BATMAN V SUPERMAN: My Version Of A Rebooted Batman…
Since the announcement was made of a Batman & Superman team up Movie, in ‘Batman V Superman’, it’s caused many speculations and uproar, equal parts of both. Many people have chimed in on their concerns regarding how this choice by DC and Warner Brothers will affect the previous Batman Franchise championed by Christopher Nolan & Christian Bale, neither of whom will be directly involved in the new iteration of Batman. (Or maybe they will) You can check out what I think of a MAN OF STEEL Sequel featuring Batman here…
In the comments of the above post, a discussion with a fellow Comic Book enthusiast led us to wonder just how Batman can be introduced in this new universe set up by Zack Snyder in MAN OF STEEL starting with the new movie ‘Batman V Superman’ I attempt to give an in depth theory of how I think would be one way to incorporate a Batman / Bruce Wayne with modified Origins to better suit the world we’ve seen this summer in MAN OF STEEL. Definitely not the best way, or even a good way, but a different way for sure. But first, a few established assumptions before we continue:
- This is a MAN OF STEEL sequel.
- The “BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN” title was casually referenced by writer David S. Goyer during an interview at Comic Con 2013, as being in the running. Meaning it may just be a working title to incite hype, before the film starts production. I’m confident this will change going forward.
- I also think so because, the Nolan-verse has always been about subtext and a deeper meaning to the title.
- BATMAN BEGINS was a new beginning to the origins of Batman.
- THE DARK KNIGHT was about how Batman had to relegate himself into the shadows, for the greater good.
- THE DARK KNIGHT RISES was all about rising after a fall (both literal and metaphorical) which was beaten to death in my opinion.
- Snyder followed suit by naming his Superman movie MAN OF STEEL after one of the characters comic taglines like “The Dark Knight”. So look for “BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN” to change going forward to reflect the deeper symbolism of the story within the sequel.
- Analyzing the working title further, one can interpret the “VS” in the title as being an ideological conflict between the two icons, rather than a physical confrontation. This will be the basis of my theory (see rampant speculation): less physical fight, more ideological conflict.
Now some facts to go with the above assumptions:
- Christian Bale will not don the Batsuit again. (This has come into question since this writing. More here…)
- Christopher Nolan will only executive produce and have no hand in writing or directing.
- The universe that was established and ended in Nolan’s Trilogy will NOT be continuing into this sequel. (Also in question, given the casting of an ‘older more experienced Batman‘. More here…)
- The Universe established in MAN OF STEEL will be the universe going forward for future DC Superhero movies.
Now on to my theory of how a new rebooted Batman can be introduced in this Universe.
The Billionaire Philanthropist
Bruce Wayne is a multi billionaire who lost his parents at a young age due to gang violence. As they were leaving a show, The Waynes were caught in a crossfire between two gangs and were shot to death. Their young son Bruce, survived but was naturally traumatized at having his parents’s murdered in front of his eyes. He felt victimized and developed a fear of being alone, especially in his big mansion, despite the ever present care and support from his parent’s Butler. This resulted in commitment issues that follow him into adulthood, never being able to form long lasting relationships with anyone.
Despite this tragedy in his past, Bruce grows up to follow in his parents footsteps, as a Philanthropist, Scientist, Innovator and one of the most generous business men in the country. In memory of his parents, Bruce uses his vast power and influence to dedicate himself to wiping Gotham of the corrupt and vile forces that were ultimately responsible for his parents’ death. Using Wayne Enterprises, Bruce develops new technologies to aid and assist law and order within the city, and to some extent, the country. On top of working with law enforcement and the military, Wayne Enterprises also supports and operates a slew of organizations created to give back to the community, such as, outreach programs for troubled youth, homes for orphans, providing welfare, creating jobs, housing projects, etc… all with the aim of bettering Gotham. Essentially Bruce Wayne tries to fight crime using the resources available to him, without fully realizing the depth of the plight he’s facing, but being driven to keep going through a deep and dark sense of responsibility for his parents’ death.
