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Kevin Smith’s Superman Lives! Script

March is Superman month here at the m0vie blog, what with the release of the animated adaptation of Grant Morrison’s superb All-Star Superman. We’ll be reviewing a Superman-related book/story arc every Wednesday this month, so check on back – and we might have a surprise or two along the way. I figured that, today, I’d take a look at Superman-related movies.

But Superman was one that I was kind of intrigued by, because of my love for comic books and because I read the script they were working from at that time and hated it. Batman is about angst; Superman is about hope. That was the thing that bothered me about Greg Poirier’s draft: they were trying to give Superman angst. They had Clark Kent going to a psychiatrist at one point. Superman’s angst is not that he doesn’t want to be Superman. If he has any, it’s that he can’t do it all; he can’t do enough and save everyone. It’s not enough to make him want to quit being Superman; it’s enough to make the guy stay up at night so he’s out doing shit constantly.

– Kevin Smith on the script he was handed

I figured, with all this talk about Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, I might as well take a look at some of the other productions that have brought the Man of Steel to the big screen in recent years. Superman never had quite the box office traction of Batman, and so never really went through that many big-screen iterations – while there’s a notable change in aesthetic between the Batman films of Burton, Schumacher and Nolan, Superman’s movies have been fairly consistent. I took a look at Superman Returns earlier today, but I thought I might take a look at Kevin Smith’s unproduced script for an earlier iteration of that particular film, Superman Lives!

Now, before you read my thoughts on the script, you should really watch the below clip, where Kevin Smith talks about writing Superman, and the various difficulties and demands that he faced.

Note: You can check out the script yourself, here.

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Superman: The Animated Series – Brave New Metropolis

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. Since I looked at Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths earlier, I thought it might be worth a look at what a world run by a well-intentioned Superman might look like.

The interesting thing about Superman is that, as a character, he’s very frequently defined by what he isn’t – or what he shouldn’t be. It’s very hard to codify what Superman is, but easy to agree on what he shouldn’t be (for example, the suggestion that Superman should be light and fuzzy is more likely to spark an argument than the observation that he shouldn’t be dark; or the suggestion that he should be a “sci-fi” hero is bound to more controversial than the suggestion that he shouldn’t be a street-level vigilante). Stories like Mark Millar’s superb Red Son define the character by what he isn’t (a proactive political figure) – while interpretations seeking to define the character in more positive terms are frequently divisive (for example, the space hero of James Robinson’s New Krypton or the “down with the people” “wandering the earth” traveler in Grounded). Brave New Metropolis follows a similar structure, in defining Superman by what he isn’t or shouldn’t be: he shouldn’t be a ruler or people.  

Lex Luthor is bald because he got sick of people holding him like that...

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Halloween Costume Fan: Tim Burton’s Superman

With all the buzz around the up-coming Snyder/Nolan Superman reboot, it’s easy to forget that there was a planned relaunch of the franchise in the nineties, at the hands of Tim Burton – who cut his superhero teeth with Batman. Nicolas Cage was planned to play the Man of Steel and Kevin Smith has shared many anecdotes about the ridiculous studio demands (polar bear sentries! giant spiders!). However, special effects creator Steve Johnson has revealed the costume designs he had planned for the character for the nineties reboot (titled Superman Lives!with mandatory exclamation mark!) Check them out below, or visit his facebook page for a closer look.