Batman and Superman together in a live-action movie. Let that sink in for a moment. It's finally happening, people, and I couldn't be more excited. While I loved Man of Steel, I of course had some complaints and seeing as that film's creative team (Zack Snyder & David S. Goyer) will be behind the upcoming Superman/Batman project, I sincerely hope they'll learn from their mistakes (or at least what I consider to be mistakes). The movie is still far away and we don't even have the bare basics of what the plot will be, but here are a few key things I think the film needs to succeed.
What's a Batman?
By now, it seems fair to assume a majority of the general audience knows who Batman is and knows at least the basics surrounding his origin ("OH NO, MY PARENTS! I'M GONNA PUNCH CRIME IN THE FACE!"). Don't treat us like children and spell it out for us all over again -- there's really no need for that kind of exposition and origin story. Now, I'm not saying to avoid the topic completely. If they can fit an organic conversation in about it, then so be it. But please, don't bombard us with stuff we already know. Instead of backtracking and catching us up to the new and good stuff, just throw us right into a world where Batman is already a prominent figure and an established hero. Seeing as the rumors are WB is looking for an older actor and there was a "Keep Calm and Call Batman" easter egg in Man of Steel, it seems relatively safe to assume this is the road they're thankfully taking.
Please don't Bat-kick Superman in the face.
Anyone with basic knowledge of both characters knows Batman isn't going to take Superman in a slugfest. And Batman? He's kind of a very, very smart guy -- too smart to let it come down to fisticuffs. If you've watched Man of Steel, then you saw how absurdly powerful and fast this cinematic version of Kal is. Even if we get a version of Batman who's more "comic booky" than Nolan's (and I sincerely hope so), even he must be watching the coverage of this guy and saying to himself, "Yeah, I don't think my basic gear is going to cut it."
Yes, I want them to make this version of Batman a formidable dude and very skilled, but that's not what we need to see him use against Superman. They need to really focus on his tactical mind -- otherwise it's going to be a blatantly one-sided experience, and that's sure to make it MASSIVELY polarizing. Bruce needs to be at least a step ahead of the Kryptonian at all times if he doesn't want to get smacked through a wall or knocked out with a flick of the alien's finger. Otherwise, my forehead is going to hurt from an overdose of facepalms. Show us why Wayne has what it takes to eventually be a key part of the Justice League (IT'LL HAPPEN, DAMMIT!). Put his gifted mind on overdrive and make us believe he has what it takes to at least give Clark some degree of trouble as the story progresses. Have him study Kal as the film continues and test him for weakness. It'll be fun to watch and build up to a conflict that will hopefully render Batman as some kind of threat to the Man of Steel.
There's always the potential for this conflict to include Bruce in a DARK KNIGHT RETURNS-esque amor, too. That would certainly be wildly entertaining to watch on the big screen. Naturally, Clark would have to hold back a lot, but at any rate, I'm sure it'll end with them joining forces instead Wayne being forced to fake his demise.
Aside from the damage done to Metropolis, one of the most polarizing aspects of Man of Steel is how it concluded with General Zod. Snyder and Goyer are well aware of how divisive the decision was, but now it's up to them to prove to us that Superman will NEVER KILL AGAIN (unless it's an epic stalemate punch against Doomsday, of course). Make him reflect on that moment -- show us it impacted him beyond that powerful scream. It's not something that merely happened -- it's something that'll make him realize he needs to step up so he never has to reach that conclusion again.
Now that the world knows there's aliens far more powerful (or at least there were) and potentially even more deadly life out there, it's time for them to get a technological boost. Let's see them make sure they're now prepared to incarcerate Superman if needed. Perhaps briefly introduce Amanda Waller or Steve Trevor -- make us see that humanity is doing everything it can to be ready to handle greater threats. They've been essentially helpless once before and it would be foolish not to adapt. Could the Government reach out to Luthor to spearhead this research? Doesn't seem far fetched, does it?
