I'm standing outside the cinema in a daze. No memory of how I got here. I can't see my surroundings that well as my eyes can't seem to acclimatise to the dark. All that I can see is the bright light shining through the glass cinema doors. I can see the lobby in fantastic detail but it's mostly empty, there's one chap walking towards the till. I go to enter but as I go to push the door, I realise that my arms are drooping by my sides. They're very heavy considering there isn't anything in my hand, except a ripped ticket stub. Have I been to see a film already? The ticket reads 'Batman V S-'...
Have I just been to watch it again? I go to enter the cinema doors again, this time I drop the ticket, my arms feel like they've been released from their shackles. Not a moment to lose, I jump into action. The door won't budge though. It's firmly locked. As I look through the cold glass, I can see that one chap walking towards the till...that chap is me! IT'S ME!! It's myself at the end of the lobby.
Look at me! The joy in my face as I hand over my hard earned cash to the man behind the till. As he's handing a ticket back to me, I stand here and begin to realise that this is it! The final moment where I am excited, bursting with it in fact, that I am about to watch Batman V Superman. I'm reliving it. But wait, there's still a chance! I can stop myself from the disappointment. I begin banging on the glass doors until my hands hurt, my screams seemingly can't be heard as I watch myself walk with a skip in my step towards Screen 4. As I watch myself disappear into the darkness of the viewing, a whirlwind of bats fly out of the screen doors, directly towards me, smashing through the cinema doors and surrounding me. Amongst the chaos I hear whispers, screeching whispers that get ever so louder and yet, they are so hard for me to hear:
"One of the biggest Friday-to-Friday drops any blockbuster has ever seen."
"28% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes."
I wake up.
My laptop is still on, I'm meant to be typing a blog but I must have drifted off. What was I doing to invoke such a narcoleptic bout of slothfulness? Oh that's right, I was thinking of all the plot holes in Batman V Superman. I mean this movie was a mess, from character development to sheer nonsensical writing. This had a screenplay by the men behind the Dark Knight trilogy and ARGO however, it was as thrilling and exciting as a trip to ARGOS. You know that moment. Waiting for your item to arrive down that Gladiator travelator that the warehouse monkeys race each other on after hours.
The thing is could this movie have ever have worked? Or was it a doomed script that had no chance of being portrayed well on the silver screen? I actually believe that there is a fantastic movie to be had here and a lot of people don't seem to realise this. This film just needs one thing to fix it and then it writes itself. We make Batman the star.
We make it BATMAN: V Superman.
My film would still contain all the relevant plot points to the story, it wouldn't be nearly as long so you could push more time in for a longer Batman/Superman battle AND it would set up the Justice League. We can do all of this. If we just focus all our attention on Batman.
"How?" I hear you ask, well, we reshoot the film completely from Batman's point of view. No, not like HARDCORE HENRY. Very much like the first 15 minutes of the film actually. Think about it, they were some of the best and most compelling moments of that movie. We immediately saw Batmans perspective and viewpoint of the destruction that Superman and other powered beings. Once we had that understanding we were rooting for team Bat! Even though he's talking about finding a way to kill Superman, we were all thumbs up for it. We got the vulnerability of Bruce and humankind and began to ask the question; Should there be a Superman?
What makes my film work where this one failed? Well for starters, there wouldn't be several storylines all going on at once to confuse matters and poison the well. We'd just be following Bruce Wayne and his journey that sees him investigating Lexcorp and its relationship with the Russians whilst simultaneously planning his war on Superman. Immediately we have solved a list of problems:
1) The relevance of Lois Lane.
Clearly the studio didn't know what to do with her during this film, she was investigating a story that got spread out far too long and then she was just another damsel, which isn't how a film debuting Wonder Woman should be portraying women.
2) The Jesse Eisenberg effect.
