Sunday, February 23, 2014

NEW THIS WEEKED: Pompeii, Non Stop,

Gladiators + Volcanos = Lets make a movie with a trailer that looks like a bunch of great selling movies in one... Sharknado History Channel Style?

Pompeii (referred to by marketing as Pompeii in 3D) is a 2014 American disaster-adventure film produced and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson,[2] the film stars Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, with Jared Harris, and Kiefer Sutherland. It premiered in France, Belgium and Russia on February 19, 2014 and is scheduled to be released over the course of the next two days in many major territories, including the United States of America, Canada and Australia

So this is the Liam Neeson, "I am old, over it but still ready to kill you if you interupt this good book I am reading" movie of the year...

Non-Stop is an 2014 upcoming French American action film starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Anson Mount, Lupita Nyong'o and Scoot McNairy. It is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.[2] This is the first film to be produced by Universal Pictures and Silver Pictures after Warner Bros. longest-running relationship ended.


Liam Neeson as Bill Marks
Julianne Moore as Jen Summers
Michelle Dockery as Nancy
Nate Parker as Zack White
Linus Roache as Captain David McMillan
Scoot McNairy as Tom Bowen
Corey Stoll as Austin
Lupita Nyong'o as Gwen
Anson Mount as Jack Hammond
Bar Paly as Iris Marianne
Omar Metwally as Dr. Fahim Nasir
Shea Whigham as Agent Marenick

Kit Harington as Milo, a slave who became a gladiator.
Dylan Schombing played Young Milo
Emily Browning as Cassia
Kiefer Sutherland as Senator Corvus
Jared Harris as Severus
Jessica Lucas as Ariadne
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Atticus
Carrie-Anne Moss as Aurelia Paz Vega as Strigana
Joe Pingue as Graecus
Dalmar Abuzeid as Felix
Sasha Roiz as Proculus
Jean-Francois Lachapelle as Milo's Father
Rebecca Eady as Milo's Mother

The Wind Rise
Black Out
In Secret
Holy Ghost People

Justice League: Doom - Movie Trailer, Review and more

Justice League: Doom Watch on Amazon


I love this animated feature by DC Universe. While not officially a Bruce Timm produced feature, this one keeps with the Justice League Unlimited style and even features Timm as the voice of Ace. 

This is the ultimate Legion of Doom. By far the best. I like not having Lex Luthor as the head as it decentralizes JLA as just an extension of Superman. 

On paper, upon seeing a script, I would probably say this movie tries to do WAY TO MUCH and should be a series or trilogy. BUT The director deliver a perfectly action AND story packed movie with a surprise hero at the end, followed by banishment of another... 

I don't know of another project that can handle so many heroes and villains in one sitting. Now perhaps if you are not a DCU geek such as I you you may need some back story. But I love this movie trusts we know who most of these characters are going in... (We really don't need an origin story every time - note to Live action movie producers) This movie works for me on so many levels.... 

At some point I might try to rate each movie favorite / MUST SEE to 0... But I am so much an in the moment kind of guy. Writing this review I really want to watch it again. Being an impulsive kind of guy, I think I will....

Theatrical Trailer

FUNNY STORY - when I first started to right this blog post, in my head I was imagining the Justice League Episode "HERE AFTER"  where Superman, missing and presumed dead, ends up 30,000 years in the future finding a Vandal Savage now remorseful and willing to help him home. MAYBE NOT SO FUNNY but the episode is one of the best of all TV superhero arcs of all time as well...

Here is a clip I found online....


Justice League: Doom is an animated direct-to-video superhero film loosely based on Mark Waid's JLA story arc, "JLA: Tower of Babel". The movie was adapted and written by Dwayne McDuffie and is directed by Lauren Montgomery. While not a direct sequel to Crisis on Two Earths, the film uses similar character designs by the lead character designer, Phil Bourassa. It was released on February 28, 2012.[1] The film also features various actors reprising their roles from the DC animated universe andGreen Lantern: Emerald Knightsrespectively.[2][3] It is the 13th film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line.
The film is dedicated to the memory of Dwayne McDuffie who died from complications following open heart surgery shortly after writing the film.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Everybody Parodies Superman: NOW THAT IS A JOB FOR... Funny compilation...

Jack Reacher & Oblivion Review & preview Tom Cruise movie is fully buttered and popped


Jack Reacher 2012 (Click Link to watch at Amazon instant video)  is the 2012 film starring Tom
Cruise, Produced by Tom Cruise and Directed by - oh wait, he let someone else do that....

So again, like so many OK films, I enjoyed this one mostly because I was expecting crap. I watched with split focus, mostly perking up when pleasantly surprised to see Robert Duvall Cameo and then back to help with final action scene.

Like so many TOM CRUISE PRODUCTIONS, Tom knows how to entertain. I get the sense he wanted another Mission Impossible, came up short for a team action movie, so he found a pseudo Tom Clancy type character. This movie feels like a great team made a cheap movie. And I mean that in a complimentary way. All on location shooting, basically easy locations to acquire, simple shots of action sequences not requiring a lot of stunts. Kind of like an episode of Law & Order gone wrong...

I kind of like David Oyelowo as Emerson, capturing the acting style/skill of a young Sydney Poitier.

PMC Rating - NOT BAD

Oblivion 2013 (Click Link to watch at Amazon instant video)
Same story with Oblivion. Any movie gets better once Morgan Stanley is on board. 2077, the world is abandoned. Jack (different Jack, no relation to above), is the tech part of a 2-man tech team. Well tech support is Victoria Olsen, Jack's communications officer and lover.  Right away Sally (Melissa Leo) seems to have a creepy distant quality. And combined with preview scene of Morgan Freedman, you know things are not right.

Not a great movie, it is entertaining at most times with a few high action moments. The movie is too much a rip of of many movies in one, mostly Independence Day at the Climax. At times the movie has tones of I Am Legend and even Planet of the Apes with old destroyed New York as the back drop. 

I do like to see Nikolaj Coster-Waldau - Jamie Lannister form Game of Thrones. Look for him to do more and more at the movies as his HBO duties run their course...

Jack Reacher is a 2012 American thriller film.[3][4] It is an adaptation of Lee Child's 2005 novel One Shot. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the film stars Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. The film entered production in October 2011, and concluded in January 2012. It was filmed entirely on location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The film's U.S. premiere gala, scheduled for December 15, was delayed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14. The film was released in North America on December 21, and in the United Kingdom on December 26, 2012.

Oblivion is a 2013 American post-apocalyptic science fiction filmbased on Joseph Kosinski'sRadical Comics-edited unpublishedgraphic novel of the same name. The film was co-written, produced and directed by Kosinski.[5][6][7] It stars Tom Cruise and Olga Kurylenko.[8][9] The film was released in the U.S. on April 19, 2013.[10] According to Kosinski,Oblivion pays homage to science fiction films of the 1970s.[11]
The film received mixed reviews. The acting and visual effects were praised, while critiques of the story were mixed. The film underperformed at the American box office, grossing only $89 million, but performed well overseas. It is Cruise's twentieth film to gross more than $200 million worldwide.
  • Tom Cruise as Commander Jack Harper, a repairman who fixes anti-alien drones
  • Morgan Freeman as Malcolm Beech, a resistance leader on Earth
  • Olga Kurylenko as Julia Rusakova, an astronaut Jack rescues from a killer drone and nurses back to health
  • Andrea Riseborough as Victoria "Vika" Olsen, Jack's communications officer and lover
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Sykes, a battle-hardened and athletic military weapons expert in Earth's human resistance
  • Melissa Leo as Sally, Jack and Victoria's supervisor, speaking from the Tet
  • Zoë Bell as Kara

Dredd vs Judge Dredd Reviews, pics & previews

WATCH ON AMAZON 2012 Dredd Starring Karl Urban

When I saw the preview for this I thought, was the 1995 movie so good it needed a sequel? Well obviously this is no sequel. It is a completely different vision of the Judge Dredd character and world of Mega City.

In this version, Judge Joseph Dredd (Karl Urban) is teamed with rookie mutant psychic  Judge Cassandra Anderson. The training mission soon becomes intense when the team responds to jumpers found at the bottom of a City Block (Common tower structure of Maga City home of up to 50,000 people). The MaMa gang, run by t he ruthless drug lord, MaMa (Lena Headley) is very bad ass. The Judges are confronted by a hit squad, and - after a major fire fight - capture Kay (Wood Harris). The rest of the movie, the Judges are trapped in the city block and hunted trying to keep Kay form talking.

The performances are perfectly understated. The art design is gritty in a big way while paying great attention to detail. This movie captures the world of the darker styled comic better than any I have seen. The $5 million dollar movie only made $41 million at the box office, but the cult following is growing. GO WATCH THIS MOVIE  Dredd and we might get a sequel!!!!

What I love about this movie in the grander scheme of Comics to Movie trends? As far as i can tell the movie is based on a totally original story line. The comic publishers wrote a preview to lead up to the movie.

WATCH ON AMAZON 1995 Judge Dredd Starring Sylvester Stalone
This is one of the classic movies of the Stalone, Arnold and other Action star libraries that give us a reason to want Expendables 3. A great movie? NO! Entertaining? YES! And I think if you take out Rob Scneider (sorry makes fill take on silly Adam Sandler movie - which I enjoy but...) the movie is a great classic full of silly quote guy flick. Especially with Armand Assante's portrayal of Rico.

Compared to the 2012 movie, this version is more based on  the comic's story lines but in many ways is far less trying to match the artistry and darkness of the comic. The script is clearly not for kids, the cinematography is.

And this movie tries to show the entire world of Mega City and the Curse Land that lies beyond the walls. Although 2012 movie better shows the immensity and overcrowded gritty nature Mega City itself, 2012 shows a very small part focussing on one block. .

ONLINE WEB SERIES - Stumbled onto this doing some research. Not bad campared to usually comic book fan film crap...

Dredd is a 2012 science fiction action film directed by Pete Travis and written and produced by Alex Garland. It is based on the 2000 AD comic strip Judge Dreddand its eponymous character created by John Wagner and Carlos EzquerraKarl Urban stars as Judge Dredd, a law enforcer given the power of judge, jury and executioner in a vast, dystopian metropolis called Mega-City One that lies in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Dredd and his apprentice partner, Judge Anderson(Olivia Thirlby), are forced to bring order to a 200-storey high-rise block of flats and deal with its resident drug lord, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).
Garland began writing the script in 2006, although the development of a new Judge Dredd film adaptation, unrelated to the 1995 film Judge Dredd, was not announced until December 2008. Produced by British studio DNA FilmsDredd began principal photography, using 3D cameras throughout, in November 2010. Filming took place on practical sets and locations in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Dredd was released on 7 September 2012 in the United Kingdom and on 21 September 2012 worldwide. Critics were generally positive about the film's visual effects, casting and action, while criticism focused on a perceived lack of the satirical elements that are found in the source comic and on excessive violence. Despite the positive critical response, the film earned just over $41 million at the box office on an estimated budget of $45 million. Dredd saw greater success following its home release, and has since been recognized as a cult film. The theatrical gross made a sequel unlikely, but home media sales and fan efforts endorsed by 2000 AD's publisher Rebellion have maintained the possibility of a second film.
A famed and feared Judge.[7] Producer Allon Reich described Dredd as "an extreme character, and he administers justice with an extreme lack of prejudice". Urban approached the producers about joining the film. He found the role challenging because the character never removes his helmet, requiring Urban to convey emotion without using his eyes. He viewed the character as an average man with an insanely tough job in a fragmenting society and likened Dredd's heroism to that of a fireman.[8] The role also demanded physical preparation; Urban undertook intensive physical training to become a "beast of a man".[9] He also underwent weapons and technical training to learn how to operate under fire, how to arrest criminals and breach doors. He insisted on performing his own motorcycle stunts for the film. He played Dredd with a raspy and harsh vocal tone akin to "a saw cutting through bone", which he found difficult to sustain.[8]
A rookie Judge and genetic mutant with powerful psychic abilities.[10] Anderson can sense the thoughts and emotions of others.[11] Thirlby contrasted her character with Dredd's "black and white" perspective, describing Anderson as existing "in a grey area where everything is enhanced or clouded by the fact [that] she knows what is going on in the very interior of a person". She undertook weapons and combat training, learning to perform a roundhouse kick to make her believably physically commanding. The character was partially inspired by singer Debbie Harry.[12]
A former prostitute turned drug lord and criminal kingpin who is the sole supplier of Slo-Mo, a new and addictive drug.[13] Headey's performance was inspired by punk-rock singer Patti Smith. Reich described the character as someone who does "not care at all about what anybody thinks or feels and she will do, and behave, as she wants".[14] Headey said: "I think of [Ma-Ma] like an old great white shark who is just waiting for someone bigger and stronger to show up and kill her ... she’s ready for it. In fact, she can't wait for it to happen ... She's an addict, so she's dead in that way, but that last knock just hasn't come."[15] Before Headey's casting, the character was described as a heavily made-up, scarred and obese older woman.[16][17]
Ma-Ma's clansman.[18] Harris described the character as a villain, but one that sees himself as no worse than the Judges. Harris said: " ... Dredd goes around literally judging and killing people if they do wrong ... Anyone who goes against the system might end up the bad guy. So I think Kay has justified fighting that in his mind."[19]
The cast also includes: Domhnall Gleeson as the gang's unnamed computer expert, or "clan techie";[20] Warrick Grier as Ma-Ma's right hand man Caleb; Deobia Oparei as TJ, Peach Trees' medic; Francis Chouler as Judge Guthrie,[21] Daniel Hadebe as Judge Volt, and Rakie Ayola as the Chief Judge.[22] Langley Kirkwood, Edwin Perry, Karl Thaning, and Michele Levin portray, respectively, the corrupt Judges Lex, Alvarez, Chan, and Kaplan. Dredd also features Junior Singo as Amos and Luke Tyler as Freel, young boys who confront Dredd; Jason Cope as Zwirner, the thug executed by Dredd during the opening scene; Joe Vaz as Big Joe, the thug that leads the confrontation outside of the med station; Scott Sparrow as Japhet, Anderson's first execution, and Nicole Bailey as Cathy, Japhet's wife, in whose apartment the Judges take refuge.

Judge Dredd is a 1995 Americanscience fiction action film directed by Danny Cannon, and starringSylvester StalloneDiane Lane,Rob SchneiderArmand Assante, and Max von Sydow. The film is based on the strip of the same name in the British comic 2000 AD. It was a critical and commercial disappointment.

How Hollywood almost destoyed Superman - AND STILL MIGHT...

