World's Finest is a 2016 American superhero film based on the DC Comics characters Superman and Batman. It is a crossover between the two characters, who were first introduced in Superman Reborn and The Batman and played by Armie Hammer and Eric Bana respectively. World's Finest is part of the DC Movie Universe and leads into the Justice League film, which was released the following year. The film was directed and scored by Joss Whedon and James Newton Howard respectively.
The film opens in Gotham City, with the owner of an antique shop preparing to close for the night. Suddenly, a gang of thugs appear and surround him. As he is hassled back into the store, a car pulls up and a small man gets out. He closes his umbrella and the man is shocked to see that he is "The Penguin." The Penguin enters the shop and takes a look around while he gives a monologue, which at the beginning seems somewhat irrelevant but slowly becomes more menacing. The Penguin finally stops next to a glowing green dragon statue and picks it up. The shopkeeper moves to stop him, forcing one of his goons to shoot the man in the gut. The Penguin then leaves, taking the statue with him.
The following morning, police are investigating the scene. Commissioner James Gordon and Harvey Bullock arrive and learn that the only thing stolen was the dragon. Gordon is confused as the statue is only worth maybe a thousand dollars and more valuable items were on offer. As he walks into the back of the store, he finds himself alone, or so it seems. Batman steps out of the shadows and briefly speaks with Gordon before taking a small fragment left behind by the statue.
Batman examines the fragment in the Batcave, where he learns that the statue, known as the Laughing Dragon, has a reputation as being cursed. All of its owners mysteriously died shortly after buying it. It turns out that they had contracted radiation poisoning because the Laughing Dragon is made of Kryptonite. Batman wonders if the person who stole it has something in store for someone in Metropolis, where Bruce Wayne has business, providing the perfect front for Batman to visit.
In Metropolis, it is revealed that Lex Luthor avoided prison time relating to his attempt on Superman's life and is back as the head of LexCorp. He walks out of his building, where he is going to be picked by his personal driver and henchwoman, Mercy Graves. When his car arrives, he gets in to find Mercy being held at gunpoint by one of the Penguin's goons. The Penguin himself greets Luthor, who recognizes him and calls him by his real name; Oswald Cobblepot. Cobbelpot is revealed to be a major mobster in Gotham, where he has run afoul of Batman, placing his criminal empire on the verge of collapse. He is willing to kill Superman if Luthor kills Batman in return. Luthor is skeptical, but Cobblepot then reveals the Laughing Dragon, so Luthor reconsiders.
Cobblepot sets about setting up his base in Metropolis. He meets with an old rival, Ceasar Carlini, and kills him with a gun hidden inside of an umbrella before taking Carlini's hideout, and his thugs, as his own. Superman learns of the killing and becomes suspicious.
The following day, Bruce Wayne meets up with Luthor, and it is revealed the two have teamed up to create an arsenal of robots which will hopefully be capable of space exploration. They run a test spin and are pleased with the results, but Luthor thinks that the robots would be more useful if designed for military use; Bruce shoots the idea down.
That night, Batman finds one of Carlini's goons at a nightclub and chases him into an alley. Before he can get any information, Superman appears and shoves Batman away, allowing the goon to escape. Batman throws Superman across the alley and then pulls out the Kryptonite fragment before Superman can punch him. He warns him that somebody is planning something big. Superman uses his x-ray vision to find out Batman's identity before leaving.
Superman returns to his apartment, changing back into his alter ego, Clark Kent. He discovers a tracking device on his cape and realises that Batman now also knows his identity. He then angrily crushes the device. Meanwhile, the runaway thug encounters someone else down a dark alley and is then gassed, causing him to break dow into hysterics.
Having learned about their relationship from Luthor, Cobblepot sends his goons to kidnap Lois Lane, Clark's fellow Daily Planet reporter. He takes her to a LexCorp lab and sends Superman a message, telling him to meet him alone. Dismissing Batman's earlier warnings, Superman heads there and finds Lois, but is struck from behind by Cobblepot with the dragon. He then seals them in the lab and begins to pump noxious gas in, leaving them to die. Batman arrives and shatters a container of hydrochloric acid, which dissolves the Kryptonite. Superman punches through the wall and the trio escape. Batman notes that they only destroyed one half of the dragon, meaning that Cobblepot still has the other half.
