Posts Tagged ‘spoilers’

I’m happy for Joss Whedon, after hearing the announcement he’ll write and direct Avengers 2. I like to see a geek inherit the Earth.

But I worry about the franchise in general. Whedon has a tendency to make his villains too comfortable around the heroes. Considering he worked with vampires so long, I’m surprised how quickly he removes his villains’ teeth and makes them just ordinary guys and gals. Perhaps he just likes villains better, like Dr. Horrible. But I’m afraid that, in Avengers 2, Loki will be joining the heroes for a shawarma dinner.

Which one is better?

In the beginning… Later on…
Spike from Buffy Dangerous. You never knew what side he was on. Just kind of hung around because he had nothing else to do.
Danger from X-Men Living embodiment of the Danger Room. Coolest and most deadly new villain in the mutant titles. Just kind of hung around and poked fun of the heroes because she had nothing else to do.

Also:

“The Avengers” fixed the problems of the Marvel prequels

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/the-avengers-fixed-the-problems-of-the-marvel-prequels/

Editing mistake in Dark Knight Rises:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/a-mistake-in-dark-knight-rises/

 

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What I hope the Muppets Movie will be:

Celebrities

I’d like to see some celebrity cameos, as long as they are celebrities worthy of costarring alongside Muppets. This is a mainstay. The Muppets always had big name stars. It’s always fun to point out famous people.

For the most part, the human cameos of the Muppet movies were great. Take a look at the talent in The Muppet Movie: Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Bob Hope, Elliot Gould, Dom Deluise, Carol Kane, Orson Welles, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Telly Savalis, Cloris Leachman, and tons more. Hell, some of those people were practically Muppets themselves.

Of course, the celebrities that get used were very much a sign of the times. Brooke Shields appearing in “Muppets Take Manhattan,” which came out in 1984, for example.

This is a tough call, because I just don’t want the movie to have lots of cameos by stars-of-the-moment. I don’t want to see any reality show star, a Kardashian (I’m proud of myself that I had to look that name up on the Internet to learn how to spell it), a teeny bopper music “star,” or any other flash-in-the-pan. If we’re going to have to Google these people in five years, they shouldn’t be in this movie.

Little to no Elmo

I’m taking the fact that Elmo is not on the movie posters as a good sign.

People have told me their kids think Sesame Street is Elmo, and everyone else is a supporting character. I’m under no delusion that he won’t have a cameo. But the scene stealing red furry kid can stay home.

This movie is about introducing kids to the Muppets – they already know Elmo. And the adults either don’t know him or know him and are sick of him. Give me Big Bird again.

My family recently went to Sesame Place. All the older attractions were named after the Count, Cookie Monster, and others. Everything newer was Elmo. Granted, Cookie Monster made a plea to host Saturday Night Live and Grover did the Old Spice Parody, but you can see who’s King of Sesame Street.

I made a video about it. I used pictures I took at Sesame Place, video of my daughter’s toys, and pictures donated by people on Flickr.

Every Minor Character

It’s also telling that even the Mana Manas are on the poster. Every little character that we even slightly recognize will be crammed in – hopefully in a good way. But you know that at some point, Crazy Harry is going to blow something up. The chef will have a spotlight. And Lew Zealand will throw a fish.

A Send-up of Current Movie Trends

I expect jokes about 3D (involving Bunsen and Beaker), bad parody movies, comedies that are only made for adults, etc. There’s an endless supply of things that are wrong with movies today. That’s why the Muppets aren’t around – because Hollywood keeps making movies that are bad.

Now maybe the “Scary Movie” people can lampoon this, “Muppet Movie.”

Actual Puppetry

There are still parts of the older movies where I can’t figure out how they made the puppets move that way. The rat kitchen dance scene in “Muppets Take Manhattan.” Any time they ride bicycles I’m like “How do they do that?”

This means no digital toys. The director has already said he doesn’t want to do computer animation. This makes me very happy.

Oh, and can I tell you how jealous I am of Jason Segel?

I’m not ready for the last Harry Potter movie.

I’m ready for the deaths of key characters. I’m ready for the war. What I’m absolutely not ready for is the credits.

The first movies of the series filled us with wonder as we first saw Hogwarts in all its glory. Hagrid’s Hut. The Shrieking Shack. Now, we’ll see it all be dismembered pixel by pixel in vivid computer animation. At least I’ll only be seeing it in 2D (Yes I bought my tickets already).

Once those credits roll: That’s it. There’s no more. It’s over.

No more movies. No more anticipation. No more hours-long discussion over how they’re going to handle different parts of the books in the next movie. No more debate over whether something is going to be changed. No more releases of studio pictures. Cast interviews. Trailers. Nothing!

The journey of reading the books for the first time is long over. The end of that was painful as well.

Now, we’ll have to say goodbye to its celluloid legacy. It’s going to be a theater full of people crying, and I’m not prepared for that at all. It’s going to be like Toy Story 3.

As a movie comes to theaters, we’re teased, we’re fed trailers, we’re made to find the stars interesting.
In the coming months before the first Transformers live action movie, I learned some spoilers. Some, like the robotic cast, thrilled me. Some, like the changes in Transformations, irked me. But I learned about a lot of the changes (Even Jazz’s death) before the movie, so I was not upset when I saw them in theaters.
Leaving part one, I was very conflicted, but had a mostly positive review.
Part two was awful. I never saw The Matrix 2 because people told me: “The only reason to see Matrix 2 is to understand Matrix 3, which sucked, so don’t bother.”
Transformers 2 was so terrible that I vowed that there would have to be something amazing to get me to see it. Some friends even said, “It’s got Shockwave in it!” Yeah? The last one had Soundwave. You saw how great that was.
There’s a hint that the humans have been working with Decepticons. OK. Marissa Faireborne (the daughter of Flint from GI Joe) and Carly. Whatever. Anything good that they bring in is just met with skepticism: “How are they going to mess this up?”
Instead I’ve made these movies, to show that it shouldn’t be that hard to make a good Transformers movies, even though mine are ridiculously cheesy and self-effacing:

What I Learned: If you have to win over an audience, it’s not enough to give them more of the same. Especially if they’ve lost confidence in you.
You have to answer their concerns. And the promotional material has to be clear that you’ve made some changes, without pandering to the crowds.

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Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”
I make silly videos and post them here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

Here’s the beginning of it:

 

And here’s the end:

Issue 5

 

Grimlock goes to the Autobots. They think he’s there to fight. He’s not. He tells them he renounced his allegiance, showing Starscream’s insignia.

Prime takes Grimlock to task. If he’s such a noble warrior, why did he kill Mudflap?

“I did you a favor.”

Skids goes ballistic at this and launches himself at Grimlock. Grimlock just steps out of the way. He doesn’t want to waste an ounce of energy on him. He doesn’t even make eye contact with him, he has such little respect.

Grimlock tells the Autobots that the Insecticons are mounting an attack on the Autobots’ human allies. Some of them think it’s a trap. Ironhide respects Grimlock as a warrior, no matter what stripe. He says they’d be lucky to have him. Alpha Trion says “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”

At the very least, they try to warn the humans. Ratchet attempts to open a line of communications. Unsurprisingly, their secure channel is jammed. “It could still be a trap, Prime.”

“Then it’s one we’ll have to risk if innocent lives are at stake. Roll out.”

Everyone but Grimlock transforms. Prime opens the back of his truck. “Coming, Grimlock?” Grimlock steps inside.

For the first time, we see the inside of Prime’s trailer on the ride down. There are missile turrets, a repair bay, and various other sci-fi stuff. The turrets are keeping a close eye on Grimlock.

Bumblebee is with Sam, Mikaela and Wheelie when he gets word that the Autobots are on route to intercept the Decepticons. He goes to leave, but Sam wants to come.

“Hey, I actually beat Megatron once. That’s gotta count for something.”

Bumblebee gives in and lets them all come.

Switch to the Autobots on the road. Arcee pulls up close to Prime. “I’ve got five clicks coming in-fast. 200 miles northwest.”

“Coming in? From where?”

“Based on trajectory…Cybertron.”

We flash to five meteors streaking through the sky. They pound into a bay area. It’s an oceanfront city, with a shipping port, lots of bridges, and a skyline of skyscrapers. The five meteors rip through everything they hit. As they make impact, Starscream, Buzzsaw and Kickback fly in and transform, welcoming their new friends, the Stunticons. Motormaster and crew take their new forms and cause some chaos on the highways expressly to cause damage. Some real Bayhem.

“If there’s five of them, it’s got to be the Stunticons,” Alpha Trion says.

“We’ve only got, what, half of an Earth hour,” Hot Rod says to Prime. The Killswitch is going on soon.

“The Stunticons could level a city in that time. I don’t care if this is our last stand, we’ve got to save those people’s lives.”

Bumblebee arrives at about the same time as the others. The Autobots have to split up, because the waterfront area where the Stunticons landed is nearby but not close enough. So they split: Fighting at NEST HQ: Bumblebee, Wheelie, Sam, Mikaela, Sideswipe, Ironhide, Ratchet, Mirage.

Fighting at the bridge: Optimus Prime, Arcee, Jolt, Skids, Alpha Trion, Trailbreaker, Hot Rod, and Grimlock.

When the Autobots arrive at the NEST base, it’s definitely a case of quiet….too quiet….

Suddenly several Transformers spring out of hiding. A super-fast blue race car, Blur, a white fighter jet, Silverbolt, a military construction drill, Nosecone, a green truck, Brawn, and a white sports car, Wheeljack. The Autobots have gone into full battle mode. But Ratchet scans one of the enemies and alerts the others that there are human pilots. “Non-lethal combat only!”

Ironhide looks at his huge arm cannons. “Is there any part of me that isn’t lethal?”

Ironhide turns into a truck and slams into one. Mirage turns invisible and dodges another so that it rams into a rock. Bumblebee cranks his stereo and disrupts one.

Bumblebee plays the line “What is your major malfunction?” to one of them. He opens up the machine, and it’s Lennox. He explains that the controls are locked up. Like someone’s controlling them.

Bumblebee spots Shrapnel using his antennae to direct electrical impulses and override the controls. He and Sideswipe chase after Shrapnel.

They follow him to an abandoned building in that empty town they were in earlier for training. He could literally be anywhere. They both spot Shrapnel mini-insects and give chase, getting separated.

Sideswipe finds the rest of him. When he fires at him, Shrapnel dissipates into the smaller insects, so he can’t get a good shot. He punches Shrapnel, and Shrapnel dissipates slightly, and reforms, closing around the Autobot’s hand. Sideswipe turns his hands into cutting blades, which shred a bunch of the bugs. Shrapnel then calls lightning down, and the electricity flows through him and into Sideswipe. He’s fried, but just wounded. Shrapnel then bites Sideswipe’s neck open, rears back a second, then dissolves, pouring his insect plague into the hole he made in Sideswipe’s neck. We pan back, and the insects eat their way through, making holes.

Bumblebee manages to squish the single Shrapnel he followed, but by now he realizes it was a distraction. He returns to find just pieces of his friend.

Suddenly, Shrapnel swarms Bumblebee. Tearing pieces off of him right and left. He is chanting horrible things at him in his insidious echo. “We killed your comrade….and you were helpless….and now you’re next…” One of them tears open Bumblebee’s fuel pump. The fuel splashes everywhere. Bumblebee aims it like a hose and splatters them all. He leaps back and fires, making a huge explosion and destroying the swarm. But he’s severely wounded and running low on fuel.

When he returns, Lennox, Epps, Furman and the others have regained their control of the Exosuits. The humans have come out of the suits and are talking to the Autobots. Simmons comes out and reminds them that there’s less than a half hour until the government triggers the Killswitch. Bumblebee tells them about Sideswipe’s death.

The Autobots get ready to meet their allies at the bay city to stop the Stunticons. The human Sector Eight troops want to come too. They’ve fought this long, they want to finish this.

