Sunday, January 06, 2008

Part 2: Batman vs. Superman

[Here’s Part One.]

First, a summary of the screenplay.



The opening scene – Metropolis. A terrorist attack on the “Freedom Promenade” sends Superman flying into action. The monument tips over, which he catches in mid-air and fixes. By the time he locates the terrorists, their van has gotten into a car accident, the people of the city have dragged them out and started beating them senseless. Superman intervenes and says, “You have a right to your anger, nothing more.” The people scream at him, “Why are you protecting him?” Superman replies, “And what if you kill him? What then? Are you your wife’s husband? Your mother’s son, your children’s father? No. Not anymore.” Since when was Superman so preachy? Well, he promises that justice will be done and flies away with the terrorist. As they soar over a river, the terrorist throws Kryptonite dust into his face, falls into the river, and gets away. Supe’s left with a mask with scribblings on it.

Cut to Wayne Manor and the wedding of Bruce & Elizabeth Wayne. At the reception, Bruce strolls over to an exterior upper balcony and shoots the breeze with Clark Kent. They’re old friends. They know each other’s secrets. We learn that Batman is officially retired. Clark’s already married to Lois but they’re getting divorced. (We won’t see Lois, by the way.) Bruce hints at the weakness of humans to develop a thirst for blood following the loss of a loved one. It’s “a human thing,” he tells him. They talk a little about the terrorist that got away, and Bruce tells him to “be careful.” All in all, 3 ½ pages of dialogue. Bruce glances at the reception tent and suggests a “race.” Clark’s a blur and gone. Bruce smiles and laughs.

Cut to Metropolis. Clark wanders around sadly in his now empty apartment. Cut to Bruce’s honeymoon. Elizabeth is killed by a bumblebee dart that distorts her face into an “impossibly wide Joker-esque smile” of “exposed teeth and tart gums.” He sees a sign similar to what Superman discovered on the mask. Bruce, irate and bent on revenge, heads across his library toward the bookcase that’ll send him to the Batcave, but Clark confronts him. He tells him about the signs and their common enemy. He tries to persuade Bruce from caving into revenge. “Kill,” he says, “and you become the dark thing you’ve spent your whole life fighting. You can’t go back down there. You’ll destroy everything you are, everything you’ve done, and all those deaths, your parents’, Dick’s, even Elizabeth’s will be in vain.” Bruce blames Clark for not letting the mob kill the terrorist, throws a statue at him, and tells him to get out. Ends on page 23.


Elizabeth’s funeral. Back at the Daily Planet, Clark asks for some time off over this “thing with Lois.” Superman flies out of Metropolis. Bruce can’t sleep. He goes to the Batcave. Supe arrives in Smallville, returns to the Kent farm, sits in his room, and studies the terrorist’s mask. Batman takes off. Clark has flashbacks from his childhood. Batman takes his rage out on some thieves. News about Batman’s return spreads. Clark meets up with Lana Lang and saves her son, Billy, in a river. Lana takes the lead in the romance and says, “Would it be too much of an imposition if an old friend stopped by for a visit?”

Back in Gotham, inside a warehouse, Batman confronts the Toyman, a guy who has supplied toys to the Joker in the past. He shows him the bumblebee dart. Toyman denies creating it. Since this story is post-Batman & Robin, he also questions him on who is impersonating the Joker. Just as he’s told that the Joker’s still alive, explosions go off in the warehouse. Batman returns to the cave to get his car. Clark chats it up with Lana. She already knows his secrets. She tells how when he revealed his secret to her, she actually thought he was going to propose. They kiss. They make love in Clark’s old bedroom. Batman’s car careens through Gotham. Through Clark’s bedroom window, Lana’s post-sex silhouette figure walks to the bathroom.

