Hope you’re enjoying the new website. BrockWilbur.com has been long overdue for a revamp, and here it is. Get your fill.
>> Here’s a link to my review of the LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits. You should see it. When the trailer for this made me sob, I knew I was in trouble. (Also, we’ve completely redesigned JuniorVarsity.org, so some links may start dying as part of the transition. ON THAT NOTE, you should check out the new JuniorVarsity.org and let us know what you think.)
>> This Friday night, we’re throwing a fundraiser show for our film Your Friends Close. In addition to a lot of free booze (PBR), music (John Bobek), and improv (APE), it also marks the second big show from Forces of Evil, the new comedy super-team featuring Brendan McGowan, Brandon Vaughn, Jim Hegarty, and myself. Come out to support all kinds of great things.
>> This weekend marked the release of The Dark Knight Rises. If there’s one excellent compliment we can give to Christopher Nolan, the man knows how to make a movie that rewards a second viewing. I’ve yet to see a Nolan film I didn’t like better the second time around.
While cleaning out a hard drive over the weekend, I found the outline and about twenty script pages from a spec Dark Knight sequel I wrote back in the day. First thought: Yikes. Is that really how I wrote dialogue only four years ago? Second thought: I hit a lot of the same themes as the real film. Good on me.
Thought I might share what I had, especially since none of this makes sense outside the Nolan trilogy.
One year after the events in the second film, Batman is on the run from Gotham’s police force and, more dangerously, a private security force run by one of the Wayne Corporations direct rivals, a Blackwater-esque multinational military corporation looking to dispel negative publicity by putting an end to the only terrorist left on American soil. This company is led by Roman Sionis, who was less Black Mask and more like the Penguin mixed with Thomas Elliot; wealthy but growing up in the childhood shadow of Bruce and his family. (Yeah, it’s like three-in-one, but there’s some great crossover.) Bruce winds up having to do more heavy lifting in politics than in night fighting against Sionis, as they engage in a corporate warfare for control of the city.
As the private military force begins to supersede the police force, taking over the streets and ignoring the law, Gordon essentially pulls the GCPD into a retreat. Batman is drawn out of hiding to keep the contract teams from committing further atrocities, and when the police fail to support them, Sionis hires a team of assassins to join the ranks, including smaller roles for an expert impersonator (Clayface) and an explosives expert who’d been disfigured in a blast (Croc). He tries to recruit a local cat-burgler to join his anti-Avengers, who declines his invitation and is saved from assassination by the Bat.
Running background to all of this was a website, called RIDDLR, run anonymously but allowing the crowdsourcing of information across Gotham, including the pursuit of Batman’s true identity. In the process, there was a very WikiLeaks style response, as an over-abundance of truth was allowed to be anonymously collected, driving a social divide between the wealthy and the poor, with the para-military group being hired out to protect homes at extravagant rates that almost guaranteed Sionis would be handed control of the city.
One of the few scenes I wrote out involved Sionis attempting to sell Bruce Wayne on protection. I liked that a lot.
Selina Kyle, whose motives are assumed to be greed, manages to track down the source of RIDDLR and finds that it is not run by Sionis, but by Jim Gordon’s daughter, Barabara, who built the site to help her father and it spiraled out of control. (Hat tip to Oracle origin, without all that shooting.) As the city slips into madness and becomes a warzone, just before the pieces fall into place to reveal Wayne as Batman, Bruce shifts the information to finger Sionis, who makes almost more sense as the Bat, especially with his public image so closely tied to military technology. The city bands together behind it’s mutual hatred of the Bat, which turns out to be just as great a unifying force. Even the criminal element moves in to take their revenge, and Sionis is gunned down in the same alley where Wayne’s parents were shot.
Without plotting out the entire third act, it is of note that Bruce gets stabbed by Clayface (disguised as Alfred) as part of an assassination scheme, and Catwoman is killed while attempting to rescue the fake Batman. The resolution of the Bat-story winds up in the hands of the people, especially Jim Gordon and the GCPD. When Bruce tracks down Selina’s home, he discovers she was stealing to support a young child, who Bruce takes in.
Sionis dies the villains death that Batman was setup for at the end of the second film, and Bruce Wayne must finally learn how to do good as himself, which is far more frightening then operating from behind the mask. Bruce is given a ward that sets up a possible Robin future and Gotham learns to protect itself.
So, yeah. Something fun I threw together over a weekend, and weird to re-read in the wake of seeing Nolan’s trilogy conclude. Obviously it’s still a bit of a mess but why have a blog if you aren’t going to publish massive quantities of fan fiction?
Without mentioning spoilers to anyone, I’m pretty proud of the class warfare element being a thing that carried through, while obviously we couldn’t leave the Bat-legacy ending with Batman as villain, but I did love the idea of a man becoming stronger than a symbol, maybe just as antithesis to what the series has has always believed, while divorcing himself from the pride of the good he’d accomplished. The city itself would rise to become the hero, rather than depending on one man, proving that it could survive of its own accord. Outgrowing the need of the Bat seemed a more promising finale than the promise he’d always be watching over us.
The first two films were kind of about Bruce Wayne’s money vs structures and antagonists that couldn’t compete on that level, so money vs. money seemed like Batman losing at his own game.
I liked writing this with Nolan’s version of villain inclusion… maybe never mentioning any of the characters like Clayface by name. (The Riddler was in Dark Knight Rises, and I hadn’t even realized that back when I wrote this.) There were notes in the margins for a Harley Quinn character who pretended she was the Joker’s girlfriend, but was so crazy that in reality she’d never even met him, which was supposed to serve as commentary of the media shining the spotlight on dangerous psychopaths…
Amongst all of theories people floated on the internet for the new film, the one I loved the most had Robin Williams as Hugo Strange, who would steal the Batsuit and go on a killing spree around Gotham. I knew this was far too dark for a summer tentpole film (although I suppose Star Wars EP 3 got away with the murder of younglings…) but still such a great device. Check out PREY and NEW EARTH for more on this kind of thing. I also died when they falsely announced Tom Hardy as Black Mask, which is probably the last time I re-read this synopsis.
>> I was involved in iam8bit’s webseries for the promotion of Kim Swift’s Quantum Conundrum. Check out the videos on YouTube. Here’s a few stills: