The tantalizing announcement that the Man of Steel sequel would also introduce Batman to a Superman movie allowed comic book fans to rejoice these last few weeks. However, there have been surprisingly few stories in which the team-up actually worked. This is astounding considering the comic World’s Finest was practically dedicated to the notion. The story can work. It is just hard to make it work. Here are a few suggestions for supporting characters that would make such a movie truly awesome.
10. Norman McKay
It has been pretty well established over the years that Superman can be seen as an allegory for Christ. Very rarely however has an actual minister been put into the mix. This was changed with the narrative in the Alex Ross painted mini-series Kingdom Come in 1996. McKay was an aging minister attempting to make sense out of a tragedy as well as apocalyptic visions. In the end, it is McKay who convinces Superman that he needs to make the right decision. If Superman is going to be viewed in the prism of the divine, shouldn’t there be one character who can communicate the concerns of man to the divine? In this sense, a younger version of Norman McKay could be the character that holds the whole narrative together.
9. Martian Manhunter
There needs to be characters who logically brings the two worlds together. In that sense, the Martian Manhunter is perfect. First of all, the Manhunter has been involved in virtually every version of the Justice League (which isn’t a Justice League movie the whole point of this to begin with?). Second, J’onn J’onnz is the middle point between Batman and Superman. The Martian Manhunter is the last superhuman member of his race. The Manhunter is also a detective. Naturally, the appearance of such a being would spark both Superman and Batman’s attention. The Manhunter would also serve as a worldwide ‘MacGuffin’ who would be the person everyone is trying to get a hold of as well as driving the plot. The resolution to the issue of the Martian Manhunter is the perfect stepping stone on to a Justice League movie.
8. Thomas and Martha Wayne
Everyone knows what happens to Thomas and Martha Wayne. They die. Their death is the reason why Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. We all know that. The dare is to have a movie in which the remembrance of his parents do not include their actual death. There was nine years or so of memories before Thomas and Martha Wayne died. Could not there be at least one where young Bruce looks to the stars with his Dad and wonders if there is anything beyond it? Could not there be a scene in which Thomas tells Bruce that all life is sacred no matter where it comes from? Can we not have one touching scene between father and son or mother and son which does not actually end in said parent gurgling blood? Man of Steel featured two different fathers guiding Clark’s development. Can’t Batman versus Superman feature at least one guiding Batman’s?
7. Snapper Carr
What is the real purpose of a Batman versus Superman movie? The purpose is to treat the fans to two of their favorite characters on screen together with an orgy of visual effects. Snapper Carr was one of the original characters in Justice League of America comics. The whole reason that he was there (other than to donate land) was to give the average fan a connection to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at the collection of amazing individuals. By showing a real fan onscreen, that would give the audience a very real connection to the storyline. Snapper Carr is the person you would be if you were watching the events unfold. You are probably not a billionaire detective. You are probably not the last member of an alien race with superpowers. You are the person who paid ten bucks to watch this. Snapper Carr would be you on screen. Therefore, he is absolutely necessary to the new movie.
6. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman and Superman are going to be featured in a comic which will reportedly explore a romantic relationship between the two. This dynamic was also seen in the 1996 mini-series Kingdom Come. Lois Lane very rarely has to endure a romantic rival for Superman’s affections. Lois Lane is often shown as being confident as well as in control. It has never really been explored in the films how Lane would react to legitimately intimidating romantic rival. That is exactly what Wonder Woman could bring to the movie. Wonder Woman could make Lois question what Superman would see in Lois in the first place (given the option). Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman are also the three cornerstones of any future Justice League movie. It is also interesting to examine Wonder Woman’s ‘peace through superior firepower’ philosophy in contrast to Batman and Superman.
Kryptonite is only not really considered a character because Kryptonite does not actually speak. Incidentally, that can probably be arranged. Kryptonite, or the presence of Kryptonite, would be a huge influence on the story. Batman would certainly use Kryptonite. A super-villain is going to absolutely hoard Kryptonite. Kryptonite plays a crucial role. Over the years (like many inanimate objects), Kryptonite has also had evidence of a personality as well a sense of emotions. For instance, there is Kryptonite that causes effects that are beyond mere ‘weakness.’ When a piece of rock decides whether you grow extra arms or become a slug monster, then we are definitely dealing with a personality. Like the One Ring, Kryptonite could absolutely have a will of its own as well as influence the one who carries it.
Honestly, Batman ‘purists’ who do not acknowledge the role of Robin generally have a couple of traits. First of all, they are like the Harvard student in Good Will Hunting who spouts off the last thing they read from a historical analyst just to make themselves sound more important or knowledgeable than they are. Second, they have never actually read any of the pre-Robin Batman stories. They have always just been told that they are better stories by film makers who were annoyed by the prescence of Robin. These are the same people that will generally tell you that the Dark Knight Returns is the most brilliant comic ever written. The Dark Knight Returns firmly believed that Batman needed Robin. One of the few things that does not make Batman a total jackass is that he does in fact care for a child. This is a connection that Superman can recognize, and yes Robin is absolutely necessary to a Batman versus Superman movie.
3. Green Arrow
Most people will agree that the first X-Men movie is one of the comic book related movies that really got the genre right. Most people will also tell you what made that particular movie work was the prescence of Wolverine. Granted, Wolverine is one of the coolest characters ever put on film or in comic books. You will get no argument on that point. The part that many people miss is precisely why Wolverine works in the film. Wolverine works because he agrees with part of what Professor X is saying and agrees with mart of what Magneto is saying. Wolverine is the midpoint. Oliver Queen is a billionaire who fights for justice. Green Arrow is also well established as proponent of leftist and liberal principles. He is a character who would have to carefully choose a side in the war between Batman and Superman. Queen represents the same decision that a member of audience would be facing. Who do you really root for in all of this and why?
2. Lex Luthor
When you get right down to it, who would Bruce Wayne gravitate towards if they were in a social setting. Lex Luthor is a captain of industry with more than a little disregard for established law. Clark Kent is an annoyingly preachy reporter whose ‘good guy’ act would get exhausting after a while. Bruce Wayne is a billionaire captain of industry. When it all comes down to it, Wayne would naturally gravitate to his own rather than some farm boy in whom he has nothing in common. What’s more? Batman and Lex Luthor hate Superman for mostly the same reasons. Therefore, Luthor would naturally go after Superman. The interesting part of it would be how much Wayne would align himself with Luthor before their fundamental differences got in the way. The answer may be surprising as well as crucial to the story.
1. The Joker
There will be those who say that you simply can’t put the Joker on screen after Heath Ledger’s performance. There were also those who did not believe that anyone could top Jack Nicholson’s performance. Before Nicholson, there were those who refused to see the Joker as any one other than Cesar Romero. This only means that we are ready for the next great portrayal of this fascinating and multi-faceted character. The chaotic nature of the Joker is the one thing that brings Batman and Superman together. In the end, both characters have an essential need for justice and order. The Joker is the principle of the universe which is against both of them. The primary debate between Superman and Batman is the means and not the end. The Joker questions both of those things. The only way that a Batman versus Superman movie could ever truly work is if the Joker is somehow involved.