Monday, March 5, 2018

Cancelled Superhero Films 6 - Batman vs. Superman: Asylum

Introduction

The idea of a film featuring two of the most iconic superheroes in comic history first started when the writer of Se7en, Andrew Kevin Walker wrote a screenplay that was so dark, Warner Brothers executives brought in the writer of The Fifth Wave and The Dark Tower, Akiva Goldsman to rewrite the script. German director Wolfgang Petersen was roped in to direct the film. Some reports state that this film would be a continuation of the Tim Burton Batman films while ignoring Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, which is strange considering Goldsman wrote those two films. Before playing Batman in the Nolan trilogy, Christian Bale was said to have been approached to play Batman in this film. Jude Law was also rumoured to have been offered the role of Superman.


The Story

In this film, both Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne have been friends for quite some time and they are undergoing a midlife crisis of some sort. The film opens with Clark Kent in Metropolis still working at the Daily Planet. He is divorced from Lois Lane who can no longer cope with being married to the most strongest man on the planet. Clark is now in a troubled relationship with his childhood sweetheart from Smallville, Lana Lang. Clark pushes all his friends away and instead releases his anger by hunting for criminals whenever he is not working.

Meanwhile in Gotham, things are not going well for Bruce Wayne either. Bruce has retired as Batman for almost five years now. All those close to him - Alfred, Dick Greyson, Commisioner Gordan and even his favourite nemesis, The Joker have all died. The only reason his life is not completely empty is because he is engaged to the beautiful Elizabeth Miller and they make a perfect couple. Even Barbara Gordon thinks they are so perfect for each other that something is just not right.

On the wedding day, Clark is Bruce's best man. He tells Bruce that his divorce has been finalized. Bruce then explains that he stopped being Batman because he is still traumatized by his Robin's death and he is afraid he might start killing the criminals if he continues being a vigilante. The wedding is a success and the newly married couple leave Gotham for their honeymoon. During this time, Elizabeth is stung by a bee carying a mysterioys Joker toxin that ultimately kills her. This inspires Bruce to beccome Batman again. Clark tries to convince Bruce to take it slow but in vain.

While investigating the crime, Bruce comes across a gang of thugs and almost beats them up to the death. He only lets them live so they can spread the word that Batman is back. Batman eventually comes across two other criminals named Jeeves 1 and Jeeves 2. As he is about to attack them, the Joker appears, revealing that he has been alive all along. While Bruce is still in shock, Jeeves 1 and 2 beat him up and overpower him. Batman barely makes it out alive and escapes.

Meanwhile, Clark is off doing his own investigating and this leads him to question Lex Luthor, who is in prison. Lex reveals that he has know for a while now that Batman is actually Bruce. Since he cannot kill Superman while in prison, he has arranged for Batman and Superman to destroy each other. Before being imrprisoned, he had arranged for the Joker's DNA to be turned into clones that would kill Bruce's wife when the time comes. Knowing that this would lead Batman to kill, Superman will have to intervene and this will lead to both their destruction.

Later that night, Bruce finds a a trail that leads him to the Joker. Knowing that Clark would come to stop him, Bruce dons a new Krytonite-laced armour suit and goes to kill the Joker. Just as expected, Clark shows up to stop him but is subdued by the Kryptonite. Bruce eventually impales Clark with a Kryptonite arrow, rendering him weak. As Bruce is about to kill the Joker, the villain reveals that Elizabeth Miller is actually a clone he created with Lex's help in the image of Bruce's perfect woman. That way, once he has killed her, he can finally break Batman and make him kill.

Realizing he has been manipulated, Bruce is now heartbroken and lets the Joker kill him. Before the Joker can take his shot, Superman manages to throw a brick at him while releasing himself from the Kryptonite arrow. Jeeves 1 and 2, who are actually metahumans, attack Batman and Superman. The two friends make up and defeat the two henchmen together. Batman then decides not to kill the Joker and instead hands him over to the Gotham police.

Still, this is not yet the end. Lex Luthor has escaped from prison and sneaked into Batman's new armour. Bruce helps Clark fight Lex and they eventually strip the armour off him. However, Lex manages to escape and is nowhere to be found.


Conclusion

The reason this film was never made is so fascinating there is an entire chapter dedicated to it in a popular book about the most popular scripts never filmed. Warner Brothers president Alan Horn was torn between making this film or saving both superheroes for their own separate films. He then showed this script and the script for JJ Abrams Superman: Flyby to all ten Warner Brothers executives. Nine of them preferred JJ Abrams' work except the vice president Lorenzo di Bonaventura who really liked the Batman vs. Superman idea. He was willing to make a solo Superman film after this film was made, but JJ Abrams disagreed and the two were always going against each other in meetings. Horn eventually went with JJ Abrams' idea and not too long after that, Lorenzo left the company. 




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