Batman digs up Joker’s grave. Clark shows Lana his spaceship in the farm. Batman opens the coffin to discover a giant Joker-in-the-Box. Then, he gets word of a disturbance at Citizen’s Plaza, fights Jeeves One and Jeeves Two and finally discovers the Joker. He says, “Tell me true… did you miss me? I sure missed you. We’re going to have a blast!” and he gets away. Batman chases them in his Batmobile, deals with exploding bouncing balls, and then plays chicken on the road with Joker’s armored car. They barely miss each other and spin around. Joker shoots off missiles and Batman ejects out of his car just as missiles blow it up. Joker says, “HooooHee! It’s not a party till something gets broken!” Batman glides back to Joker’s armored car, punches through the windshield, almost grabs Joker who hits the brakes and Batman flies off. Joker says, “Too bad your friend in the red and blue pajamas didn’t kill me when he had the chance,” and leaps onto Batman and starts beating the life out of him. The two Jeeves’s pull him off, oddly enough. Joker says, “Yes, yes. The boys are right. Now’s not the time. But don’t despair, Brucey-boy…”

Back in Smallville, we learn that Clark is actually using the pod that brought him to earth to help analyze the terrorist’s mask and the kryptonite dust. (He couldn’t do that in the Fortress of Solitude?) Clark does some soul-searching while he’s there, too. He ask Lana questions about why he imposes his own values on others. She gives us a sappy speech: “How long could you leave your answers forgotten on the kitchen table? How many cries for help ignored before you’d start to hate what you’d done? And me for letting you. How could you ever just sit back and let nature take its course, knowing you could save a hundred lives. Knowing you could save just one. You can’t be the man who comes home from a hard day with roses. Because your day never ends. That’s lucky for the world. It’s just unlucky for me. And for you. I love you. Good-bye, Clark Kent.”

Out of depression, Clark mopes in the rain and then takes off as Superman. He saves some people in Smallville from a tornado. And then he gets the data from his pod about the mask, says “No,” and flies away. The dust was residue from a Kryptonite bomb Lex Luthor had detonated in orbit as a test. So, Supe meets Lex in prison who, after a little wheeling and dealing, tells him about a government conspiracy, called Achilles Heel, to create Kryptonite bombs to detonate in orbit just in case Supe ever wanted to take control of the government. In the Batcave, Batman also learns about Achilles Heel. Joker spreads pamphlets throughout Gotham laying down a challenge to Batman, a battle to the death at 4 a.m. on Friday the 13th at the Freedom Monument in Metropolis. Batman’s computer figures out the project’s location and so he sneaks into the factory, which he blows up. He steals the Kryptonite, which he incorporates into his suit. Clark meets him again at Wayne Manor and tries to apologize and tries to make amends, but Bruce will have none of it. He will have his revenge.

We learn in a conversation between Luthor and his lawyer that he had brought Joker back from the dead with “a little grave-digging, DNA extraction, and a billion dollars.” And he gave Joker “a plan to play one hero’s weakness against the other until they were at each other’s throats.” The Joker murders Batman’s wife, Batman vanquishes Superman, and the Joker gets to kill Batman as a reward.

At the Freedom Monument, Batman waits for Joker. Superman arrives, and their conflict comes to a head. Superman’s determined to turn in the Joker unharmed. Batman wants his revenge. He tells him, “I'll say this once and only once. Walk away.” Superman replies, “I can't let you lose yourself to the very dark you've spent your life fighting.” Batman replies, “Don't you get it? I am the darkness. I'm Batman.” And with that, he turns on his Kryptonite-laced suit, Superman’s eyes turn red, and they charge each other. The battle starts on page 92 and goes on for 10 pages. They battle on the ground, in the air, through buildings, trees, up-town, down-town, mid-town, all-around-town, and underwater. On page 95, Superman bleeds. Ultimately, Superman is hit with a Kryptonite-laced arrow below the collar bone. He falls. He’s dying. Batman walks over, breaks the arrow to leave the tip inside, tells him, “I had no choice,” and leaves. Ends on page 102.


It’s midnight. On the Freedom Monument’s Observation Deck, Joker looks for Batman. Superman climbs the Freedom Monument and says grimly, “Up, up, and away.” Batman tells Joker he didn’t have to kill his wife. Joker says that was “the easy part. Creating her, now that was much, much harder.” After some dialogue, he says, “Don’t you get it? She was never yours. She was always mine.” Batman falls to his knees, shattered by this news. A slab of concrete hits Joker in the gut, knocking him across the floor. The “emergency exit doors” slam open to reveal Superman. He immediately has to deal with some Jeeves characters and goes down after getting hit in the face with concrete. In no time, the two heros are working together to handle this situation. Everything reaches a point where Batman’s given the chance to kill Joker. Superman stops him and tells him that if he’s going to do it, take off his mask first. “Don’t hide behind it,” Superman says. “Don’t pretend there’s some other part of you doing this. This is your right, as a human being. Your retribution. So do this as the man who’s going to live with it for the rest of his life. Take off the mask.” Batman decides against it.

