Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fan-Casting DC's JUSTICE LEAGUE: Part 16

Click here to review Part 15.

So far:
Separately, but for the same reason, Lois Lane of The Daily Planet and the Martian J'Onn J'Onzz went to the Middleton Space Center investigating the crashed space station.  When J'Onn's presence is detected by another Martian, the villainous Commander Blanx, J'Onn is attacked and Lois is targeted by scientists implanted with Starro seeds.  J'Onn rescues Lois and they flee.  Meanwhile, Superman and Batman chase Mercy Graves to the LexCorp Factory in Metropolis.  Mercy, too, is involved with the Starro creature, as well as John Corben, who has been grafted to a robotic exo-suit called Metallo.

John Corben (Michael Biehn) makes his dramatic debut as Metallo on the LexCorp factory floor.  He reminds Superman of what happened the last time they fought, and now he's got even more weapons at his disposal.  He reaches out and fires a rocket from a wrist-mounted launcher.

Batman (Richard Armitage) pulls Mercy Graves (Sanaa Lathan) to the floor as Superman (Jon Hamm) stands in front of them and punches the rocket.  It explodes, sending fire and debris around, but Batman and Mercy are shielded from the full effect of the blast by Superman and his cape.

"I can also give animals extra eyes and legs."
Mercy snarls at Corben to be more careful.  Superman rushes to attack Corben, even while Batman calls for him to stop.  Too late, Superman learns the awful source of Metallo's power.  A panel opens in the chest plate, revealing the stolen supply of kryptonite.

Superman staggers back as if physically hit, which is precisely what happens next.  Corben swings his powerful metallic fist and knocks Superman into some factory machinery.  Of course, when something is powerful to knock Superman into machinery, he rips through it like a rock through paper.

As Corben goes after Superman, Batman lifts up and pulls a batarang from his belt.  Before he throws it, Mercy grabs him by the wrist.  He grunts; her grip is strong--too strong.  He swings his free hand… and she catches it.  Mercy smiles and pulls Batman's hands together.  He struggles and she throws him across the room.

"That felt really good," Mercy says, while Batman picks himself up.  She says it's been too long since she's been able to really let her hair down or something similar to that.  And then she physically changes, turning the same pale-green we've seen with J'Onn J'Onzz and Commander Blanx.  She stands, fully revealed, as not Mercy Graves, but the Martian woman, Bel Juz.

Cut To: Middleton Space Center

I would have Lois dress this way all the time.
"You're from Mars?" Lois Lane (Jennifer Carpenter) asks, as J'Onn J'Onzz (Giancarlo Esposito) carries her to the facility's Command & Control Center.  He puts her down and they run inside.  A nerdy astronomer gets up from his computer and charges them with his fists.

J'Onn grabs the man's face.  His fingers phase through the man's head, forcing the man to scream.  J'Onn bites back the pain of psychic feedback as the Starro seed on the astronomer detaches and flies toward J'Onn and Lois.  J'Onn smacks it to the floor and steps on it.  He grabs the man's keycard and runs it through the reader on the door, then punches in a code he took from the man's mind and locks down the C&C.

The room looks similar to the bridge of a space ship. It is full of computers, radar and communication stations, and the far wall is one giant 3D map of the solar system.  J'Onn brushes past Lois and goes to one of the computers.  He begins calling up data as Lois asks what the hell is going on.

J'Onn: "I'm sorry, Miss Lane.  You weren't supposed to be here.  I planted a psychic suggestion in your mind that you should avoid this place."
Lois: "Yeah?  I guess it didn't take."
J'Onn: "Do you often go places you're told not to?"
Lois (offering her hand): "Lois Lane. Daily Planet."

J'Onn tells Lois that her world is on the brink of invasion from an advanced alien conqueror.

Lois: "Looks to me like it's already started."
J'Onn: "Starro is part of the advance wave.  They'll compromise this world's governments, militaries, economies."
Lois: "Psychological warfare?"
J'Onn: "Yes.  Then when Earth is adequately softened, the real invasion begins."
Lois: "Who are you?"
J'Onn: "A refugee."
Lois: "From Mars?"
J'Onn: "Yes."
Lois: "And you know all this because…?"
J'Onn: "It happened to my world first."