There are five Sector Eight 2.0 Exosuits. (The first ones were either destroyed or damaged by Decepticons early in the story.) There are only three soldiers. So Lennox offers Sam and Mikaela a chance to each pilot a bot. They jump at the chance.

Lennox says their names: “Brawn, Blur-”

Sam interrupts. “I want Blur. That sounds fast.”

“No. I get Blur,” Lennox says.

“Then I want Brawn. That…sounds like it….fits me…”

“I’ll take Brawn,” Mikaela says, and Lennox gives him to her.

“Then who do I get?” Sam asks.

“Wheeljack,” Lennox says.

“Wheeljack? She gets a Brawn and I get a Wheeljack?”

“Yeah, we named him that because he kept breaking down. Good luck.”

Lennox and Epps suit up, but Sgt. Furman hangs back. The other fights really got to him, with Buzzsaw picking into his Exosuit and other things. He doesn’t want to freeze up in combat. He feels he’s a liability.

So there’s another spot. Leo is about to step up when Agent Simmons talks over him. He’s been studying aliens for all his life. Now he’ll know what it’s like to be one.

They suit up. At first, Sam is very unsure on his big, metal feet.

“Just think about what you want to do before you do it,” Lennox tells him. The interface is completely thought-guided. It’s meant to be an extension of you, not just a weapon. You don’t have to be able to fly in order to fly Silverbolt. So, for reference: Blur (Lennox), Nosecone (Epps), Silverbolt (Simmons), Brawn (Mikaela with Wheelie inside), Wheeljack (Sam).

Meanwhile, the Stunticons are tearing up the city until they see the Autobots approach. Starscream, Buzzsaw and Kickback are there, too. The scenes should probably bounce back and forth between the NEST base and the bay city.

The Stunticons cause havok on a road, and the Autobots have to do some amazing maneuvers to not only stop them, but save innocents caught in the crossfire. For instance, the fight starts to destroy a bridge. Trailbreaker forms a shield to support the bridge while Alpha Trion repairs it. Also, Trailbreaker’s shield catches humans being flung from the undulating bridge.

Motormaster sees Prime and his troops approaching. He transforms into truck and targets Prime. They talk some smack to each other as they approach. Motormaster knocks empty cars off the bridge as he charges. The two trucks rush toward each other on the bridge. There’s no way they’re not going to smash. Then, at the last minute, Prime veers off ever so slightly and scrapes by Motormaster. As they pass, Prime’s back opens and Grimlock leaps out. Grimlock grabs onto the back of Motormaster and is enough of a weight that Motormaster, with all that speed built up, falls over and jackknifes, falling off the bridge. Grimlock rolls harmlessly to a stop.

Jolt drives really fast at Drag Strip, transforms and releases his electrical whips. He wraps one around Drag Strip and with the momentum he’s built up, drags the ‘con a few hundred feet.

Hot Rod launches himself off the bridge, transforms into robot mode, and lands on Starscream, who is transformed into a jet. The sudden weight throws Starscream off balance, and he flails around for a bit. Hot Rod takes advantage of this. His hand turns into a circular saw and he cuts up Starscream’s wings. Then Starscream transforms, they throw a few fists/shots in mid-air, Hot Rod holding himself aloft with his jetpacks, before Starscream blows off his jetpacks and he falls. On the way down, he pleads for help from Trailbreaker, who has his hands full holding up the bridge and catching humans. So Hot Rod lands in the water. He stands underwater, and sees Motormaster barreling toward him on the bottom of the river. He gets rammed and goes flying out of the river.

The remaining Insecticon, Kickback, transforms into his giant insect mode and kicks Grimlock so hard he flies across the street. He swings his sword, but it goes right through Kickback. He transforms, and the bugs easily maneuver away from his tail. He has more luck with the spray of his fire breath, but it’s still not enough. The Insecticon keeps breaking himself down into the little insects every time big, slow Grimlock strikes.

Grimlock’s starting to get worn down. Kickback’s actually getting too many shots in. He’s not seriously wounded, but he hasn’t made a single successful shot yet. Kickback is doing damage, but it takes a lot to bring him down. Kickback tries doing what Shrapnel did, and just swarms all over him. Thousands of tiny bites. It’s starting to work. Grimlock’s tiny forearms can’t clean himself off.

Grimlock spots an oil tanker. He runs at it as hard as he can and cannonballs into it. The tanker explodes in a fireball. Grimlock then calmly walks out of the blaze, smoking, scraping dead insects off him.

The time is almost up. The Killswitch is about to go off. Prime tells Starscream this in order to scare Starscream away, hoping he’ll order the Decepticons to leave on their own. The plan works all too well.

Motormaster, back on dry land, orders the Stunticons to merge, but Starscream tells them to halt. There’s no need.

Starscream, using his new powers from the Decepticon Matrix, opens a space bridge. He gets his Decepticons out safely. Knowing that only Alpha Trion has the ability to teleport the Autobots away, he blasts a hole in him. Then Starscream grabs Prime and disappears into the space bridge. Now the Autobots are left on Earth, leaderless, with no way to go after Prime, with only a few minutes left before they all get deactivated.

(Maybe Shockwave opens the portal from Cybertron….There’s no reason for Starscream to have powers that Megatron didn’t have.)

 

Issue 6

 

Starscream has teleported his Decepticons (the five Stunticons and Buzzsaw) outside the building where Vector Sigma is housed. Shockwave comes out of the building, greeting Starscream.

Motormaster and Wildrider hold each of Prime’s arms, and Starscream uses Buzzsaw to literally cut the Autobot Matrix out of him. Starscream, holding the Autobot Matrix triumphantly, is about to finish off Prime.

Shockwave warns Starscream that Vector Sigma has been completely unresponsive to him. Perhaps they need a live Autobot to do this. Reluctantly, Starscream grabs Prime’s arm out of Wildrider’s hands. He drags Prime inside with Shockwave. He orders Buzzsaw and the Stunticons to stand guard outside.

“For what?” Breakdown says.

“Yeah, the Autobots are done,” Dead End says.

“The Autobots have a habit of being very resourceful,” Starscream says, as he leaves.

Back on Earth, the Autobots gather around Alpha Trion, who is just barely alive. The clock is ticking. Only a few minutes left. Ratchet works feverishly to fix him. “Work on my space bridge, Ratchet,” Alpha Trion pleads. “Let me die if I have to.”

“Forgive me, Alpha Trion, but that’s what I am doing.” Ratchet gets his Space Bridge technology back on line, and Alpha Trion opens a portal. The Autobots, and their human allies, all go inside, just as the Killswitch goes online, sealing their way back forever. Trailbreaker has himself, Ratchet and Alpha Trion in a bubble shield, to protect them while they go through the violent warp. Ratchet is actually working to keep Alpha Trion alive during the jump.

When they land on Cybertron, they are far away from where they wanted to be. The jump was not perfect, since Alpha Trion was strained. But he’s stable, now.

Head Count:

Autobots: Prime (wounded and captured), Bumblebee (very wounded), Ironhide, Ratchet, Arcee, Jolt, Skids, Alpha Trion (very wounded), Trailbreaker, Mirage (wounded), Hot Rod, Grimlock. Pretenders: Blur (Lennox), Nosecone (Epps), Silverbolt (Simmons), Brawn (Mikaela with Wheelie inside), Wheeljack (Sam). Decepticons: Starscream, Buzzsaw, Shockwave, Motormaster, Dead End, Drag Strip, Wildrider and Breakdown.

The humans take a look at the grim, cold world of Cybertron. It’s like nothing they’ve ever seen. Arcee senses the Decepticon signatures quite a distance away. Everyone’s worried what they should do. They feel all hope is lost.

“Weaklings,” Grimlock mutters. “If you wanted to be deactivated, you should have stayed on Earth. While you’re licking your wounds, the ‘Cons are celebrating their victory. They think the war is over but it’s not. They don’t know we’re here. They don’t know we outnumber them.”

“So what are we waiting for?” Hot Rod says, leaping into action. “Let’s go save Prime!”

“Prime’s probably dead,” Grimlock growls. “I’m in charge now.”

The Autobots and even the humans look around at each other, not knowing what else to do.

“Autobots,” Grimlock shouts. “Transform and roll out!”

They all follow Grimlock’s lead, some more reluctantly than others.

In the chamber of Vector Sigma, literally hundreds of lifeless Transformers stand motionless, awaiting the spark. Starscream and Shockwave bring Prime in. Starscream now has both Matrices.

“This is it, Starscream: Vector Sigma,” Shockwave says. Starscream approaches it, first with wonder, then with contempt, as it is just another thing to bend to his will. Shockwave’s still holding Prime.

“Well? Where is it, Prime?”

“I don’t know what-”

“Don’t lie to me. Since I received the Decepticon Matrix, great powers were unleashed. I can sense the Key. You have it in you somewhere. Do you want me to cut it out of you like I did the Matrix?”

Starscream’s standing a bit away from Prime, leveling a cannon at him. Prime looks at Shockwave and Starscream for a long time. Then he opens a container in his body. Starscream warns him against any trickery. But he doesn’t expect what happens next. Prime holds the Key to Vector Sigma out toward Starscream, then gives it….to Shockwave.

Meanwhile, the Autobots and humans are racing toward the chamber of Vector Sigma for the final battle.

Back in the chamber, Starscream asks Shockwave for the Key. Shockwave hesitates. Starscream turns his cannon toward him. Shockwave lets go of Prime’s hand and turns his own into a cannon.

“Don’t shoot, Starscream.”

“Then give me the Key!”

“I’ve been looking for this for ages.”

“Hand it over, Shockwave. So that I may make my legion.”

At this point, Prime starts to slink back into the shadows, ignored by the two Decepticons. He’s diverting power to his self-healing processes.

“Whoever uses the key places some of himself into his creations. It is only logical that I-”

“Slag it, Shockwave! The only reason you’re still standing is that I need all the warriors I can get. But I warn you not to stand in my way any longer. I killed Megatron, what makes you think I won’t kill you!”

“You…killed Megatron…?”

Meanwhile, outside, Buzzsaw comes screeching down toward Motormaster.

“What’s he squawking about?”

“What else?” Motormaster asks, stepping up and looking at the horizon. “We’re under attack.”

“Heh. Starscream was actually right,” Dead End says.

The Autobots race in to attack. The fastest are on point: Arcee, Jolt, Blur (Lennox), Silverbolt (Simmons), and Hot Rod. The slower guys, Ironhide, Skids, Trailbreaker, Ratchet, Nosecone (Epps), Wheeljack (Sam) and Brawn (Mikaela) are providing cover fire. Mirage and Alpha Trion are still wounded, so they hang back a bit. Bumblebee’s hurt, too, but nothing stops him. Some of Sam’s cover fire becomes friendly fire, but he’s just given a look and he tries harder next time.

Inside the chamber, Starscream and Shockwave hear the fight outside and Starscream realizes there isn’t any time. He grabs the Key to Vector Sigma, and Shockwave shoots him. They start to fight in the chamber, as Prime slinks deeper into the shadows.

Grimlock races toward the chamber of Vector Sigma, knocking Stunticons out of his way as he goes. Motormaster barrels down on him in truck mode. He’s about to make contact when a missile explodes in front of him. It’s Agent Simmons, riding Silverbolt, hooting with Han Solo-like joy from above.

The Stunticons tear into the Pretenders. “They’re the weak link!” Wildrider tells the others.

Lennox’ Blur has the speed over the Stunticons, but this becomes a detriment on Cybertron’s unpredictable landscape. He winds up being rammed into a building by Breakdown. Still functioning, but hurt.

Sam’s about to get scrapped by Wildrider when Mikaela’s bot comes charging in, spin-kicking and launching missiles.

“How did you do that?”

“You just have to think about it, remember? You don’t have to be able to do it in real life.”