And that’s when Luthor appears. He’s wearing an exoskeleton suit from the Achilles Heel project. He battles them both. Need I even say how it turns out? In the end, Batman says, “You look like crap, by the way.” Superman replies, “You should see the other guy.” A few moments later, Batman says, “So you want to get a beer?” Superman says, “Maybe a soda or something.” Batman replies, “Oh my God, what is it with you?” Fade out. Ends on page 120.


The first thing I want to do is talk about characters. I think Superman is more challenging for writers because, generally, he lacks
character depth. He’s never wavering in his goodness whether he’s Superman or Clark Kent. He’s impossible to hurt, much less kill. It’s tough coming up with new villains that are genuine threats to Superman or that’ll put him into scenarios where you’re really scared for him. He only has one weakness, Kryptonite, or two if you count his love for people.

Batman on the other hand, while he’s
changed quite a bit over the years, has more sides to his character. He puts on airs to the world at large about being an irresponsible, superficial playboy who lives off his family's personal fortune, although Wayne is also known for his contributions to charity through his foundation. On the other hand, he’s a dark, raging vigilante at night who deliberately cultivates this frightening persona in order to strike fear into the criminals he chases. Those dual sides of his nature gives you more to work with than Superman. He is destructible, too, which makes the action sequences more interesting, because he’s no man of steel. Frank Miller said in Christopher Sharrett’s book, “Batman and the Twilight of the Idols: An Interview with Frank Miller,” that he views the character as “a dionysian figure, a force for anarchy that imposes an individual order.”

Kevin Smith was absolutely correct, as quoted in my
previous article, that Batman is about angst while Superman is about hope, which I think is what makes this setup work. The conflict in which Batman, on the one hand, set off by the murder of his new wife, goes too far in his rage and pursuit of vengeance and Superman, on the other hand, stands in his way because this goes against what he stands for, is great. In the end, Batman doesn't really want to harm Superman. He’s just taken all he can take and Superman’s in his way. Superman doesn't really want to harm Batman. He just can’t allow Bruce to do something he knows he’ll regret. It’s a good setup. And it’s a nice contrast with the varying shades of good in two forces of justice – the blackness of Batman's psyche versus the goodness of Superman.

But let’s clear the air about one important thing – Superman would kick Batman’s ass. The most cursory viewing of the website,
Batman vs. Superman, in which their strengths and weaknesses are compared, Superman dominates. They’re both over 6’ tall, late twenties, orphaned, and they both have a thing for tights. Whereas Batman is usually proactive when it comes to a fighting style (he seeks out his opponents and he’s usually two-steps ahead), the Caped Wonder is generally reactive and deals with situations as they come. They’ve both had their share of bad beats. Batman had his back broken by Bane, while Superman was killed by Doomsday. But in terms of skills and mobility, Batman is a top drawer athlete, expert in all forms of martial arts. Superman is… invulnerable.

Which is why you have to, as a dramatist, hand the fight over to Batman. You have to kick Mr. Invulnerable down to the ground to make it interesting.

In any case, this script falters in three major areas.


They bring Batman and Superman together in Act One, set up the conflict, and then separate them for the length of a Bible until they finally confront each other for the big Act Two fight. That, my friends, is weak screenwriting. It’s too simple, and these guys are just avoiding the hard work of great storytelling. It’s too easy to separate main characters, let them do a bunch of soul-searching apart, and then bring them together for an Act Two climax. I think this is a very important principle about weak screenwriting. It is far more satisfying (and difficult to write), if they had carefully plotted the evolving relationship between those two individuals. This moment in the upper balcony of Wayne Manor during the wedding reception, which was praised in a number online script reviews, was the wrong decision on a number of levels. It’s the dramatic equivalent of giving away the game at the very beginning. We’re shown two guys who are already friends. They already know each other’s secrets. And in one scene, we’re robbed of so many interesting cinematic developments – how they meet, how they learn about each other, how they question each other for the first time, and how they uncover each other’s secrets. In that context, a conflict can grow between them about Batman’s pursuit of vigilante justice, which leads to battles, which makes them try to outmaneuver each other, and it comes to a head in the Act Two climax.

