Hurple Hoopla

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

My Superman Movie(s)

After reading interviews with Bryan Singer and watching the preview trailer for Superman Returns, I've become very frightened about what the movie will wind up being. From the trailer I get the idea that Superman is some kind of deity figure in that "universe." Like he's some supreme being that has graced us mere mortals with his presence on earth.

It's making me think that, unlike the recent Batman Begins movie, the people in charge of this one do not have a fundamental understanding of what makes Superman, as a character, work. The most important part is, of course, that Clark Kent is the "real" person and Superman is the mask, unlike the antithesis which sees Bruce Wayne as the "mask" and Batman as the "real" person. Now, I am not wanting to make negative comments about Christopher Reeve's wonderful portrayal as both Clark Kent and Superman, but he made the mistake of mixing the Clark / Superman roles by playing Clark as a ditz and Superman as competent. Dean Cain, on the other hand, did a better job portraying Clark, but was nowhere near convincing as Superman. Perhaps the best ever, so far at effectively portraying BOTH Clark Kent and Superman has been George Reeves.

It's not something I like to talk about all that much, but at one time my plans were to attend film school and become the next Steven Spielberg. Needless to say, that never happened. However, I have kept a dream list of properties / ideas that I wanted to film someday. Here's a short version of that list: Captain America, Mister Miracle, Superman, Guns of the South, Who Censored Roger Rabbit, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. As you can see, some have already been made, some haven't.

Here, then, is a quick-hit list of things I would do for a Superman movie:

  • Start over! Just like Batman Begins threw out the Keaton/Kilmer/Clooney series of Batman films, I'd toss out all previous versions of Superman and start fresh, taking as my guiding force the fantastic Byrne "Man of Steel" miniseries from the 1980's.

  • Stop the nonsense of Superman's "S" shield being the Kryptonian "El" family crest. Whoever came up with that bit of revisionist tinkering should be shot. As in the Byrne miniseries, I would have Superman's first public appearance be sans costume with him only adopting the costume / name AFTER the press has dubbed him "Superman." That makes the "S" shield simply a nice bit of graphic design work from Ma Kent.

  • Sign everybody working on the film to a minimum three picture deal. Film all three films back-to-back, just like Peter Jackson did with the Lord of the Rings. For those first three films Lex Luthor would, of course, be the main villain... But, his hand in events would not be revealed to Superman until the third 'act' of the trilogy.

1st film

  • The first film would open with Superman in trouble, being beaten down by Metallo and the Parasite. Through flashbacks the audience would learn his origin (Krypton, rocket, Ma & Pa Kent, Daily Planet, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, etc) and the story would evolve to the point of the beat down. I'm not sure how Superman would escape his attackers, but he does, and retreats to Clark's apartment to lick his wounds. Meanwhile Parasite and Metallo head back to LexCorp headquarters to confront their "boss," Lex Luthor. Then we get a flashback sequence that will detail why Lex hates Superman and reveal the origins for both Metallo and Parasite.

    • Lex hates Superman simply because he wants to be the "hero" of Metropolis, but so long as Superman lives he never will be. Maybe I would've included a flashback sequence here explaining Luthor's motivations. For that, I would use "The Unauthorized Biography of Lex Luthor" as the source material.

    • Metallo is a cyborg created, by Luthor, from an overly loyal LexCorp security chief. His cybernetic parts are powered by an oddly radioactive glowing green rock that Luthor finagled from a secret government organization which found it in a Kansas field nearly 20 years previously amid a flurry of reports about an extraterrestrial ship which was spotted in the area and believed to have crashed. The agency never found the spacecraft (Superman's rocket, quickly hidden by the Kents).

    • The Parasite was one of Luthor's top scientists who was transformed in an accident during an experiment into a purple-skinned being capable of absorbing the energy of anything he touches. The Parasite does not suspect that his accident was actually no accident but a carefully plotted scheme of Luthor's.

    • Both Metallo and the Parasite were "created" by Luthor specifically for the purpose of disposing of Superman.

  • In the end Superman stops both Metallo and Parasite, and they finger Luthor. However, Luthor denies the charges and supplies plenty of evidence to support his claims. Metallo and Parasite are shipped off to Belle Reeve prison (thus allowing them to appear in future films if desired.)

End of 1st Film

2nd film

  • Part of Metallo's mission was to bring back a sample of Superman's DNA, which he did. Luthor uses the sample to create a clone of Superman. The cloning process does not work perfectly, however, creating a "Bizarro" Superman.

  • Meanwhile, Pa Kent finally gets around to running an electrical cable out the the family farm's barn. Slowly, power is getting leeched out of the cable and something in the Krypton rocket hidden in the barn starts to stir. This something turns out to be the Eradicator, actually a 'teaching robot' sent by Superman's parents with him to earth. It has been sitting deactivated and needing power for 20 years. Now, finally, it reactivates and heads out to search for "The Last Son of Krypton" in order to mold him into the ideal Kryptonian.

  • Superman begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together and starts to realize that Lex Luthor is the mastermind behind all the "villains" suddenly appearing.

  • The "Eradicator" arrives in Metropolis and finds Superman. Superman rejects the robots teachings, causing the programming to corrupt. The device "decides" that if Superman cannot be re-made into a "true" Kryptonian, that he must be destroyed.

  • Climax is a massive three-way fight between Superman, Bizarro and the Eradicator. The Eradicator destroys Bizarro, Superman dismantles the Eradicator and uses the Kryptonian rocket at the Kents to shoot it into space. (This is a symbolic gesture representing the moment when Superman embraces his "humanity" over his Kryptonian legacy.)

End of 2nd film

3rd film

  • Luthor's top scientist turns out to be an alien from an advanced civilization who has been stuck on earth... His name is Brainiac. He finally reveals himself to Luthor. The two make a pact, Brainiac helps destroy Superman and Luthor will turn his resources toward finding a way to return Brainiac home.

  • Superman discovers the final clue and realizes Luthor's master-plan. Since arriving in Metropolis, Luthor has been funding the criminal underworld, and leading their operations while also supplying advanced weaponry and tools to the city's security forces. The point is to eventually break down all law enforcement in the city to the point that Luthor can position LexCorp security as the "official" security of the city, thus effectively taking over the city and leaving all "official" leaders as mere figureheads.
    And once the largest city in America falls, the rest of the country should be easy.

  • Superman stops Brainiac, exposes Luthor's scheme and everybody lives happily ever after... Until the 4th movie... Muah-ha-ha-ha!

The End


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