He would only get one scene in this film and he'd be in the background making his speech at the dinner party. He's perfectly fine in this scene, he comes off as untrustworthy and troubled to the audience without going all "THE RED CAPES ARE COMING" on us. The story would formulate around Batman's battle with Lexcorp itself and would depict Lex as being off limits seeing as he's such a powerful, public figure. This would make him seem menacing and as much of a challenge for Batman as Kingpin is depicted in Daredevil.
3) No sad Superman.
In my film, Superman would only be seen in 1 of 3 ways. On television that Bruce is watching. Face to face with Bruce. In the same location as Bruce but not interacting with him, like the Man of Steel tie-in scene. This would help the viewers to see Superman from from so many new angles, is he too dangerous? Is he a force of good in this world? How is he really any different to Batman? By using TV news stories to play out his part in the tale, rather than go straight to him and his POV, you make him mysterious instead of mopey and bland.
4) NO PLOT HOLES.
There is a much more linear story here and as such, much better ground to work on. So, no plot holes. Not even a divot! I could go on about them but they're pretty obvious. If you want to hear me speak about them with my Talk Nerdy Comrade Chris, go watch our TALK NERDY episodes and click the Batman V Superman Review episode.
Can you do all that with the current story as it stands? In truth, no. We have to make a few changes. So without further ado here's my version (the bare bones anyway):
We open on the scene of young Bruce Wayne reliving the terrible night he lost his parents. How he ran off at the funeral and then fell into the hole of bats that led to his fear of them. Rather than have him carried up toward the light in a christ pose thanks to a bat-nado (Copyright Chris Wakefield), you have the scene slowly turn to black to show him as a younger Batman surveying Gotham. His narrative at this point would be telling you what he had been going through and gone through, listing the enemies he's fought, before it cuts to black as he says, "...And then would come the day I would face the wrath of a God."
"Metropolis City. 30 miles from Gotham. 20 years later."
We then get that fantastic opening sequence of Superman battling General Zod and destroying half of Metropolis. I wouldn't change this scene at all. It is the blueprint from which I want to reshoot the rest of the film. But what next? Well certainly not Amy Adams in the bath. No, instead we have Bruce watching TV, the story? Superman is involved in large explosions in the middle east and is possibly responsible for the death of an entire village followed by a story of the Bat of Gotham branding people. Here through conversation with Alfred, we get a slight insider view as to why Bruce is being more brutal, but not the full story. We also find out Batman has been studying Superman from photos and articles in great detail.
Bruce: "He's an alien amongst us Alfred."
Alfred: "And are you really the right person to push that soul into the light?"
Next we go to Bruce in his Batcave getting ready. Looking at and donning the suit. Walking past various items on display including a charred suit that says "HAHAHA THE JOKE'S ON YOU!" scrawled on it in spray paint. Yes this is very similar to a scene in the movie. This was a great scene too, Batman's scenes were brilliant. WHY DID WE NEED 6 OTHER CHARACTERS AND 4 STORYLINES AGAIN?
Bruce goes out on the prowl, old school. No cars, he's on the hunt. I'd have a lot of the scenes like the scene with the cops in the abandoned building and him eerily creeping round the room. We learn he's digging into the possibility of Russian arms coming into Gotham. In this you can have him one on one with some low level crooks to some higher end gangsters. Showing the power and range of Batman but also showing his limits as he becomes slightly tired by the end of the night. After some amazing fighting and detective work he gets his answer, "White Portuguese".
We next see a day in the life of Bruce. From him waking up with night terrors and tending to last nights wounds, then him going to work and meeting with contacts that could help him in his current investigation and other investigations (cue a Suicide Squad easter egg here perhaps?). They deduce that LexCorp have contact with the Russians and are the "White Portuguese". Whilst making plans to attend Lex's charity gala, Bruce sees that Superman has just rescued a large group of people from flooding and how he is being portrayed in the media to be very mixed.
Moments like these are scattered through the film, almost like an homage to Miller's The Dark Knight returns. We see the world reacting to Superman through the news stories. This would help build up the question of the film, a question that was touched upon in Batman V Superman, but never truly tackled nor answered: Should there be a Superman?