Do you see what I mean? To separate them as they’ve done, to avoid the tough work of showing an evolving relationship, is to wimp-out as screenwriters. It’s too easy, and it’s unsatisfying. Instead of one 10-page battle at the end, which frankly reminded me too much of that endless battle in Superman IV, you could’ve had smaller battles throughout the story that builds up to a shorter, more powerful, more memorable confrontation at the end of Act Two. By the way, this absurd subplot with Lana Lang was nothing short of a Superman III rip-off and we just don’t need to be reminded of either of those films.


All of the big action was given to Batman throughout Act Two, and I think the writers stayed too close to familiar grounds. They didn’t know what they were doing with Superman and it shows. Guys, an arrow is not going to pierce his suit or his skin. He is not going to fall down after getting hit in the head with a concrete block. And I don’t care how big the action is, he’s just not going to bleed in a battle against Batman. His dialogue never sounded right. He was too preachy. It felt like an inconsistency in his character to tell Batman in the Third Act that it was his right as a human to do retribution to the Joker, which is not what he believes and contradicts all he said up to that point.

Also, to have Superman getting divorced from Lois is upsetting in a number of ways. Their relationship is true love locked in Greek tragedy because they cannot consummate that love. You don’t play around with that in a Batman vs. Superman movie. I think it’s just an ignorance of the mythology to make a decision like that. Plus, to jump ahead to the divorce pulls the rug out from underneath a highly anticipated storyline in a Superman film. Even if they were to go back and film how Lois learned about Clark Kent and how they got married,
this undermines those happy feelings because we now know that they’ll eventually get divorced. This is the dramatic equivalent of totally “giving up” on a franchise and just giving away the farm for nothing.

I’ve said this before - a Superman movie is only
as good as Lois Lane. You cannot get around that. You have to carefully foster that love and that humor between them. Weak screenwriters never fail to avoid her or cut her out completely.


The ending was too predictable. By the time Lex shows up, you’re tired of all the fighting, and you’re ready for the whole thing to end. The final bits of dialogue was so hokey, it practically harkened back to the cheap one-liners of Batman & Robin. And I hate the way it sets up endless Batman & Superman sequels. It isn’t enough to do what everyone thinks you’re going to do, that is, make them reconcile and work together to fight a common enemy. You have to take it further and end a story like this in some meaningful way that will have a good impact on the two separate franchises. Personally, I would’ve ended it with the establishment of the Justice League and introduced new characters. That would get people excited as they walk out of the theaters.


Let me ask a question - what’s the point of a “VERSUS” movie of any kind? We’ve had Freddy vs. Jason and Alien vs. Predator, which have turned out to be nothing more than cinematic tourist traps, and I’d like to know what’s the inherent value in seeing two signature icons duke it out on film. It seems to me that these types of films do more to lower the stature of those iconic figures than it does to elevate the genre. In music terms, this has to be the equivalent of two washed-up singers going on tour together because their TWO sets are almost worth the price of ONE ticket. Is this not just a desperate act to squeeze the last dollar out of a public that’s grown tired of two icons?

Of course, it’s a little different with Batman and Superman, because people don’t easily tire of their most beloved, iconic superheroes. But you have to be very, very careful with them.

I gotta say, I agreed with Darwin Mayflower who wrote
in his review: “Batman Vs. Superman had the right idea in mind. The idea of Batman seeking revenge, blinded by rage, and Superman trying to stop him from self-destructing, is a great premise. But this is the pallid, PG-rated version of that story. It sounds good, but the words don't live up to the promise. Despite the terrific opening, with Bruce and Clark letting us in on a more human level, the writers soon leave the characters behind and instead of exploiting this singular opportunity to bring these guys together for something special, they keep them apart and give up on them for some standard action. Batman Vs. Superman takes its characters for granted. This project is dead and buried, but if they had gone back to Walker's original draft and hired a writer with the ability to imbue some depth and substance into the script, it might have worked out to be something pretty intriguing. But we'll instead get stand-alone films about Supes and Batman. And with all concerns in consideration, it was definitely the right decision.”