Bumblebee, Sam and Mikaela fight side by side, and there’s great camaraderie. Wheelie is inside the cockpit with Mikaela. Mikaela’s bot gets damaged, and Wheelie crawls out and does some repairs on it, like an insane, backwoods version of R2D2.

Bumblebee and Sam knock back a Stunticon or two, but are ambushed by Buzzsaw. Buzzsaw speeds at Bumblebee in saw form, cutting up his shoulder as he flies past, aiming next at Sam. Bumblebee spins and shoots him as he heads toward Sam. The blast knocks him off balance and he has to transform. That’s when Sam claps him to the ground and stomps him flat.

Back inside the chamber, Starscream guts Shockwave, leaving his lifeless husk on the ground.

“Don’t worry, Shockwave. I’ll put a new spark into you. One that won’t ask so many questions.”

Prime watches, waiting for the right moment.

Grimlock’s hunting his way toward the chamber. He transforms into Dinobot mode to sniff it out.

Motormaster gives the order to merge. Dead End and Motormaster combine. The Autobots do their best to try to keep them separate. Trailbreaker throws a shield between Motormaster and Wildrider. But that leaves him vulnerable. Breakdown blasts him and the shield goes down. Motormaster and Wildrider merge. Mirage, invisible, tries to grab Drag Strip, but he breaks free and joins the merge. Jolt wraps his electro-whips around Breakdown, but he joins the merge and becomes the last arm.

Now Menasor is formed and Jolt’s whips are wrapped around him. Jolt dangles helplessly. Menasor swings his arm and Jolt becomes a flail, knocking back several Autobots. Trailbreaker puts up a shield, and Menasor flings Jolt down on it. The shield is transparent, so Trailbreaker sees Jolt’s face as it’s slammed into the shield over and over until the lights in Jolt’s eyes go dim.

The Autobots are trying their best to hold off Menasor. Mirage snipers him and flees. Menasor shoots in the general direction and obliterates anything Mirage was hiding near. Trailbreaker tries to trip him with a shield, but it doesn’t work.

They have to attempt a combine, Ratchet shouts.

“But we haven’t tested it yet!”

“We have to try,” Ratchet says. He calls the team together. Ratchet. Hot Rod. Arcee. Trailbreaker and Skids. They merge to form Defensor.

A mighty gestalt battle on Cybertron erupts. They are trying their best, but it’s tough. They can barely hold their new form together for long. And they have none of the experience that Menasor has.

Alpha Trion gets an idea. Defensor is able to hold Menasor at bay (possibly using Trailbreaker’s force field) long enough for Alpha Trion to open a space bridge. Menasor is charging away from it.

Alpha Trion is suffering. It’s taking all his energy to open this huge portal.

“What are you doing?” Mirage asks. “He’ll be a threat to whatever planet you send him.”

“He’s not going to a planet…”

We see huge flames on the other side of the space bridge portal. Defensor picks Menasor up and throws him through. Menasor plummets into the sun. Huge flames shoot through the portal before it closes. Alpha Trion falls to his knees, exhausted. Defensor, now beaten down pretty badly, can’t hold himself together any longer and falls back into Ratchet, Arcee, Hot Rod, Trailbreaker and Skids.

The Autobots and humans race toward the chamber.

Inside the chamber, Starscream’s about to put the Key into Vector Sigma, when he looks over and sees Prime holding a gun on him. Starscream just sighs. He’s tired of this. “How many do I have to kill to make an army?”

“Add one more,” he hears, and looks over at Grimlock. Starscream’s standing in front of Vector Sigma. Prime’s holding him at gunpoint on one end, and Grimlock the other.

“I’m surprised to see you alive, Grimlock,” Prime says.

“Same here.”

“Oh, I’m not,” says Starscream sarcastically. “This is the kind of day I’m having.”

“Can it, ‘Con. Hand over the Key. There’s no way you can use it before one of us guns you down.”

“Fine. You win, Optimus.” Starscream takes a step back and looks at the Key. He holds it toward Prime, then smiles, and gives it to Grimlock. He steps back from Vector Sigma, laughing. Because now, Prime and Grimlock’s guns are still pointed to where he used to be. But with him no longer there, they are pointing at each other.

Prime quickly corrects his, keeping Starscream at gunpoint. Grimlock just lowers his gun and stares at the Key.

Meanwhile, Alpha Trion is leading them toward Vector Sigma, where he stored all those robots he built. Even without his directions, they could have followed Grimlock’s trail.

An argument escalates between Grimlock and Prime over who should use the Key. Legend has it that the recipients of the spark will have a piece of the personality of whoever holds the Key. Legends have a way of turning out to be false, Optimus says. Prime, as leader of the Autobots, is humble but still thinks it should be him. Grimlock thinks Prime’s too weak, and that the new legion of Transformers should value strength.

Starscream watches from the sidelines. Absolutely loving this. Grimlock turns his back on Prime and points to the legion of empty Transformers that they’re arguing about. While his back is turned, Starscream blasts him. Grimlock thinks the shot came from Prime and goes into an unthinking rage. The two titans tear into each other. Prime’s trying to contain him, but it’s not working. Grimlock’s in too much of a rage. And his ferocity is threatening Vector Sigma’s safety.

Grimlock finally listens to reason. Prime, holding his jaws open, tells him it was Starscream taking a potshot. Grimlock comes to his senses and sniffs out Starscream. Besides, Prime says, one thing we can agree on is destroying Starscream.

A three-way fight is formed. Prime vs. Grimlock vs. Starscream. Grimlock and Prime are at an uneasy truce, but that doesn’t mean they don’t take shots at each other after Starscream’s knocked back. The surviving Autobots and humans have made it into the chamber of Vector Sigma, but are wisely staying back.

Prime’s hurting. He’s the only one who’s holding back, at least as fighting Grimlock is concerned. Just as Optimus is about to get fragged by Starscream, Ironhide jumps in and takes a bullet for him. He dies in Prime’s arms as Starscream just cackles.

Grimlock steps up to avenge him. Starscream is ready for him.

“No!” Prime shouts. Grimlock stops to look back. Prime walks past him. “Starscream’s mine.”

Now, Starscream’s scared.

A savage battle ensues. A stray missile from Starscream heads toward Skids. Grimlock jumps toward him and pushes Skids out of the way, saving his life. They look at each other. They still don’t like each other, but they’re not going to be fighting anymore.

Showing great ingenuity, cunning and even ruthlessness, Prime utterly destroys Starscream.

After the battle, Prime is winded, and it’s Grimlock who offers a hand to help him up. He offers him Starscream’s Decepticon insignia that he had ripped off of him from before. Prime takes it and throws it to the ground and grinds it under his foot. Grimlock laughs and claps him heartily on the back.

Alpha Trion looks at the hundreds of inanimate troops in the chamber of Vector Sigma. “I made their bodies. But that’s all I could do. We need Vector Sigma to give them life.”

Grimlock gives Prime the Key to Vector Sigma, finally acknowledging his leadership. Optimus pushes the Key and the Autobot Matrix into Vector Sigma. It glows wondrously.

“Welcome, Optimus Prime.” An emotionless voice says.

“Vector Sigma …as leader of the Autobots, I ask you to take the wisdom contained in the Matrix of Leadership and share it with these creations.”

“I cannot do that.”

“What? But…” Optimus is stunned, but is not disrespectful. He speaks with the awe that would come of someone talking to their god.

“Life needs more than just wisdom. It needs ambition if it is to thrive. All Transformers are constantly evolving. It is the nature of your species. Thus, my creations must have both the wisdom of the Autobot Matrix and the ambition of the Decepticon Matrix.”

“NO!” shouts Hot Rod. “We can’t do it. I don’t care if we’re the last ones! We can’t make more Decepticons!”

“Autobot and Decepticon are just your names. They mean nothing to me,” Vector Sigma says. “Each Transformer must make their choice.”

“And we will be there to guide them,” Prime says, looking at his comrades, stopping at Grimlock. “For anyone can change their mind.”

Ratchet and Bumblebee go to Starscream’s body and remove the Decepticon Matrix. A little bit of red light with crackling purple electricity jumps through the air when they do it.

Prime puts the Decepticon Matrix into Vector Sigma. “We honor your command, Vector Sigma.”

“Then let these new creations live, with the spark I give them.” Energy flows from Vector Sigma. A golden light bathes the area, lighting up the darkness literally and figuratively.

One by one, the automatons move. Look around. Look at their hands. Transform. Speak in Cybertronian. They are no longer dark. They are rich with color. Vibrant. Each one different and unique.

“Fellow Transformers,” Prime greets them. “We are the Last Autobots. Welcome to Cybertron, your home.”

It’s time for goodbyes.

The Autobots will stay on Cybertron, and guide the new life there. Bumblebee will return to Earth. He likes it there. And Earth needs a protector just in case. Prime grants Bumblebee’s wish, calling him “Autobot Commander of Earth.”

Agent Simmons says he’ll stay on Cybertron and help the Autobots. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and there’s enough air in the exosuit for months at a time. He’ll just go home for refills. And he won’t have to see his mother again.

Lennox and Epps will relay Simmons’ order that they’ll get the Killswitch shut down so that Bumblebee…and Wheelie…can come back.

Sam says goodbye to Optimus. Bumblebee says goodbye to his friends. Then Arcee and Bumblebee share a tender embrace before they leave. It’s meant to be funny, catching you off guard. Sam has this look on his face like “When did this happen?” Mikaela says “Oh, come on. It was so obvious.”

Alpha Trion opens a space bridge to Earth, and Mikaela, Sam, Lennox, Epps, Bumblebee and Wheelie step through.

Prime then turns to the new troops. They are all looking around, confused.

“My friends,” he begins. They all stop to look at him. “I am Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots.”

“Leader of Cybertron,” Hot Rod corrects. Prime looks at him, surprised.

“I suppose so. But leader or not. I need your help. Cybertron is at the end of a dark time. You are the first lives to be created here in millions of years. Our war…is over. We must rebuild what has been lost. For inside each of us is great potential that has yet to be tapped. We must work together and bring forward a Golden Age of peace and prosperity.”

Some of Prime’s speech is used as final narration here, as he has narrated each of the movies. We watch all the people go back to their homes and see their loved ones. Sgt. Furman welcomes back Lennox and Epps. Their families and Leo are there. Back on Cybertron we see the Autobots standing valiantly. And we get one last sweep of the new Transformers listening to Prime’s motivational speech. The camera stops on one last Transformer. We get a close-up of his eyes. They glow red with purple lightning.

 

 

 

The End

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”

I make silly videos and post them here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

This is the second act to my Transformers 3 treatment/screenplay.

The first act can be found in my previous post.

I also acted it out with my toys here:

Issue 3

Optimus and Ironhide return to the destroyed Sector Eight headquarters. They see the last of the Decepticons following the call to flee. Grimlock stops to peel Mudflap’s Autobot insignia off and meld it to his shoulder.

Skids is bawling about the loss of his “brother.” He pours a 40 of oil on the ground in honor. Optimus says a few words about the losses they suffered this day: Mudflap and the two humans. The three remaining Sector Eight Pretenders are too damaged to use. Someone says they’ll have to get the 2.0s online instead. (For headcount purposes, this means that Mudflap, Megatron and Bombshell are dead, and Windcharger, Inferno, Warpath, Smokescreen and Tracks are out for the rest of the story.)

Ironhide’s mad at Prime for risking lives, and losing Mudflap, to further the humans’ Killswitch project that ultimately could be used against them. It sows the seeds that makes him rebel later.

Sector Eight people are packing up the two Decepticon bodies: Megatron and Bombshell. The Autobots were surprised to see the Decepticon leader’s corpse. “Maybe it wasn’t us who dealt the killing blow,” Prime tells Ironhide. The human forces vow to dismantle the bodies so that the Decepticons can’t rebuild Megatron again. Ironhide, Jolt and Arcee will stay behind to help after they rendezvous with reinforcements coming from Cybertron.

Meanwhile, Starscream flies toward a mountain. He goes right through it, an illusion. He transforms and marches through Decepticon headquarters. The other Decepticons look at their new leader strangely.

Starscream heads down one of the stark metal hallways. He hears Megatron’s last words echoing throughout the halls. Starscream’s getting scared, until Soundwave appears. He recorded their fight, and is threatening to expose him. If Starscream attacks Soundwave, Buzzsaw will broadcast the message. If Starscream attacks Buzzsaw, Soundwave will broadcast it.

“Are you challenging me for leadership, now, Soundwave?”

“No. The real power is behind the throne.”

“Then,” Starscream asks, “what do you want?”

“The Key.”

“Never. I need it for my troops.”

“Correction, Starscream. My troops.”

Angrily, Starscream turns over the Key to Vector Sigma. It had been found on Cybertron, and Starscream was holding on to it to create soldiers to overthrow Megatron.

Bumblebee returns to the lake to pick up Sam and Mikaela, who made the best of their time alone.

Bumblebee brings them to a prepared place in the desert where the rest of the Autobots are awaiting a space bridge jump.

They watch as a group teleports in. They are led by the commander of Autobots of Cybertron, Alpha Trion, a wise old Autobot engineer. He has space bridge technology. With him is defensive strategist Trailbreaker, espionage agent Mirage, and young warrior Hot Rod.

Alpha Trion tells them of a great battle that took place on Cybertron. We watch glimpses of the battle, but don’t get a real good look at anything. Unless, maybe this is the time to cameo other characters just for fun. But the point is that the Decepticons on Cybertron, led by Shockwave, made a push and eradicated the Autobots. He suspects the Decepticons had a spy that gave away their location. “We are the last Autobots.” Shockwave is really built up here as a threat who personally exterminated hundreds of the last Autobots, either directly, or through his servant Menasor, who we don’t see yet.

Head Count: Autobots: Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Ratchet, Sideswipe, Arcee, Jolt, Skids, Wheelie, Alpha Trion, Trailbreaker, Mirage, Hot Rod. Decepticons: Starscream, Soundwave, Kickback, Shrapnel, Grimlock, Buzzsaw and whatever Decepticons are still on Cybertron who haven’t come yet. That’s it. No more since the Allspark is gone.

“Vector Sigma is cold,” Alpha Trion says. Without the Allspark to give it power, the Vector Sigma computer can no longer give life to any machines. They need to discover a way to bring life back to Cybertron. (Remember? The plot from the first movie that never got resolved.)

“We need the Key to Vector Sigma. This, and the creation matrix within you, Optimus Prime, is the only way we can continue our species.”

“But what kind of Transformers will it create? Will they definitely be Autobots?”

“Can’t say for certain. Legends say that whoever holds the key can place elements of their personality inside. But, legends are not always true.”

As evening falls, the Autobots are trying to blow off steam after their memorial for Mudflap. They have a cavern in some mountains far away from civilization. Here they can have a home without endangering civilians. They’re having fun. Relaxing. We get a chance to see what they’re like when they’re not shooting at each other.

Only Ironhide is grim. He says something very ominous about how this is just the calm before the storm and as he turns to give a dramatic exit, he slams into a force field.

“Very funny, Trailbreaker.”

Ratchet says he has plans to reconfigure five Autobots so they could have an alternate mode like that Devastator creature they fought before. Several hands go up as volunteers. He begins preparations right away.

Sam sees Optimus leave the group and goes to talk to him. We get a few minutes of conversation to show their mutual respect and emotion between them. Prime feels he failed his team, and the race of Cybertronians in general. Sam helps pep him up, tells him he’s saved his planet (Earth) many times. “Maybe that’s what you’re meant to do. Maybe Earth is meant to be your home.”

And speaking of home, he’s got to head back. Bumblebee gives Sam and Mikaela a ride.

Since the gathering is kind of breaking up, no one notices Mirage leave on his own. No one, that is, except Hot Rod.

Mirage drives to a pre-arranged spot and transforms. He looks around, rocket dart rifle ready, until something catches his eye. It’s Buzzsaw. He’s not sure what to do until Soundwave emerges.

“Welcome to Earth, Mirage.”

“Soundwave. I came alone. You?”

“I’m never alone,” Soundwave says, Rumble crawling out of his chest cavity. “What news do you have?”

“First, you.”

“Megatron is dead. Starscream now rules the Decepticons. But he’s under my…supervision…”

“Good. Alpha Trion, Trailbreaker and Hot Rod are here now. That’s it for us.”

“And the other…”

“I found the forgotten library before we left Cybertron. I downloaded all the files that weren’t corrupt. One mentions something that would be of interest to you. The Decepticon Matrix?”

“Where is it?”

“Megatron’s body.”

“Can you get it?”

“Do you have what I need?”

Soundwave shows Mirage a vaguely key-shaped mechanism. “The Key to Vector Sigma.”

Mirage asks why Soundwave would want the Decepticon Matrix without the Key? The Key is needed to create new life. The matrix will guide that life.

Soundwave explains that the Decepticon Matrix has power of its own. He lists a few, but notes specifically granting one the ability to change into nothing more than a stream of energy: a ghost in the machine. Soundwave doesn’t want to create more Decepticons. Why have competition? (Besides, with Shockwave guarding Vector Sigma, there’s no chance of the Autobots taking it. Especially with the Stunticons coming to Earth to take down Prime.) He only likes the Decepticons that are a part of him, he says, Buzzsaw perched on his shoulder.

Soundwave asks why Mirage would want to give the Matrix to him. Why would an Autobot do that? Mirage said he’s been fighting this war for millions of years. He’s burned out. He wants it to end any way he can end it.

As Mirage leaves, he doesn’t notice Hot Rod spying on him.

Meanwhile, Bumblebee drops Mikaela home. Wheelie is waiting for her, pacing back and forth like a nervous wreck. He’s talking to the alarm clock. “When is she going to be home?”

Bumblebee brings Sam home. Judy Witwicky is anxiously awaiting the lovebird at the door. “Well, honey? How’d it go?”

“Mudflap’s dead, and so is Megatron and some other big bug guy. My best friends are an endangered species.”

He heads upstairs, and Judy just looks confused. Ron says “Ah, just like us when we were young.”

Back at Autobot base, Mirage is confronted by Hot Rod in front of the others. Doubt is cast upon his loyalty and people ask Prime to make a decision. Prime stands by Mirage. Not to insult Hot Rod, but he doesn’t want to sow chaos right now. Mirage is more useful as a soldier than as a prisoner. Several Autobots stand by Prime’s decision. Hot Rod, Ironhide, Sideswipe, and a few other tougher warriors are leaning away from him. Prime asks Alpha Trion, privately, what he knows of Hot Rod.

“Hot Rod was the last Transformer to be given a spark. He’s a little quick to action, but he has great potential.”

Meanwhile, Simmons and Leo are working in the Sector Eight lab to perfect the Killswitch. Gen. Morshower is there, asking for a status update. He was the nervous little bureaucrat from the last movie. They want to make it worldwide. Morshower gives him a deadline of one day, and Simmons says it might be ready then.

Mirage sneaks into the base and finds Megatron’s body. The Sector Eight guys haven’t dismantled it yet. They want to unlock its secrets first. Invisible, he opens Megatron’s chest cavity and removes the Matrix. He steals away into the night.

Issue 4

We see Lennox and Epps working on the 2.0 Exosuits, but we don’t get a good look at them yet. The third survivor (Furman) of the opening battle is winded. He doesn’t look too good. He’s nervous and scared.

Lennox hears about the new timetable on the Killswitch project and calls the Autobots. He tells them, basically, that they’ve got a day to leave Earth.

This helps finalize the rift that’s been forming among the Autobots (caused by doubt over Mirage, deaths of their friends, and just the weariness of continuing this fight when Prime seems unable to end it). Prime promises to leave Earth, hoping the Decepticons will follow. The tougher ‘bots want to take the battle to the ‘cons. Ironhide and a few others seem to be growing apart from Prime.

Sam is at his new job at NASA. He works in the astronaut training center. His biggest dream these days is to take to the stars. But he’s called into his boss’s office. Things are not going as well as he thought. A lot of the guys in the office are talking behind his back. His boss refers to it as “concern.” They ask him to take a psychological test. We know right then and there that he has no hope of passing.

Finally, we get our first good look at Cybertron. Shockwave and his troops (the Stunticons) are searching for something, and they find it: Vector Sigma.

“With this, we can finally make more soldiers!” Shockwave says.

“What’s the point? They’ll all just die in battle anyway,” Dead End mutters.

Shockwave upbraids Dead End for his sullenness. His pessimism is illogical. He contacts Starscream, telling him he found Vector Sigma. But it’s empty. It needs a matrix to fuel it. Starscream decides he’s going to need the one from Prime, not realizing yet that there is such a thing as a Decepticon Matrix. Shockwave also finds something else: about a hundred empty shells. These are Transformers that Alpha Trion built, waiting for the Allspark or Vector Sigma to give them life. Basically, these should have been 100 new Autobots, but now they’re going to be made into Decepticons.

Starscream wants a new army to command. He wants to create soldiers that he knows will be loyal because he’s the one imparting their personalities. Soundwave pits Starscream against Prime, to try to get him to steal the Autobot Matrix. Soundwave tells him that the Autobot Matrix is the only thing that can get Vector Sigma to breathe new life into those machines.

Starscream tells Shockwave to stay there and guard Vector Sigma, but send the Stunticons down to Earth to create enough havoc to lure Prime and the others away. Motormaster is more than happy with this. He has a score to settle with Prime.

Starscream sends Shrapnel to NEST headquarters to use them against the Autobots. Grimlock is ordered to stay by Starscream as his bodyguard, but Grimlock just scoffs at him. He calls Starscream a coward for using puny humans to attack his enemies. After centuries of being on Earth, he doesn’t like the humans, but he pities them. He sees the Decepticon way as backward. The only ones on this dust ball who fight honorably are the Autobots, he says.

Grimlock breaks ranks with the Decepticons. Starscream challenges him, but in an offhand way, because he’s scared.

Grimlock looks at the rest of the Decepticons in the room (Soundwave, Buzzsaw, Rumble, the two remaining Insecticons) and knows he’s outnumbered if an actual fight starts. He walks confidently up to Starscream and pulls off Starscream’s Decepticon insignia, then says “I’ll be back for the rest of you.”

As Grimlock walks out, none of the other Decepticons challenge him. But he is outnumbered if they should all fight. Starscream calls after him, calling him a coward. Soundwave says “Maybe he’s just using strategy.”

Sam goes to Mikaela for help. He still has a job, but there’s no way they’re ever going to let him on a flight now, even when he was training so hard.

Mikaela gives him a pick-me-up speech about how he’s smart, and he’s destined to go places. It’s in his blood. His great-grandfather was an explorer.

“Look at me,” she said. “I’m still working in my dad’s old shop. Not like you. You’re going somewhere. You’ve already done stuff that people only dream of,” as Wheelie is playing with a flashlight. Every time it goes off, he thinks it’s dead.

Mirage meets with Soundwave in their predestined spot. They trade their items. Mirage holds out the Decepticon Matrix and Soundwave holds the Key to Vector Sigma.

“I sense that is the real Decepticon Matrix,” Soundwave says. “The readings I’m picking up….wait….you mean to double-cross me!”

Mirage takes a bomb out from a hidden compartment and hurls it at Soundwave. Soundwave dives out of the way at the last minute, dropping the Key. The bomb explodes in a sphere of electro-static energy.

“You’re a fool, Mirage. When you fight Soundwave, you’re always outnumbered,” Soundwave says, as Buzzsaw and Rumble eject, slamming into Mirage with the force of a rocket. “Buzzsaw, Rumble: Eject. Operation: Destruction!”

