So, it is a regular thing that people discuss the extremely divisive Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice that released in cinemas on the 25th of March. It looks like the critics are seeing a deeply flawed but visually intense movie, but the public audiences generally enjoy it.
Whether or not it is good or bad, whether you personally enjoyed it or not, DC Comics and Warner Brothers are going ahead with this as their springboard into a Cinematic Universe!
Personally, the film was disappointing; the story was extremely fractured and characters (especially Superman!) were very underdeveloped. Motivations were also confused, and action sequences became bloated and too extreme.
Now that I’ve lost half my readers, since they think I’m a Marvel fanboy now, I would like to introduce my own treatment of the film’s basic plot into what I think is a more streamlined and focused experience.
This isn’t a script, this isn’t even a screenplay nor has many details, it is simply an alternate take on basic story beats.
I considered Batman to be as threatening as he was in the original film, but not present; to be shadowy and elusive.
Please bear in mind, I play it close to the plot of the film. If you have not seen it yet, consider this your SPOILER WARNING.
Superman Versus Batman
Superman/Clark Kent – Henry Cavill
Batman/Bruce Wayne – Ben Affleck
Lex Luthor – either Bryan Cranston or Mark Strong
Lois Lane – Amy Adams
We open with Metropolis’s destruction from General Zod’s attack and Bruce Wayne’s witnessing of the devastation. Exactly the same as the original film.
Cut all of Bruce Wayne’s origin story from the film’s opening. Set the story entirely from Clark Kent’s perspective (ala Man of Steel 2) as he investigates Gotham’s vigilante known as The Batman, who seems to be working above the law. Clark is puzzled and frustrated that the Daily Planet isn’t exploring this at all (and yet Superman is constantly under scrutiny) but he is also interested since The Batman seems to be operating similar to how he protects the innocent…
Clark and Lois are happily living together, and while the Daily Planet refuses to explore the Bat vigilante, Clark convinces Lois to help him. They both travel to Gotham and are shocked at the dilapidation that it is suffering… clearly crime is rife and finding The Bat would be extremely difficult. Clark fears for Lois’s safety.
They ask around, and focus on the Police department. This leads them to the since retired Jim Gordon, who expresses a complex history of Gotham, and how he had close dealings with The Batman (include flashback action sequences during this tale showing a shadowy, virtually unseen Batman, and how the vigilante became increasingly violent)
But after many loses, and villains killing his allies, The Batman disappeared and no longer communicated with the Police or even Gordon… But he still operates, but his capturing of criminals is hostile and aggressive, even going so far as to brand them with his symbol…
The two of them return to Metropolis, Lois giving Gordon her number in case he thinks of anything else that might help their investigation.
The Daily Planet then calls Clark to a charity event in Metropolis spear-headed by local industry magnate Lex Luthor. The event is to pool money to help restore the ruined city. After an interview with Clark, Lex excuses himself to speak with none other than Bruce Wayne, his highest financial backer for the charity.
The two of them discuss the disaster, and how Lex seeks to help survivors recover (providing advanced wheelchairs etc!) especially Wayne Enterprise employees. He sympathises with Wayne’s despair and he talks at length about Superman and how much of a menace he really is to the world. Luthor goes so far as to admit that he “would back and help anyone who would put Superman in his place”.
Later Clark sees the Senate overwhelmed with the public backlash against Superman. Some see him as a saviour, others see him as an alien menace. It wasn’t long before a victim of the Metropolis disaster is in a hearing alongside Superman. This is to decide once and for all what should be done with the Man of Steel. Superman expresses his desire to do good, to help not just humanity but the Earth; he means to do well.
Lois is called by Jim Gordon, who has something he forgot to tell them and asks her to come back to Gotham. She leaves immediately. With Superman/Clark indisposed for a couple of days, Lois travels alone. Gordon tells her that she should seek out Bruce Wayne… who disappeared from the public eye after the attacks on Metropolis.