Joshua James said...

Good review.

Yeah, Supes invulnerable, which is why he's never been a hero but a god, and gods, usually, aren't as interesting as humans are.

I seem to also recall a comic from the late seventies or so called Superman VS Ali . . .

Supes and Ali box it out in a boxing ring.

And I'm like, uh . . . Ali's the greatest, but Superman is invulnerable.

m said...

Great Caesar's Salad, am I glad this didn' get made. Aside from the various problems pointed out, it annoys me to no end when screenwriter's completely disregard that these characters have been developed over 70 plus years and have evolved into very well-honed forms already and just do whatever they want.

This movie starts with Superman veering out of character and with Batman already having been WAY out of character. To suggest that Bats could get married to much of anyone (a point existing to prop up the revenge notion) belies a total lack of understanding of the Batman character.

Joshua James said...

I have to say, tho', that the story you just reviewed still sounds a lot more interesting and engaging than SUPERMAN RETURNS was - I fell asleep during that damn thing.

Anonymous said...


Anyway, I would’ve gone really dark. Here's my version:

James Gordon and his family are murdered by Lex Luther. He makes it look like it was Superman’s fault. Batman finds out. He promises vengeance. He finds a way to do away with the unsuspecting Superman by becoming a bad guy essentially, using Superman’s goodness against him. At the same time, Lois does investigating reporting and finds out -- too late -- that it was Lex who killed James. She tells Batman only to learn he’s already disposed of Superman. Batman then uncovers Lex’s plot to unleash sentinels upon Metropolis and take it over. Batman tries and fails to stop Lex. Lois finds a way to undo whatever Batman did to Superman -- but it costs her her life -- and Superman dispenses of the sentinels and does away with Luther. The dust settles. Superman buries Lois. Cut to Batman in the hospital. Superman appears in the window. His eyes have anger in them for the first time ever. He blames Batman for Lois’s death. He can never forgive Batman. He waits for him to wake so they can duke it out. The End.

Sequel anybody?

Seriously, it's so obvious that Akiva wrote this shitty script. It reeks of the same bullshit that ruined the Batman franchise. Also, it would’ve cost a fortune to make his script. So I give kudos to whoever canned this project. Smart thinking.

Thanks for the read.

- Alan

Laura Deerfield said...

Don't they get it? Lois is what makes Superman interesting. She is his character depth. His conflict. Get rid of her, or dumb her down, and you'll never get Supe right.

Mystery Man said...

Josh - Ya know, as I was searching for photos to steal, I mean, USE, I came across that cover. What's up with that craziness? With respect to Supe Returns, they should've handed all the scribe duties over to me. I would've whipped 'em. In fact, I would've given them outlines for 4 films, which would have included a Batman vs. Superman. As far as I'm concerned, if you're going to bring back Superman, there's only one reason to do it, and thus, all roads must lead to Doomsday and his death. But you have to set up quite a bit before you get to that point. You have to establish the Justice League in order to have superheroes available to carry the story while Superman's dead. You have to marry off Clark and Lois just as they did in the comics in order to punctuate the sadness of his death. You have to kill off Luthor and establish his son. There are lots of things that have to be done first.

M - I completely agree.

Alan - You'd kill off Lois? Are you kidding me?

Laura - I knew I could count on you!


Anonymous said...

MM -- I was just screwing around when I wrote my version of a Batman vs. Superman movie. But now that I think about it, why not? It’s the only way to truly hurt Superman. And it’s the only way to induce a character change within Superman. It would essentially put Superman on Batman’s level -- or in his shoes. Superman never kills, right? I mean, he could’ve killed Luther how many times? And this time he does so with gusto. All in all, you’d be giving the audience something new and unexpected.

Anyway, I don’t know what I want to see in a Batman vs. Superman picture. All I know is that I’m tired of the predictable superhero stories. I’m tired of the damsel-in-distress shit. But I do like what you've suggested above. Seeing a Superman vs. Doomsday movie would be really cool. You should get started on it -- as soon as the strike is over. God, when will it ever end?

- Alan

Mystery Man said...

David - Hey, no worries. I knew you were joking, but still, that was pretty good. I really enjoyed it. But no, you can't kill off Lois. I love Lois and I will hunt you down if you kill her off.


