Bad First Drafts: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

With eight Razzie nominations under its cape, including worst picture and worst screenplay, it’s time to delve into the madness that is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with this exclusive look at the first draft of David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio’s script. 

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FADE IN:

INT. DREAM – NIGHT

Bruce Wayne’s tragic past is splattered across the screen in random order, from his parents’ murder to their funeral to Gigli to Daredevil to Pearl Harbor.

BRUCE WAYNE (voiceover):
When I was a child, my parents were murdered right before my eyes.
(beat)
What, you didn’t need that explained to you for the zillionth time? Fine, do you know the difference between a dream sequence and a bunch of bad memories thrown in a blender? Great, that’s TWO ways you’re smarter than the fucking screenwr—

The screenwriters abruptly drop Batman’s voiceover from the rest of the movie.

EXT. JEEP COMMERCIAL – DAY

Bruce Wayne races through the finale of Man of Steel, just like everyone who saw it in the theater wished they could have done.

BRUCE WAYNE:
(shaking his fist at the sky)
NOOOOO! Superman is supposed to be noble and inspiring! He’s not supposed to recklessly topple skyscrapers and slaughter civilians! NERD RAGE!!!

Bruce saves a random security guard who’s trapped beneath a falling plot contrivance.

BRUCE WAYNE:
(to security guard)
As a comic book geek, I swear I’ll destroy this bleak and shitty version of Superman if it’s the last thing I do!

Bruce spends the next two years bitching nonstop on Tumblr.

BRUCE WAYNE:
Who’d have guessed that wouldn’t accomplish a damn thing? Time for Plan B.

“A one-star Yelp review! That’ll show him!”

EXT. AFRICA – DAY – TWO YEARS LATER

Lois Lane is interviewing an African warlord who is surrounded by dozens of mercenaries when one of them pops a cap in Jimmy Olsen’s ass. 

FILM EDITOR:
Not Jimmy!!! He was my favorite! I have all 163 issues of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen in mint condition in my safety deposit box! I use my editing powers to demote this corpse to nameless schmuck instead!

WARLORD:
Dammit, guys. After that “Jenny” Olsen bullshit in Man of Steel, that’s twice in two movies we’ve fucked this character up beyond recognition. I’m done with this shit.

The warlord grabs Lois and flees into a nearby building. Suddenly, his mercenaries start gunning each other down for reasons that are so completely unrelated to what’s happening that it won’t be mentioned again until long after you’ve forgotten it happened.

LOIS LANE:
You are in so much trouble when my demigod boyfriend gets here!

WARLORD:
Eh, we got to see Superman do his thing last movie. When is Bruce Wayne gonna put on his Bat-suit and start kicking ass? That’s what everybody’s here to see!

Superman comes crashing through the wall and splatters the warlord into blood pudding at Mach 10.

SUPERMAN:
This is supposed to be MY sequel, damn it!

INT. LEX CORP. – DAY

Lex Luthor is meeting with various government officials from Congress and the Department of Defense.

LEX LUTHOR, JR.:
I would like to import a mysterious radioactive alien crystal into the United States to build a weapon, please.

SENATOR FINCH:
Nah. If such a crystal exists, I’d much rather leave it outside our borders or control.

Senator Finch wanders off while Lex continues chatting with some other government person, possibly another senator or Homeland Security or janitorial staff.  

UNIDENTIFIED GOVERNMENT PERSON:
Our apologies that Senator Finch turned out to be mildly uncooperative.

LEX LUTHOR, JR.:
No biggie. My evil multinational corporation has an entire smuggling division.

UNIDENTIFIED GOVERNMENT PERSON:
Still, let me make it up to you with make it up to you with complete and unrestricted access to the bad guys’ spaceship from the last movie. Plus all of their corpses for you to cut up and do with whatever you want.

LEX LUTHOR, JR.:
Throw in a gratuitous scene of Lois Lane taking a bath and you’ve got yourself a deal.

INT. LOIS LANE’S BATHROOM – DAY

Naked Amy Adams is naked. It is entirely possible her character has some sort of conversation with Clark Kent or something. It’s equally likely a parade of technicolor unicorns performs Swan Lake on the bathroom floor.

Any chance you’ll actually show some boobage, Ms. Adams?