Buzzsaw turns into a circular saw, mounted on Soundwave’s forearm. He flings his arm, and the blade flies off, cuts through Mirage, transforms into a condor, turns around, fires, then transforms back into a saw and cuts through Mirage again.

Mirage can get shots at him, but he’s overwhelmed. He hides the Decepticon Matrix back in his compartment. Rumble rips the compartment open to grab it and toss it to Buzzsaw. Buzzsaw flies it back to Soundwave, but Mirage’s shot knocks it out of Buzzsaw’s claws.

Rumble jumps on Mirage. His pile drivers cause a quake on his body. Chunks of armor fall off. Then Mirage grabs Rumble, who writhes in his hand. Then he turns his hand into a missile launcher and fires. Rumble, at the tip of the missile, is launched and collides with Soundwave, killing them both.

Buzzsaw gets away, grabbing the Decepticon Matrix on his way out.

Mirage returns to the Autobots, severely damaged. He tells Prime he did everything he asked him to do. But the mission was only a partial success. He retrieved the Key to Vector Sigma. The Decepticons have their Matrix. Mirage gives Prime the Key to Vector Sigma. Ratchet gets him stable, but he’s still hurting.

This is how we learn that Prime was aware of Mirage’s actions the whole time. Prime informs the rest of the Autobots that Mirage had to appear to be acting on his own because the Decepticons have spies everywhere. Hot Rod sheepishly apologizes.

Buzzsaw returns to Decepticon base and provides Starscream with the Matrix. Starscream’s very surprised, but very happy that Soundwave’s schemes ended badly. Starscream puts the matrix in and energy crackles over him. He uses the Matrix’s power to augment his robot and jet modes. Whenever there’s a close-up, his eyes gleam bright red with purple lightning crackling all around.

Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”

I make silly videos and post them here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

I wrote a part 3 to the Transformers live action movies. What came of it was a 15 page treatment. I tried to stick to the story, and the characters, and keep everything in line with what has come before, but…better…

Then I took out my toys and acted out the first part and put it on YouTube here:

 

What follows is the first and second parts.  I hope you enjoy it.

Transformers

The Last Autobots

Opens at Sam’s house. It’s early morning. They’ve got a new house, rebuilt with government funds. The alarm goes off. Sam’s eyes were open anyway. He’s very excited. Everything’s going great with his life: family, girl, new job at NASA. But today is special, but he hasn’t said why yet.

Sam goes downstairs. His mom is up to her usual shenanigans. The house was rebuilt by a reincorporated Sector Seven, now called Sector Eight. Because of this, there are tons of gadgets. Everything’s at a push of a button. But she can’t get anything to work. He’s having a blast. He gets whatever it is working with just one push of a button.

“Wow, Honey. You’ve got the touch,” she says.

He confidently walks outside. “They shoulda built us a lawn that mows itself,” his father says in the front yard, as Sam runs out the door. He’s trying to fix the lawn mower. “Where you running off to?”

Sam can hardly speak. “Today’s the day.”

His mother comes out. “Today’s the day!?”

“Yes, Mom.”

“Oooooh! Today’s the day!” She hugs him.

“The day for what?” his father asks.

Sam is smothered by his mother. “Mom…Mom.”

“I knew this day would come!”

“Is anybody going to tell me what’s going on?”

“Mom…one of us is going to die if you don’t let go…”

“I’m so sorry. It’s just that…Oooooh!”

The father just shakes his head and goes back to tinkering with the lawnmower. Sam’s mother gushes over him a bit longer, then is interrupted. Something jams in the lawnmower. It was turned on its back, and the automatic thrust kicks in and the blades spin. Sam’s dad has a second to get out of the way as the chopping blades charge past.

“Bumblebee!” Sam calls. True to form, his protector launches out of the garage and blasts the lawnmower to pieces.

In the aftermath, they look around. Sam’s mother offers her advice. “Y’know, honey. Just because a major appliance is broken doesn’t mean it’s a Decepticon.”

Across town, an alarm comes on, and Mikaela drags herself out of bed. Throws a robe on. Stumbles to the kitchen where Wheelie is smooth-talking the coffee machine. Then, when he sees her, he tells the coffee machine, “Act natural.”

Mikaela knows what’s going on. “The TiVo’s going to be jealous.”

“That was just a fling. This…this is special. This is love.”

“Yeah, well, I love my coffee maker, too. Move over.” She gets past Wheelie to make some coffee. Wheelie has a Tailgate thing going on, not realizing that inanimate objects are not alive. On her way out, she steals a line from a great YouTube video: “By the way, that’s a Mister Coffee.” Wheelie just looks at it.

Bumblebee pulls up in front of Mikaela’s. She’s dressed and ready to go. Although she’s not terribly thrilled to be going on a picnic or whatever insane thing Sam has planned this time.

So they go to the lake where he first “picked her up.”

As they look out over the lake, Sam bends down on one knee and fishes a ring out of his pocket. “Mikaela. There’s something I want to ask you…”

He cues Bumblebee, and he starts playing “If you think I’m sexy and you like my body, come on baby let me know!”

Sam waves the song off. “Real funny, ‘Bee! C’mon, we practiced this!”

It doesn’t matter. Mikaela says “Do you really think I’m going to be a little housewife with 2.5 kids and a white picket fence?”

“The fence is optional.”

“You really think this is for the long haul?”

“Sure. Don’t you?”

“Well, most of our relationship is about almost getting blown up. If you really want me around, you’re going to have to keep our lives that exciting.”

Cut to Optimus Prime leading Ironhide, Ratchet, Mudflap and Skids into an abandoned town in a desert. There are mountain ranges nearby. Prime warns them to be on the lookout for anything.

Suddenly, five Transformers spring out of hiding from several vehicles that appeared to be abandoned on the side of the road. A red sports car and a faded race car chase the Autobots, funneling them down a path toward a big tank. The faded race car emits a trail of thick smog. Wings flip out of a blue Corvette and it takes to the sky, raining down black beams that blind them. A huge fire truck hits them with freezing fluid.

The Autobots match them in battle. But it becomes clear really quickly that the weapons each side are using are not doing any damage. They are tagging each other with electrical impulses. There’s even some playful banter between both sides.

In the end, the Autobots win, with only receiving a few tags. We see inside the new robots, and learn that they are Major Lennox and his crew. Sector Seven might be no more. But there is now Sector Eight, a worldwide anti-Decepticon team that has reverse engineered their own Transformers. The Autobots have been training the soldiers to use these battle mechs to help them in the war against the Decepticons. They used to do remote control, but the one-on-one interface is much better than remote. They found that remote control was easily tapped. The new Sector Eight NEST Transformers are Windcharger (piloted by Lennox), Inferno (piloted by Epps), Warpath (piloted by a new guy), Smokescreen (piloted by a new guy) and Tracks (piloted by a new guy, Sgt. Furman).

The Autobots and Sector Eight NEST crew are called back into a nearby compound. Giving high-fives and pats on the back. Mudflap and one of the other soldiers even give each other a chest bump.

Prime tells Lennox that the new ‘bots performed well. Lennox said that if you liked these, the 2.0 models are almost complete.

What they don’t see is a small, metallic insect stowing away on one of the Sector Eight robots.

Inside, Agent Simmons, now back in charge of things, welcomes them back into the base. He makes a derogatory comment about his assistant, who we find is the hyper tech-head Leo. Simmons proudly shows them Sector Eight’s newest toy: A Killswitch designed from Transformer parts that can remotely shut down aggressive robots. It hasn’t been tested yet on real Cybertronians.

Prime, of course, volunteers. Ironhide steps up. “Let me go instead, Optimus. You know I’d take a bullet for you any day. We can’t afford it if something goes wrong. You can lose a grunt like me and keep fighting.”

Prime: “You’re my right hand for a reason, Ironhide. Besides, there isn’t any sacrifice I’d call on you to make that I wouldn’t make myself.”

Simmons nervously pull the switch. Prime goes into a mechanized coma. Then Bombshell, the little insect, injects a cerebro-shell into Simmons. He turns the Killswitch on Ironhide next, shutting him down. Leo gets the Killswitch away from Simmons. But they can’t figure out a way to reverse it.

Then Decepticons attack. Lennox and his troops first pick up what they think is a dust storm gathering outside. They get a visual and realize that it’s actually a plague of Insecticons. Millions of tiny little metal bugs have swarmed the facility, sneaking their way into every little crevice. They pour into the building. They rise up, insects stacking and climbing over each other, until they form three distinct characters: Bombshell, Kickback and Shrapnel. Their armor is a blur of crawling insects. When they transform, it’s like all the bugs crawl into a new place. Then they look like giant insects made up of millions of smaller insects. Whenever they take damage, several insects crumble off. When they talk, it’s like each insect is talking, giving their voice a creepy whispering echo.

Taking instructions from Ratchet, Leo crushes the cerebro shell, and Bombshell goes crazy, like every insect in his body screams. He’s a big blur for a few seconds, and can’t hold himself together well. Lennox, driving Windcharger, takes this opportunity. He uses his magnetic powers to spread the insects apart, keeping Bombshell from coming back together. He then uses the magnetism to crush them.

Prime and Ironhide are left in limbo while the others try to bring them back. Ratchet radios for help while trying to get Prime back on line.

Back at the lake, Bumblebee tells his friends there’s trouble and leaves to help. Plays “Hold On, I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave.

“Our ride just left to fight evil,” Mikaela says.

Mudflap asks where these guys came from, and Skids answers. They are Seekers. There were five Seekers who were searching for the Matrix of the Primes during the last movie. They all took ancient forms. Jetfire was one. Here’s three more. Well then, where’s the fifth?

A huge explosion racks the place. You can hear heavy footsteps. Building tension. Until finally, we see Grimlock in all his glory tear a whole through the place. They see dozens of Autobot insignias all over Grimlock’s body and for a second they are hopeful. Until Grimlock informs them that the insignias are his “scalps,” trophies of Autobots he’s killed. Megatron, Soundwave and Starscream are right behind him. Even with the Sector Eight NEST bots, the Autobots are badly outnumbered.

Issue 2

Soundwave ejects Rumble and Buzzsaw to help in the fight. Rumble causes an earthquake that wrecks havoc on the NEST robots. Buzzsaw ejects as a circular saw and carves into Tracks. Buzzsaw transforms and tries to claw and peck at the human inside (Sgt. Furman). When he can’t, he transforms back, and continues to slice deeper. Tracks tries to grab the spinning blade, and loses a hand. Megatron blasts the Warpath Sector Eight NEST bot and destroys it, killing the driver. Soundwave and his henchmen tear apart Smokescreen.

We see some Autobot back-up coming, but they won’t be here in time. Bumblebee is leading a troop of reinforcements: Arcee, Jolt and Sideswipe.

Ratchet tries to protect the lifeless bodies of Prime and Ironhide, but is having trouble. Mudflap and Skids step up to the plate against Grimlock. And this ends badly as Mudflap is literally devoured.

Megatron sees this as his opportunity to strike Prime while he’s down. Ratchet bravely stands between them, but is knocked away by Megatron, trying to get to his prize. Just as Megatron is about to deliver the killing blow, he’s stopped by Grimlock. “There’s no honor in a victory like this.”

Magatron is furious. “You’d defy me? Do you think you should be giving commands?”

“No,” Grimlock says. “I’m not the one who wants your crown,” as he looks at Starscream.

The other Autobots finally get there, and the battle is rejoined. Bumblebee and Sideswipe team up to take on Megatron. Grimlock looks at Ratchet and tells him to get the others back online so that he may have a real battle and that Prime may “die a warrior’s death.” He goes off to fight someone else, letting Ratchet work.

