Yesterday I posted a mini-essay on what the forthcoming Batman/Superman may hold in terms of its story. Essentially it was a rebuttal of the opinions of screenwriting ‘guru’ Scriptshadow who believes that a script for this meeting of heroes was an impossible task due to many factors.
I disagreed with this – and today I put my money where my mouth is. I’d intended just to work up a brief pitch for the 1st half of the film, showing how it was possible for Superman and Batman to meet in shared universe, fight but then becomes allies in the face of a greater threat. What happened was a few beers and me spending 5 hours writing a 4 page treatment for the whole of film. For those who don’t know, a treatment is essentially a prose version of the film, not an in-depth piece but broad strokes intended to sell the core idea and scenes. But first a few caveats —
1 – All characters, locations, trademarks and intellectual property contained in this treatment are copyright DC Comics and Warner Bros. No infringement is intended or ownership claimed.
2- This is by no means perfect, I’m a decent screenwriter but not a professional one (yet). It may well contain plot-holes, errors and problems and these are all my own. As stated, it was written in five hours whilst enjoying a few beers.
3 – Whilst a film fan and a comic fan I’m not an all-knowing fan-boy, therefore some aspects of this treatment may not gel with the DC Comics universe completely. I think it’s a solid version of the characters without veering into weird or bizarre takes such as Luthor being a Kryptonian.
4- This was written partly for fun and – as I described yesterday – as a writing exercise. I’m fully away of the pointless nature of writing material based on someone else’s property and the fact that, as I type, Warner Bros probably has a wonderful draft of this film by David Goyer. Although if anyone from Warner reads this and wants to get in touch I wouldn’t be adverse to it ; )
So, here’s my take on a meeting of two super-heroes —
2 years have passed since the events of ‘Man of Steel’. Superman has remained on Earth, helping those in aid when needed, but still somewhat haunted by the partial destruction of Metropolis. As Clark Kent he’s risen in the ranks as a reporter for the Daily Planet and has a love/hate relationship with Lois Lane. But 3 very different men are concerned with his existence and his loyalties…
Lieutenant General Swanswick has been tasked with investigating Superman and is taking steps to prevent another disaster caused by conflict between super-beings. The government has taken possession of the ship that carried baby Kal-El to Earth and the General has tasked two of the world’s greatest minds to discover its secrets – Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne.
Luthor – genius, billionaire and arrogant egotist – has funded the reconstruction of Metropolis through LexCorp with the help of Wayne Enterprises. Metropolis will soon be the City of Tomorrow, with transport and accommodation aided by advanced technology. The roots of these advances are the discoveries Luthor has made through analysis of Kryptonite technology, although he would never admit it. But Luthor has secretly been working on another project – advanced Warsuits ordered by Swanswick for use if Superman should ever turn against the USA…
Bruce Wayne – genius, billionaire and secret vigilante – suspects Luthor of using Kryptonian technology for his own ends. But he still doesn’t trust Superman himself. Should innocent lives be lost again at the hands of super-beings then Batman has his own plans…
Earth from orbit. A stunning satellite circles the globe. Today’s the opening of the LexCorp Orbiter – the first commercial space hotel. Aboard are numerous wealthy and high-ranking guests of Lex Luthor including Bruce Wayne. Lois Lane is also in attendance, asking awkward questions about LexCorp’s involvement in illegal arms sales and their growing rift with partners Wayne Enterprises. This conversation is brought to a sharp end when the Injustice Gang seize the Orbiter and hold their wealthy guests hostage. Luthor flees using an escape pod – leaving Bruce Wayne to fight back. Unable to change into Batman, he still takes down a number of super-villains with stealth and tactics. But when one of Mirror Master’s attacks goes awry the Orbiter loses power and falls to the Earth. Lois makes a frantic call to Clark Kent but he’s not answering his phone. That’s because Clark’s zooming into orbit as Superman, rescuing the Orbiter before it’s destroyed.