INT. HUMAN TRAFFICKING RING – NIGHT

Two idiot cops stumble across Batman about to do some totally awesome Batman stuff.

BUMBLING COP:
(shitting pants)
AAAAAARGH! IT’S THAT SUPERHERO OUR POLICE FORCE CALLS FOR HELP SO OFTEN WE BUILT A DAMN BAT-SIGNAL ON TOP OF OUR POLICE STATION!

He blindly unloads all seventeen barrels of his shotgun in the direction of the cameraman so the audience doesn’t get to see a damn thing.

INT. DAILY PLANET – DAY

Clark Kent is totally bummed out about how mean Batman was to the human trafficker selling women into sexual slavery, because if their names aren’t Lois Lane, who gives a shit what happens to those bitches.    

CLARK KENT:
Boss! I demand you assign me to write an investigative exposé about Batman’s ultra-violent tactics!

PERRY WHITE:
Yeah, and then maybe you could write about that newfangled “internet” I’ve been hearing so much. This movie’s version of Batman has been mutilating criminals for decades, remember? Besides, Gotham City is like a thousand miles from here.

CLARK KENT:
Actually, you can see it from your office window.

Perry takes a look out the blinds and sees a gothic urban hellscape right across the river.

PERRY WHITE:
Huh, so that’s where Donald Trump thinks all the black people live.

INT. BATCAVE – DAY

Bruce and his butler Alfred have gathered in the Batcave for an expository chat. 

BRUCE WAYNE:
Those human traffickers are planning to smuggle Kryptonite into the U.S. so Lex Luthor can try to kill Superman!

ALFRED:
Lex Luthor?! He must be stopped!

BRUCE WAYNE:
Actually, I’m so on board with this plan that I should probably ask him to be my next Robin. Instead I’m going to steal the kryptonite and beat him to the punch.

ALFRED:
So the whole reason we’re in this shitty movie is because you inexplicably want to carry out the supervillain’s plan for him? Dammit, Bruce, we could be eating ice cream and binging the Gilmore Girls revival! You know, like you promised.

BRUCE WAYNE:
Sorry, Alfred, but I’ve got to go find a way inside Lex’s impenetrable high-tech fortress so I can discover when and where the Kryptonite will arrive!

Bruce picks up his Batman mask and stares at it with awe.

BRUCE WAYNE:
This looks like a job for the world’s greatest ninja detective!

ALFRED:
What are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?
(beat)
Because here’s one that just showed up in the mail while we were talking. Lex says to be there at 8:00. Don’t worry, I’m sure the audience is just as happy to see you in a tux as a cape.

AUDIENCE:
FUCK YOU IN THE EAR.

INT. DAILY PLANET – DAY

Lois pulls a bullet out of a leather-bound journal and stares at it meaningfully. See, told ya you’d forget all about this stupid-ass subplot before it came up again.

INT. LEX’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Lex is hosting a black-tie charity fundraiser, and Clark is assigned to cover it because he has roughly the same journalism clout as the local astrologer.

LEX LUTHOR, JR.:
(addressing the crowd)
Gods! Devils! Superheroes! How dare anyone have more control over the world than I do! It drives me fucking crazy! CRAZY!!! Okay, now that everyone’s clear on my character motivation, please go ahead and donate to the library or whatever.

Lex jumps down from the stage and charges immediately over to introduce Clark to Bruce while winking at the audience.

LEX LUTHOR, JR.:
Bruce, did you know Clark is also a brooding, violent momma’s boy who enjoys growling vague platitudes in the rain? I think you two would really HIT it off. Get it? Because you’ll be punching each other later. Thank you and good night!

“Either of you guys’ moms named Letitia? Just me? Well, fuck, I’m boned then.”

He walks away.

BRUCE WAYNE:
Hey, Clark, here’s a scoop for the Daily Planet: “Betrayal of 75 years of Superman’s legacy must be stopped at all costs.”

CLARK KENT:
Actually, our readers think Batman is a Bat-dick for bogarting Superman’s sequel.

BRUCE WAYNE:
Well, I think Superman is ultra-violent psychopath who takes the law into his own hands and we’ll never be safe as long as he’s alive!

CLARK KENT:
I know you are but what am I?!

BRUCE WAYNE:
I’m rubber and you’re glue!

