CHAPTER 2: KINGDOM COME
We find Clark once again, hovering over Earth in his civilian clothes, listening to the pleas for help from the people below. Again, he plummets to the ground and lands in a ruined Metropolis. But this time, Zod is waiting for him. Zod attacks and they fight, forcing Superman to break Zod’s neck.
Clark wakes up, breathing hard. Suddenly, he gets a call from Lex Luthor, who sounds uncharacteristically flustered and asks Clark to fly over as quickly as possible. Clark is puzzled that Lex uses the word “fly”. He rushes to LexCorp to find Lex Luthor waiting for him, seemingly in a panic. Lex says that he has known all along that Clark is Superman but didn’t want to tell him until now. Clark denies this but Lex ignores him and tells Clark that his sources in Kahndaq have found out that Lois is being held hostage by the Kahndaq government. Clark drops all pretences and immediately flies off to rescue her.
He arrives in Kahndaq with seconds to spare as they are about to execute the love of his life. He rescues Lois from the dictator’s clutches and goes on a warpath. Enraged by the fact that they have hurt Lois, he decimates their weapons and leaves the royal palace in ruins. Before this, the Superman we saw was bright, hopeful and even a little goofy. With Lois in danger, we see the first hint of something a little darker.
Meanwhile, Batman takes the bullets back to the lab and begins to analyse them. He notes that each of the bullets have a Bat signal carved into them. He soon finds out that the bullet is manufactured by LexCorp. As if on cue, Alfred tells Bruce has been invited by Lex to a gala as their guest of honour. He suggests that Bruce Wayne might have a better chance of getting to the bottom of this than Batman.
Back at their apartment, Lois has quickly recovered from her injuries and reveals to Clark that Wayne Industries was funding the rebellion. She has no way to substantiate those allegations as the general is now dead. Just then, Lex arrives at their apartment, apparently to check if Lois is alright. He personally delivers an invitation to the gala at LexCorp where Bruce Wayne will be the guest of honour. He leaves and thanks Clark for everything that he does for the city.
News coverage of Kahndaq shows that Superman’s attack allowed the remaining rebels to enter the capital and as a result, they have slaughtered the government and their supporters. They have taken the palace but the remains of the Kahndaq army has refused to accept their authority and the fighting has worsened. The US government has condemned Superman’s actions and is calling for a summit to discuss what needs to be done. Video footage of the angry and vengeful Superman has surfaced and is being watched all over the world.
Over the next few days, we see tension mounting against Superman. Old wounds are being reopened. Victims of the Battle of Metropolis are coming out of the woodwork once again, blaming Superman for what happened to them. The man that Bruce Wayne saved in the prologue had lost his legs in the attack and comes forward on live television, telling the world that Superman ruined his life. Superman continues to save people but he begins to notice them starting to keep him at arm’s length, treating him with a mixture of fear and awe.
At the LexCorp gala, Luthor makes a speech about how he is rebuilding this city to be better than it was before – just like how Superman is trying to rebuild the world. He speaks about Superman’s actions in Kahndaq and praises Superman for taking action when no one else would. He publicly endorses Superman and condemns the actions of the Batman. During the speech, Bruce loses his temper and after being invited to the podium to make his own speech, he blasts Superman and blames him for both Kahndaq and for the Metropolis tragedy. He says that Superman is intent on playing god and it’s only a matter of time before he decides to graduate from saving people to ruling them.
Bruce leaves the podium and finishes uploading Luthor’s data to a flash drive but is distracted by Clark Kent. Clark clearly knows that Wayne is Batman, having seen through his cowl in their first meeting. They discuss Superman and the Bat Vigilante and Bruce notes the striking resemblance between Clark and Superman. Clark says he gets that a lot.