Superman is indestructible - virtually. Well the the character is. The franchise is seemingly always under attack by the tug and pull between purists and radical "visionaries" that want to change everything we love about the character. As an actor and producer of theater, sketch and now film as well... I am always amazed at the crapped produced when morons with too much money put their faith in the wrong "Visionary"  - Best recent example of this is Spiderman on Broadway...

Reading some articles on WIKI, I discovered the answer why we had to wait so long for Superman Returns 2006.  The people that brought us Superman THE MOVIE are most likely the cause of its years of crappy movies and ideas. Making one great movie does not make you the expert.

Superman THE MOVIE was great. Superman 2 was pretty awesome, but clearly producers decided to reinvent what Kryptonians can do way too much. The movie survived a director change and was pretty good.

Superman 3 was not bad but critically panned. Superman 4 was produced by Cannon Films. Cannon bought the rights from Salkind but ran out of money and the movie clearly suffer from 2nd rate producing and Cannon's Bankruptcy.

But that is just the beginning of the disaster to be aimed at the Super Boy Scout...

Well as far as I am concerned they started with Superboy. I recently watched the pilot and was totally disgusted. I hear it get better with recastings and writing changes in later season. But what I saw was terrible.

SUPERMAN V was in the works. With writers from Superboy Series and Salkind Producing (Also writing premise for the story) this was bound to fail after Warner Brothers sued to regain control of the property. After the later works form Salkind I think this was a great thing to happen, even though it killed more movies. Instead we get Lois & Clark Which I have liked but never loved. After THE MOVIE TV budget could never really satisfy special effects needs... I preferred Greatest American Hero in the 1980s.

The Success of "THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN" Comics brought us one abandoned project after the next. At this point Salkind is replaced by Jon Peters as the horrible years to come for the character behind the scenes...

"In any good Superman movie, the fate of the whole planet should be at stake. You've got to have villains whose powers and abilities demand that Superman (and only Superman) can be the one who stops them. That's the only way to make the movie exciting and a dramatic challenge." —Writer Jonathan Lemkin on writing Superman Reborn FROM WIKI

If the "Death of Superman" was so perfect, why is every on screen version so different - Including the animated feature DOOMSDAY that was made. When the wheel is perfect, don't reinvent. Various versions of this script had Superman having relationship issues with Lois, fighting Doomsday and and passing on his life force resulting in VIRGIN BIRTH after his death - with the new Superman, a 3-week old child appearing 21 to save the day .

In a rewrite by Gregory Poirier (Creator of a show I wish lasted - ABC's MISSING with Ashley Judd), Superman's version of Jesus is replaced by his own life being resurrected by Cadmus - now an alien victim of Brainiac (The creator of Doomsday in this version) not a government project to stop meta-humans. JLA purists would have had a field day with that one. Kevin Smith was hired to rewrite the script but did not like the number of changes form the Superman Comic

"We got the Kevin Smith script, but we were told not to read it, because they knew he wasn't going to stay on the movie. So we used Kevin Smith's script as a guide to the sets we might be doing, and we waited and waited for the new script to come in, but it never did." —Art designer Sylvain Despretz on designing Superman Lives[ FROM WIKI

So in researching all of the failed Superman projects, it sounds like Kevin Smith is the only one that actually ever read the comics. BUT, thanks to the meddling of Jon Peters, his ideas would never be realized. Peters wanted Superman to wear all black, never fly and fight a giant spider. At some point Brainiac was to fight Polar Bears in the Fortress of Solitude, Lex Luthor would have a space dog  and a Brianiac sidekick, LRon  "A gay R2D2 with attitude. I guess Peters was a big fan of B Movies of the 1950s with ZERO vision and less knowledge of the character. READ MORE ABOUT KEVIN SMITH's Superman Tenure HERE Puts all of this into perspective... 'Eventually,' he explains, I met with [Warner's] Lorenzo DeBoniventura, a great guy, a smart guy. And Jon Peters, who isn't a really great guy or smart guy. I was fascinated by meeting Jon Peters, though, because this was the guy who produced BATMAN, and to hear him tell the story, you wouldn't think that Tim Burton meant anything to BATMAN. He says stuff like, 'You know the reason that BATMAN worked? You know that alleyway scene where he's fighting those sword-bearing guys and they're attacking him? Those guys were real swordsmen; that's why that movie made like $300 million.' I was like, 'Oh, really? All you need is real swordsmen to make a film such a hit?' But both of them dug on me, I guess. Jon's take was more from the gut than anything elseand way off base, too. He said, 'You know why you and me are going to get this project right and make a great movie? Because you and me understand Superman; we're from the streets.' I was like, 'You were a hairdresser once; I'm from the suburbs. Neither of us are from the streets.'' 