This goes on another 20 minutes.

ALFRED:
(in Bruce’s earpiece)
Sir, shouldn’t you be retrieving your magic flash drive that’s downloading all of Lex Corp’s secrets?

Bruce tries to fetch the flash drive, but a mysterious woman has already run off with it.

CLARK KENT:
I could totally hear Bruce’s radio earpiece! He must be Batman! Now’s my chance to put an end to his reign of terr—oooo, crab puffs!

INT. GOTHAM MUSEUM – DAY

Bruce Wayne walks up to the mysterious woman, a.k.a. Diana Prince, a.k.a. Wonder Woman.

BRUCE WAYNE:
Give me back my magic thumb drive!

DIANA PRINCE:
Fine. I couldn’t decrypt it anyway. All I wanted was to delete an embarrassing photo of me anyway.

BRUCE WAYNE:
You thought deleting a photo off my thumb drive would somehow get rid of the original on Lex’s hard drive?

DIANA PRINCE:
Look, the lasso was pretty much the last technology my people mastered, okay?

INT. MIDDLE EAST – DAY

Batman finally starts to do some totally awesome Batman stuff! But then an army of insect-people attack and DAMMIT THIS IS ANOTHER POINTLESS DREAM ISN’T IT.

INT. BAT CAVE – DAY

Yep, Bruce Wayne is still in his Bruce Wayne clothes doing nothing but drooling on his tie. Suddenly, spacetime itself rips open and out pops Flash.

FLASH:
Hey, this isn’t the Amy Adams bathtub scene! Dammit, I’m no better at this time travel stuff than the TV version of me.

He leaves. Bruce Wayne wakes up just as the Bat Computer completes its decryption of Lex’s files.

BRUCE WAYNE:
Hey, there’s Diana’s photo. Apparently she likes to cosplay Xena on the weekends.

ALFRED:
Either that or she’s an immortal warrior goddess.

BRUCE WAYNE:
Yeah right. That’d be a pretty extreme and idiotic conclusion to reach from just one photo. Anyway, here’s the location of Lex’s Kryptonite.

EXT. GOTHAM HARBOR

Lex’s mercenaries are smuggling the Kryptonite into Gotham Harbor… but Batman is there!

BATMAN:
Awww hell yeah! Finally time to show off what this new Batman is all about!

Batman murders pretty much everyone without leaving the comfort of the Batmobile.

AUDIENCE:
FUCK YOU IN THE EAR!

The bad guys fire a series of escalatingly large weapons at the Batmobile, up to and including a fucking cruise missile, while the Batmobile crashes straight through a series of escalatingly large obstacles, up to and including a fucking cargo ship. 

BATMAN:
If I’m a billionaire who runs around in indestructible death machines, what’s the difference between me and Iron Man?

TONY STARK:
Charm? Sense of humor? A fucking clue what the audience wants in a superhero movie?

Superman picks this moment to rip the Batmobile in half and confront Batman.

SUPERMAN:
Listen up! I’m about to give you a stern talking to. And if you don’t retire immediately, it may escalate to a harshly worded letter.

BATMAN:
So you either snap people’s necks or tut-tut disapprovingly. Don’t you have a middle setting?

Superman flies off without doing anything about the bad guys who were just FIRING MISSILES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY.

EXT. WASHINGTON, D.C.

Lois is meeting in secret with the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

SECRETARY OF DEFENCE:
I ran some tests on that bullet in your journal. It’s a super ultra mega high-tech bullet that could only have come from Lex Corp!

LOIS LANE:
Then why wasn’t it capable of penetrating a diary made for a 10-year-old girl?

SECRETARY OF DEFENCE:
There’s more. We think Lex is trying to frame Superman as a mass murderer. Because we all know how outraged Americans get when some random terrorists turned up dead in a warlord-controlled part of Africa.

LOIS LANE:
Framing Superman…by killing people with bullets?

SECRETARY OF DEFENCE:
Not only that, but easily traceable bullets that are exclusively produced by and used by one group of people in the entire world.

LOIS LANE:
What do you plan to do with this information?

SECRETARY OF DEFENCE:
Precisely dick. It’s not like Lex would try the same plan again, only with more high profile targets, right?

