So I have been extremely critical of both Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. And it's easy to criticize. So I figure it's time to put my money where my mouth is, and pitch how I'd structure a Superman movie.
To begin with, we adapt these panels into a quick, five minute or less beginning. It's a perfect and concise origin tale, and it there's one thing we don't need, it's another Superman origin. People on uncharted islands in the Pacific know Superman's origin by now.
Which cuts to Superman saving a plane from crashing, where we get our first look at Lois. We fade into a series of spinning newspapers. "Superman saves space-plane!" "Superman defeats Lex Luthor!" "Superman triumphs over Toyman!" "Superman and Batman defeat Luthor-Joker team!" "Justice League Saves World!" "Superman Saves Kitten From Tree"--Make sure to alternate bylines by Lois and Clark, and photos by Jimmy.
We begin with Clark Kent being puzzled. There's been a rash of technology thefts going on in Metropolis, but every time Superman has tried to investigate, another, bigger emergency has called Superman away. As he talks about this with Lois and Jimmy, Clark begins to suspect someone is plotting something much more sinister. But it's Lois who points out that the only place the thieves haven't yet hit is STAR Labs. Fortunately, Lois has an in there with Dr. Emil Hamilton, whom she'd interviewed previously. Maybe he even knows what you could do with all that theft. She's about to ask Clark if he wants to go to, but when she turns around to ask, Clark is gone.
And that's because a giant robot is stomping through downtown Metropolis. And here we demonstrate that this is a Superman of restraint. He doesn't go full out. He works to restrain and contain. And when that doesn't work, he acts quickly, and decisively, but at the end of the day, no one's hurt. But he recognizes the insignia on the robot. Luthor. But Luthor is currently imprisoned...
Meanwhile, Lois and Jimmy are interviewing Dr. Hamilton. It looks like the thefts could be used to create a powerful space bridge device, bridging light years like we walk across the room. But they'd need a power source for that, and...
STAR Labs comes under attack from skull-headed drones. Here, we get to see Lois's courage as she tries taking on one of them that gets too close, even succeeding in damaging it a little. Jimmy, meanwhile, activates his signal watch. But by the time Superman arrives, the drones have already gotten away with the power source. But the one Lois damaged has been left behind. Superman and Hamilton study it... the robot is of alien origin.
Superman is at a loss to explain the drone's alien origin. It looks like nothing he's ever seen before. As Superman, he can't do much about it, but as Clark Kent...
Clark Kent can request an interview with Lex Luthor. One of his robots attacked the city the same day as the drones robbed STAR Labs. Maybe he'd let something slip if his vanity was sopped enough. Always eager to prove himself smarter than everyone, Lex grants the interview, but he doesn't know anything--it looks like his robot was infected by some kind of alien computer virus, the code a million times more advanced than anything Earth has ever seen. It'd take him hours to fully decipher it.
Hours the city of Metropolis does not have. More drones spill forth into the city, climbing the Daily Planet building and assembling something on top of the Planet on the roof. Unable to properly slip away, Clark can only watch the television broadcasts as the drone assemble a giant transport relay... bringing a gigantic skull-ship into the skies above Metropolis.
Brainiac has arrived. Metropolis is to prepare for collection, and Superman is to surrender himself personally. (And I'm thinking Super Powers style robo-skull Brainiac here).
When Superman confronts Brainiac, he is unprepared for the alien to have countermeasures specifically for him. Brainiac has spent too much time studying the Bottle City of Kandor not to know exactly how to deal with a Kryptonian.
Superman's first battle with Brainiac is unsuccessful, eventually sending him tumbling from his ship, crashing into the city below. A force
Meanwhile, in prison, Luthor is ready to make a deal. He's already devised a virus that will cripple Brainiac. But he'll have to deliver it personally. And he'll need Superman's help to do it.
More and more of Metropolis is being sucked into Brainiac's ship. Luthor is suiting up in his green and purple power armor. And Superman is meeting with Lois.
She's worried he might not come back from this one. Luthor, Metallo the Silver Banshee, Bizarro, none of the foes he's faced have ever been this powerful. She can't bear the thought of a world without him...
They kiss. And when they break, recognition dawns in her eyes. She knows he's Clark. But she wonders why he never told her. He's not so sure of the answer himself. But now he has to come back, so they can talk about it. But for now, he's got to make a deal with the devil.
Luthor and Superman assault Brainiac's ship, breaking through. Superman keeps Brainiac busy in a physical confrontation, but with the presence of countless Bottle Cities, Superman is wary of cutting loose with his full power. Luthor is able to upload the virus. Luthor gloats that not only has he won, but that he's taken control of the ship and Brainiac for himself. He gives Brainiac a command to cease his attack on Metropolis...
And Brainiac says no. However smart Luthor is, he's not as smart as Brainiac. But he wouldn't mind taking Luthor's knowledge for himself anyway. He is still rather smart, for a human...
Bruised and beaten, Superman is on his last legs. Until he starts listening. The Bottle Cities are screaming, in a thousand alien languages he can't understand. And one he does. Kryptonian. While Brainiac has been studying the Bottle Cities, they've been studying him. And they know how to beat him. Using a super-precise beam of heat vision, Superman deactivates Brainiac's computer core.
As the ship begins to fall, with countless Bottle Cities, Luthor, and Metropolis at risk, Superman gives his all to direct the falling ship into the ocean.
Later, Clark tells Lois that the Justice League will rehome the Bottle Cities that they can, but that as much as he searched, he couldn't find Brainiac in the wreckage. And Luthor is currently catatonic.
And Lois tells him she didn't want this to turn into an interview, this was supposed to be a date...
But his super-hearing picks up a call for help. It's a never-ending battle. It's a job... for Superman!
In the prison hospital, Luthor's eyes snap open... glowing just like Brainiac's.