Wonder Woman and Superman don’t know each other well in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which makes her calling him “Kal-El” very confusing.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which is now airing on HBO Max.
The characters that form the core of the Justice League are pop culture icons in their own right that exist in the minds of the audience as something larger than their on-screen representations. In that sense, Superman viewers see flying to save the day in Zack Snyder’s Justice League It’s more than the director’s cut, and for that reason, it can be easy to miss details that shouldn’t make sense in-universe. For example, there is no real reason for Wonder Woman to call Superman “Kal-El” in the new cut of the film.
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Believing that their team is not strong enough to stop the imminent threat of Steppenwolf and Darkseid, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman choose to resurrect the only being they believe will have the power they need: Superman sets out on a mission to restore it. to life, the Leaguers finally succeed, but their plan proves possible failure when Superman does not instantly regain his good character. Zack Snyder’s Justice League magnifies this scene like many other elements in the film, but does so by adding detail that makes little sense.
Going into a fight with Superman after Cyborg loses control of his own weapon systems that identify him as a threat, the League can barely compete with the mighty Kryptonian. Completely overwhelmed, Wonder Woman pleads with “Kal-El” to stop his assault on her and her teammates. However, his words have no effect in stopping him, and neither should they. Kal-El is a name that Superman only came to recognize as his own in his adulthood, and outside of a few mentions from his fellow Kryptonians and the media. he hardly ever uses that name.
There is also the mystery of where he found the name. Although it was used in news broadcasts during Zod’s demands for the red-cloaked hero in Iron Man, Wonder Woman only met Superman once before in the battle against Doomsday in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. She had little familiarity with him and little reason to hope that she would be able to communicate with him, and the appeal to his humanity that ultimately comes with Lois Lane results from Lois referring to Superman by the most familiar name she grew up with: “Clark.”
Reminding Superman of his humanity really isn’t a situation that requires referring to his alien heritage, and using the term Wonder Woman feels more like a transplant of their relationship in the comics than their on-screen relationship. In DC Comics, the two characters are much more familiar with each other and Superman often embraces his alien heritage in a way that his big screen counterpart never has.
Sure, it’s a subtle detail and easy to get around, but this is the kind of thing that makes little sense when it’s really honed. It became clear with the film’s release that there was a lot left on the cutting room floor, but with Zack Snyder’s Justice League, it seems that almost nothing was omitted. A scene explaining Wonder Woman’s use of the term was probably never created in the first place, but with her using it during the Justice League fight, it looks like she should have made the cut.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Ray Porter as Darkseid, Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, and JK Simmons as Commissioner Gordon. The movie now airs on HBO Max.
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