It’s been a tough year for Batman. After surviving a near-fatal car crash, the Caped Crusader has had to cope not only with physical therapy but also a resurgent viral pandemic that left millions of people worldwide susceptible to his deadly appeal. But all that was nothing compared to the emotional toll that his biggest enemy taken: Kristen Stewart.

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, it’s time for Batman to rebuild. Fortunately, in the year 2020, Hollywood has delivered a gift to the Dark Knight, one that will allow him to restore order and defeat the Joker once and for all: the release of the highly anticipated sequel to Batman v Superman.

The anticipation for this year’s hotly anticipated Batman film was at an all-time high. Following the epic box office hit of 2019—which sold over 171 million tickets worldwide—Batman v Superman was not only expected to match its success but to even improve on it. Well, it is safe to say that the fans were not disappointed. Early reviews and ticket sales suggest that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is yet another critical and commercial success, bringing the superhero movie franchise to an unprecedented level of popularity and cultural relevance.

But beyond the numbers, what is it that makes Batman v Superman such a special film?

A Post-Pandemic Batman

Even before the pandemic, there were signs that Batman’s reputation was in decline. After nearly 70 years, the Dark Night Knight had lost some of his luster. Despite multiple attempts at a comeback (most recently, the Zack Snyder blockbuster Batman v Superman), audiences had grown weary of his dark and sometimes grumpy persona.

The pandemic provided an opportunity to reboot Batman and restore his iconic status. It didn’t hurt that the most prominent members of the cast and crew remained dedicated to helping those in need during the pandemic, exemplifying a selfless quality that had previously been reserved for comic book characters.

A Post-Pandemic Justice League

The success of Batman v Superman has reinvigorated the DC Comics universe. As a direct result of the film’s immense popularity, the once-defunct Cinematic Universe has been resuscitated, with both solo films and cross-brand crossovers confirming that there is still plenty of life in the ol’ detective’s playbook.

In fact, it would not be inaccurate to say that DC Comics has dominated the box office in 2020. In addition to the critical and commercial success of its superhero stories, the company has proven itself to be a major player in the world of video games, with major franchises like Mortal Combat, Street Fighter, and Killer Croc making their way to the big screen. With the industry enjoying a golden period, it’s been a great year for superheroes and comic book fans.

It’s also been a great year for Batman. Not only does he have the exciting new film to look forward to, but he gets to enjoy a happy ending (for the time being, at least) with his longtime companion Selena Kyle. The pair were recently spotted attending a Dodgers-Mets game together, holding hands and looking like any other couple enjoying a night out. For the first time in years, it seems that Batman has found happiness, putting an end to his devastating year.