The next day Luthor is under heavy fire from the press and his military contracts due to the Orbiter debacle. Wayne Enterprises severs ties with LexCorp and Luthor’s contract to the military is in doubt. He can’t have this problem interfere with the opening of Metropolis as the City of Tomorrow in a few days time. Blaming both Wayne and Superman for his misfortunes he needs the Warsuit program to succeed. His solution – make sure Superman is seen as a threat. Ploughing into his investigation of the Kryptonian craft Superman arrived in, he discovers its power source – Kryptonite, the perfect way to power the Warsuits. He plugs a portion of Kryptonite into LexCorp’s systems, making huge leaps in performance and functions. But something within the green element has woken, something that finds its way into LexCorp technology…
A few days later, the unveiling of the City of Tomorrow. Metropolis’ hopes are high for the reconstruction and improvement of their city, crowds are out in droves. Lois and Clark are covering the event for the Daily Plant. Bruce is also present along with Alfred, tensions are high between Wayne and Luthor. The crowd celebrate around LexCorp tower as the wonders of new technology are unveiled, including a free-energy plant – a wondrous tower in the centre of the city. But the celebration is cut short as a craft – the Kryptonian Shuttle that brought Superman to Earth – hurtles through the city and crashes into LexCorp tower.
Chaos reigns and Alfred is seriously injured. Bruce changes into Batman and rescues people from danger. Clark too turns into his alter-ego – but finds himself faced by LexCorp security opposing him – security wearing Luthor’s Warsuits. Luthor rails at Superman – yet again aliens have brought terror to Metropolis and Superman is responsible. Batman holds back but when the Warsuits attempt to take Superman they injure Lois. Seeing this Superman retaliates. Batman strikes back at Superman, but using non-lethal means, Superman incapacitates him.
Luthor – with government approval from General Swanswick – unleashes his Warsuits. Superman defeats them after a pitched battle but the wreckage of one reveals its power source – Kryptonite. This weakens Superman, and in the face of a now hostile Metropolis he retreats to what has now become the Fortress of Solitude.
Luthor has a field day and blames Superman for the events in Metropolis. Batman, nursing his pride in the Batcave, also fears Superman may be a threat rather than ally. The people and media – including The Daily Planet – turn against Superman. Swanswick and the government sign a billion dollar deal with Luthor for him to provide them with Warsuits and advanced LexCorp weaponry
Lois digs deeper – finds that the LexCorp tower itself was empty that day and has a huge insurance policy that covers the damage. Clark – returning from the Fortress of Solitude – investigates with her and begins to suspect Luthor’s involvement in the scheme. Is Luthor responsible? Or is he just callously playing the cards fate has dealt him?
But the crashed Kryptonian craft now lying within the LexCorp tower holds a secret – Kal-El was not the only being to travel to Earth from the stars. Within the matrix of the craft was another entity, a powerful being that latched onto the craft as it crossed the universe. Brainiac – a devious, hyper-intelligent alien with the ability to possess technological and organic forms. It’s been seeking a prime position to take over this world and has found one: the central hub of the City of Tomorrow’s technology within LexCorp tower. Brainiac begins to spread its tendrils into the grid that supports the city, from trains, power systems and the cell phone network…
Meanwhile, General Swanswick has been tasked with hunting down and imprisoning Superman. He’s assisted by Luthor whose Warsuits are now very much in demand. Swanwick has ordered Batman to assist him – threatening to have him arrested and his true identity revealed if he doesn’t comply. Batman wants revenge for Alfred’s injuries but also has his suspicions about Luthor and breaks into LexCorp science facilities in a daring heist. He steals some Kryptonite and the Warsuit designs, designs he realises are copies of his own work. He also discovers evidence of something lurking hidden within LexCorp technology. Deep in the Batcave he begins work on a new project and new plans…
With evidence that Lex is behind the destruction of LexCorp tower, Superman comes out of hiding. He agrees to meet Swanswick in deserted farmland outside Gotham (a location chosen by Batman) to argue his case. But Brainiac – his control over LexCorp’s technology growing – realises that Superman, Luthor and Batman are the 3 men who may be able to stop his plans for global take-over.
The meeting between Superman and the Military is a Mexican stand-off. But with the technology the army is using produced by LexCorp, Brainiac is able to hack into their systems. Brainiac causes a Combat Chopper’s reactor to go critical to incite a reaction. Thinking Superman’s responsible the Army attacks.
What follows is action on an epic scale – Superman (trying hard not to kill anyone) versus the might of the US army. A huge battle ensues – and only Superman remains standing. Luthor flees back to Metropolis. But someone else has been watching the events – the only man now left who can stand up to a superman…
Batman – in a kryptonite powered Batsuit. And yes, it has Kryptonite gloves. In the wreckage of the US army, the world’s finest duke it out. Superman initially pulls his punches but with Batman’s superior tactics, tricks and Kryptonite it becomes an equal fight. With the negative effects of the Kryptonite taking its toll, Batman lures Superman to a mountain range. A mountain range he’s rigged with powerful explosives where Superman is buried beneath a mile of rock. Happy that Superman is neutralised for the time being, Brainiac manages to access Batman’s Warsuit and makes it self-destruct. Batman too becomes trapped with Superman.