INT. CONGRESS – DAY

KABOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Well, this is mildly disappointing.”

ANDERSON COOPER:
(on TV)
Did Superman just blow up the U.S. Capitol with a bomb?!
(pause)
Oh come on, if you wanted a real-life news guy to ask super dumb questions, couldn’t you at least have gone with Don Lemon?

INT. LEX CORP – NIGHT

Batman has stolen the Kryptonite and left a Batarang in its place as a calling card. What, you didn’t want to see him do that Batman stuff on camera, did you?

EXT. MOUNTAINTOP – DAY

Clark is hanging out with his dead dad.

JONATHAN KENT:
Is this heaven?

CLARK KENT:
No, it’s another damn dream—

JONATHAN KENT:
Iowa. You’re supposed to say, “No, it’s Iowa.” See, ‘cause I’m played by Kevin Costner. Heart-to-heart chats with dead parents is kind of my thing.

CLARK KENT:
Dad, I know you wanted me to be a superhero and an inspiration to the world, but everyone hates me now.

JONATHAN KENT:
What are you talking about? I told you to hide your superpowers even if it meant a bus load of dead school kids.

CLARK KENT:
Yeah, that was kind of stupid so we’re ignoring the fuck out of that this time around.

JONATHAN KENT:
Smart move.
(beat)
Want to have a catch?

CLARK KENT:
Knock it off, Dad. I really need your advice.

JONATHAN KENT:
Go the distance.

CLARK KENT:
It’s not funny anymore!

JONATHAN KENT:
How about we go buffalo hunting with Kicking Bird and Stands With A Fist?

CLARK KENT:
That’s not even the right movie!

INT. BAT CAVE – DAY

Bruce Wayne is getting his ‘roid rage on with a Rocky-esque montage workout sequence that will in no way help because he’s about to fight an indestructible alien, not Ivan Drago. But hey, no reason not to physically exhaust yourself lugging around tractor tires and shit first.

EXT. LEX CORP’S ROOF – NIGHT

Lex’s mercenaries have kidnapped Lois and brought her to her boss.

LOIS LANE:
Sigh. It doesn’t matter how profoundly you reimagine Superman, I’ll never be anything but a damsel in distress, will I?

LEX LUTHOR, JR.:
Yep. And since there’s no fridge up here, I guess I’ll just have to shove you off the side of the building to get the hero’s attention.

Superman catches her.

Women always pick the worst times to want to snuggle.

LEX LUTHOR, JR.:
Stop right there, Superman! I’ve also kidnapped your mom, your dental hygienist, the checkout girl at your neighborhood supermarket, and every other female you’ve spoken to in the last six weeks. You have exactly one hour to kill Batman or they all die!

EXT. GOTHAM CITY HARBOR – NIGHT

Batman has coincidentally picked this exact same night to set up a Superman murder zone at the harbor. He’s also built himself an entire robot suit out of whatever indestructible metal he made the Batmobile out of.

TONY STARK:
You’ll be hearing from my lawyers.

Superman arrives, and the epic showdown you’ve all been waiting for begins!

…assuming the epic showdown you’ve been waiting for is Robocop versus some powerless schmuck in a Superman costume, because that’s what’s about to happen.

Someooooooone left a cape out in the rain…

SUPERMAN:
Wait! Don’t you see what’s happening, Batman? With you covered in mega-mecha-body armor and me covered in Kryptonite dust, we’re not even recognizable as the two iconic characters that the audience came here to see face off!

BATMAN:
Who cares, I’m winning!

Batman prepares to stab Superman through the heart with a Kryptonite spear.

SUPERMAN:
(about to die)
Rosebud!

BATMAN:
Rose…bud? OUR CHILDHOOD SLEDS HAVE THE SAME NAME! THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!

SUPERMAN:
YAY! WE’RE BEST FRIENDS! I’ll go confront Lex and just assume you’ll be able to track down and save my mom in less than 10 minutes.

BATMAN:
Or you could do both in 10 seconds because you’re Superman.

SUPERMAN:
Yeah, but I’m sure the audience would rather see you do it.

BATMAN:
True dat.

INT. BAD GUY LAIR – NIGHT

Batman tracks the head mercenary’s cell phone and then murders half the bad guys with machine guns from the Batwing before landing and running into the building. 