Skipping forward we see Bruce arrive at Lex's party with the full intent to retrieve data from the company's mainframe. Here we see him notice Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) but much subtle than in the film. Instead she looks like a possible fling that he would normally hit on. Bruce slightly distracted by her aura, accidentally walks into Clark. Now Bruce isn't stupid. We see him have flashbacks of Clark's face in his mind imposed over Superman's face. He recognises him as Superman. He's studied him remember. It's here we have that very well scripted verbal standoff between the two of them. There was more power in the words in the trailer when you thought that they knew each others identities. Except I would add that Superman responds to Bruce's statement:
BM: "Maybe it's the Gotham City in me. We just have a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns."
CW: "Perhaps we should write more articles about you then Mr Wayne. The man...behind the mask."
Before Bruce can react Lex starts giving his awkward speech onstage. Bruce excuses himself, this is his only window to set up the device to steal the data but he's distracted. Does Superman know who he is? Because of this he fails to notice Diana Prince eyeing up to steal his tech and data for herself (rather than just not notice he was being followed).
Diana still gives this data back to Batman when she realises she can't decrypt it herself. I liked that scene too. Whilst Batman is going through the data the camera keeps on his face as we see him reacting to a green glow off of the screen. Never seeing the screen ourselves though we then hear audio from videos, Bruce reacts in awe and fear at what he sees.
A photo of Kryptonite is thrown on the desk of Lucius Fox (where was HE in this film?)
Bruce: "I need this."
Fox: "You need a holiday Mr Wayne."
Bruce reveals he wants to steal the Kryptonite from Lex. It stops the weapon getting out to the public, it gets it out of the Russians hands and it could prove invaluable to Bruce's future endeavours. Fox and him arrange to take it when it docks into the harbour. This is followed by the scene where Batman chases the criminals through the city to get it.
The only changes I'd make here would be that Batman would show a remorseful rage when killing his enemies. Shouting loudly and maniacally, like someone with PTSD. He would at least shout "Dammit Jason!" once. Hinting at where this pain is coming from and why he is acting out. I would also have the criminals not be as anarchic in their methods of deterring Batman. Sensible security measures would be inflicted on him, just in a large amount. Like a massive Secret Service troop descending on Bruce, distracting and pushing him away from the cargo. Why? Well...Alfred comes through the intercom, Bruce is creating quite a lot of attention, the media are showing him on TV via a helicopter from outside the smouldering streets that he's leaving.
Alfred: "I must warn you sir, if the public can see the you, that normally means that he ca-"
The communication cuts out, as do a lot of Batman's car tech. He realises he's not in control of the car. We zoom out to see Superman has picked the car up in a scene not too dissimilar to the cover of Action Comics Number 1 (see I can recreate panels and scenes too).
As he goes to shunt the car down, Bruce uses one of his many gadgets to eject and make his getaway. Superman catches up and we have our first battle. It is much more close to a scuffle as we see the sheer difference in power between the two men. Superman is clearly unaware of what he's just done, it just looked like he attacked a company vehicle and they were reacting with their security. Batman tries to tell him and we see another difference. How Superman is far too powerful to be coming down to a street level, how his "boy-scout" ways just let the real criminals go. Superman doesn't want to hear it from the crazy Bat. He warns him to quit and "STEP DOWN!" before flying off. A stunned Batman leaves the scene to sounds of sirens.
Next, I would have that fantastic news montage questioning whether there should indeed be a Superman as portrayed via media outlets before it finally goes black (I like that effect. I'm like 1970's George Lucas was with a side-wipe). We'd see the exploding court room scene from Bruce's and the outside world's POV. We'd be confused how it happened, we'd know as the audience that Superman wouldn't have caused that, yet we'd see how this does shed him in a black light.
