What REALLY needs to be done in the next Superman movie
Now, I know what you're going to say. "Another fan boy telling everyone what he wants to see is right". And you're somewhat right. This is a response the KeithM's article as well as Ed Gross'. Keith M brought up some good points that I reiterate in this article. Im not stealing some of his ideas just agreeing with them. With that being said...
How do we make a Superman movie relevant without changing superman's character or adopting an entirely different take on him? Do you change his costume? Give him a son? Do you make him an angry god? NO! This is what needs to be done...
I've been a huge superman fan my whole life. The first comics I bought were the Death of Superman series in 1993 (I was five, otherwise I'd have bought them sooner). The closest I've ever seen to a proper portrayal of Superman on the big screen is 'Superman II: The Donner Cut'. It had action, continuity and real interaction between him and Lois. However it does not stand the test of time. It is a dated movie that, though great, has even children saying "That doesn't make sense".
They were great movies, but should have been left in the past. Which brings us to the 'reboot or sequel' argument. There is NO way to successfully add to the story of Superman Returns. Brandon Routh did a great job for the limited ability he had to actually act, but it would be too confusing to keep him. Superman Returns followed the continuity of the Christopher Reeve's films without specifying whether it was a sequel, prequel or both. Therefore we're led to believe it HAD to have happened after Superman II, which I've said, was one of my favorite films.
If we are to believe that Superman Returns follows Superman II, then we fall into some MAJOR plot wholes. Lois Lane became pregnant after she and Superman made love in the Fortress during Superman II. However, at the end of Superman II, she forgets ever being with him. In the theatrical version she forgets because Superman develops the ability to induce amnesia through kissing, and during the Donner cut he reverses time by flying around the world backwards. Now, as I said, following a story with these plot elements today is laughable as well as campy. But Superman Returns forgot about this detail. Sorry, but a process server and task force would be at the Fortress of Solitude every day to issue a court notice and warrant for rape, because Lois has no memory of the Super-coitus.
Now, even if we get past that, Superman is now the illegitimate father of a son that he abandoned for seven years without warning. Now if you can swallow all of that, he comes back, spies on Lois and her new family, and then tries to make her cheat on her fiance. So at the end of the movie, Superman finds out that he has a child, but he gets away without having to pay child support or participating in the boy's life at all. Or he tells the boy that he is the child's father and becomes a super-powered home wrecker. I guess they didn't think that through.
"What to do?" you ask... its pretty obvious... REBOOT!
The next Superman movie needs to address the history of Superman, but not waste 30 minutes of screen time. An opening scene of Jor-El putting the finishing touches on his experimental rocket, and talking to his infant son will do. He could be modifying a kryptonian memory module to let him know what happened, and why the planet is exploding. But they need to give some explanation as to why the planet exploded.
After the rocket is launched, a montage of a young Clark Kent being discovered by the Kents, would do. Throw in some scenes of him discovering his powers. If any screen time is spent in Smallville, they need to follow the comics, introducing Lana Lang, Pete Ross and a Young Lex Luthor. Explain why Lex would never think Superman and Clark Kent are one in the same through some accident. But this needs to be brief. And as he does in the comics, he needs to get out of Smallvillle and travel, rediscovering the world with the values instilled in him by the Kents.
The aspects of Clark Kent at the Daily Planet are just as important as the screen time in tights. You don't want to spend the whole movie counting down till you see Superman punch something. They need to introduce Lois in a way that defines her character. Have her defending Jimmy Olsen from Steve Lombard regarding spilled coffee. After the introduction of the cast, and the first appearance of Superman, skip forward a few years. This will show the impact Superman has had on the world without having to completely redo his origin.
The time spent introducing the Daily Planet staff should nod to Superman: Secret Origins. In Secret Origins, the reason Clark Kent, the meek mouse of a person, gets a job as a reporter is because the Daily Planet is being run under by Luthor for being the only paper with the gaul to speak the truth. They were desperate for anyone. After this is all introduced, skip forward to a time when Superman is saving people all over the world and the Daily Planet is back on top.
When they skip forward, Clark has made headway as a reporter and Lois knows Superman's secret identity and is part of the reason it has held up this long. She would be the gateway to Superman's thoughts. He could "speak to the audience through her", as KeithM put it in his most recent article. As far as I know, this is what every Superman fan wants to see in the next movie. Clark Kent and Lois Lane as a married couple. Leave out the EMO drama of Clark trying to get Lois. It usually ends up portraying Lois as a shallow superman groupie, who discards any man without superpowers. Make her the great wife, but better friend that she is to Superman. She personifies the saying that 'behind every great man is a better woman'.
The other necessity for the film comes from the villain. Lex Luthor needs to be in the movie, but can not be the main man superman is up against. If you need to show him as a credible threat, he could be manipulating from the sidelines, pulling everyone's strings without them knowing it. However they need a villain who can go toe-to-toe with Superman. I honestly think they should take the recipe of the last batman film and include 3 villains. Lex, Metallo, and possibly Zod. If only 2 then show Lex create Metallo and have Metallo and Supes duke it out. But we need some action that involves a Super fight.
During this Super fight, there needs to be casualties. Nothing violent, but the threat needs to be real. If no one gets hurt, then the villain can't be that dangerous.
Now regarding the Character of Superman himself. Nothing can be changed. He has to exemplify the beacon of hope that he is in the comics. He is a hero, who does what's right for the simple fact that it is the right thing to do. He saves lives because he can. He would still be trying to save lives if he didn't have his powers. Its the selfless devotion to good that makes him who he is. And unlike most other heroes, no defining tragedy made him who he is. He does what he does because he knows what is right. And he is willing to give it all up for his fellow man.
The disguise. There are hundreds of credible reasons why no one has figured out why superman and Clark Kent are one. Here are a few from the comics. When he knows his photo is being taken he vibrates his jaw so that you can't match his face through facial recognition technology. Most people don't think he even has a secret identity since he needs less sleep and can almost be everywhere at once. Those people think he lives at his fortress. Many people view him as a deity and not even human. there are tons of reasons as to why people haven't figured it out yet.
They need to include the cooperation from the government and police force from his years of proving his worth and dedication to just causes. So Maggie Sewyer and Dan Turpin, STEP RIGHT UP!
All of these elements are crucial to the success of the next film. These are the things that make the story realistic and thus relatable. The reason no one has related to the superman films up to this point is the campy nature and poor writing. Superman's last big screen contender was a Kryptonite mountain/island. Great battle there guys. No more illogical feats. Base it all in science and put some GOOD writing behind it. Follow these steps and I believe you have yourself a great superman movie.
Now Im out... a toast to you all!
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