Bob G. said...

Awesome pair of articles, Mystery Man. I have just one small contribution:

We’re shown two guys who are already friends. They already know each other’s secrets. And in one scene, we’re robbed of so many interesting cinematic developments – how they meet, how they learn about each other, how they question each other for the first time, and how they uncover each other’s secrets.

I couldn't agree more, and I think this was handled wonderfully in the animated Batman Superman Movie. Batman pursues The Joker to Metropolis, where he (The Joker) plans to make an alliance with Lex Luthor. Batman busts up a meeting between The Joker and some local gangsters. Superman arrives on the scene and, when they're alone, promptly x-rays Batman's mask. "Bruce Wayne!" he exclaims in surprise. "You peeked," Batman replies indignantly.

They exchange some heated words about technique, and even a few blows. Soon they separate. Superman flies home to the apartment of Clark Kent, begins to take off his costume, and notices a Bat-homing device stuck to his cape. He looks out the window to see Batman, several rooftops away, watching him through binoculars. Having discovered Superman's secret in a trice, the "world's greatest detective" gives him a friendly wave and vanishes. Clark crushes the homing device in frustration.

The next day, there's Bruce Wayne at the Daily Planet offices, putting the moves on a receptive Lois Lane and giving Clark Kent a knowing smile. Priceless.

Naturally, as they grudgingly cooperate to catch the bad guys and periodically save one another, their relationship evolves into one of mutual respect. Much of the rest is too cartoonish for my tastes (naturally, given the medium and the target audience) but the skeleton of the script is rock-solid.

Mystery Man said...

I love the twist with Bruce and Lois! That's hilarious and far superior to Goldsman's draft.

Thanks, man. That was great.


Unknown said...

Interesting as hell. I always feel so inadequate posting anything even pseudo-serious here because everybody is so damn smart.

I'm also glad this never saw the light of day, because any supposed "fight" between the two would kill one or both of the franchises.

I keep thinking that the only way you could make this conflict work at ALL is to have one of the superheros kill the others wife or even child (no not Batboy from the weekly world news). And that the killing had to border on malicious, which is so out of character for either one of them.

I Suffer Fools said...

Great review.

As a lover of comic books and its characters during my youth and young adulthood, I think it's embarrassing at times what has been produced -- or even suggested -- for the silver (or small) screen. Although I haven't really picked up a comic book for about 15 years now, I have about 15-20 years of reading/studying under my belt, 25-30 very long boxes of comics in protective storage bags, and a few years of working a comic book store, I have a great fondness for the characters and still remember each and every one of them.

To me, the best comics I read didn't involve fighting. They involved the characters, their personalities, their strengths, their flaws, and their interactions with their family, friends, comrades, and archenemies. One such story involves a suicide in a Wonder Woman comic book. I vividly remember the emotion that swept through me as I read it. THAT is the sign of a good story and the sign of a well-used character.

The obvious film mistakes are Superman III and IV, as well as Batman & Robin. Where were their plots? Did the writers even know anything about the characters about which they wrote? Had they ever even picked up a comic book? Even X-Men 3: The Last Stand felt rushed and unfocused. For someone who loved the Dark Phoenix storyline in the original Uncanny X-Men comics and looked forward to the movie with great anticipation, it was a huge letdown. There was NO character depth. Jean Grey/Phoenix/Dark Phoenix was little more than a passing annoyance. The relationship between she and Cyclops in the comics was…magic! And every comic fan wept when she sacrificed herself for the good of the Earth and universe. In the movie…not so much.

Although many won't agree, I think a great job was done with the movies for The Hulk, the first Fantastic Four (Jessica Alba looked plastic in the second), and Daredevil. They felt “real” and “authentic.” I was very pleased to see Marvel Comics branching out, so to speak, by using characters that weren't their main bread and butter. DC Comics, on the other hand, and my preference for comic books and characters, has failed to capitalize on the many, many great characters they own.

