Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Superman: The Man of Steel (S-Man #1 of 5)

Genre: Action-Drama

Premise: The Man of Steel tells the origin story of Superman/Clark Kent, plus how he met Lois Lane. It also uses Lex Luthor / Megatello as the bad guys.
About: After the Superman Lives (Kevin Smith was to direct) film fell through in the mid 1990’s, there was a series of Superman scripts written. One of these, Superman: The Man of Steel, was written by comic book aficionado and spec writer, Alex Ford. The film was to be part one of seven, but Warners dropped Ford over creative differences.

Writer: Alex Ford (who, I’ve checked, has no real credits)

Why is Lex Luthor intimidating? I really don’t know. He’s smart. And has a lot of money. Not twisted like The Joker. Not unstoppable as Magneto. Lex is like the Batman of bad guys. Minus the pathos. And a lot of the tension in this script is that Lex is depicted as what’s wrong in the world of Superman. So needless to say, I wasn’t exactly sitting on the edge of my seat to plow through Alex Ford’s script.

The other thing that really slowed down reading Man of Steel is that this script reads like it was written by an amateur. The typeface is slightly too big. The formatting is also a tad bit irregular. And then the dialogue is overly talky (it’s like Ford wants to have these random monologues by every player in the Superman man universe), rambles on too long and then the action is occasionally spliced with random action scenes. If this is Superman count me out.

Now, that being said, I applaud Ford’s intentions. And while Superman isn’t my cup of tea, it probably is a good idea to use several films to capture all the main points of the comics. God knows this would have made the X-Men films amazing. But, really, I don’t get any of this Lex Luthor stuff. Why we would want to see it? Wasn’t this covered in Superman 1 to 4? Does Superman have any other villains? Is anybody else Superman agitated? Why would somebody want to make such a high budget film out of such a mediocre script? Help! Phew. Okay. I’ll calm down.

This script has good points: it seems to have studied Superman’s world, the plot follows some sort of a structure, the story revolves around a couple decent themes of what makes a hero, and there’s definitely room for excellence. Also there’s a Wonder Woman cameo and some references to the Justice league. But, really folks, this is fan fiction that was considered by the industry. And that’s all it.

Also, for most of the film Superman is depowered. Our one great protagonist who is famous for having superpowers now has none. What sense does this make? Really. And the problems? A woman strapped to a bomb. A nuclear reactor ready to blow. And then a brawl with Metallo, bar room style. And there’s never any Lois Lane and Clark Kent interaction beyond Clark whining like a little girl that Lois beat him to the story.

I wanted this review on a bigoted speech by Lex Luthor. “Fifteen hundred cats? What am I supposed to do with fifteen hundred cats? If I were in Korea I'd open a delicatessen but I'm not. I'm in Metropolis where fifteen hundred cats are useless to me. I want something better. Dogs, monkeys, French-speaking gorillas. Impress me.”

Impress me, Alex Ford did not.

Scooby Doo (Complete Crap)

[X] - Atilla (Poor, Few Redeeming Qualities)

Wedding Crashers (Mediocre)

Hot Rod (Good)

Definitely Maybe (Pretty Darn Good)

Daily Tip: Sometimes, screenwriters attempt to tackle subjects that are too expansive for one script. Alex Ford’s Superman isn’t content with one small word, or a segment of one line of the Superman series. Rather, Ford tries to capture all of DC’s Superman series in the confines of this script. And, the script ends up just lacking a strong central thread.

Isla Prospect: Lois Lane is obviously the main Superman female, but she’s not that great in this one. So I’m not going to compare Isla to this possible role.

Script Link: I have a copy. Email me if interested.

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