Bumblebee sings “Welcome back” from “Welcome Back, Kotter.” Megatron doesn’t know why he’s making that infernal noise until he sees that Optimus and Ironhide have risen. They soundly pummel Megatron, and he’s forced to sound a retreat. Megatron and Starscream are chased out of the compound by Prime and Ironhide. During this fight, Starscream sees an opportunity to help Megatron against Prime, but chooses to let Megatron get defeated.

Megatron and Starscream break away from Prime and Ironhide. Megatron is severely injured and asks for Starscream’s help in getting him out of the battle.

“Help, mighty Megatron?” Starscream taunts. “It seems I’m always helping you. You landed on this dirtball, and got yourself frozen. I had to thaw you out. Then, you let a fleshling defeat you. I had to find your body and bring you back. And now, another of your failed plans brings us low.”

“Starscream! You wish to take my place? You’ll draw a target on your back for every Decepticon beneath you.”

“I’ll tell the others you died valiantly,” he tells Megatron.

“Only a coward would wait until now!”

“It’s not fear, Megatron. It’s strategy. Too bad you never heard of it.”

With this, Starscream fires a set of missiles and ends Megatron’s life. Starscream transforms and flees the scene, but he doesn’t see Buzzsaw watching the entire scene.

Is it a sign of getting too old that I want less adventure in my movies?

I was watching “Up” and “Toy Story 3” lately, and it struck me that the parts of the plots that injected action into the story were the least interesting.

Other people might have thought the same thing. When you talk about “Toy Story 3,” do you talk about the extremely lengthy escape scene or do you talk about the tearjerking ending? When discussing “Up,” do you talk about an evil explorer trying to catch a bird, or do you talk about the sad, quiet moments when the filmmakers told the story of Carl’s life in silent snippets?

I liked both of these movies. But, as my wife said, the adventure parts of it seemed “too grand.” They got in the way of the fantasy.

In place of the goofy action in the previous installments, like dueling with the evil Zurg, “Toy Story 3” had actual danger. To a degree, this made the action all the more important. But at the same time, to stretch that out into overly elaborate action movie quests just made it less important.

It had the fantasy of toys being alive, and how they get through life. Whereas the first two were fun and light, this one had a bleakness in every aspect of it. It wasn’t as uplifting as the other two.

And “Up” didn’t lift me up at all. Take the idea of an old man tying balloons to his house to make it fly. Where is he flying? Is he going somewhere or is he trying to get away from something? Both, as it turns out. That should have been enough to give it the whimsy of some of the best non-violent children’s stories.

But instead, the heroes are fighting against a villain who gets killed at the end. Not the fantasy I wanted. It began perfectly. It ended perfectly. Throughout the middle, I kept thinking “What is going on here?”

Maybe this was because “Up” and “Toy Story 3” were both made for 3D.

They had to have extra action. There were a lot of shots that seemed like they were supposed to come out at you.

With regards to 3D: What filmmakers need to realize about their new toys is that a decade or three down the line, no one’s going to care about whatever technology you created. Yes, color and sound were both huge for movies, and both had detractors at the time. But the technology is supposed to compliment the movie. The movie shouldn’t be a slave to the technology.

But anyway, even in other movies, I want less action, and more characterization. I hear about a great idea for a time travel story or whatever, and then I lose interest when it devolves into “just another reason to fight.” The fantasy elements are not fantasies by themselves, but MacGuffins to get people to fight. A plot device for violence.

Maybe I should learn from this. All of my comic books, of course, involve violence and struggle. Perhaps these struggles should be more internal and interpersonal.

Spider-Man 4

NOTES

He saves the people he loves as Peter Parker.

What’s the Lizard’s big plan? To make other people into Lizards and to remain a Lizard himself permanently.

Establish that spidey was successful in creating Connors’ cure, show the Connors family grieving while he’s on the loose.

OTHER POINTS

Might be a bit anticlimactic, taking out the Lizard before you take out his henchmen? However, there hasn’t been a 30+ mutant fight in the movie as of that point. Nah. It makes it different. It’s a good team-up at the end.

Final showdown with the Lizard. Spidey has two syringes. The Lizard doesn’t realize that Spider-Man has already cured his aunt. Spidey tells him that one of the syringes holds the Iso-36 for Aunt May, and the other holds Dr. Connors’ cure. The Lizard gets the upper hand, and demands the Iso-36, which will keep him as the Lizard forever. Spider-Man happily obliges and hands it over. The Lizard gets suspicious. What’s the other vial for, he asks. Spidey says the other one is the cure. The Lizard doesn’t trust him and takes that one instead. The Lizard injects himself and in a dramatic encore turns back into Dr. Curt Connors. The one Spidey had given him was the Iso-36, knowing the Lizard wouldn’t trust him and demand the other one, which was the cure.

We need to establish that Dr. Connors only has one arm before the lizard experiment. So that’s why we see him before we see MJ.

Aunt May gets sick, or is injured by one of the lizards, and need a blood transfusion. Just like in the comics, Peter’s radiated blood hurts her, and she gets worse really fast. I don’t know about that. Why would Peter risk giving her a blood transfusion. He knows better.

He opens the back and it’s empty. He looks around and he sees all the equipment strung up in buildings and trees along the road he took.

SPIDER-MAN 5

Peter has taken on a job teaching high school science at a really troubled school. No one will teach there. They’re too afraid. That’s how he was able to get a job without a teaching degree. As luck would have it, the gym teacher there is none other than Flash Thompsen. Their rivalry begins anew.

All the hype and buzz about Spider-Man 5 should revolve around the new villain, Hobgoblin, and how he is connected to the Osborn legacy. There should also be a note on IMDB or something where he teams up with Shocker. But when you’re watching the movie, there’s this intricate plot involving people you don’t know. Later, when Spidey tracks the Hobgoblin down, he is in league with Shocker, Stunner, Vulture, Hydro-Man, and the Jackal. During the fight with the new Sinister Six, Spidey starts to realize that his spider-sense isn’t going off. In fact, nothing seems to be really happening in the fight.

It’s then that Spidey realizes all these people are illusions. He leaves and tries to find what’s really happening. This was all to distract him from Mysterio’s (“Miss Cheerio?”) ultimate plan, which involved all the subplot stuff in the beginning that seemed unnecessary at the time.

Spider-Man 4

(Since Spider-Man 4 isn’t going to be made, I might as well post this fan treatment I wrote recently.)

Journalists and photographers swarm a courtroom as aging mafioso Silvio Manfredi is being escorted to prison. There’s high security and the police are very anxious.

The camera sweeps across the row of photographers, including Peter Parker. It ends on one of them pulling a gun. Sweeping back, Peter’s gone. One of the photogs near him is looking around wondering where he went.

The photographer with a gun, a dirty cop, and several other people nearby have been planted by Manfredi (Silvermane) to enable his escape. The bad guys pull guns, and they are immediately stuck with webs. Spidey swoops in to save the day.

We see his camera webbed up in an inconspicuous place on an auto-timer. We see through the viewfinder as Spidey takes out armed thugs. At one funny point, one of the thugs isn’t coming into frame, so Spidey has to taunt him closer. He doesn’t take the bait, so Spider-Man slings a web at him and pulls him to his fist. Photo finish!

He hands the photos in to J. Jonah Jameson, who complains that they are already late. “It’s old news, Parker!” Other photographers already got the shots in to their editors. The TV news people are broadcasting it. Photos are online. Peter said if there was some way to send him the photos, instead of riding his moped in, the Bugle would beat out the competitors. Robbie Robertson suggests giving him one of those Blackberry kind of devices so Peter can send him photos. Jameson grudgingly agrees, with the caveat that the cost of the device comes out of his pay.

Peter leaves the Bugle and hops on his moped to get to his advanced biology class at Empire State University. When he arrives, he sees a note on the door signed by Dr. Curt Connors that class has been canceled. He leaves, disappointed. On his way out, he spies Connors looking over photos in his office. Wedding pictures. Shots with his wife, Martha and son, Billy.

Peter has a close relationship with his professor and advisor so he goes in to talk to him. Connors is upset that ever since the accident where he lost his arm, he hasn’t been able to really hug his son. He doesn’t feel like a total person.

Peter doesn’t really know what to say, but tells him that in the four years he’s known him, he’s respected and admired him. A son wants more from a father than just hugs. He wants to learn from him; he wants his father to show him the world. We get the feeling that Connors is kind of a surrogate father figure to Pete during his college years. Connors thanks him for the pick-me-up. Peter has to leave, because he’s got a big event that night. He’s going to a movie.

Open on a big movie premiere. Flashbulbs going off, celebrities walking around. The movie poster shows three characters, one man and two women. One of the women is Mary Jane Watson. It’s for a cheesy-looking super hero movie.

A bunch of photographers gather around a limo pulling up to the premiere. The limo door opens, and, although we are expecting to see Mary Jane, the other woman from the poster comes out of the limo. And on her arm is…Johnny Storm? Just a way to tie all the comic movies together. A klutzy photographer bumps his arm and spills a drink onto him. We see the klutz is, of course, Peter Parker. Johnny admonishes him for spilling the drink, but not too harshly, because he can dry himself off quickly.

Peter watches Johnny and the actress walk off when another car pulls up. He turns, and brings the camera up. Mary Jane emerges from the car. She poses for a bunch of photogs, then makes her way up the red carpet. The photogs swarm the next car, which is bringing the male star of the movie. So MJ has a minute to play to Peter’s camera and make sure he gets the best pictures. We see through his lens as he fires off a roll on her smile. Then, she stretches out her arm. He settles the camera on his chest and takes her hand, and they walk into the premiere together.

The movie is a hit. We watch a bit of it. It’s full of in-jokes made for a group of people who are watching Spider-Man 4. Maybe there’s a scene where Bruce Campbell saunters out of the classic Delta Royale. Peter has to leave partway through the movie in order to e-mail the photos to Jameson to make deadline.

While outside, his spider-sense goes off. He sees a woman walking alone down an alley across from the theater. She’s attacked by some kind of lizard man in the shadows. It’s too dark to see much more than silhouettes. The woman is recognized later as Martha Connors, wife of Curt Connors. Spider-Man and the Lizard seem equally matched for strength and speed. But the Lizard is just an animal at this point. They fight leaping between fire escapes on opposite sides of an alley. The Lizard pulls one fire escape off the side of the wall and flings it around with Spider-Man on top. Spidey manages to fling the beast off a building. It connects with a power cable which severs its leg off. We watch as the leg grows back, and the Lizard scampers off into the night. Spidey misses this detail, however, since he was busy making sure Martha Connors is all right.

Throughout the fight, Mary Jane is sitting in the theater, looking at the door every time someone opens it. It’s never Peter. And eventually, she stops looking back when the door opens.

After the premiere, everyone is coupled off. She has to fake smiles to photographers. She’s none too happy when Peter finally comes back. He hastily explains what happened. He’s humble, so he doesn’t mention it was a big monster. She’s understanding, but is still upset. A lot goes unsaid.

MJ and Peter leave the theater, and Mary Jane gives the other actress in the movie a big hug. After they leave, MJ talks about how much she hates the backstabbing attention-seeker.

“But you were all chummy a minute ago?”

“I’m an excellent actress.” (This is a line that comes up several times throughout the movie.)

After the premiere, Pete takes her to the side of a building. They both look around to make sure no one sees them. He slings a web up to the top and wraps an arm around her. He pulls them up and the next thing we see they are on a rooftop overlooking the city. He has a small picnic-style meal spread out. She’s impressed. During the meal, he pulls out the ring he never got to use before (given to him by Aunt May in the previous movie). As he’s proposing, her entire demeanor sours. She begins to tell him no.

“You’re not acting, are you?” he says, knowing the answer.

“Throughout the whole movie tonight, every time the door opened, I hoped it was you. It was never you. The only time you’re there for me is when my life is on the line. How can I live like that?”

Even though he’s always there to rescue her, “there’s a difference between safe and secure.”

