In my opinion, the new Batman vs. Superman film could be amazing. For us DC Comics nerds, the reference to the Dark Knight Returns that Snyder made at Comic Con was an acknowledgement that he and Goyer understand the fundamental relationship between the two characters. That being said there are about a million things that could go wrong with this and we could end up getting a crappy film. I wrote an outline below (some parts are more detailed than others) about what I think would be an interesting take on the film and how we could pit the two against one another, but also have them inevitably join forces in order to lead into a future justice league film. It was just for fun and I wanted to take a stab, so let me know what you think!
Batman vs. Superman
Open: It’s a clear night. Quiet. Then a roar of an engine. Metal gates open up and a large black car enters through the open doors. We crane up, the wrought-iron fence reads: Arkham Asylum. The car is abruptly parked and a dark shadow of a figure emerges, and stands, pausing to look up at the looming asylum. We see him silhouetted against the building, his back to us. A form we clearly know as the BATMAN. He is led down a corridor by QUINCY SHARP, a heavyset man with glasses. Sharp asks him where he has been? Batman doesn’t answer, he deflects. He just asks what exactly “he” (referring to a prisoner) has been saying? Sharp says not much, he will only speak to Batman, and he seems enamored with him. They reach a sliding, heavy metal door that is slid open by a guard. Sharp says he’ll give him some time alone. Batman enters into the dimly lit corridor. He is alone, but two cells with glass walls face one another. One is occupied. The cell is dark and while tidy, unclean, the once-white brick is stained a dirty green and all over the wall are tin markings. A host of lights kicks on and the cell is illuminated. A figure sits huddled in the corner of the room. The walls, we can now see, are covered in etched, erratic question marks. Batman addresses the prisoner as EDWARD NASHTON. The figure in the corner, slowly stands. The thin man is covered in self done tattoos of question marks. The two banter. Batman asks why NASHTON was asking for him and Edward asks what took Batman so long to get there. Batman says it looks like Edward has been busy, with his etchings. They continue, over the course of their banter, Edward reveals that he hates Batman calls him Nashton. He prefers NIGMA. Edward answers most of Batman’s questions with more questions and ultimately reveals that he knows a piece of information Batman was looking for. He says forces are now in motion that no one saw coming, and things will forever be different for the country and the world. He taunts him, the greatest detective in Gotham cannot answer the one question everyone is asking themselves, and it is driving him crazy. Batman only acknowledges by asking what does Mr. Nigma suppose everyone is asking themselves? Edward laughs, and says Who is your replacement? This Man of Steel? Batman takes this in. Nigma ends with one final question, or riddle to get Batman started on his quest for the identity of the Man of Steel: “Can grandstanders stand grand when standing in a mortician’s hand?”
ACT 1: Following the open, we cut to a woman screaming. A group of supposed terrorists has seized a building in downtown metropolis. Taking hostages and preparing to blow the building. A little boy stands tall when one terrorist threats everyone, because the boy is not afraid. He is simply waiting. SUPERMAN quickly and with great precision swoops in, saves the boy and diffuses the situation. This is no great ordeal. Act 1 work to establish how Kal-El fits into the new metropolis. Meanwhile Clark Kent gets a job at the Daily Planet and along with another newcomer JIMMY OLSEN (brought in by his sister introduced in MoS) figure out how extraordinarily run of the mill it is. The first story that Jimmy and Clark have to cover together is the visit of President of the United States Lex Luthor to Metropolis. Back in Gotham, the Batcave, Bruce Wayne puzzles over Nigma’s question. He reasons it out and very quickly decides he should be paying close attention to the murders of Gotham Figureheads. Following his conclusion, he turns on several screens: watching everything he can about the new figure being coined Superman. ALFRED points out his new obsession. Wayne tells Alfred that he doesn’t know what to do, there is no training for an alien attack. Alfred convinces him that they were all lucky that one of the aliens was on their side then. Seeds of jealousy blossoming for Wayne. While simultaneously watching a Press conference in Metropolis about visiting President Luthor. In Metropolis. Kent and Olsen are at the press conference to hear what Luthor has to say about the recent occurrences in Metropolis with the visit of alien life. A renewed budget is going into security forces of the United States which Luthor will be spending much of his budget on. His announcement about the budget and pitching a safe Metropolis is met generally very well by the citizens. Then- quite unexpectedly an attempt is made on Luthor’s life. Bodyguards and a heavy security force try to protect Luthor but just when Luthor is about to die, Superman steps in and saves his life, in front of dozens of cameras. Back in the Cave, Bruce Wayne sees this and what follows: Luthor invites Superman to a meeting, to thank him. Superman accepts.