They are interrupted by Diana Prince, who is curious about their thoughts on “playing god”. She tells a story about Greek myth – about Zeus and Prometheus. The king of the gods, Zeus, promised to protect the humans but did so by ruling with an iron fist. He demanded their worship and punished the humans when they stepped out of line. The titan, Prometheus, gave the humans the gift of fire – power of the gods themselves. He inspired mankind to new heights but with his gift, they began to destroy themselves. He was tortured for the rest of his days as a result.
She wonders which of these Superman is. A god or a titan? Or something else entirely? She leaves on this mysterious note, but not before telling Bruce that he has something she wants. She slips away, leaving both men puzzled and Bruce realises that she has taken the data with her. He goes after her but she’s already long gone.
Clark tries to confront Bruce but he hears a cry for help and leaves as well. He flies off and saves a woman from a mugger. He tries to comfort her with his usual boy scout charm but is surprised when the woman seems more scared of him than the man with the gun.
After the gala, Lex returns to the bunker to find Waller waiting for him. She demands to know why zero progress has been made on the anti metahuman weapons she has been asking for. She wants to know what Luthor has been working on. Luthor declines to answer. Waller threatens Luthor and demands to see something concrete soon or she is pulling the plug on the entire operation and confiscating the Kryptonite and Zod.
She leaves and Luthor returns to his secret chamber to check on his pet project. The Kryptonian’s body has mutated even further. His skin has turned grey and more bone spurs have sprouted. He has also increased in mass significantly. Luthor activates the birthing matrix’s AI, which asks what the creature’s purpose is.
Luthor just smirks.
In the morning, Clark meets with Lex for coffee and they talk about the summit. Luthor confides in Clark about his own past. He was a poor farm boy just like Clark and grew up wanting to make a difference in the world. He scratched and clawed his way up to be the best humanity has to offer. Whereas Clark was born with his physical gifts, Luthor was born a sickly child with not a penny to his name. He had no money, no power – he only had his wit and his will to make a difference. He confesses that he’s jealous of Superman. No matter how hard he tries, all his accomplishments mean nothing because he’ll never be as good as Superman. That’s why Clark has to do what Lex can’t. He has to save everyone.
He has to save the world even if it doesn’t want to be saved. Lex compares mankind to children. Sometimes, they simply don’t know what is best for them. Lex urges Clark to go to the summit and let them know that there is nothing they can do to stop him. Superman must save mankind from themselves.
Meanwhile, Bruce tracks down Diana Prince at an ancient history museum. Diana reveals that she stole the flash drive from Bruce because he has something she wants – an ancient artefact taken from her people a long time ago. Bruce asks who her people are but she does not answer. He reveals that he has done his research. He knows that she has been appearing through out history for years but has been absent for a long time. He wants to know who – and what – she really is. Diana seems surprised but allows him to continue. Bruce says that she does not have her artefact but he knows who does and he can retrieve it for her. Diana is amused by his persistence and gives him the flash drive as well as an address. She promises to tell Batman her story if he brings her the sword.
Lois goes to Wayne Manor but Bruce is not home. She is greeted by Alfred Pennyworth who is at first reluctant to speak with her but lets her inside when she begins accusing Bruce Wayne of funding a war. Alfred tells her that her focus is on the wrong billionaire. He suggests that it might be a good idea to take a closer look at Lex Luthor. He fixes her a sandwich before sending her on her way. She returns home to find that Clark is missing and gets a call inviting her to LexCorp tonight.
That night, Superman goes to see his mother and talks about what has happened – about how humanity is rejecting him. He confesses that he does not know what to do. He does not know what people want. If he does too little, people die. If he does too much, people begin to fear him. If he had been allowed to do what he wanted and intervene in Kahndaq earlier, he could have stopped all this from happening. With all of the terrorism, crime and war in the world, sometimes it seems as if humanity is intent on letting itself burn just to spite him. Martha comforts him and tells him that he’s so intent on saving everyone but if he does that, people will forget how to save themselves.