Beyond Superman and Batman, DC hasn’t done much. Yet they have so many great stories in their comic books from which they can borrow. In the 80s, the Teen Titans had some fantastic storylines courtesy of writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez. The introduction of and subsequent death of Terra was ingenious. In the late 80s/early 90s, Mike Grell wrote some very gritty stories for the Green Arrow. Before his tenure, I had never been interested in the Green Arrow. Grell made him human and occasionally “wrote” stories that didn’t even have any dialogue. Yet it held my interest throughout. THAT is another sign of a good story.

DC Comics failed to get The Flash TV series running (hahaha…). Why? Poor storylines. I couldn’t even watch it. They attempted again with Birds of Prey. A great choice. Lesser known characters…that were even female! Oooh… But still…it didn’t fly. Why? I don’t think the writers and producers invested as much into the characters, didn’t trust that their viewers were already familiar with them, and – basically—didn’t know much about their mythos themselves. Sad. And they’re the ones on strike right now? Unless they’re worthy of a strike, they ought to find other occupations so that real writers can step in and provide quality entertainment.

I’m hesitant about the upcoming Justice League of America movie. Naturally, I’ll go see it. Probably two or three times in the theater. However, I think DC Comics is overstepping its boundaries with throwing too many characters into the ring at once, especially overused characters like Superman and Batman. Baby steps, DC, baby steps.

And while we’re on the subject, I’m a little worried about the newest Batman film. While Heath Ledger looks like an interestingly different maniacal Joker, do we really need another Batman film with the Joker in it? How many villains does Batman have in his Rogues Gallery? I can’t even count that high.

And do we really need another Superman origin movie? Let’s jump right in and see what else he’s about! Or better yet…let’s use some OTHER CHARACTERS and storylines from comic books past. How about a Batgirl movie where she’s shot and paralyzed by the Joker (it’s okay to use him in this one, in my opinion) and later becomes The Oracle (as in the one-shot comic The Killing Joke)?

How about a Teen Titans movie when the Titans were The New Teen Titans and on top of their game like in the 80s? Robin/Nightwing, Wonder Girl, Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Raven. THOSE were characters.

How about The Outsiders when they first came on the scene? Geo-Force, Katana, Halo, Black Lightning, Metamorpho, and – later – Looker, along with their team captain, Batman (not necessary for the movie, though!).

How about Booster Gold? He was a wealthy, arrogant SOB, but a great superhero in his own right. Perhaps teaming Booster Gold and Blue Beetle together in a superhero comedy? Their friendship was cemented in Justice League International, a great comedic comic.

And, for Marvel, how about a Power Pack movie that even the youngest of kids could enjoy? When the Power kid siblings first came on the comics scene in 1984, they had some amazing adventures that both kids and adults could relate to, especially when they dealt with issues such as sexual abuse, drug abuse, kidnapping, runaways, etc. That’s POWERful stuff!

My point…and I do have one…is: let’s get to making GREAT superhero movies. Movies that comic fans will love for their nostalgia and movies that non-comic book fans will love for their inviting stories. Let’s be done with reinventing the wheel or trying to create “super” scripts like Superman vs. Batman. Focus on the little people. They have stories to tell, too…

Mystery Man said...

Bob - I'm not that smart. I just love research.

Puppy - Great post. I'm not well-versed enough about those characters you listed at the end to know how well they'd turn into films, but I completely agree with your emphasis on characters. That harkens back to what Ebert said when Batman & Robin came out, that is, put the characters in the foreground. There is also, I think, an epidemic of dumbed-down dialogue and bad casting for these current superhero films. I recall the cross-country search to find the perfect Lois Lane for Donner's original Superman film, and I don't think as much care goes into getting the RIGHT person for the right role and supplying that character with smart dialogue that'll elevate the film to a level that'll stand the test of time. Anyway, great comments.


Chris F. said...

superman can be hurt by batman, and frankly batman's the only person alive who can harm superman. why do you think superman respects him so much. and if an arrow was laced with kryptonite was shot at superman, it would stick, just look at "superman returns" and how lex luthor was able to jab a stick of kryptonite into superman's back.

other than the fact you made superman "invulnerable" which he is, but you you didn't think that with kryptonite batman would rape him, good job. i've read this somewhere before online, and i feel it can be a solid movie, i tjust needs some tweaking here and there.

Roger Wilson said...

I guess both the batman and spiderman are fictional comic characters but i love personally batman because of his appearance like his Costume and specially accessories i vote for batman