Back in Metropolis, Luthor returns to LexCorp tower. But his building has changed – it’s now fully under the control of Brainiac. Brainiac needs a temporary physical host – and Luthor in his Warsuit is his choice. Now possessing Luthor, Brainiac takes complete control over the City of Tomorrow, holding the citizens of Metropolis hostage and turning them into mindless drones. Soon the whole of the Western seaboard from Gotham to Star City is under his sway. With the Army in tatters following the battle with Superman, Swanswick’s attempt to take back Metropolis is futile.
Seemingly trapped deep in caverns beneath the Gotham countryside, Batman is still alive but Superman is critically injured. But Batman didn’t choose the location of his battle with Superman at random… He carries the injured Superman through underground caverns to — the Batcave. Using a Wayne Tech solar generator he heals Superman’s wounds and brings him back to consciousness. Batman’s plan has not been to defeat Superman – but to train him. Powerless and trapped beneath rock, Superman is just a human in need and a true hero must know of the cost and responsibility their power and calling entails. Revealing to Superman that the only way to discover Luthor’s plans was to incite this confrontation and forge a secret alliance, he tells Superman he suspects another agent at play – Brainiac.
Returning to Metropolis, Batman and Superman together fight technology gone wild and attempt to free the captive population without casualties – including Lois and Perry White. But Brainiac sends Warsuits after Batman and Superman, drawing them away from his real plan. At the heart of Metropolis is Luthor’s energy-plant due to run on free-energy. Brainiac has converted this to create an abundance of power from synthesizing Kryptonite. Should it go online he’ll have enough power to take over the whole planet and beyond.
Together, Batman and Superman battle possessed Metropolitans, haywire technology and Luthor’s Warsuits to reach the energy-plant before it goes active. In a pitched, climatic battle they face the Brainiac possessed Luthor – a struggle even for the world’s finest. But using their skills and powers in unison both heroes manage to bring Luthor back to consciousness and with his help purge Brainiac from Metropolis’ technology and trap him within a miniaturized prison of Batman’s construction.
But the power-plant is running rampant, with no way to stop it before it goes critical. Despite the toll the growing Kryptonite takes on Superman, he wrenches the structure from the centre of Metropolis and carries it into the atmosphere. He manages to throw the towering structure onto the surface of the moon where it explodes.
Superman – pushed to the limit – falls from orbit and tumbles to Earth. He’s caught by the Batwing, brought close to the healing powers of the sun and our heroes return to Metropolis. Together Batman and Superman have saved Metropolis and the world. An alliance has been formed, perhaps even a friendship. The remains of Brainiac’s technology litter Metropolis and Luthor escapes punishment claiming possession by an alien entity in his defence.
In our epilogue, Bruce holds a fundraiser for the clean-up of Metropolis at Wayne Manor. In attendance are Lois, Perry White and Clark Kent. But Bruce is seemingly elsewhere. Kent – not great at social functions – slips away and explores the house. Using his X-ray vision he discovers a secret chamber and follows it into – The Batcave. Batman sits at his console – watching world events on his huge monitors. Superman creeps behind him and discovers – a dummy. Bruce emerges from the shadows, offers his new friend a glass of champagne. Clark goes to remove his glasses and Bruce laughs – ‘I’m the world’s greatest detective Clark. Please don’t insult me.’ Clark gives him a gift – a kryptonite ring in a lead box. ‘Just in case, Bruce.’
They both watch the monitors, showing crime, natural disasters and wars. All the things these new friends will face – together. An image of the energy-plant now lying on the moon appears. It’s reforming, changing into a beautiful tower of Kryptonian technology. ‘I thought it could serve a purpose’ says Bruce. ‘Perhaps we could invite some new friends’ replies Clark. They toast. And on this image of Batman and Superman gazing at what will become the Justice League of America Watchtower we FADE OUT.
Treatment by Joel Morgan 2013. All characters and trademarks are copyright Warner Bros and DC Comics. No copyright infringement is intended or ownership implied.
Well, that was that. Hope you enjoyed it.
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