Also, Peter has to let MJ in on Spider-Man’s life. “You and Spider-Man aren’t two separate people. Don’t act like what happens in one of their lives doesn’t affect the other.”

He tells her to keep the ring, “when you change your mind.”

He leaves, and goes straight to Aunt May’s house. When she anxiously opens the door, he’s got a hangdog face on and she knows what happened. No words pass, she just takes him into a hug.

Aunt May and Peter sit and talk about relationships. Peter asks what his parents’ relationship was like. May tells them they were in love, and that’s why they fought. If they didn’t love each other so much, they wouldn’t have cared what happened. The important thing is that he and MJ are fighting because they care, and because deep down they want it to work. They’re fighting to make it work.

Aunt May seems very weak during the conversation. Peter promises to pick up her medication for her on his way over the next day.

Curt Connors calls him the next day. He needs to see him at his office right away. When Pete gets there, he’s surprised to see he grew his arm back. He wants Peter to go over his calculations again. He must have got something wrong, since he blacked out after administering the serum. He has no recollection of the night before. Connors’ explanation of how he did it is disrupted, and Pete never got a real good glimpse of the Lizard, so he doesn’t put 2 and 2 together yet.

Peter warns him he should test the process more, but Connors doesn’t want to wait. Besides, how long can he hide that he grew it back? He’s holding a press conference that day.

Connors is about to cancel class again, but instead asks Pete to take over the class for the day. Peter’s really nervous, but agrees to do it. The nerdy student is now on the other side of the desk. It’s a situation ripe with awkward fumbling, where audiences won’t be sure whether to laugh at him or feel bad for him. About half way through the lesson, he gets it. He starts to connect with the other students. It gives him his first taste of teaching.

Connors holds a press conference announcing his breakthrough. The Daily Bugle is there. Peter takes photos. Connors is at the height of his game. He appears happy, with his family by his side. But Peter recognizes the worried woman he is with as the woman he saved from the Lizard earlier. Amputees the world over come for Connors’ treatment. Pete gets a good look at one of them, a war vet. (Possibly played by Stan Lee or Bruce Campbell.) Peter can’t get close to Connors to express his concern, because people are mobbing around him. He e-mails his photos to Jonah.

On the way to pick up May’s meds, Spidey encounters a different lizard creature. It’s stealing lab equipment from a hospital. This is one in a string of lab break-ins that Jameson and Robbie have been talking about. This lizard has a spiked frill.

During the fight, Spidey leaps down from a building feet first to kick the lizard. The lizard with the spiked frill catches him by the feet. As the lizard starts twirling around with Spidey, trying to send him flying, you hear a rip. And Spidey hits the wall. The lizard looks down, confused, as he’s holding Spidey’s pants. Spidey looks down at his costume, which cuts off under the shirt to show his underwear. He flips at the lizard, pushing off the ground with his hands and kicking the lizard. The lizard is shot up in the air (dropping the pants). Spider-Man draws a web between the two buildings and the lizard falls into it.

Just then, a mother and two kids are walking past. “Hey, look, it’s Spider-Man!” One kid shouts.

The mother turns, and sees Spidey pulling his pants on.

“Uh, hi, kids! Stay in school!” The mother shields her kids eyes and hustles them away. Spidey shouts after her “It’s not like there are any phone booths around!”

Spider-Man looks up at the lizard webbed up, and sees it has changed back into the war vet from Connors’ press conference.

Since Peter spent his evening as Spider-Man he misses the chance to pick up May’s meds. The drug shop is closed when he gets there. He feels horrible for failing her.

Peter camps out on the steps of the drug store for it to reopen. He’s the first one in, gets the meds, then goes to see May. She looks worse than she did before. He’s apologetic, but she understands. It would almost be easier if she was mad at him, but she’s not. She says he was probably doing something very important, and it’s OK. She says it without any malice, but Peter really felt he deserved to be scolded for it. Once again, Spider-Man interferes with his loved ones’ lives.

MJ and Peter meet at the entrance of a cemetery. MJ has flowers. They speak slightly, about everything but their relationship. It’s obvious they are avoiding it. As Peter passes the cemetery caretaker, they address each other by first name.

They stop at a tombstone and look down. MJ says, “Happy birthday, Harry.” She bends down and places the flowers at Harry Osborne’s grave. Norman’s is nearby.

Pete tells Mary Jane he’ll be right back. He goes to visit his parents and Uncle Ben. He apologizes once again to Ben. He’s upset at all the death in his life, especially ones that were Spider-Man related. “It seems I have more people to talk to in here than out there.”

This is why he tries to break up with Mary Jane. He tells her of all the pain that’s been caused by being Spider-Man, and he’s not going to let the two people left in this world he cares about, MJ and May, suffer any longer. “The world needs Spider-Man, but the world doesn’t need Peter Parker to be happy.” Also, the world needs Spider-Man, but Mary Jane and Aunt May don’t need him. MJ tells him he can think they’re broken up if it makes him feel any better, but she’ll still be there, “when you change your mind.”

Connors is in his lab treating an amputee. There are dozens around. He goes into his office to get another batch of the serum that grew his arm back. Spider-Man (not Peter) opens a window and asks him what’s going on, explaining as best he can without revealing his identity, all about the war vet. Connors, very surprised to get a visit from a super hero, explains how he used lizard DNA to augment his own, borrowing the trait of how lizards can regenerate tissue.

Connors is mortified by what he’s become. Until now, he didn’t know that he had become a monster. Spider-Man’s story fills in the blanks Connors has been having lately. He wanted to do anything to become normal again, and now he’s become the most abnormal thing in the world. He still has no recollection what happens at night. But all these amputees wanted help, he couldn’t turn them down. And now they’re all turning into lizard men.

“How many people have you treated, Doc?”

“Including myself, 29.”

Connors clears the office of amputees, many of them angry at being turned away. He returns to his lab to work on a cure.

Mary Jane gets a call from her aunt, May’s best friend, that she hadn’t heard from May all day, even though they had a lunch date. MJ gives a call to Peter, then heads over to check on her. Peter sees her phone number on his cell. He’s about to answer it but thinks against it. He instead listens to her message the second it goes to voice mail.

MJ goes to May’s house, there’s no answer. She peeks in the windows and sees May’s feet sticking out from another room. She’s collapsed. MJ breaks in the door and goes to her. She’s alive, but anemic and confused-talking to Uncle Ben. MJ calls 911. Peter arrives on his moped as the ambulances are surrounding the house. He has an image in his head of how it was when he found Uncle Ben’s body.

May is hospitalized. It’s dead quiet in her hospital room as MJ sits at her side. Peter talks to the doctor outside, but we don’t hear him. He walks into May’s room. MJ and May see the look on his face. “I’m dying, aren’t I?”

“No, Aunt May. You’re not dying.”

“Then what are they going to do for me?” Peter has no answer.

MJ and Peter sit on opposite sides of May. She’s recovered a great deal mentally now that she’s on an IV. Physically, however, she’s wasting away.

May talks to the couple. She asks them to sit next to each other, and they oblige. Then May, looking off into the distance out the window, asks Peter, “What’s it like?”

“What’s what like?”

“To swing through the sky, from rooftop to rooftop. So free. So strong.”

“What are you talking about, Aunt May?”

She turns to him and gives him a wry smile. “Come off it, Peter. You’ve always got these bumps and bruises. That is why you wear cover-up, isn’t it?”

Mary Jane laughs. May says to her “I figured he told you already.”

“Yeah, I did,” Peter says sheepishly.

“Good. It’s something you should be proud of. My Ben would have been proud of you. Your parents, too.”

MJ looks at him, like “Yeah, would you listen to her!” This is the reassuring push Peter needs.

Peter goes to Dr. Connors. If anyone can save Aunt May, it’s him. He explains that it’s a progressive blood disease. (We never need to hear this stuff from May’s doctor when we can hear it from the conversation between Peter and Connors.) When Peter approaches Connors, he’s working on a cure to his own plight. He has stopped taking any more amputees, and has gathered a list of the 28 he administered his serum to. He’s been trying to contact them to bring them in and cure them. Despite all this going on, Connors agrees to help Peter’s aunt. He calls a friend at the hospital and gets a blood sample.

Peter and Dr. Connors work together to find a cure. Spidey has to put his brain to the test. Here’s Peter Parker saving the day, not Spider-Man.

Connors realizes that what May needs is something called Iso-36 (from Amazing Spider-Man #33), an experimental compound that hasn’t been tested outside a laboratory environment. It’s a compound that Connors has been working on, but hasn’t perfected. Connors explains it’s the same compound that could turn him into the Lizard permanently, or cure him completely.

There’s a few scenes of the two scientists working in the lab. In between we spend some time with Mary Jane. Even though she was listed third in the credits of this new movie, she has been stealing all the spotlight. She’s hot, and the media (partly because of Peter’s pictures) love her. This causes the lead actress to get jealous and she sabotages MJ’s career by telling horrible stories about her on the talk shows. Her agent drops her, the phone stops ringing, no one returns her calls. Peter sees all this happening but doesn’t have time for her.

While working side by side in the lab, Connors starts to realize that Spider-Man and Peter Parker are one in the same. At first, he can’t figure out why he knows this. Then, he starts saying things like, “You two smell the same.” The Lizard persona is gaining strength. Just as they perfect the Iso-36, Connors gradually starts losing control. As the Lizard’s personality starts to infect him, he stops fighting the transformation.

Peter fights him in the lab, using his spider-powers, even though he’s not in costume. This time, the Lizard can talk. It says it’s achieving more consciousness. It wants to take over Connors’ weak body permanently. During the fight, the Lizard shows his growing intellect by throwing chemicals at Spider-Man that react violently when combined. Spider-Man gets the Lizard out of the lab so it’s only slightly damaged. On the way out, the Lizard steals the Iso-36 and some of the serum that turned him into the Lizard in the first place.

Peter suits up as Spider-Man and gives chase. He sees the Lizard trying to steal a big truck in order to get some speed on Spider-Man. A delivery person was emptying things out of the back. As Spidey approaches, the Lizard looks around. The Lizard sees a man walking around, and calls to him by name. “How’s that new arm working out for you?” Then the man, apparently triggered by the Lizard, shapeshifts into his lizard form and three more lizard monsters pop out of the sewers.

These four monsters keep Spidey busy while Lizard gets away. One of them spits a sticky goop. Another has poisonous fangs. The third has almost unbreakable scales. The last one is thin and snake-like. Spidey fights them on the streets, keeping innocent people out of the way. He figures out that they are probably cold blooded, so he puts them on ice. He lures them to a fish market and literally dumps tons of ice on them. This slows them down considerably, and he’s able to web them up. He shouts “Spider-Man 4!….Lizards, 0.”

Spidey crafts a big web between buildings, with an arrow pointing to the lizards, alerting police. Then, for kicks, he writes “some pig” from Charlotte’s Web.

Spidey tracks the Lizard’s truck by following a trail of car accidents from above for a few miles. Then he finds the truck outside the main city heading toward the water, back doors swinging. The Lizard drives the truck into the entrance to a huge sewer drain. We see that the Iso-36 is in the cab with him.

The Lizard parks in a lab he’s been building for himself in the sewers. The doors to the back of the truck are still open. Spidey swings in and gives him a kick, sending him flying into the back of the truck. Spidey shuts the doors and webs them shut. The Lizard is pounding away inside, yelling at Spider-Man the whole time.

“I’m sorry my mom made me flush you down the toilet,” Spidey says, taunting him.

Spider-Man sees that he’s already built somewhat of a lab. Spidey recognizes some of it as belonging to Dr. Octopus. He guesses that after he was defeated, the Lizard ransacked Doc Ock’s watery grave and found some of his equipment. More of it is from the labs that have been broken into recently.

