It’s no secret that the DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU? Doesn’t roll off the tongue, does it?) hasn’t done well for itself. It’s been around since 2013 with ‘Man of Steel‘, but they’ve only managed to achieve decent receptions with ‘Wonder-Woman‘, sort of ‘Aquaman‘, and their most recent endeavor: ‘Shazam!’. But their other films, such as the earlier mentioned Superman film, ‘Batman V Superman‘ and ‘Justice League‘ have become some of the most hated films of the last decade. Thus, the DC films that have come after the Dark Knight trilogy are sitting at a fifty percent success rate.
Fun fact: in the U.S. Education system, fifty percent is an F. That’s a failing grade. In case you have a grading system that makes more sense in your country.
‘Man of Steel‘ failed on a fundamental level to understand Superman as a character, and what makes him appealing. This is because Zack Snyder doesn’t understand the basic appeal of a comic book movie. Don’t believe me? Just look at this quote by the director, who lashed out in defense regarding the criticisms of ‘Batman V Superman‘.
It’s a cool point of view to be like ‘my heroes are still innocent. My heroes didn’t fucking lie to America. My heroes didn’t embezzle money from their corporations. My heroes didn’t commit any atrocities.’ That’s cool. But you’re living in a fucking dream world. -Zack Snyder (Link to Source)
I aim to correct this. Today, I’m going to plot out a Superman film worthy of the character. One with a more fitting tone and story that far better fits what the character is. If I am to do my job correctly today, then I will create a film that is corny, fun and makes the audience feel good.
Y’know. Like you should in a Superman movie.
First of all, let’s discuss what we’re going to keep from ‘Man of Steel‘. First, we’re keeping the cast. Henry Cavil is a fantastic Superman; he has the look of the character, and he’s proven to be a great actor in other films. I can’t see anyone else in this day and age as Superman.
And that’s about it. Unless we decide to keep the title. But frankly, I’m struggling to decide whether or not we’ll do that.
Now, with that said, let’s get started.
You’d think that we’d start with Superman’s origin story, right? WRONG! Audiences have seen this backstory far too many times! Everyone knows where Superman comes from! We don’t need to see Krypton blow up again! We’re going to start right up in the action!
Our film opens up with Clark Kent and Louis Lane in the Daily Planet. They’re looking over photos taken by Jimmy Olsen, all of which are of Superman doing heroic stuff. Just outside the window, a plane starts to crash within the city. Louise is drawn to the sight, and the camera hides Clark’s presence. Or in this case, lack-thereof, as Superman flies in and saves the plane, setting it down gently before flying off. When Louise turns back to face Clark, there he is, adjusting his tie and playing it cool.
This incident catches the eye of Lex Luthor, who has been out of Metropolis for a few years on some shady business. He is fascinated by this Superman, and he starts doing research into him. Through this research, we communicate to the audience that Superman has been around for a while, and he’s built a very good reputation for himself. This outrages Lex, as he believes that humanity will grow weaker if they depend on this other worldly savior. Thus, he begins his plans to take him out of the equation.
And place himself as the ruler of humanity in our hero’s place.
When the day is done, Clark heads into a nearby phone booth, changes into his Superman suit like the days of old, and he flies off on patrol. As he flies down to stop a mugging, he notices that he’s being followed by a mysterious new drone. Pretending to ignore it, he continues his night of saving folks and doing other such heroic things (seeing as, y’know, he’s a super hero). Then, once the drone finally leaves, Superman gives chase, leading him back to Lex Corp. Tower.
Here, Superman and Lex have their first meeting. The two have a battle of wits, with Lex trying to manipulate Superman into revealing some kind of weakness or personal information while Superman is trying to figure out where Lex stands. Ultimately, Lex fails to get anything from Superman, and Superman decides that it’d be wise to keep an eye on the billionaire before flying off. Frustrated, Lex sends another drone after him, and he begins planning.