This same mentality applies to Superman, too. Have him hone his powers and talents and think of ways to handle the unexpected. It's a big universe out there and he'd be a fool to think he may never face a threat of equal power again. I'm a defender of the solution with Zod but if this is swiftly pushed aside or never addressed again, it'll be seriously concerning. It was a powerful scene and deserves a lasting impact. So please, don't just quickly move away from the topic like in Man of Steel.
Speak up, son!
I dig Henry Cavill as Superman, but now it's time to see if he can handle being Clark Kent in the city as a talented reporter. Simply put: the guy needs to be more sociable -- even if it is an awkward kind of sociable. Bring on the confident Superman and the mild-mannered Clark Kent. When he is Superman, we need to see him be more elaborate and always serve as a symbol of hope and inspiration. He should exude confidence just like he did in his discussion in the military base and the drone scene. Otherwise, he's going to look like a man-child or a fool in conversations with someone as sharp as Bruce Wayne and potentially Lex Luthor.
Look, whether you want to see Lex Luthor or not is totally irrelevant. The fact is Goyer and Snyder blatantly put a few easter eggs in their film to establish the fact that the character not only exists, but also has a large presence in the city. And now that his concrete jungle suffered major damage because of a battle between aliens, you can bet he won't be too pleased with Kal. Hero or not, Luthor is bound to be suspicious (to say the least) of the alien and this is the perfect opportunity to introduce new technology into this universe. Thanks to his resources, Luthor could eventually gain information on where Krypton was and reach conclusions on Superman's weaknesses from there. Plus, he could create a Warsuit, and if there's one way to top a series of Batman and Superman encounters, it could be seeing them take on a heavily-armored Luthor. If you've watched the animated movie Public Enemies, then you know this has the potential to be a total blast.
Oh, hey there, DC's cinematic future.
It's time to step up your game, Warner Bros. You've teased us with a few easter eggs in Man of Steel, but now it's time to go big or go home. We want a Justice League movie or, at the very least, we want to see these other characters. Yes, Superman and Batman are the clear money makers, but now it's time to turn the other Justice Leaguers into characters the general audience will love, too. Leave us looking towards the future. Whether it's building hype in the film or hitting us with a mid-credits scene, I want to see you guys have faith in your properties beyond just Batman and Superman.
The start of a beautiful friendship.
WB is aiming to establish and expand this universe, so concluding this film with Batman and Superman as enemies kind of puts them in a corner. Sure, they could indeed write their way out of it, but I'm sure they'd much rather have this one end with the duo reaching a mutual understanding. This way, the formation of the Justice League can feel more organic in a potential movie and, more importantly, they avoid a fanboy war by having Superman or Batman technically "winning" in this movie.
I know Frank Miller is consulting and yes, some people want a DARK KNIGHT RETURNS inspired ending, but that world was an entirely different scenario. It was a bleak future and Superman was basically the President's errand boy. In this movie universe, it's transparent that's not the case with Superman and... well, seeing Batman function as a tool of the government would just be odd. It was at least justified in Injustice because Superman was aiming to form a regime. Here? Superman saved the world and has blatantly stated he's not here to rule with an iron fist. Yes, they can still be paranoid about that, but it's no reason for Batman to join forces with the government instead of conducting his own investigation on Big Blue.
So yeah, end this one with a friendship and for the gazillionth time, make us believe we could see a Justice League movie in the near future. You've got some great characters in your catalog, WB, so it's time to give them the credit they deserve.
The 'S' Stands for Shopping.
And for the love of all that is holy, let's try to tone down the product placement. I don't mind having it here and there, but it doesn't need to be prominent in so many damn shots. This is sure to be a hit at the box office anyway, so you really don't need the extra piles of cash you'd get in product placement, right?
That's just what I want to see, though. So, what about you, Viners? Tell us what you think the movie needs in the comments below.