Many projects in modern Hollywood are driven by ideas that look great on paper. Hell, most of the efforts in superhero movies in the past ten years started as fantastic pitches, and it's either through fluke or sheer commitment that we got the likes of The Avengers. Perhaps no other project looks better on paper than the upcoming [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870). I mean come on! It's Batman... and he's fighting Superman! The story practically writes itself!
The thing that many moviegoers fail to realize, however, is that stories never write themselves. Movies are extremely calculated, moulded by real people with real ideas and flawed intentions. If a movie could just be vomited up onto a script, it probably wouldn't be a good one. That's why we should ask ourselves; as good an idea as Batman vs Superman is, what on Krypton are they actually fighting over, and how will this plot play out? Here are a few possibilities.
The Dark Knight Returns
It's no secret that the imagery in Batman vs Superman is drawing significantly from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (because the Christopher Nolan trilogy clearly wasn't grim enough), and if there's any conflict to be had between Batman and Superman, it's from this miniseries. The conflict arises from Superman steering a nuclear warhead away from populated areas, and detonating it in a deserts. The EMP from the blast, however, causes Gotham to be plunged into darkness and descend into chaos.
This would explain people's apparent hostility towards Superman in the Dawn of Justice trailer, but in the Dark Knight Returns, it's Batman who's targeted by the U.S. government due to the vigilante power he's holding over Gotham during a nuclear winter. Superman is tasked with removing Batman from power, and boom, we have our fight.
It's interesting that, in these comics, this fight is resolved by Bruce Wayne faking his own death. Ben Affleck's Batman will be slightly younger, so a heart attack may not suffice. If Zack Snyder does adapt the Dark Knight Returns, fans will be keen to see how this plot point is handled.
Let's make this clear right off the bat. If the conflict between Batman and Superman arises due to some romantic jealousy the two characters harbor involving Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, that will the grossest, weakest way to start the expansion of the DC Cinematic Universe. Superhero fights are always more interesting if they are born from genuine world views and ideologies rather than just pining for stuff. When that stuff is the greatest effort yet to bring a feminist icon to the big screen, that's just a mixture for disaster.
Wonder Woman could be used to instigate conflict in an interesting way, if she adds to the mounting aggression towards supernatural beings. There's already plenty of resentment building towards Superman simply by him essentially being a weirdo from space who wrecked a bunch of buildings. The appearance of Wonder Woman could be the straw that broke the camel's back, and any effort Superman makes to defend her could be what pushes Batman to step in. In this case, could we even see a three-way superhero brawl?
Everyone seems to have forgotten Lex Luthor in this movie. That still of a beautifully bald Jesse Eisenberg was released, and we were all like "cool, now gimme more Superman". He could play a more significant role in Batman vs Superman than we initially thought, given that much of the anger thrown at Superman could have been stoked by him. The fact that Lex Luthor himself is a master of manipulation could mean that he's teaming up with Batman in a way. He and Bruce Wayne are slightly similar figures, so when we see Batman confront Superman, he could be on the pay-roll of Lex Luthor. Then again, why would he need to be? Extra cash? He's Bruce Wayne for God's sake!
Man of Steel
Now I know there's a lot of conflict between fandoms over how significant the damage Superman and Zod did in Man of Steel really is. I know some people perceive it as a troubling exploitation of disaster imagery with hardly a care for human life, and others see it as a necessary fight scene within the fictional world of the movie. What does matter is that the inhabitants of this world likely aren't too happy.
Think about how they perceive Superman. Unlike us, they didn't have the benefit of years of comics, and a hopeful Hans Zimmer score and Russell Crowe's narration. To most people, he's just a guy who happened to appear at roughly the same time Metropolis started getting leveled. That and the fact that Superman made no effort to draw Zod away from a populated area could foster some resentment in the people of the DC cinematic universe, and perhaps they simply want him gone. In this case, Batman would be the perfect guy for the job!
What are your thoughts for Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice? Would you like to see any of these storylines indulged, or would you like to see something new entirely? Write your own post about it, or comment below!