MERCENARY DUDE:
The plan’s obviously gone to shit! Kill the hostage and let’s get the hell out of here!

HEAD MERCENARY:
Nope, there’s still three minutes left on Lex’s countdown timer. We have to wait. Those are the rules.

Batman beats, shoots, stabs, and blows up all the rest of the bad guys one by one until every last one of them is dead.

HEAD MERCENARY:

No fair! You’re not following the ru—
(gets blowed up)

INT. TOP SECRET GOVERNMENT FACILITY WITH ALIEN SPACECRAFT IN THE MIDDLE OF DOWNTOWN METROPOLIS FOR SOME REASON – NIGHT

Superman crashes in to confront Lex.

LEX LUTHOR, JR.:
Did you know Kryptonian spaceships are programmed to give absolute control to whoever the hell says “yes” when the computer asks if you’d like absolute control? And that the computer has both the programming and equipment to make unstoppable giant monsters, even though such things were considered atrocities and war crimes on Krypton?

SUPERMAN:
Yeah, there’s a pretty good reason our race went extinct.

LEX LUTHOR, JR.:
Anywho, meet Doomsday.

From the heart of the spaceship erupts a new enemy! They fight! In outer space! It’s fucking pointless because they’re both invulnerable, even when the president of the United States orders a nuclear strike on both of them!

DOOMSDAY:
Nuclear explosions only make me stronger and more awesome-looking!

Before Proactiv®

Suddenly, Wonder Woman shows up! In her satin tights! Fighting for her rights! And the red, white, and blue!

WONDER WOMAN:
I will slay this alien beast!

BATMAN:
I’m here, too!

WONDER WOMAN:
That’s nice. Can I get you a coloring book or something?

Wonder Woman launches a ferocious assault on Doomsday, hacking him up with her magic sword and pinning him down with her magic lasso.

Batman mostly tries to dodge the debris.

SUPERMAN:
Hey, I’m back. What can I—DAMMIT, LOIS IS IN TROUBLE AGAIN.

“Hey, Wonder Woman, I don’t know if you saw the memo, but we’re not not actually doing the whole underwear outside our clothes thing anymore. So, if you want to grab a jacket or something…”

Superman immediately abandons the fight again to save Lois from drowning while trying to recover Batman’s kryptonite spear.

LOIS LANE:
Thanks, hun! Now give this spear to Wonder Woman so she can kill the monster!

SUPERMAN:
Hell no! Her name’s not even in the title! THIS! IS! MYYYY! MOOOOOOVVVVVVVIIIIIIIEEEEE!

Superman impales Doomsday with the spear! But Doomsday stabs the Kryptonite-weakened Superman through the chest! Both die!

EXT. SMALLVILLE

Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince show up at Clark Kent’s funeral to discuss sequels.

BRUCE WAYNE:
You weren’t the only superhero on Lex’s hard drive. In fact, he went ahead and designed logos for everyone and cut separate movie trailers for each of you. Some of them were pretty cool-looking, so I’m thinking we should start an Avengers cover band.

DIANA PRINCE:
Speaking of, did you know DC hired and fired Joss Whedon from making a Wonder Woman movie a few years before he made The Avengers? That sad fact is the last thing I think about each night before I fall asleep and the first thing on my mind every morning when I wake up.

LOIS LANE:
Hey, guys… Did justice dawn at any point?

CLARK KENT:
(from coffin)
Dammit! I knew we forgot something! Everybody grab a shovel.

ROLL CREDITS.

Find out why Batman v Superman never even had a chance of being good or check out more Bad First Drafts, including Arrival and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!

 

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  • Those aren’t dream sequences. It says right on the cover: not a dream, not a hoax, not an imaginary story!

    I may be thinking of something else.

  • Tyler Peterson

    JONATHAN KENT:
    Smart move.
    (beat)
    Want to have a catch?

    Plank-length nitpick: no one from Kansas or anywhere else in the Midwest would ever say “have a catch”. The preferred term west of Pennsylvania is “play catch”.

    • Is that what that meant?

      • It’s a quote. It’s the phrase Kevin Costner used at the end of Field of Dreams.

        • Okay. I figured it was a quote, since that’s the joke. I’ve just never heard it phrased that way in real life.