ACT 2: Superman meets with President Luthor. The two talk and Luthor thanks Superman for his defense of the city and ultimately the entire planet. Zod complicated the the world for all of them and all countries must adapt accordingly. Luthor wonders if Superman would join him in defense of the country in case there were to be another attack. Kal-El responds that in the event that the world is incapable of defending itself, he would step in on Earth’s behalf. Luthor minorly, indirectly insults him, saying that he is of Earth now then, since Kryton is perished. Luthor goes on to say that no doubt you have heard of others who have taken it upon themselves to see justice carried out. Metropolis is a shining beacon of what the U.S. should be but Gotham City is diseased with corruption. Superman knows Gotham only by reputation, and by the one who is rumored to be there. Luthor begins his Batman Bashing. Batman is a vigilante that works for himself or unseen forces. Luthor wants Superman to find out about Batman, to seek him out, and expose him. To find out what his true motives are. Over the course of Act 2 Luthor pits Superman against Batman, painting a picture of the vigilante with corrupt morals. Batman investigates a string of murders that leads to Lexcorp, Luthor’s company. At the end of Act 2 Batman and Superman meet and are at odds.
ACT 3: Superman is convinced that Batman is corrupt and attempts to put him in prison and reveal who he is. Luthor is installing military units around both cities of Gotham and Metropolis as well as Keystone City, Coast City, as well as other major US cities under the guise that he will defend against the next alien attack. Luthor frames Batman not only for the murders of the politicians, but for the murder of several innocents: including Jimmy Olsen, Clark’s friend. Luthor launches a host of private security against the Batman in Gotham. But Batman is in Metropolis, investigating Lexcorp Headquarters to find evidence against Luthor. The end of Act 3 is when Batman is in Lexcorp and finds evidence but is attacked by Private Security aided by Superman. Batman is able to appeal to Superman in the heat of things, providing the evidence that it is Luthor behind the murders, and ultimately attempting to destroy both of heroes, one at a time. Superman helps Batman to escape.
ACT 4: Over the course of Act 4 Superman and Batman work out the details of Luthor’s plan. Kal-El is to remain close to Luthor to find out details of his plan. It is uncovered by Batman that Luthor means to expand his power and grip over the US, but that the vigilantes and new cropping of superheroes are to blame. When Kal-El confronts him, Luthor knows that Superman has double crossed him and gains the upperhand, subduing him by technological means while he kills the only remaining person who can stop his seizure of the Presidency for good. Luthor uses the military installations (which are technological not man powered, with drones and auto turrets) to hold the cities they surround hostage unless Batman turns himself in. Batman does so. Wayne is unmasked. Luthor takes the two to a military base in the middle of the country.
ACT 5: Luthor has under his control all the major cities in the US and both Batman and Superman. He can now frame them for seizing power over the presidency. Luthor broadcasts to the people of the US a prerecorded message that says he is captive of those who claim to fight for us, and that the new wave of superheroes must be stopped at all costs. Shutting off the broadcast, he returns to the room to kill Wayne. Before he is able to kill both of them, Wayne helps Superman to escape and redons the cowl. Luthor escapes by unleashing his forces on the military base against the two and beginning the attack upon the populations of both Gotham and Metropolis. The ensuing battle is both Batman and Superman working together accepting their role to save as many as they can. The two fight to subdue the forces on the military base and then return to save the populations of their home cities on at a time. After defeating the majority of the drones and machines in Gotham the two head to Lexcorp in Metropolis and Superman drops Batman off at Lexcorp to apprehend Luthor, while he flies around saving people and destroying drones. Batman catches up to Luthor in an armored suit on the roof of the Lexcorp building. They fight and ultimately Batman and Superman work together to defeat Lex. Luthor is imprisoned and his plot is exposed by Lois Lane. Wayne’s and Kent’s identities are known only to each other and they depart to tend to their respective cities. Batman returns to Nigma’s cell and confronts him. Nigma poses a question that trivializes Batman’s role in the world, when Superman is the ultimate superhero and always saves the day. Batman answers with a riddle: What operates as well in the shadows as it does in the daylight? Batman walks out. A dissatisfied Nigma is stumped.
Cue epic Hans Zimmer Score.
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