Cut To: LexCorp Factory

You're welcome, Frank.
Bel Juz taps some buttons on a portable tablet.  The combat drones on the assembly line respond with electronic whirs and clicks.  Batman throws a trio of batarangs that simply pass through Bel Juz as she turns intangible.  She turns solid again, continues tapping the tablet, and part of the factory ceiling opens up on the morning sky above.

Batman charges.  He throws punches and kicks that she easily deflects or sidesteps.  "What are you?" he asks.

"Besides superior to you in every way, you mean?" she fires back.  They fight, and while Batman may be one of the greatest fighters on Earth, she is not of Earth.  Her powers counteract nearly all of his attacks and gadgets.  She becomes intangible, invisible, changes form, flies, and attacks with super strength and speed.  More than anything, she's toying with Batman.  And all the while, she continues to activate the combat drones.

(I would like to have to Bel Juz change shape more during their fight, taking on different, recognizable personas, like Catwoman (Katie McGrath), so she could do some sexy acrobatic fighting, or even Superman, so we could see Superman and Batman hitting each other.  What I don't want, though, is to confuse this scene and leave the impression that the Catwoman we met earlier in the movie was Bel Juz/Mercy Graves in disguise.)

On the other side of the factory, Corben unleashes his arsenal on Superman.  Machine guns, blades, all automated and fueled by his kryptonite power source, bombarding the Man of Steel.  Superman tries to get his distance.  He leaps up, trying to fly, but he just falls back.  His face is pale, sweaty.

"Make it easy on yourself," Corben says, kicking Superman in the guts, knocking him to his knees.  "Give up!"  He brings his robotic arm down.

In a desperate act, Superman reaches up and catches the fist.  "Never," he says.  His nose begins to bleed.  Corben punches with the other hand, driving Superman's head into the floor.  Then Corben looks up to see the dozen combat drones take off.  They fly on booster rockets through the opening in the ceiling and head away.

Batman: "You're not going to conquer the world with a dozen robots."
Bel Juz: "Call it… tenderizing.  A couple thousand fatalities, hopefully.  Lots of property damage before the drones are brought down.  And when they're brought down, everyone will see LexCorp and Wayne Enterprises on the hulls.  The biggest corporations in the world will crumble.  Economies will fail.  Politics will fail.  What will your people do then?  What will they believe in?"

Of course, Lex Luthor would design
something more subtle.
As Bel Juz delivers her monologue, we cut away to see the rogue combat drones descending on different parts around Metropolis.  Citizens are startled as the hulking robots begin targeting people.  At the Daily Planet building, Perry White (Tim Matheson) and Jimmy Olsen (Kevin McHale), among others, gaze out the window as machines start to open fire and blow up cars.

"They won't lose hope," Batman says.

Bel Juz laughs again, asking, "Are you the best defense your world has to offer?  You have no hope.  We know Superman's weakness."

Her arms wrap around Batman like snakes.  Her hand grabs him by the throat, her fingers worm up to the crown of his cowl and phase through into his head.  "And I know yours," she says, as Batman screams and collapses.

But he doesn't land on the factory floor.  He's on a cold, wet, and dark city street.  He tosses and turns as if coming out of sleep and reaches out.  His hand touches another.  There's a body lying on the street.  Two bodies.  Under a white street lamp.

Batman sits upright, looks around in horror.  He turns and slumps on his knees.  Around him are the fresh corpses of his parents.  Batman holds the hands of his dead parents and begins to cry.  Suddenly, he isn't Batman, but an eight-year-old Bruce Wayne.  Then his parents (Stephen Moyer as Thomas and Kate Winslet as Martha) begin to speak to him.  They hold him tightly, encouraging him to stop dwelling on their deaths, telling him there was nothing he could do then, there's nothing he can do now.

"Stop fighting, son," they tell him.

From a distance, another voice shouts, "Fight, Bruce!"

He looks up.  Under another street lamp, he sees Superman, bloody, sick, dying.  Corben/Metallo grabs both of Superman's arms and begins pulling them in opposite directions.  Superman gasps, screams, then looks at young Bruce Wayne and says, "Never stop fighting!"

Batman stands up and the dark alley where his parents died fades away.  He's back in the factory staring down Bel Juz.

"That was a mistake," he growls.

To Be Continued…

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