A bomb explodes in the senate. Everyone is killed except for the impervious Superman. Only moments later, he sense Lois in danger in Gotham and flies from the scene before anyone could question him. The public, and Bruce Wayne’s, opinion darken even further…
Lois is rescued from a group of thugs in Gotham when Superman arrives. She is horrified at the events at the senate, and urge Clark to reconsider his actions as a hero… that the world’s hatred of him will drive a distance between them both. But Clark refuses to listen, believing the explosion to come from the disaster victim’s wheelchair… he needed to find out who constructed it!
Lex Luthor constructs a Bat signal of his own and signals from the roof of Lex Corp. In moments, The Bat arrives. Lex speaks to him about how dangerous Superman truly is, citing the Metropolis disaster (especially the victims to Wayne Enterprises…) and the explosion at the senate as reason to stop him. The Batman agrees, but sees no way of fighting such a powerful opponent. Lex then announces that he has a way, that he has a rare crystal that can harm Kryptonians.
Lex and The Batman agree on terms; Lex would create weapons and a suit for Batman to use, Batman would take down the Superman threat.
Lois, not impressed with Clark’s resistance and the public’s distrust of Superman, sneaks into LexCorp looking for answers. She manages to find her way into a computer lab where she gains access to files that suggest Lex knows more than he lets on… files suggesting his company had raided the Kryptonian ship wreck in the Indian Ocean (from Man of Steel) and acquired a crystal substance… a crystal that apparently damages Kryptonians!
As she pieces it together, she realises that Lex was behind the Senate bombing, and she had to let Clark know. But on her way out, she spots Bruce Wayne. Wayne is as surprised to see her as she is to see him, and he questions her briefly. But Lois gets away, debating the validity of Wayne being there at all, when she asks him about The Batman vigilante, that Jim Gordon had dropped his name, Bruce does not respond.
While Lois struggles to find Clark, The Batman kidnaps her and takes her to Gotham (in the Batmobile) as bait to lure Superman. He has high tech armour, and weapons gleaming in green and has set traps all around them. Lois is about to ask about the weaponry, but Superman arrives.
The fight, plays out much like it did in the film. But it ends when Lois finds herself with an opening to stop The Batman delivering the fatal blow, she addresses him as Bruce Wayne to get his attention, then outs Lex Luthor as the one who destroyed the senate. The Bat is flustered and approaches her, Superman confirms it was a Lexcorp device that had set off the bomb, and that The Bat had been used.
Bruce demands the evidence from Lois, and takes the files off of her. A weakened Superman cannot respond as Batman checks the files.
The final set piece involves Superman and Batman assaulting LexCorp tower. When they find Luthor he has his own armour suit, almost identical to Batman’s, and they all fight it out through the laboratories (insert random DC comic cameos if needed)
Eventually though, though with Superman often repelled by Kryptonite, Batman is far more skilled at fighting and they both overpower Lex and he is eventually imprisoned.
Lois writes an article for the Daily Planet, redeeming Superman and explaining how Luthor had organised a terrorist smear campaign against the Man of Steel. Bruce Wayne himself vouching for her efforts.
The film ends with Bruce Wayne in the Bat Cave, the only time we see it, decrypting the files he had taken from LexCorp, as well as Lois’s files on the Kryptonite in the Indian Ocean. But he finds files pertaining to other superhumans… Wonder Woman, Cyborg, The Flash and Aquaman…
Bruce, over his shoulder, calls to his butler Alfred: “Get ready for some guests, Alfred. We are about to be very busy.”
So as you can see, my treatment removes Doomsday entirely, and also Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. While the latter is unfortunate, I simply didn’t see her being necessary in the film asides to fight Doomsday. Doomsday is not required in the movie, this film is bringing together Batman and Superman, that is enough!
I have cut out most of the Justice League references, apart from at the end. Sure it is Marvel-like, but it simply fits better dropping the “files showing the Justice League” at the end and not in the middle of the movie.
The film’s focus on the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane, and I wanted to give Lois more to do and have more purpose in the telling of the story.
Batman’s motivations are tied with Lex Luthor’s, the both work together (or at least, Luthor plays Wayne) to oppose Superman. They are both businessmen, they both lost people and money from Superman’s destruction in Man of Steel. Simple but effective motivations.
I am just spit-balling, I am not trying to match the hard work of writers paid millions!