During his rise to power, Wayne found a contemporary within Lex Luthor, another genius level young man with a desire to contribute to world progress, causing the two young men to work together, temporarily. However, Luthor wanted to develop scientific technologies in order to create weaponry and focus on the defense of the country against foreign and domestic threats. Luthor believed that power is the ultimate method to ensure progress and peace. This difference in ideologies resulted in a falling out between Wayne & Luthor. However, Bruce distanced himself further from Luthor, as he somewhat even agreed with Luthor’s approach, which scared him and presented a darker side of him that he didn’t want to and couldn’t face.
While Wayne Enterprises grew to become a corporation synonymous with advancements in science, communications, technology, and giving back to its community, LexCorp grew to be one of the leading Arms manufacturers of the world, even branching out into energy concerns, with political ties, and the one true competitor to Wayne Industries in some areas.
Bruce Wayne’s reaction to the events of MAN OF STEEL and the existence of Superman is utter shock and anger. Wayne publically condemns Superman, comparing the conflict between Superman and Zod as having been nothing more than a super powered gang war, with Metropolis and the world caught between the Kryptonians’ feud. In the meantime, Lex Luthor hates Superman for his own reasons. Luthor finds the very idea of Superman an abomination and is jealous of his abilities, culminating in an inferiority complex. He feels that human progressions will be held back due to the presense of a god-like being. He wants to bring Superman down, and decides to [ insert elaborate scheme to destroy Superman / further his own agendas here].
Wayne demands Superman be responsible for the destruction and death caused by the other Kryptoninans, since he’s the one they came to Earth looking for, inciting their crimes against humanity. Wayne publically leads the crusade to bring Superman to justice, using his influences in society. A visit to Metropolis and ground zero of the destruction exposes Wayne to the deaths caused by Zod and the countless families destroyed. We flashback to sequences of Bruce’s grief and trauma immediately after his parent’s death. [ These scenes can be triggered accordingly to incidents Bruce experiences in his adult life, similar to how MAN OF STEEL told the origin backstory. ]
After his parents died, we see a young Bruce that has become an introverted, quiet young man, afraid of his own shadow, constantly feeling like he has no control over his own life and always blaming himself for his parents’ death. A Bruce whose fear of being alone dominated his life and whose guilt relegated him to being too helpless to do anything about it.
In an effort to regain control of his life, and not be afraid anymore, Bruce left his life behind in his early 20’s, running away from Gotham and any ties to the Wayne name to try to start fresh in another part of the world. It’s under these circumstances that Bruce truly found himself. Having to survive on his own, he overcame his fear of forever being alone, regaining the control taken away from him and by learning how to fight. Not out of vengeance or anger, but out of the constant frustration that comes with surviving his parents’ death. Out of the rage he feels at himself, for not being able to save them. And out of sheer determination to never be a victim again. This is what sculpted Bruce into the confident, assertive, impulsive and self righteous man we see in the beginning of the movie. This is also and what allowed him to return to his life in Gotham with new vigour, to rebuild his parents empire and follow in their foot steps, even though he always feels like there’s more he can do, in a different way.
Coming back to present day, Bruce witnessing the destruction of Metropolis spurs him on even more to do something about Superman. Wayne being a threat for Superman, and looking into his arrival to Earth also puts Lois & Clark on the defensive, giving their relationship some traction as well. Wayne becomes obsessed with Superman, and we start to see shades of ‘The Batman’ emerging as he spends hours in the personal lab under his mansion, monitoring and analyzing footage of Superman from various sources. Intense dramatic exchanges over drinks with long time friend and contemporary, Comissioner Gordon, further show just how much Bruce suppressed about his parent’s death, and how much is still unresolved.
Wayne re-tasks a network of his own satelittes to monitor every move Superman makes, naming the network “Brother Eye”. Bruce is so obsessed that he even discovers Kryptons’ origins, and [quite possibly ] unearths another one of the exploratory ships that were described in Krypton’s origins by Jorel in MAN OF STEEL. Using Brother Eye, Wayne studies how Superman’s physiology differs from ours, the source of his powers, and extrapolates possibilities of weaknesses. Wayne deduces theat the rays of a Red Sun would immobilize Superman.