THe following morning, Luthor meets with Cobblepot in the back of his car once again. Luthor berates Cobblepot for having failed to kill Superman and causing destruction. Suddenly, Mercy is knocked out with a mechanical boxing glove, and a new driver takes her place. She picks up a man wearing clown make-up, who introduces himself as the Joker and his driver as Harley Quinn. He reveals that having watched Batman's career, he considers him to be the perfect ying to his yang and doesn't want any harm to come to him; unless the Joker himself is the one who inflicts it.
Later that evening, Superman receives a distress signal from a cruise ship, but arrives to find it fine. Suddenly, the Joker detonates a bomb in the hull of the ship. Superman rescues as many passengers as he can before the ship sinks into the harbour. Batman arrives at the harbour, having also received a message, when suddenly the robot he designed, the Wayne/Lex T-7, appears, now fully armed, and begins to chase him.
Batman winds up cornered at the Daily Planet building, where Lois is working late. During the chaos, Batman's cowl is ripped off, revealing his identity to Lois. Superman then flies by and punches through the robot, destroying it. Lois treats a wound on Bruce's shoulder and Superman enters. He offers a partnership between the two in order to take down their enemies. Batman agrees and the two head off.
The Joker, confident that his plan succeeded, appears to leave the city. Luthor and Cobblepot learn that his plot failed, but Cobblepot is fearful of the Joker and decides to leave Metropolis. He makes a last minute booking for a flight out of the city and heads to the airport. Mercy approaches Luthor and tries to convince him not to feel down in spite of what has happened; however, Luthor simply laughs and reveals that he has the other half of the Laughing Dragon.
Cobbelpot boards his flights and breathes a sigh of relief as the Metropolis skyline comes into view. Suddenly, the Joker and Harley Quinn burst into the cabin, much to Cobblepot's horror. Harley storms the cockpit and kills the pilots, taking control of the plane herself. The Joker locks Cobblepot into the bathroom and pumps it full if laughing gas, killing him.
When Superman and Batman learn that the plane has been hijacked, they take off after it, Superman flying and Batman taking the Batwing. However, Superman is intercepted by another Wayne/Lex T-7, which now contains the other half of the Laughing Dragon. This weakens him until Batman flies the Batwing into the robot and then ejects. Superman then destroys the damaged robot while Batman boards the plane.
Batman confronts the Joker in the cabin and a fight ensues, during which the Joker fires his gun through a window, resulting in explosive cabin decompression. The passengers are sucked out, but Superman rescues them mid-fall. The Joker tells Batman that he'll have the final laugh and fires his gun into the cockpit, killing Harley. The plane goes into a dive and the Joker tries to escape with a parachute, but opens it too early and is sucked into the plane engine. Batman dives out just as the plane plunges into the harbour.
Bruce terminates the deal with LexCorp after Luthor militarized the robots, and with that, is set to return to Gotham. As he prepares to board his plane, he is met by Clark and Lois, who say farewell. Clark and Bruce shake hands before Bruce departs.
In a mid-credits scene, Bruce sees the Bat Signal being lit up and goes to see what is happening. After the credits end, he arrives on a rooftop where a mysterious man emerges from the shadows. The man identifies himself as John Jones, and tells Batman that he needs his help.
Armie Hammer - Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman
Eric Bana - Bruce Wayne/The Batman
Cobie Smulders - Lois Lane
Jon Hamm - Jor-El
Jennifer Connelly - Lara Vor-An
Harrison Ford - Johnathan Kent
Meryl Streep - Martha Kent
Joel Courtney - Jimmy Olsen
Tommy Lee Jones - Perry White
Geoffrey Rush - Alfred Pennyworth
Bryan Cranston - Commissioner James Gordon
Ray Winstone - Harvey Bullock
Billy Dee Williams - Lucius Fox
Crispin Glover - The Joker
Amanda Seyfried - Harley Quinn
Bob Hoskins - Oswald Cobblepot
Billy Zane - Lex Luthor
Charlize Theron - Mercy Graves
Doug Jones - John Jones
World's Finest had a spiritual successor in DC Trinity, in which Superman and Batman team up with Wonder Woman when the other members of the Justice League are incapacitated.
John Jones: Commissioner Gordon will not be joining us tonight.
Batman: Where is he?
John Jones: At home, in his bed, sound asleep. Dreaming peaceful dreams. But this is not about him.
Batman: Who are you?
[The man steps out of the shadows]
John Jones:My name is John Jones. The fate of the planet is at stake; I need your help, Batman.
The World's Finest Arrive.
Justice will be served.
Welcome to Metropolis.
Hope. Fear. Justice.