, an advanced robotic intelligence system that can adapt to opposing forces. The assassin tells Superman that the robot can carry out his orders where ever he may be. Superman agrees to deploy one in a small town for a field test.

Amazo is deployed in Smallville and quickly gets out of line after it kills a civilian who littered -– the punishment didn't exactly fit the crime. Superman quickly arrives on the scene after the robot kills the police officers attempting to stop it. He demands that Ra's shut the robot down, but the villain reveals that his true intentions were to never work with Superman, but to allow his technology to learn how to mimic Superman's capabilities. With everything he needs to dominate the world, Ra's gets to work on his own plans with the help of Amazo.

A fight for humanity

Quickly, Superman and Amazo or are engaged in bloody combat. As Amazo bludgeons Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Hawkman all arrive on the scene to assist. Amazo quickly kills Hawkman. The robot then begins adapting and learning from the other heroes. After a fierce fight, Amazo kills Cyborg ripping off his cybernetic face plate. Batman and the rebel heroes join the fray and momentarily distract Amazo from pummeling Superman and Wonder Woman. Elongated Man and Mr. Terrific, who recently broke out of Superman's prison, begin assembling a device while Batman and Harley head into the brawl against Amazo. In a climactic fight that requires all hands on deck, the heroes are able to dismantle Amazo.

Deadwing makes a return to the life of Damian Wayne, possessing the young Robin and helping him evade death from his grandfather Ra's Al Ghul. Deadwing councils Damian in the methods of fighting honorably with the aim of preserving life while removing the threat. Between the two heroes, Ra's is defeated and in an emotional moment for Damian, Deadwing forgives him for what he had done.

The cost of tyranny

Despite coming together for the fight against Amazo, Superman still condemns Batman and his group of "rebels" as fugitives who will be imprisoned. However, the device that Mr. Terrific was constructing was a gateway to other universes. He was able to get help from a righteous Man of Steel to help combat the threat of their own.

The good Superman shows compassion for the tragedies that have befallen the Clark of this world. However, too stubborn to change, the two clash in a heated battle and a test of wills. The tyrant Superman reveals that he has the upper hand, simply because he no longer holds back. After coming out of the fight on top, he then goes to attack Bruce, but is stopped when he sees a pregnant Lois from yet another universe. Mr. Terrific didn't hold back with his requests for extra-dimensional help. This Lois dealt with the death of her Clark. She pleads with Superman to stop murdering others simply because they disagree. The recently revealed Superman tagline in the realm of DC comics is "Truth, Justice, and a better tomorrow." In "Injustice," Clark betrayed all of the tenants of this slogan.

Finally, seeing the error of his ways, he surrenders. Distraught, he listens to the heartbeat of Lois's child. With tears welling in his eyes, he becomes truly remorseful for the suffering he caused. Batman explains that a red sun prison will be constructed to contain him. In the final moments of the film, Batman feels the weight lift off his shoulders as he kisses Catwoman and cracks a semi-smile bigger than anything we've seen from the Dark Knight as a better tomorrow truly begins to dawn.