I think the following passage from the article some is all up.... 'They said to me, 'Kevin, what you don't understand about this is that this is a corporate movie,' he continues. 'It doesn't matter how good the dialogue is between Lois and Superman; it's about how many toys we can sell.' That was real soul-killing, man. Sell all the toys you want, but tell a good story in the process. Tell a good story, and you may sell more. And the fact of the matter is, even if the movies doesn't do well, like in the case of BATMAN & ROBIN, the toys will still sell. And you can make toys that have nothing to do with the movie. Very often you look at these Batman action figures, and it's like, 'I don't remember him in that suit.' You can make toys that aren't in the flick, but are just tied to it. Look at the amount of Batman outfits out there; you never see him in half these outfits. So that really bothered me. My attitude was that if I was going to work within these parameters, I'm going to at least do it where I can sleep at night and it's not flat-out stupid.'

Good movies sell merchandise - period. Selling toys makes bad movies - EVERYTIME!!!

All that being said, SUPERMAN LIVES was green lit, but in pre-production, Tim Burton, signed to direct, started to re-write with Wesley Strick. Warner Brothers decided another rewrite was needed to bring down the budget nearly in half  -after sets and locations we being built/scouted and Nick Cage showing up for costume fittings - Yes as Andy Sandberg says on SNL, Nick Cage is in every movie... Or almost was....

Burton, citing various differences with Peters and the studio, said, "I basically wasted a year. A year is a long time to be working with somebody that you don't really want to be working with." FROM WIKI

By now $30 million had been spent without a single frame filmed. A new writer Alex Ford came and went with his 7-movie arc "MAN OF STEEL" Ford said, "I can tell you they don't know much about comics. Their audience isn't you and me who pay $7.00. It's for the parents who spend $60 on toys and lunchboxes. It is a business, and what's more important, the $150 million at the box office or the $600 million in merchandising?

A list director and actors cam and went - including Will Smith to play Superman. CLEARLY Jon Peters is a big dummy when it comes to Superman.

Batman vs Superman
Bruce Wayne is in morning after the death of everyone form his life. trying to gather himself, he remarries, with Clark Kent as his Best Man - now divorced from Lois. Joker, kills the new wife at the honeymoon, Batman blames Superman (who is trying to rekindle Lana Lang romance), the two battle... After it is learned that Lex Luthor was pulling the strings to turn hero against hero, the two team up to take down the villain. We almost saw Christian Bale as batman fighting Josh Hartnett as Superman. The project was abandoned in favor of solo movie franchise options.

Superman Fly By / THE MAN OF STEEL
J. J. Abram had his turn with Superman. JJ has gone on to reboot Star Trek and slated to reboot Star Wars. This missed opportunity rebooted the origin story with far more Krypton Poliltics in the form a civil war, Kal is sent to Earth to fulfill a prophecy (Alluded to by Marlon Brandon in Richard Donner cut of Superman II) as Jor - El is locked in mortal combat with his corrupt brother Kata-El (Kara's father maybe should a sequel happened). Lex Luthor is a UFO obsessed government agent. When Superman exposes himself to the world, Kata-El's son, TY-EL, shows up with three other Kryptonians,. Clark is killed and meets his father in Kryptonian Heaven. Superman is resurrected, defeats the bad guys and we were to be left with a cliff hanger....

YADA YADA YADA We got Superman Returns LOL

Sounds like this could have been cool. The same cast coming back form Superman Returns with a far more action packed script that may have finally seen Brainiac on the big screen.... BUT
Warner Bros. President Alan F. Horn explained that Superman Returns was a very successful film, but that it "should have done $500 million worldwide. We should have had perhaps a little more action to satisfy the young male crowd."[74] Singer reacted incredulously to the studio complaints, saying, "That movie made $400 million! I don't know what constitutes under-performing these days ..."[75] $175 million was the maximum budget Warner Bros. was projecting for the sequel, as Superman Returns cost $209 million

I hope I am wrong. MAN OF STEEL was awesome. THAT IS HOW YOU REBOOT BYATCH!!!
Sequel is now starring Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I loved The Social Network but pretty much hate every other Jesse Eisenberg movie. I am hoping they prove me wrong...  This would be a great Adult Swim parody series though....


SUPERMAN REBORN (Jonathan Lemkin, circa 1994)

Superman battles Doomsday, only to die by the end of the first act. Lois has been mysteriously impregnated with Superman’s spirit. Their hastily gestated heir grows at an incredible rate to adulthood (think STARMAN). Of course, he saves the world from destruction in this campy, stillborn first effort.

SUPERMAN REBORN (Gregory Poirer, December 20, 1995)

Brainiac, credited here as the creator of Doomsday, has infused his creature with Kryptonite blood. Meanwhile, on Earth, Superman tries to deal with being an alien in love with a human woman via psychiatric help.
Dead by page 23, Superman’s corpse is stolen by an alien, Cadmus. A Brainiac victim, Cadmus becomes Superman’s sifu after resurrecting him on page 32. His own body deteriorating, Brainiac seeks Superman’s body as the perfect corporeal vessel. The baddie threatens the people of Metropolis to aid in the search (along with lame criminals Parasite and Silver Banshee).
Powerless, Superman wears a robotic suit that mimics his old powers until he can learn to use his powers again on his own (according to the script, they’re a mental discipline called “Phin-yar”–not to be confused with “The Force”). Bad guys are defeated and Superman feels at home by the end of Poirer’s script.

