OP ED: Stuckman BVS Script

 

Chris Stuckmann reviewed Batman v Superman like many others: great visuals, acting and writing, but the story was not as cohesive as expected.

However, he recently made an effort to fix that, regarding the battle between Batman and Superman. Take a look:

https://twitter.com/Chris_Stuckmann/status/721417846610198528

So, I’m sure we can all agree, that’s some pretty lame writing there. To be fair, he wrote it in 20 minutes, but still he didn’t proofread what he called an “improvement” over the finished film, so it’s very comforting to know he won’t be attached to any DC Comics productions (that we know of).

But were his intentions right? Did we need a prelude to the fight to wind down and listen to the titans give us more information? No. Here’s why:

The film is called Batman v Superman. Anyone in the theater must have followed at least one bit of the marketing, which did a good job of explaining why they were fighting. There were countless interviews where the cast managed to tell people why they were fighting without spoiling the plot. Average moviegoers going to see a Batman v Superman movie aren’t asking for the plot to be explained in action AND in dialogue before the fight begins. All that Stuckmann did here was rehash information that was given to us earlier in the movie.

Chris Terrio wasn’t aiming for a Marvel movie or a Spider-man movie, where you’ll usually see the protagonist (s) helping the audience understand why what is happening is happening by quipping or striking up monologues, much to the dismay of hardcore fans who can figure out for themselves the why. Terrio was aiming for what we call tragedy, a Shakespearean style battle. We as an audience know that both of these men are imperfect, but also striving to be heroes. We know that we don’t want them to fight, we’re supposed to yell out, “No, talk it through, don’t let Luthor win!” That’s called good writing, as it gets you invested in the action, rather than just watching a couple titans trade blows for 2 hours. How often in our daily lives do we actually think a situation 100% through, especially if it triggers us? How often are we quicker to throw the proverbial punch than calmly sit down and discuss our problems? If I’m honest, not often to the first and very often to the second.

If Stuckmann were to rewrite the battle scene to include more information for the audience, he might as well have gone all the way:

Superman:

Bruce! Yes, I know who you are. Listen, I know I threatened you last time we met, I also suspect that you don’t entirely trust me. But things have changed! I’m NOT the monster you think I am! Lex Luthor has my mother!

Batman:

Your mother?

Superman:

Yes, I came to earth over 30 years ago. She raised me. Lex will kill her if I don’t kill you.

Batman:

Are you going to kill me?

Superman:

No! I need your help to save Martha!

Batman:

My mother’s name was Martha. She and my father were gunned down in a gutter for no reason at all. But how do I know you’re telling the truth?

Superman:

Luthor confessed to manipulating you by sending notes on your employee’s checks.

Batman:

Damn him!

Superman:

So your mother was killed? That explains your methods…I lost my father. All he tried to do was protect me.

Batman:

I’m so glad we had this talk. Lucky we read both versions of the script! Now I won’t have a headache.

Superman:

Thank God we’re flawless, perfectly intellectual beings who have armchair quarterbacks like Chris to help us out!

Batman:

Martha won’t die tonight. You distract Lex while I save her.

Jokes aside, the above is not that far off from the method Stuckmann suggests. If they were going to spoon feed the audience information we already know, they might as well just fix the whole premise thing and lock up Lex to save the day! The whole point of the Batman v Superman battle was that it was a consequence (Google it, Marvel readers) of the actions the heroes took earlier. The do you bleed scene was the most important puzzle piece of the film, because it directly led to the premise, even more so than the Metropolis destruction or Lex Luthor’s manipulations. Even in a short animated movie, the do you bleed scene would have led to a Batman/Superman scuffle, because Superman directly challenged the identity and integrity and grit of Bruce. It only makes sense that they fought without really talking about why.

But I guess I should tell all this to Zod’s snapped neck. Did I believe a pair of glasses could fool the world’s greatest detective?

 

By

John McGee

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