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The Watchmen Reference You Missed In Batman V Superman

Today, audiences know Zack Snyder best as the former lead directorial force behind the DC Extended Universe. However, while he's most well-known now for his work on "Man of Steel," "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," and his oh-so controversial "Justice League," there was once a time when Snyder's name wasn't as synonymous with superheroes as it is nowadays. Indeed, back in 2006, Snyder had garnered attention largely for his adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel "300." The film, a dramatized version of ancient Sparta's showdown with the Persian Empire, proved that Snyder could bring comics to life in striking and imaginative ways.

2009's "Watchmen," which served as Snyder's follow-up to "300," proved to be another ambitious comic book adaptation and saw him bringing superheroes to life on-screen for the first time. Unfortunately, "Watchmen" wasn't entirely well-received by fans. As a matter of fact, many felt the movie relied too heavily on action tropes, and as a result, did not satisfyingly match the substance of the original comic (via The Independent).

Regardless, the film stands as an important entry in Snyder's ongoing filmmaking career. At least, it certainly isn't one he's willing to forget too easily, with the director even sneaking a subtle, blink-and-you'll-miss-it "Watchmen" reference into 2016's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."

Zack Snyder is still asking the age-old question

The Film Easter Eggs & Details Twitter account recently spotted a "Watchmen" reference hidden in one of the most thrilling moments of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." During the scene in question, which sees Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) coming to blows with each other, one can spot a Latin quote graffitied onto a wall in the background, which reads, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" In English, the quote asks, "Who watches the Watchmen?" which is a phrase used repeatedly throughout both the "Watchmen" comic and movie.

It's an interesting reference not only because it is a straight-up callback to one of Snyder's older films, but because it also fits thematically with the story of "Batman v Superman." Notably, "Watchmen" takes place in a version of America that has outlawed superheroes. Therefore, the phrase, "Who watches the Watchmen?" is meant to question the accountability of vigilantes.

"Batman v Superman" similarly focuses on holding heroes accountable for the destruction they cause, with several of the film's characters coming up with different ways to make Henry Cavill's Superman pay for the damage that was done during the third act of "Man of Steel."