SUPERMAN LIVES (Kevin Smith, March 27, 1997)

It was a fanboy’s dream that quickly became a nightmare. Smith’s cornball script suffers from Peters-imposed ideas (polar bears guarding the Fortress of Solitude) and cheesy Smith dialogue.

I know it sounds silly—where do I get off complaining? He—the guy who’s faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive... what’s the last one?

Something about tall buildings.

This time Superman stays alive until page 38, where he’s again defeated by Doomsday. Superman’s defeat is aided by the lack of sunlight; the result of a merger between Lex Luthor and Brainiac. Their sun blockage isn’t as creative as the way Mr. Burns did it on “The Simpsons,” but it’s evil nevertheless. Superman is resurrected by Kryptonian robot, The Eradicator, which has lain dormant at the Fortress of Solitude. (The Eradicator made an appearance in the “Superman: Exile” story arc as an ancient mystical Kryptonian relic).
Rather than Superman’s lifeless body, Brainiac wishes to possess The Eradicator and its technology. Powerless (again), the resurrected Superman (back by page 50) is sheathed in armor (The Eradicator becomes his protective suit) until his powers return, courtesy of some sunbeams. Evil is vanquished and Brainiac’s annoying robot lackey, L-Ron, has a pithy closing remark.

Around the time that Smith’s script reached completion, Peters continued to act as the architect in Superman’s destruction by hiring Tim Burton to direct the new Superman film. For a hot second it seemed like a Smith/Burton/Cage Superman would really happen. Warner Brothers even had a poster made up for the February 1997 Toy Fair with a silver Superman logo on a field of black with the simple statement “Coming 1998” emblazoned across the bottom.
Had Burton’s Superman been made, it’s certain that the “stranger in a strange land” aspect of Kal-el on Earth would have been played to the hilt. Burton scrapped Smith’s script and brought in Wesley Strick to rework the puzzle pieces (Brainiac, Luthor, Doomsday, et cetera). Meanwhile, Burton was trying to cast his film:
Superman....Nicolas Cage (or Ralph Fiennes)
Lois Lane....Cameron Diaz
Jimmy Olsen....Chris Rock
Lex Luthor....Kevin Spacey
Doomsday....Hulk Hogan
Brainia....Tim Allen (or Jim Carrey)
Batman....Michael Keaton (cameo)
K (formerly The Eradicator)....Jack Nicholson (voice)
During this period of time, there was a flurry of activity. Smith’s script was out and Strick’s was in, until Warner Brothers nixed it. A string of new writers followed:

SUPERMAN REBORN (Wesley Strick, circa 1997/1998)
Going back to some of Poirer’s ideas, Strick’s script is said to have included Silver Banshee and Parasite as lesser villains again. Strick’s version of Superman was “darker,” much to Burton’s delight.

SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL (Alex Ford, 9/4/98)

While Hollywood tried to get Superman to straighten up and fly right, fans weren’t taking this silver screen hiatus lying down. The better known fan scripts floating around the internet included T.J. Grech’s SUPERMAN: LAST MAN OF KRYPTON, SUPERMAN 5 by Matt Fisher, SUPERMAN FIRESTORM by David B. Samuels, and SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL by Alex Ford. The story of Ford and his script is almost a Hollywood tale in itself. Alex Ford wrote this alternative Superman script and, after being encouraged by his wife, he connected with the right people to get it read. He even managed a meeting with Peters and additional Superman producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura. Feeling like a work of fan fiction, Ford’s script sets up a longer series of films which will include more villains than just Luthor, Brainiac, and Doomsday. Like too many Hollywood stories, Ford’s work was rejected and he was given a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” farewell.

SUPERMAN LIVES (Dan Gilroy, 9/20/98)

A pastiche of the previous scripts’ lesser elements, Gilroy’s draft has Brainiac on the hunt for Kal-el after having destroyed Krypton. Like Smith’s draft, we don’t see Superman fly—merely hearing a “whoosh” and a blur of color as would be done a few years later in “Smallville.” When Brainiac reaches Earth, he “merges” with Lex Luthor to form “Lexiac” (a la Alan Moore’s Superman story, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”). He dispatches with Superman by page 61 via the Kryptonite-blooded Doomsday (shades of Poirer).
Typical of the other drafts, it’s only a matter of ten to twelve minutes (page 72) before the Man of Steel is resurrected. The Kryptonian device The Eradicator goes by “K” in this script. Again, K sheaths Superman and provides him with power as he heals. The majority of the script seems to be Lexiac chatting with Luthor’s slimy lawyer, Morris. Meanwhile, Superman goes on a bit of a spiritual journey as he learns to accept his role on Earth in order to regain his powers (page 101). Superman has some horrible lines as he fights Brainiac (“You’ve been recalled!”) and if Smith’s painfully self-reflexive “more powerful than a locomotive” line was bad, Gilroy surpasses this with the old “It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!” on the final page.
It wasn’t long after this that Tim Burton was reluctantly fired by Warner Brothers. The reluctance came, no doubt, from Burton’s “play or pay” contract which netted him a significant amount of cash for doing nothing more than wasting time.
After Burton sought greener pastures in SLEEPY HOLLOW, Peters approached a number of directors such as Michael Bay, Shekhar Kapur, and Martin Campbell. They all turned him down, apparently because of Gilroy’s lame script. This draft was finally canned and William Wisher was brought in to start anew.

