Total Retcon…’Batman vs Superman’

For some ‘BvS’ was a fun, fantasy fulfilling romp that laid the groundwork for the DC cinematic universe…for others, including most critics, this was not the case.  To say this film had a mixed reception is an understatement, read most reviews and people seemed to love or hate this film with little in between.  In my humble opinion I’m somewhere in the middle. Do I like this film? No. Do I think it is a total disaster? No.  Do I think this could have been a lot better? Definitely.

With this in mind I’m going to ‘fix’ the major problems I had with this film, not start from scratch or recast or completely alter the film in its entirety, simply alter a few scenes or character moments and hopefully make ‘Batman vs Superman’ better…

The Batman Problem

Batman kills in this film.  That is not only a huge problem for comic books fans but also narratively, if he has no problem killing why does he allow sex traffickers to live but murders random henchmen without a second thought? Why let Lex Luthor survive at the end?  Instead we have Batman (as in the film) witness the destruction of Metropolis and decide to stop this man and save the world he must break his one rule…he must kill Superman.  This would serve as the driving conflict in the film, Batman’s struggle with his decision to cross the line from vigilante to killer.  When Batman later has the ‘Knightmare’ dream sequence it then becomes more effective, he is terrified of seeing what a Batman who kills would look like, thus planting a seed of doubt which will come into play later.  This means that the big chase scene, where more than a few bad guys are destroyed in cars would need to be changed, but not by much.

At the beginning of the third act the two icons have the titular fight, which this time starts with Bats ambushing Superman and comes to an end when he has him trapped and defeated.  I would lose the ‘Martha’ part here completely, it really was terrible, and instead as the Dark Knight is about to kill Superman he stops, looking at another living being trapped and weak and totally at his mercy, he cannot bring himself to deliver the killing blow.  Then Lois arrives, tells Bruce that the destruction was Zod and Superman was trying to save people, that he is a good, selfless man and even though he is hated by many, he will never stop trying to do the right thing.  This further puts doubt into Batman’s mind and he agrees to help save Martha after hearing Luthor’s plan.  We proceed with the warehouse rescue, which was excellent, and in the final fight between Superman and Doomsday and the hero’s sacrifice convinces the Caped Crusader that he was wrong about the Kryptonian.

Thus we have a natural and engaging arc for Batman that makes sense, a reason for their conflict that makes sense and a more cohesive storyline overall.

The Superman Problem

The main issues here are that Superman isn’t very likeable, doesn’t have any reason to fight Batman and his final sacrifice comes across as a bit forced.  When we first see the man of Steel he outright kills a terrorist instead of just disarming him, instead we should be seeing him value life, even that of someone threatening his lover.  Next, when we see him watching the news, it should have been a programme about how half of the city love him and half hate him, Lois could come in and comfort him, telling him not to worry what people think, she knows that all he wanted to do was help.  Aside from giving the two lovers a chance to show more chemistry it would have shown a vulnerable side to the god-like Superman.

It would make more sense if the Daily Planet had an agenda against Batman and Clark was actually the one defending him and not wanting to take the story on.  Only when the ‘BatBranding’ story appears (this time engineered by Lex to discredit Batman as he knows the detective is getting to close to his criminal activities) does Clark begin to doubt that Batman is a force of good.

The next change is his first confrontation with Batman, instead of flying down to threaten him Superman is also there to investigate the stolen cargo.  This would have allowed then to face off with Batman being the aggressor, Supes would try to tell him he isn’t a threat but ultimately get fed up of the Dark knights attacks and flies off.  This again illustrates that Superman is under appreciated despite just trying to do the right thing.

The final change would be at the film’s climax.  Doomsday makes his appearance and begins to attack, this time it is superman who leads him away from the city.  As they get to the deserted docs there are still a few workers hanging around.  Superman lands in front of them to protect them, even as the monster hacks and attacks him, he never moves until Batman arrives and distracts Doomsday.  As Wonder Woman and Batman fight him Superman makes sure everyone is safe, including Lois who begs for him to stay out of the fight, she tells him that he doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone, he doesn’t need to help.  He would kiss her and say he does it because someone has to stand up and protect people, whether they realise or not and that if he stands back knowing he could help, he is just as bad.  This would show that even though some people have thought of him as a threat and he doesn’t get credit or even the benefit of a normal life, he will always choose to help defend those who can’t.

Conclusion

There are still some issues with the film, Lex Luthor’s plan, the horrid CGI Doomsday and the misuse of Lois Lane but by making these (relatively small) changes I think the film would have been more satisfying as a story, fully developed character arcs and would have both set up Batman and Superman as the main players of the DCEU.

Of course these are just my thoughts and if you have some suggestions, criticisms or thoughts feel free to let me know, thanks you for reading.

 

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