The following is a treatment for a Batman v. Superman flick that I dumped unsolicited style in an FB comments section a few years ago. Quick note: I wasn’t considering “Man of Steel” when I wrote this. It was a standalone thing. All right, no further adieu, enjoy.
Gotham has become overrun with criminals. The aging Batman is overwhelmed. Gotham’s citizens, just becoming hip to this new ‘super man’ in Metropolis begin to publicly wonder if he can come save their crime-ridden city. This is a blow to Batman’s ego. He is jealous. He feels inferior. Tries to deny the feeling as it is causing him immense shame (he’s not ‘supposed’ to feel this way). After an unsuccessful battle with one of Gotham’s new criminal leaders he falls into a deep depression, questions himself, wonders if he should just hang it up. At the same time Superman logos begin appearing all over Gotham, usually paired with messages pleading for the Man of Steel to come to Gotham. Batman becomes a jealous, inferiority complex-riddled mess.
Now for the ‘controversial’ twist…
Batman, as Bruce Wayne, funds the R&D for Lex Luthor’s non-lethal debilitating crowd-control spray called Crippling Night (I know, sounds silly). Little does Bruce know, Lex’s intentions are to use it on the activists of an anti-corporate movement that has been steadily growing in popularity. (Clark Kent reports relentlessly on this movement. He is deeply moved by the ‘American Spirit’ of the protesters.) Well, he doesn’t do it himself, he ‘gifts’ it to the cops. Batman intends to use the spray on the criminal element in Gotham. He, Lex and law enforcement take a vaccine that makes them immune to its effects. Interestingly, Crippling Night has a harsher effect on Clark than it does on mere humans. This forces him to keep his distance from the protests. His stories begin to speak to the un-American nature of law enforcement’s use of the spray. This gets Lex’s attention and… A bomb goes off at The Daily Planet. Clark, knowing Lex must have been behind it, goes to LexCorp. He easily battles through Lex’s security and corners him. In a last-ditch effort Lex uses the spray. The effect it has on Supes stuns Lex. He is galvanized. He can now ‘control’ the super alien?!
Back in Gotham Batman is enjoying being the city’s savior again. He is aware of the struggles Superman is having in Metropolis, but is indifferent to them. He even fantasizes about the people of Metropolis requesting ‘his’ help. Then he sees a monk walking plaintively along the street. Young punks intermittently run up to him, hit him, kick him, throw bottles at him, but the monk does not flinch. He maintains his deliberate gait. Batman goes to grab one of the punks and the monk flashes him a disapproving glare. This ‘wakes’ Batman up, reminds him of why he got into the ‘hero’ game in the first place: to be a representative of selflessness, not pride.
Back in Metropolis Clark does some investigating and finds out Bruce was a major investor in Crippling Night. He heads to Gotham to confront him………
8/18/16 EDIT: I think Lex should attempt to place the blame on some sort of radical group (one of which Clark shares similar sentiments, like maybe a group of ‘radical patriots’ who believe in shit like this. Clark, ever the dogged investigative journalist, sees right through this of course, and it is his reports that help to paint the group—which is looked upon unfavorably (the predominately black and brown makeup of the group scares folks)—in a better light.