Back at the Batcave, Bruce reads the flash drive ands finds out about the metahumans that Lex has under surveillance. We see Aquaman, Cyborg, the Flash and last of all – Wonder Woman. He also finds out that Lex has been tasked by the government to combat metahumans and has discovered a weapon capable of killing the Superman – Kryptonite. As he digs further, he learns that Lex is responsible for framing him for the murders and that Luthor hacked into his systems some time ago. Lex has been monitoring him for over a year. Barely able to contain his rage, Bruce purges Luthor’s spyware from the Batcave’s systems and leaves to confront Luthor.
Meanwhile, Lois meets with Luthor and asks him about the Kahndaq war. He assures her that he has no idea what she is talking about but she presses onwards and realises that he is stalling. They are interrupted by a security alert signalling the arrival of Batman. He runs roughshod over Lex Luthor’s security and finds the Kryptonite and the sword. He takes both and confronts Luthor in his office. Batman demands to know what Luthor is planning but they are interrupted by an explosion that rocks the entire floor, critically injuring both Lex and Lois and killing many of Lex’s staff. Superman hears Lois’ cry for help and arrives on the scene as Batman is recovering from the blast. He can’t believe what he sees.
Clark is horrified by the carnage all around him. Through the fire and smoke, he sees bodies strewn everywhere and Lois and Lex lying amongst the rubble. This causes the Kryptonian to fly into a rage. Superman blames Batman for what has happened and attacks with a fury we haven’t seen from him before. However, he is stopped in his tracks by the Kryptonite which allows Batman to stall him long enough to leave with both the Kryptonite and Diana’s sword. Batman flees back to Gotham in the Batwing as Superman cradles Lois in his arms. He slowly recovers from the Kryptonite and takes Lois and Lex to hospital before the media and the police begin to gather around LexCorp.
At the hospital, both Lois and Lex are stabilised but remain in critical condition. Clark stands at Lois’ bedside, quaking with rage. He crushes one of Batman’s batarangs that he retrieved from the scene in his bare hands.
At the summit the next morning, Superman hears the court and grows increasingly frustrated as they continue to berate him for his actions in Kahndaq. His frustration continues to build until they ask him to stand down and accuse him of being the cause of the Metropolis crisis and the Kahndaq crisis. He finally reaches his breaking point and lets out his pent up rage, terrifying all the attendants. He is tired of apologising for who he is. He is done with their politics and their bureaucracy. He proclaims that he saved Metropolis and he will save Kahndaq as well. The government can try to stop him if they dare.
Superman abandons the trial and flies off to Kahndaq. He lands in the middle of the war zone and disarms both sides of the army, melting their guns and ripping apart their tanks and missiles. Both armies are engulfed by this whirlwind of red and blue and before either side can realise what has happened, their armies have been completely and utterly neutralised. Superman hovers over the battlefield and tells them that the war is over.
Batman watches the news coverage of Superman’s ultimatum and makes his decision. He begins to prepare for battle. Alfred watches him forging his Kryptonite weapons and tells him that what he is planning is suicide. Bruce tells Alfred that Superman is coming for him no matter what he does. He will defend himself and if necessary, he will put Superman down.
For twenty years, Batman has refused to kill. Now, everyone is convinced he is a killer. Maybe they’re right. For twenty years, he has not made a single difference in Gotham. Every monster he lets walk has come back to haunt him and every life they’ve taken is more blood on his hands. He has failed to save Gotham. But he can still save the world. This might be the one thing he ever does that matters.
Alfred tells Bruce that he will not watch Bruce kill himself. Bruce thanks Alfred for his service and asks him to complete one last task. He asks Alfred to deliver the sword to Diana Prince along with an envelope. Alfred agrees and leaves Bruce alone in the Batcave.
With Alfred gone, Batman visits his parents’ graves one last time and asks them for their forgiveness before he begins his final preparations. He sets his traps. He gathers his weapons. He puts on his armour.
Finally, he turns on the Bat signal.
The Batman is prepared for war.
Sound off in the comments below to let me know what you thought of the film and what you would want changed. What would your version of Batman V Superman be like?