Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fan-Casting DC's JUSTICE LEAGUE: Part 6

Click here to review Part 5.

So far:
With the help of Catwoman, Batman learns that the man who stole a sample of kryptonite from S.T.A.R. Labs is a mercenary named John Corben.  Bringing Corben to justice will mean following him to the city of Metropolis.  Superman saved the deep-space observation station from crashing on Earth.  Unbeknownst to anyone, the space station was sabotaged by its own Commander.

Montage.  We see some of the jettisoned escape pods from the space station, now on the surface.  One is being picked up by a freighter in the South China Sea.  One has crashed into the jungle, taking down a mile-long streak of trees.  One is half-buried in the desert, similar to the droids' pod in Star Wars.

The freighter crew opens up the hatch and looks inside.  The captain sees the empty cargo container.  In the jungle, a group of rebel forces cautiously approach the escape pod.  In the desert, a bedouin tribe similarly discovers the pod.

Yeah, f***ing Starro!
Back to the freighter, the Captain looks around the supposedly empty escape pod.  He doesn't see something crawling on the ceiling above him.  It's a tiny dime-sized starfish-looking creature.  This is a star seed, part of Starro.  The little seed drops down on the back of the ship captain's neck and imbeds itself in his skin, attaching to his spinal cord.  Almost instantly, the captain's mind and body are taken over.

We jump all around to star seeds jumping and attaching to the people who find them.  There are dozens of star seeds in each escape pod.  They crawl out of the pods and spread out in a wave.  We see every crew member on the ship possessed--those who resist are attacked by the others.  The rebels and the bedouins are all taken over.

(This montage could possibly come earlier, maybe breaking up the Catwoman scenes, but I don't know.)

Cut To: Middleton Space Center.

Commander Blake (Thomas Kretschmann) rests in the medical wing, hearing his test results from a doctor or nurse.  He had to fake his tests or doctor the results but I'm not going to explain how right now.  He brushes away the nurse and sequesters himself in a private corner of the wing, maybe a closet or something.  Once isolated, he drops the human disguises and changes to his natural form, that of a pale-green Martian named Commander Blanx.  He opens a freaky high-tech portable comm device that doesn't look human.

On the screen is another Martian, this one female and beautiful in her exotic pale-green alienness.  She is identified in this scene as Bel Juz, but we'll later meet her as Mercy Graves.

Bel Juz/Mercy Graves (Sanaa Lathan)

Mercy Graves was originally created for Superman: The Animated Series as Lex Luthor's chauffeur and bodyguard.  I've promoted her a bit to Luthor's executive assistant, and even more still, a treacherous Martian Jezebel, though that secret will be revealed in the third act of The World's Finest.  In the cartoons and comics, Mercy was white, but I tossed that out for Sanaa Lathan.

Remember how good that Aliens vs. Predator movie was?  Of course, you don't--it wasn't!  But Lathan was nice to watch.  She has played a woman in power and a woman of deadly purpose, and for the dual roles of Bel Juz and Mercy Graves, she'll play both.

Commander Blake and Mercy speak over the phone or computer.
Mercy: "Commander.  It sounds like your mission succeeded."
Blake: "I'm alive."
Mercy: "Thanks to Superman.  You sound disappointed."
Blake: "My sacrifice was supposed to consecrate this wretched planet in preparation for the Master's arrival."
Mercy: "The Master needed to see the danger the Kryptonian poses.  Now he's given me permission to destroy Superman.  And you get to be alive when He comes to break this world."
Cut To: On the outskirts of Gotham City lies stately Wayne Manor.  Sunrise.

Alfred Pennyworth (Ian McElhinney), Bruce Wayne's butler, emerges from his quarters and shuts the door.  Alfred is dressed in the formal wear of his station.  He takes us on a visual tour of Wayne Manor that shows how grand and cavernous its rooms and corridors are.  The house feels like a museum.  Alfred enters the master study of his former employer, Doctor Thomas Wayne.  On the wall behind the desk is a grand portrait of Thomas and Martha, Bruce's parents.  Alfred takes a moment to acknowledge the portrait, as if communicating with the pair.  Then he turns the hour hand of the grandfather clock until a hidden level is switched and the clock slides away, revealing the secret entrance to the Batcave.

"You should really consider updating to the Batcomputer 6,
Master Bruce. It fits in your pocket and it has Instagram."
The Batcave is as large as any of the halls of the mansion above.  Alfred's silent walking tour continues, leading us past an armory of weapons and gadgets, different model Batmobiles, and assorted trophies from the Batman's adventures.  It ends with Alfred stepping up behind Bruce (Richard Armitage), who is seated before a bank of computers.

The screens all show different images or stories of Superman.  Some screens show a loop of poorly-shot cellphone camera footage of Superman taking off.  Security camera footage shows Superman foiling a robbery at incredible speeds.  Some screens show news headlines and articles.  Most if not all of the articles are written by Lois Lane.  There's one really good quality photo of Superman leaping up, about to take flight, but looking back at the last moment, as if looking directly at the camera.  And smiling.  The photo credit is James Olson.

Alfred tells Bruce that he informed Lucius Fox that Bruce would be joining him in Metropolis.  He says his luggage is all packed, and some of the other "gear" is being shipped to the safehouse/s as per the instruction.  Alfred says he double checked the safehouse's security because Bruce hasn't been to Metropolis is a long time.  Bruce doesn't comment on that.

Alfred asks Bruce if he knows if Superman is really an alien.  Bruce tries not to rise to that either.  He and Alfred kind of argue as Alfred challenges Bruce for never investigating Superman (or any of the others that have popped up in the last few years).  No matter how Bruce tries to deflect Alfred's questions, the older man keeps coming back, nipping at him, wanting an answer.  This conversation might name-drop Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, or Aquaman, or it might refer to any of them not by name.

Alfred presses him on the matter because Alfred genuinely believes Superman could help Batman.  He thinks partnering with Superman could make Batman's mission easier, clean up Gotham faster, do it safer.  Alfred might even reveal his true concern as a flippant remark about Superman's butler not having to worry about him getting shot every time he leaves.

I'd like to see Superman
brood better than me!
The conversation ends with Bruce a little rattled.  He doesn't like talking about Superman or other superpowers, doesn't even like thinking about them.  But he better get used to it if he's planning to dress up as Batman in Superman's city.

(The point of this scene and the scene with Lucius before is to show Batman in a light that most fans aren't used to seeing him in, which is uncomfortable and insecure.  Batman is is uber-calm and collected in Gotham City; it's his playground.  But the thought of people with actual superpowers is unsettling to him because he cannot comprehend that.

Batman's arc throughout the three movies is going to be accepting the other superheroes, learning to trust them and finding his place among them, then ultimately uniting them and keeping them together after the crisis is over.)

And that's essentially the first act of the movie.  It could use a few more short dialogue scenes, maybe more with Gordon and Alfred, but that's the gist of it.  That's the Gotham section; the rest mostly takes place in Metropolis or Middleton Space Center.  We haven't really gotten to know Superman/Clark or Lois yet, but I don't want to spend too much time on them because I want a clear delineation of the different worlds the characters inhabit, and Bruce's journey from Gotham to Metropolis is part of that.

To Be Continued…

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