Bruce argues with Alfred about how it's insane to take on such a powerful company as Lexcorp when he's just one man. About how it's insane to take on such a powerful being like Superman when he's just one man. How it's insane to fight him. Bruce argues how Alfred hasn't seen what else is out there, could Superman have prevented that disaster, whose responsibility is any of this any more? More importantly, that he has to do it as one man, no one else can because people die around Batman. Here we touch on Jason heavily.
Now because my story is going a different way, the warehouse scene is next. But instead of trying to rescue Superman's mother, he's stealing off the Kryptonite off of Lexcorp. It's essentially a massive heist scene. It's that warehouse scene on a grander scale involving the same brutal violence and acrobatics. Adding infiltration into it as well. So, instead of just getting that scene where Lex walks in to find a batarang atop a box, we also see what led to that moment and it'd be damn epic. Batman epic
Next Batman sculpts his Kryptonic weapons and prepares to battle Superman. But rather than leaving it to chance that Lex MIGHT kidnap Superman's mum on the same night, I propose that Batman sends Clark a threat. Remember, in my film he knows who he is. Clark comes to meet him to fight and a longer, better, more epic duel entails.
Batman wants to kill Clark but Superman won't kill Batman, yet this is a hard choice for Superman to make as Bruce is pushing Clark to his limit. I don't think I have to embellish too much here. You all know you have a great fight in your minds, just picture that. Superman is on the ropes, but before he can finish off Superman, Bruce hears a lady cry out, "STEP DOWN!" The Bat turns to see Wonder Woman standing there in all her glory.
WW: "This isn't your fight. There is another war."
And not to steal a scene, but we get something akin to when Captain America, Iron Man and Thor all fight in the forest in Avengers with Wonder Woman acting as the party to get everybody to listen as she has discovered something much more sinister is happening at Lexcorp. As they listen to Wonder Woman and resolve their differences, a bigger picture stops our heroes from fighting any more. Cut to images of a creature being created in a lab. Batman's narration comes back in:
BM: "...And then would come the day I would face the wrath of a God."
the camera zooms in
BM: "She would go on to tell me about the devil, its demons..."
and as it's eyes open, the scene goes black
BM: "...and the hell we were yet to face."
We hear a monstrous roar. Credits roll.
But JB how are the Justice League introduced? Well we have Alfred calling Lucius Fox on the phone. In an after credit scene, Alfred watches the metahuman footage that Lex has (no bloody logos on the files) and describes what he's seeing to Fox. We see it first hand. Aquaman, The Flash etc
Fox: "Perhaps Mr Wayne was right to be worried."
Alfred: "Or perhaps Master Wayne has forgotten that not everyone has to be your enemy."
Close on a shot of the glass case containing Jason Todd's charred suit. THE END
Is it perfect? No, but at least I'd watch mine again. It leaves questions open to be answered in a sequel without leaving the audience confused. In my adaptation, the characters act like the characters too. Not doing anything out of character just to get a plot-point to work (For the record Snyder; Batman would not throw away a spear made of Kryptonite and forget about it). It has a beginning, a middle and an end, leaving on a cliff hanger that sets up the next films and would leave the audience eagerly waiting for the next film. Which one? Who cares! It's not too long, there's plenty of action, you can easily add more drama in with a little more creative writing and most importantly you could make this fun! Batman on the prowl, Batman using his ninja skills to sneak into major government buildings, Batman fighting Superman. How could you not make this fun? Well...I suppose Zack Snyder could direct it still.
DC keep trying to build up the next film and it's universe without actually making a solid, story driven film. Marvel were guilty of this with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Iron Man 2 but learned and stepped well away. A solo Batman film was always the way to go and now it's no shocker that they've gone with that as their next major project.
There is only Suicide Squad left this year, we have got to hope I don't end up writing a HOW TO FIX SUICIDE SQUAD blog.
By Jay Burdett, What do you think? Let me know on Facebook/TalkNerdyUK or on Twitter @TalkNerdyUK