He stops having fun when the Lizard manages to bang a small hole in the truck. Spider-Man tries to seal it back up, but the Lizard rips the truck open. They have an amazing fight in the sewers. The Lizard is faster in the water. Water pipes are smashed. Equipment falls down all around them. Spider-Man, already weakened by fighting the Lizard once, then four of his mutant henchmen, is soundly beaten.

The Lizard gets the upper hand and tries to administer the Iso-36 to himself. Not only would this make the change permanent, dooming Connors forever, but it would risk Aunt May’s life. Spider-Man, in a last ditch effort, gets the Iso-36 away from him and throws him back into a wall of machines. The lab starts crumbling down around them. The Lizard dives into the water to escape.

This is the end of the second act. The Iso-36 falls into the water. Just as Spidey leaps for it, a huge piece of machinery comes crashing down on his back (another nod to Amazing Spider-Man #33).

The Iso-36 is just out of reach. Even if he could grab it, he couldn’t lift the machinery off him. He apologizes out loud to May for failing her. And every one else he feels he let down. But no, these people, the ones he loves, would have wanted him to keep fighting. He draws on his love for them to summon strength. In a massive display of courage overcoming all odds, Spider-Man slowly lifts the equipment and tosses it off his back. He wearily grabs the Iso-36 and heads out of the slowly flooding sewers.

This teaches Peter he needs to keep fighting, even in a relationship. Just in time, too.

He has two options. He could use the Iso-36 to save May or save the Lizard. Peter chooses to save May, and risk the danger of the Lizard causing more chaos. He’s hoping he can recreate the Iso-36 without Connors’ help.

Spider-Man gets to the hospital and swings up to Aunt May’s window, not realizing that hospital windows don’t open. Aunt May is a little shaken by his sudden appearance, but tells him “go through the door!” Spidey nods and goes out of sight.

A minute later, a sweaty, wet, and stinky Peter Parker enters May’s room. “Why do you smell? Do I even want to know?”

He pulls the Iso-36 from his coat and administers it through her IV.

“Peter, are you sure this is safe?”

“I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t sure.”

May’s readings on the various monitors start to recover. A nurse and a doctor rush in to see why there was such a dramatic change. May tells them the visit from her dear nephew cheered her up. Peter’s hidden all traces of the Iso-36. The doctor tells her he’ll be running some tests, to make sure she’s improving. The cuff of Peter’s Spider-Man costume is showing, so May covers it for him.

“You have one more person to save, Peter.”

He goes to Mary Jane. Even with everything going on in Peter’s life, he drops it all to be with her. Again, it’s Peter who makes everything better, not Spider-Man. They meet on a movie set right after she’s been told she’s been dropped from the cast. Perhaps special effects maven Quentin Beck makes a cameo.

They hatch a plan together to get her back on track. Peter snaps some very unforgiving photos of the lead actress who sabotaged her career. He happily brings them to Jameson, who is also too happy to expose the teeming underbelly of Hollywood. The photos of her boozing it up and partying with a known criminal destroys her credibility. The criminal is drug dealer Lonnie Thompson Lincoln (Tombstone), who Spider-Man later busts that night (he sells these photos to Jameson, too). Mary Jane’s agent smoothly apologizes, and starts to get her career back on track by getting her spots on the talk shows to tell her side of the story, and plug some new movies. They are smaller roles, but at least it’s work.

Peter sells some shots he took of the Lizard to Jonah. The boys in the newsroom riff on it awhile. “Killer Croc?”

“No, that sucks.”

“I’ve got it…the….Lizard…!”

Spider-Man goes to work in Connors’ old lab to create more Iso-36, in order to save Dr. Connors. The lab, still damaged, is blocked off by the university for security reasons, so he has privacy.

Ever since the fight in the sewers, Peter hasn’t seen the Lizard. In a few glimpses, we see the Lizard gathering his forces in some hideout in the destroyed sewer lab. The remaining lizards are there. One is a flying lizard. Another has a long, wicked tongue. The Lizard and his henchmen ransack the county jail to free their brethren who had been incarcerated by Spider-Man. The Lizard makes it a point to tell his henchmen not to kill any of the guards. Instead, he injects them and some human inmates with the serum (Tombstone and Silvermane?), turning them into lizard people.

Mary Jane and Peter have been growing closer again. The magic is rekindled. They’re learning how to make this work. More importantly, they’re not going to stop fighting. They’re out on a date. But it’s disrupted, again, by the Lizard.

This time, he’s attacked his family. Peter and MJ are walking by the theater where the movie premiere was – the same neighborhood where the Connors family lives – when he strikes. He’s keeping his son, Billy, hostage. He’s got one arm around his neck, the arm that he regrew. “This is how I always wanted to hug you, Billy.”

When Spider-Man gets there, Lizard promises he won’t hurt his son. He just needs a blood sample for a serum that would change him back to Connors. Spidey doesn’t believe him. The Lizard cuts Billy’s face with his claw, and drips the blood into a vial. Spidey pleads with the Connors side of him, never referring to him as the Lizard, and it does seem that he’s getting through a little bit. Enough for him to run out of the home and not put his family in danger any longer. Spidey shoots some webs at him on his way out and the Lizard grabs the webs.

Although the Lizard didn’t want to hurt his family, he has no compunction against putting some innocent bystander he doesn’t know in jeopardy. This happens to be Mary Jane, who Spidey told to stay back but didn’t. The Lizard wraps her up with the webs he grabbed.

Peter continues to talk Connors down. It’s not working. People in the street are starting to gather around. What we don’t realize right away is that MJ is acting. She feigned being captured. She starts to slip out of the webs. The Connors side of the Lizard starts to come through.

“How did I get here?” The Lizard looks at the broken window leading into his family’s home. “What have I done?”

He flies into a rage as the Lizard takes over. Spidey can’t hold him back. Mary Jane suddenly pulls on the webbing, which she had pulled between two lamp posts. She trips the Lizard and he falls face-first into a fire hydrant. She actually winds up saving Spidey’s life, as well as members of the Connors family.

The Lizard is stunned on the ground, so Spidey has a chance to talk to MJ. The crowd behind is cheering.

“I really thought you were captured.”

“I’m an excellent actress.” (OR “That’s because it happens all the time.”)

“How’d you get out of the webbing?”

“Please. It’s not the first time.”

There’s no more time for fun, though. The Lizard regains his strength. Spider-sense tingles and he grabs MJ and leaps out of the way of the rampaging villain. He deposits Mary Jane somewhere safe just before the Lizard tackles him.

The fight turns high-speed when the Lizard chucks Spidey at a passing truck. Spidey flips around and lands on the side of the truck harmlessly. The Lizard follows by jumping onto the side of another truck. They exchange blows, both sideways. They fight by jumping from truck to car to car to truck. All the time, Spider-Man is trying to make sure innocent people aren’t getting hurt.

The Lizard sends out a call to his brethren, and as they are speeding through the streets, lizard people are springing out of everywhere.

The danger is ratcheted up another notch when the Lizard gets onto a huge car carrier. He throws the driver out and disables the wheel locks so that the cars start rolling out the back. Spidey and Lizard continue their fight, climbing over moving cars on the speeding car carrier. As the cars hit the street, they veer off in various directions. Spidey, while fighting the Lizard, has to use his webs to rein in the drifting cars away from other cars and pedestrians. Spider-Man stands on one car, using webs to pull it one way or another. The car carrier itself is still driverless, and careening out of control. The Lizard is perched on top of the cab. Spidey shoots a ton of webbing between two buildings about a block ahead of the car carrier. Then he creates a strong web on one of the cars that drifted off the car carrier. He pulls with all his might on the web holding the car so that it goes airborne. He pulls it hard, and it flies up in an arc over him. He slams it down onto the Lizard, smashing the cab of the truck. The impact is enough for the car carrier to flip back over front. It lands on its back, most of its momentum halted by the crash. It then slides into the giant web Spidey had made. It grinds harmlessly to a halt.

He grabs the unconscious Lizard and swings off toward the Empire University Lab. Legions of lizards are scrambling after him. Inside the lab, Spidey puts the Lizard down and goes for a big vial of the cure he made for him. He draws a syringe of the stuff.

“Do it, Peter.” Spider-Man looks over. The Lizard is barely conscious. His voice sounds calm, more human. “Do it, before he comes back.”

Spider-Man injects the Lizard with the cure. In a dramatic finish, he turns back into Dr. Curt Connors, without his new arm. He still hates his old body, but at least now he can go back to his family, if they’ll have him.

As Connors thanks him for saving his life, he looks out at the hordes of lizards swarming around them. “You don’t happen to have any more of those syringes, do you?”

“I was kinda pressed for time.”

Spidey fends off the lizards while Connors works furiously inside, filling syringes. There are flying lizards, lizards that spit venom, big crocodile-looking ones, and ones covered in spikes. Spidey draws a web between himself and a lizard on the ground. Then he leaps over a lamp post. As Spider-Man falls down, the lizard is propelled up, until it slams into an overhang. On Spidey’s way down, he webs it to the ceiling. But his fall isn’t over yet. His momentum continues so that he swings under the post and kicks another lizard. He lets go of the strand he was swinging on and flips through the air. Then he fires webs to opposite walls. He stretches back, and slingshots himself into the lizard he kicked before. He can’t keep these acrobatics up forever, though. He starts to get overcome.

Just as the lizards start to get the better of Spidey, Connors emerges with a bunch of syringes. With death-defying leaps and twirls, Spidey throws the syringes like darts, attaches some to his webs so he shoots it right into them. One by one, they all turn back. His spider-sense alerts him to the final one, a camouflaging chameleon, who was sneaking up on Connors. He only has enough time to warn him, and Connors turns and sticks the final one.

Spider-Man swings Connors back to his family home. They embrace him. Connors says his goodbyes. Spider-Man thanks him for saving May, and Connors thanks Spider-Man for saving him. He misses his arm, still, but that’s nothing compared to the horror he’s been causing. He’s looking forward to having a “normal” life now.

Spider-Man sees how his family took him back in, despite the danger he was. He learns that he should let his loved ones get close to him as well. He shouldn’t let himself be lonely. And that he shouldn’t hide the fears and worries he has as Spider-Man from them.

He gets a call. It’s MJ. He realizes he left her around here somewhere.

“Where are you?”

“The hospital.”

“I thought you were all right.”

“I am. I’m here with May.”

“May? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, Pete. She’s being released.”

Peter valiantly swoops through the streets over cars and people as triumphant music plays. He gets to the hospital window, and May and MJ tell him “Go through the door!.”

Peter comes into May’s hospital room all beat up and sweaty again. May’s getting some rest, dozing off, before they let her go.

Peter tells Mary Jane that he’ll never keep parts of his life from her. He understands she’s a big girl and doesn’t have to be shielded from it.

“I know you can take care of yourself.”

“Hey, I can take care of you, too.”

Peter notices that MJ is wearing the ring he gave her. When he asks, she says, “Oh, right. I guess I’ll do it the old fashioned way.” She gets down on one knee.

“You’re not acting, are you?”

“No, Tiger, I’m not.”

She proposes to him, and he accepts. As they kiss, the camera pans back, just enough to show that Aunt May was watching them. She shakes her hands in triumph and whispers “Finally!” They look back, and she pretends to be asleep.

The End

Possible Stan Lee cameos:

1. As a famous person coming out of a limo during the premiere.

2. An amputee awaiting Connors’ serum.

3. Silvermane.

Possible Bruce Cameo roles:

1. The lead actor in Mary Jane’s cheesy super hero movie.

2. Quentin Beck

3. An amputee

Possible subplot: Pete is contacted by an attorney. Harry Osborn had no other family, and he left his fortune to Pete. He eventually gives the money to the Markos to cure the daughter and hire Nelson and Murdock to clear Flint’s name.

Possible subplot: Silvermane and Tombstone receive Lizard serum in the jail, when the Lizard causes a jailbreak.