Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fan-Casting DC's JUSTICE LEAGUE: Part 8

Click here to review Part 7.

So far:
Batman has come to Metropolis.  Publicly, Bruce Wayne is meeting with Lex Luthor about a joint project their companies are working on, while privately, Batman is hunting for John Corben and the kryptonite he stole from S.T.A.R. Labs Gotham.  Clark Kent is going to LexCorp to cover the Wayne/Luthor meeting for The Daily Planet.

Lex Luthor (James Nesbitt) greets Bruce Wayne (not Ben Affleck) and Lucius Fox (Ernie Hudson) and notices that Bruce is wearing sunglasses indoors, and maybe Bruce's expensive suit is a little unkept.  Luthor assumes Wayne is hungover, while Bruce assures him the city is just sunnier than he's used to.  Luthor goes on a rant about how awful Gotham City is and how he's not surprised so many of its citizens become homicidal maniacs.  "I mean, you understand, Bruce," Lex says, "your father put everything into that city and it killed him. Tell me you don't want to wake up some days and throw acid in someone's face."

Throughout the brief bout of smalltalk, it is clear that Lex thinks little of anyone else.  He's barely civil to Lucius, complimenting the his reputation while putting down Wayne Enterprises.  Also, throughout the scene, a parade of staffers circle Lex like satellites, occasionally approaching him with a glass of water or something to sign or…whatever.  The impression is that everything is moving around Lex, that he is the center of the universe.

Where Lake Shore Drive meets the other LSD.
(I see Luthor's office looking like an egg.  One wall is a curved floor-to-ceiling window with a panoramic view.  The rest is smooth, sterile, with holographic projecting technology, digital screens, lights, all sorts of things to stimulate his mind.  Actually, I see it a bit like the Cloud Gate [right] at Chicago's Millennium Park.)

Lucius cuts through Lex's self-adulation and reminds him of the reason for their visit.  With a word from Lex, the office is holographically transformed to a construction site.  Bruce, Lucius, and Lex are thrust into a three-dimensional presentation for automated construction drones.  The machines are programmed for construction and excavation projects.  The project was conceived as a joint venture utilizing advanced AI technology created by Lucius' team and the steel and manufacturing from LexCorp.  Wayne Enterprises provides the software, LexCorp the hardware.  (Like the space station mission, I need to come up with a name for the robots or this project, but I haven't thought of one yet.)

Bruce and Lucius concede the presentation is a nice bit of advertising, but they came to see the actual product in action.  Lex grumbles, irritated at their lack of enthusiasm.  He'll take them to the factory where the drones are being constructed.

At some point during this scene, Bruce and Lucius are introduced to Mercy Graves (Sanaa Lathan).  We first saw Mercy talking to the treacherous Commander Blake, but this is her real introduction, the first time we know who she is and how she's connected to other characters.  Mercy Graves is Luthor's chief personal assistant, functioning like a majordomo.  Mercy is beautiful and intelligent.  She makes an impression on Bruce and Lucius.

Lex, Mercy, Lucius, and Bruce leave the corporate tower.  Lex's private limousine is parked in front, with a chauffeur opening the door.  Clark Kent (Jon Hamm) and Jimmy Olsen (Kevin McHale) are arriving at the same time; Jimmy is first to notice Bruce and begins taking photos of the men on their way to the limo.  Staffers and Guards keep Clark and Jimmy at arm's length.  Clark identifies himself to Lucius and Bruce and tries to get a comment from or interview with Lucius.  Lex Luthor is quick to insult Kent in front of the others, to ridicule his small town background and potentially libelous stories about LexCorp.

Lucius tells Clark he's on a tight schedule while he's in town but maybe they can talk over the phone later.  Bruce says, "I'm up for an interview."  Record scratch.  Everyone stops and stares slack jawed at Bruce, except for Jimmy who continues to shoot pictures the entire time.  Bruce shakes Clark's hand and says he reads his paper every day.

Bruce: "Lucius, you go on with Lex.  Kent and I will follow you."
Clark: "We'll have to take a cab because I don't drive."
Bruce: "That's okay. I've got a ride."

The Lamborghini Reventon: Because even the rich
get spoiled driving the Batmobile.
Up to this point, Lucius has been a little peeved, while Lex is positively dumbfounded.  But as Bruce mentions having his own car, a sleek, super-expensive sports car races up and stops behind the limo.

A young driver steps out and hands Bruce the keys and title to the car.  Lex Luthor asks Bruce since he arrived when he's had time to buy a car.  "Ten minutes ago," Bruce says, "while we were upstairs talking about how awesome you are.  Meet you at the factory."

Bruce gets behind the wheel with Clark next to him.  He asks Clark if he minds taking the scenic route and then pulls away from the curb, fast, speeding past Lex and making sharp turns.

(There are countless ways to show Superman and Batman meeting for the first time, but I thought I'd go perhaps against expectations by having them meet unmasked before meeting in costume.  They would know each other by reputation.  Clark would have reason to interview Bruce for an article, so why not turn the tables and have Bruce initiate the interview.  Bruce, after all, would want the lowdown on Lex and Metropolis, and who better to get it from than one of the city's best journalists?)

Bruce tells Clark that whenever he travels, he likes to get a feel for the terrain, hence the car and the need to drive himself and explore the city before going to the LexCorp factory.  Clark asks Bruce why he would go into business with Luthor; they have different business philosophies and "morals".  Bruce pumps Clark for dirt on Lex based on his reporting, and it becomes clear to Clark that Bruce is the one asking the most questions.

The scene ends with Bruce driving into the industrial part of the city and stopping in front of the factory.  Bruce thanks Clark for his time and hands him the keys.

Bruce enters the factory.  In the lobby, an aid tells him the others are waiting for him down a level.  Bruce and the aid get in the elevator.  Classic trope--just before the door shuts, a hand reaches through and holds the elevator.  Bruce instantly recognizes John Corben (Michael Biehn) get on the elevator.

Corben, of course, recognizes Bruce Wayne, too.  The two size each other up; Bruce notices Corben carrying a lead-lined case.  Corben breaks the silence, asking Bruce what brings him to Metropolis.  "Working on my suntan," Bruce replies.  Corben makes a comment about Gotham, but when Bruce asks if he's been there, Corben lies.  When the elevator door opens, Bruce and the aid step out, but Corben rides it down another floor.

To Be Continued…

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