For a moment, Superman simply wants to go home and rest, as he’s reasonably tired after the day. But when he notices the drone tailing him, he realizes that he can’t go home yet. Considering his options, he decides that this is the best way to deliver a message to Luthor, and he takes the drone out of the sky with one powerful blast. As the smoke clears, Lex sends yet another drone, but he’s too late. Superman is gone.
Clark returns home at the Fortress of Solitude and gets a few moments of rest. However, this is cut short by a distant call for help. Unable to say no, Superman flies off to help and comes back. He tries to rest again, but he gets yet another call for help. This continues on for a while, ending with Clark arriving at the Daily Planet the next morning looking very tired.
This cycle of helping people and ignoring his own health continues throughout the day as Louise tries to talk to Clark. He comes up with several different cover stories, each more ridiculous than the last, as he almost constantly ducks in and out of the building, rushes off as Superman to save someone, and comes back to continue his talk with Louise. She tells him that he shouldn’t stretch himself too thin, but Clark won’t listen. After all, he’s the only one who can do what he does, and thus he’s responsible to do it. Though Louise doesn’t know what he’s actually talking about.
On one of these heroic outings, Superman is ambushed by a series of drones. He initially doesn’t struggle to take them out, but his task becomes more difficult when they turn their attacks on the city and nearby people. While Superman does manage to save all the people there, he can’t prevent the damage to the city that takes place before the battle is over.
Guilt ridden over his failure, Superman flies off, and he has nothing but silence in his head for the first time. He rests at the Fortress, beating himself up over his failure. He’s so tired and upset that he doesn’t see the drone hovering outside the fortress.
When Superman finally leaves, the drone further explores the Fortress, discovering all the tech left behind by Clark’s biological father. Here, he discovers a large chunk of Kryptonite among the other relics, which the drone then steals. With his prize claimed, Lex brings his drone home and begins planning.
Back at the Daily Planet, Louise tells Clark that she wants to get an interview with Superman. She wants to get his thoughts on what happened in the attack yesterday, but she can’t get in touch with him. Feeling a need to say his piece on it, Clark promises to get her an exclusive with Superman, though she doesn’t believe him.
That night, she and Superman have a chat, much like in the original film. Here, Superman and Louise have a similar chat to the one she had with Clark before, which gets her gears turning. She asks if he’s ever considered that he can’t save everyone, but he can’t bear to think that he, with all his power, can’t do that.
Their conversation is cut short by another drone, which appears before Superman as if to call him to attention. Afraid of another attack, Superman pursues, and it leads him back to Lex Corp. and Luthor himself. Realizing that Lex was the one behind yesterday’s attack, he moves to stop him, but he’s caught off guard by the Kryptonite, which quickly saps his powers.
With Superman out of commission and slowly dying, Lex goes to enact a new plan: what this plan is doesn’t particularly matter, so long as it is a) evil, b) gets Lex a lot of money and c) earns him more political standing in the world. He leaves Superman to die, and goes off to enact this plan.
As the plan is set into motion, and the city is being destroyed, Superman struggles with his inner frustration. He remembers Louise’s words, and he realizes that he really can’t save everyone. Regardless, he’s determined to save someone, and he musters the power to break the Kryptonite and fly off to save the day.
The rest is standard. Superman stops Lex’s plan, throws him in jail, and moves on. Clark returns to his work at the Daily Planet, and Louise continues her investigation into Superman. Clark has learned that he can’t save everyone, so he’s eased up on his Superman activities. But, not to end on anything lower than the cheesiest note, we leave off with Clark pulling his shirt away, revealing the iconic S as he prepares to save the day yet again.
The end. That’s my ideal Superman movie. No Jesus symbolism, no city wide Dragon Ball Z destruction, no snapping the villains neck. This movie would be corny, light hearted, and most importantly: fun. Much like Shazam!, this movie is designed to make you feel good.
Y’know. Like a superhero movie should.
I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t the most solid. But I aimed not to create an artistic masterpiece; I simply wanted to create a plot skeleton that is more true to what Superman is than anything we’ve gotten in recent years. Besides, no matter how bad my version is, I can say with confidence that it’s better than ‘Man of Steel‘.
Though the bar is admittedly very low.