In the meantime, Lex Luthor has already put his plan into motion, keeping Superman busy on other fronts, creating the main conflict of and larger plot point of the film. But Lex soon realizes he doesn’t have the full resources to fight him, so he reaches out to Wayne with the proposal of combining their efforts to find a way to find a solution to Superman. But Luthor wants to ultimately [insert more evil scheme that I can’t come up with here], keeping it a secret from Wayne. While Wayne’s intentions are more preventative, in order to neutralize Superman so he can be tried for his crimes. They both decide that Lex will build a defense against Superman using his weapons technology, combined with the information that Wayne has collected thus far. However, as soon as Wayne realizes Luthor’s true intentions, he ensures Brother Eye is inasseccisble to him. Luthor anticipates this and kidnaps Wayne, torturing him for the access codes.
This is where Bruce’s past returns to haunt him. Being tortured and left in a dark hole for hours, all of his fears and demons return. He is a victim yet again. Forced to relive the helplessness and frailty that he felt when his parents were taken from him. Bruce now has to overcome the trauma in adulthood that originally took him years to face. This is the turning point for Bruce, where he must rise. Using scraps of materials found around him in the darkness, and his own ingenuity, he escapes from Luthor’s clutches. Bruce returns to his home, only to be emotionally torn down, with no way out this time. Nothing more to hold onto to overcome his grief. Years of repressed feelings devastate him. He feels weak. Like a child.
Bruce is distracted as he hears the flutter of wings from the corner of his lab. Upon investigation, he finds a bat trapped in a corner of an unconstructed section of his underground lab. As the bat flies into his Lab, Bruce is very aware of his fear of the dark creature fluttering about in his pristine lab. Very aware of the chaos & turmoil brought in by this insignificant animal into his ordered life, while he’s helpless to do anything about it, not unlike his most recent experience. Rage swells within him. Frustration becomes focused. Fear becomes inspiration.
Luthor is going to use Bruce’s Brother Eye satellite and his information on Superman against the Man Of Steel. Bruce will be responsible for the death of someone else. He can’t let that happen. He realizes that Lex was right about one thing; Fear is Power. This time, he must fight back. This time, he can fight back. But he can’t do it as Bruce Wayne. He can’t jeopardize everything that Wayne Enterprises has built. He must find another way, and it’s staring him right in the face.
This sets the stage for Bruce Wayne to don a cowl in order to stop Luthor stop from using his own data and information against Superman. Bruce feels responsible and putting on the cowl is, in his eyes, redemption for not just what he’s done to Superman, but also for what he couldn’t do as a child for his parents. These are the motivations that create The Batman, that’s been festering underneath this Bruce Wayne since his parents’ death. And also give a slightly deeper understanding of why Batman is the paranoid, mistrusting and sometimes downright mean man that we all know, beyond him just being always prepared. Batman’s demeanour has always felt to me like someone who’s been betrayed or spurned.
Since I started this, details have emerged about how the MAN OF STEEL sequel Batman will be an older and more experienced version. This can easily be applied to my above ‘theory’ (?), as his reasoning to become Batman here is more calculated and methodical than the other origins. Also being older allows him to be more cool headed and can skip the learning curve that came with BATMAN BEGINS.
He still doesn’t trust Superman, and he will try to stop Luthor in his own way, while Superman does it his way. They’ll both get in each other’s way, maybe even leading to a full blown fight scene where Bruce sets up various traps to, not ‘defeat’ Superman, but to keep him out of his way long enough for him to prevent Luthor from completing his ‘plan’. So essentially have Superman & Batman fighting each other to try to stop the bad guy in their own unique ways. Versus.
The Long & Short Of It…
Now this isn’t a comprehensive plot outline of what I think will entail in BATMAN VS SUPERMAN’, obviously, given the gaps, conjecture and complete left field suggestions I made. But this was just me having fun with wild ideas and speculation about a comic book movie. I realize it’s something that cinephiles rarely do… 😉 Thanks for sticking it out and reading the whole thing. I’d love for you to join me in further speculating in the comments below, and see if you can plug some of my holes (Luthor’s plans) with your own ideas, or just rip me to pieces with your criticism. I can take it, I am wearing hockey pads!