Eighteen months after a destructive battle with General Zod in Metropolis, Superman has become a controversial figure. Billionaire Bruce Wayne, who has operated in Gotham City as the vigilante Batman for nearly two decades, sees Superman as a potential threat to humanity. After learning of Batman's form of punishment, Clark Kent, Superman's alter-ego, seeks to expose Batman via Daily Planet articles. Wayne learns that Russian weapon trafficker Anatoli Knyazev has been contacting LexCorp mogul Lex Luthor. Meanwhile, Luthor tries to persuade Senator June Finch to allow him to import kryptonite retrieved from the Indian Ocean following Zod's terraforming attempt, claiming he wants to maintain it as a "deterrent" against Kryptonians, but she denies the request. He also makes side dealings with Finch's subordinate and demands access to Zod's body and the Kryptonian scout ship. Wayne attends Luthor's party at LexCorp, where he meets an antiquities dealer named Diana Prince, and retrieves encrypted data from the company's mainframe. While decrypting the drive at the Batcave, Wayne has a dream of a post-apocalyptic world, where he leads a group of rebels against a fascist Superman. He is snapped out of the dream by an unidentified being who warns him of Lois Lane's crucial role in the future, and urges him to find "the others" before vanishing. Wayne later discovers that Luthor is not only experimenting with kryptonite, but also investigating metahumans. One of them is Prince herself, who is an immortal warrior. Wayne admits to Alfred Pennyworth that he plans to steal the kryptonite to weaponize it, should it become necessary to fight Superman.
At a congressional hearing, as Finch questions Superman on the validity of his actions, a bomb planted by Luthor explodes, killing everyone present but Superman. Believing he should have detected the bomb, and frustrated by his failure to save the people, Superman goes into self-imposed exile. Batman breaks into LexCorp and steals the kryptonite, planning to use it to battle Superman by building a powered exoskeleton, and creating a kryptonite grenade launcher and a kryptonite-tipped spear. Meanwhile, Luthor enters the Kryptonian ship and learns details of its alien technology.
Luthor kidnaps Martha Kent, Clark's adoptive mother. He reveals that he has manipulated Superman and Batman by fueling their distrust for each other. He demands Superman kill Batman in exchange for Martha's life. Superman tries to reason with Batman, but Batman instead fights Superman and eventually subdues him. Before Batman can kill him with the spear, Superman urges Batman to "save Martha", whose name is also shared with Wayne's late mother. Lane arrives and explains the situation, convincing Batman that Superman is not a threat. Unwilling to let someone else's mother die, Batman leaves to rescue Martha, while Superman confronts Luthor on the scout ship.
Luthor executes his backup plan, unleashing a genetically-engineered monster with DNA from both Zod's body and his own. However, Prince arrives unexpectedly. Revealing her metahuman nature, she joins forces with Batman and Superman to fight the creature. They are soon outmatched by its power, as it can absorb and redirect energy. Realizing that it is vulnerable to kryptonite, Superman retrieves the kryptonite spear. With Batman and Prince's help containing it, Superman impales the monster, killing it. In its last moments however, the creature fatally stabs a weakened Superman with one of its bone protrusions.
Luthor is arrested, and Batman confronts him in prison, warning Luthor that he will always be watching him. Luthor gloats that Superman's death has made the world vulnerable to powerful alien threats, and that something bigger is coming to Earth. A memorial is held for Superman in Metropolis. Clark is also declared dead, and Wayne, Lane, Martha, and Prince attend a private funeral for him in Smallville. Martha gives an envelope to Lane which contains an engagement ring from Clark. After the funeral, Wayne reveals to Prince that he plans to form a team of metahumans, starting with those from Luthor's files, to help protect the world in Superman's absence. After they leave, the dirt atop Clark's coffin begins to levitate.
- Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman
- Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
- Amy Adams as Lois Lane
- Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
- Diane Lane as Martha Kent
- Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
- Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
- Tao Okamoto as Mercy Graves
- Holly Hunter as June Finch
- Callan Mulvey as Anatoli Knyazev
- Scoot McNairy as Wallace Keefe
- Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash
- Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman
- Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Thomas Wayne
- Lauren Cohan as Martha Wayne
- Robin Atkin Downes as the voice of Doomsday
- Harry Lennix as Secretary Calvin Swanwick
- Christina Wren as Major Carrie Farris
- Carla Gugino as Ship's voice
- Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent
- Chris Pine as Steve Trevor (archive footage)
- Jena Malone as Jenet Klyburn (Ultimate Edition)
Four days before Man of Steel's release, it was announced that Zack Snyder, David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan would return to their respective roles—director, screenwriter, and executive producer (albeit in a lesser role than in the previous film), for a Man of Steel sequel. Goyer had previously signed a three-film deal with Warner Bros. Pictures for Man of Steel, its sequel, and a Justice League film featuring Superman. The movie was officially announced at the San Diego Comic-Con on July 20, 2013. The film is set for a 2016 release and will feature Superman and Batman meeting for the first time in a cinematic format, with most of the first film's main cast set to return, while a new actor will be chosen to play Batman. Two tentative titles for the new film, Batman vs. Superman or Superman vs. Batman, were suggested by Goyer during the Superman 75th Anniversary Panel at Comic-Con. Filming will start sometime in 2014 in Toronto, Ontario instead of Vancouver. On August 23, 2013, Hollywood Reporter announced that Warner Bros. Pictures cast Ben Affleck as Batman. On December 4, 2013 it was announced that Gal Gadot had joined the cast as Wonder Woman.
On May 21, 2014 it was announced that the film would be called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman) and Diane Lane (Martha Kent) both appeared in Hollywoodland, where Affleck portrayed George Reeves, the actor best known for playing Superman on television.
- Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Matthew Goode, Richard Armitage, Max Martini, Armie Hammer, Jensen Ackles and Joe Manganiello were considered to play Batman before Ben Affleck was cast.
- Ben Affleck began working out two hours a day on a daily basis, the very next day after he was cast as Batman, to get ready for the role.
- This is the second superhero film that Ben Affleck has played a starring role. The first was as Matt Murdock/Daredevil in the film Daredevil. Similar to Batman, Daredevil was also a martial artist and was driven to crime-fighting due to the death of a family member.
- ‘Man Of Steel’ Sequel Underway With Zack Snyder And David S. Goyer
- Comic-Con 2013: ‘Superman & Batman’ movie will follow ‘Man of Steel’
- Superman & Batman Film Set for Comic-Con Reveal
- Next Superman Movie Likely Called ‘Batman vs. Superman’
- MAN OF STEEL 2 PRODUCTION DEPARTS VANCOUVER FOR TORONTO
- Ben Affleck Is Batman for 'Man of Steel' Sequel