SUPERMAN LIVES (William Wisher, 8/23/2000)

In the myriad articles documenting the winding road that Superman followed to reach the big screen in 2006, Wisher’s script is often described as being influenced by THE MATRIX. Allow me to put that notion to bed. Apart from some Lex Luthor-created wireless internet technology a person can wear on their necks, there’s no hint of anything remotely similar to THE MATRIX in Wisher’s work. The “Lexmen” are a cadre of drones that act like MATRIX “agents” and manage to slow down the Man of Steel for a hot second.
If anything, Wisher’s script was a return to the roots of the Superman project, resembling the aforementioned Lemkin, Poirer, and Gilroy works. Kal-el, one of the scant few survivors of Krypton, is pursued by his father’s creation, Brainiac. He’s discovered on Earth just after he’s had a fight with Lois Lane about how uncomfortable he feels being an alien among humans. Lex Luthor allies himself with Brainiac in exchange for technology that gives life to his ill-fated “Lexlink” program.
Again, Brainiac employs Doomsday to kill Kal-el by page 60. His body is taken by Mal-ar, last Knight of Krypton, who swore to protect the infant prince before Krypton’s King Jor-el was murdered by Brainiac previous to the destruction of Krypton. Like Jesus, Superman is resurrected after “about three days” (page 79). Waking up a weakling, Kal-el wears a suit of “Krypton Armor;” a sleek black suit that gives him enhanced abilities. Doomsday doesn’t have a second shot at Superman: he disappears from the script after he’s served his purpose. Rather, Superman easily cuts his way through the Braniac-controlled “Lexmen” with a crystal sword looking like “a samurai from outer space” (page 98). While Lex Luthor tries to redeem himself as a human being before Earth explodes (Brainiac has a habit of destroying planets), Superman battles Brainiac in a rather anticlimactic scene wherein he regains his powers and, very un-Superman-like, kills the baddie while destroying his talking “skull ship.”
Again, wearing black and attacking the Luthor Building doesn’t really make Wisher’s SUPERMAN LIVES anything like THE MATRIX either. Oliver Stone was approached at this point to direct Wisher’s script but didn’t take the bait. It was time, too, for Nicholas Cage to cash in his chips. The new choice for Superman went to Russell Crowe. With Wisher’s moody Superman, Crowe may have been a good choice. The Aussie actor wasn’t interested. No director, no stars, and a script that took the project back six years. The wind had gone out of Superman’s cape. 

SUPERMAN DESTRUCTION (Paul Attanasio, 6/27/2001)

There’s little known about Attanasio’s work on the Superman project. Some reports have him utilizing a treatment by DC comics writer Keith Giffen with Superman battling the stellar bad guy Lobo (Wizard Magazine #118), while others have him turning in a 50-page treatment of his own that rehashes the death/resurrection plot line yet again.

While the Peters-plagued Superman project labored on for years, the Batman franchise sputtered under the direction of Joel Schumacher. Batman wasn’t being killed off in the comics. Instead, he was being recast in “Batman: Year One” in Frank Miller’s seminal tome. Miller reinvigorated Batman. A movie was said to be quick to follow. By 2002, Wolfgang Peterson was on track to bring BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN to the screen. This was to be followed by the long-delayed Peters project, which was set to be directed by McG. ASYLUM (Andrew Kevin Walker, Revised by Akiva Goldsmith 6/21/02) When you’re a kid, you pit people against each other in imaginary fights: “Who would win: Johnny Socko’s Giant Robot or Ultraman?” One of the classic match-ups has to be Batman versus Superman. Now that may sound like a one-sided fight; the man of steel versus the man in a bat suit. How could a mere mortal best Krypton’s favorite son? Read Frank Miller’s “The Dark Night Returns” to witness this superior throw down. But why would these two beacons of justice ever face off?
In Andrew Kevin Walker’s ASYLUM (also known as BATMAN VS SUPERMAN), Lex Luthor drives a wedge between the champions of Gotham and Metropolis via an elaborate plot that involves cloning The Joker and giving Bruce Wayne the perfect mate, only to take her away. Through his machinations, Batman’s motivation of revenge comes in direct opposition of Superman’s dogmatic protection of his human charges. Simply, Batman wants to murder The Joker and Superman won’t let him. The two come to blows in an epic battle that involves a lot of Kryptonite and millions of dollars in damage.
While the showdown between the caped crusaders wears out its welcome after twenty pages, the rest of the script is incredibly engaging and typical of Andrew Kevin Walker’s style. Yet, as is the case with Walker, his best work is often rewritten (SLEEPY HOLLOW, 8MM, etc).

SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL (J.J. Abrams, 7/26/02)

If fan boys were excited about Kevin Smith, they were beside themselves with J.J. Abrams. He was on top of the world with TV’s “Alias,” and the fervor over his involvement with Superman might have been topped only if Joss Whedon has volunteered to pen a script. The height of expectations were only equaled by the depths of disappointment when Abrams script was trashed by the hacks at the Ain’t It Cool News website.
Also known as “SUPERMAN: FLYBY,” the Abrams story was a revisionist tale with Krypton besieged by civil war between its King, Jor-El, and his upstart brother, Kata-Zor. The baby Kal-el is sent to Earth partly as a safety measure when Kata-Zor’s forces trash the Krypton capital, and also in hopes that he’ll fulfill a prophecy to return to Krypton as its savior. When Kal-el arrives on Earth, he’s adopted by Martha and Jonathan Kent. When they discover his powers, they try their best to have Kal-el/Clark suppress his abilities. In the process, they make him neurotic.
Isolated, persecuted, and thinking he’s the devil’s spawn, Clark meets a spitfire young lady named Lois Lane in college. An undeclared senior, he’s impressed by her pre-Freshman ambition to major in journalism and work in Metropolis at “The Daily Planet.” Creepily, he decides to do the same thing and, when he meets up with her years later, she remembers him only as the guy who had his zipper down.
Lois doesn’t give Clark the time of day. She’s more concerned with exposing and humiliating the government agency that’s wasting untold time and resources trying to prove the presence of alien beings on Earth. The hard-as-nails agent in charge of this alien-hunting squad is none other than Agent Lex Luthor. Sporting a brush cut and a massive attitude, Luthor has quite an axe to grind about aliens, so much so that he blows his top at a Congressman and gets canned.
Apart from the framing device of the script that starts out with Superman down and nearly out, battling super-powered aliens (a similar frame would be employed in the Abrams-penned MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3), we don’t see Superman until nearly an hour into the film. This scene of Superman, saving Lois Lane as she’s aboard Air Force One interviewing the President, is something of a nod to SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE where Superman saves Lois as she’s on her way to interview the President. The scene and its aftermath— Superman setting down the saved airplane in a very public place (here Boston Commons)—also finds its roots in the John Byrne-penned “Superman: The Man of Steel” comic series. An amalgamation of these scenes would be found later in SUPERMAN RETURNS.
(I’m glad that the President’s plane didn’t crash. Otherwise, we might find Lois Lane on a mysterious island pursued by an unexplained smoke monster for a few years.)
This first appearance of Superman isn’t followed up by the montage of him going on a crime-fighting spree. Rather, Clark Kent is so pent-up about his role as Superman that he swears to never wear the costume again. This changes when he learns that Jonathan Kent (who up and died upon hearing the news of his son saving the President) would have wanted him to take the mantle of power and embrace his role as Superman.
News travels pretty fast. Really fast, apparently, as the radio and television waves from Earth reach Krypton in record time. This brings Kata-Zor’s son, Ty-Zor, and three other badass Kryptonians to Earth. To say that this brings about a lot of scenes reminiscent of SUPERMAN II is an understatement.
Again, Superman is defeated and killed. There’s a funeral but the Man of Steel isn’t down and out for long. He’s visited in death by Jor-El (who’s committed hara-kiri back on Krypton) and resurrected. With the help of some Kryptonite-fueled weapons, Superman defeats the four known Kryptonians as well as the secret-lurking Kryptonian, Lex Luthor, before this first chapter of a proposed series is over. There are mentions of characters either slightly seen or unseen in the screenplay, and Superman’s messianic return to Krypton is set to happen in the next film.
The changes to the Superman mythos-infuriated fanboys who forget that Kryptonite didn’t exist until the Siegel & Schuster story was translated to radio. This kind of re-imagining happens all the time in the superhero world; sometimes successfully (BATMAN: BEGINS), and sometimes not (CAT WOMAN). For all of the problems I had with the script, it was something new and not simply a recycling of the old, good ideas from the original SUPERMAN series.

Peterson stepped out and let BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN die in favor of TROY. Before the dust could settle, J.J. Abrams delivered his take on the Superman tale to Warner Brothers and everyone was elated with the possible exception of McG and apoplectic Superman fans. McG left to direct the sequel to CHARLIE’S ANGELS, and the ever-obnoxious Brett Ratner had his turn in the director’s chair.
Ratner hadn’t even had time to warm up his seat when the backlash against the Abrams script swelled into a shitstorm. When the opportunity presented itself, the RUSH HOUR auteur fled the sinking Peters ship. Oddly enough, Ratner would go on to direct the third film in the X-Men series while its former helmer, Bryan Singer, would defect to the Superman camp.

SUPERMAN RETURNS (Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris, 9/27/2005)

With his super heroic clout, director Bryan Singer managed to break away from most of the tenets laid down by producer Jon Peters. Gone were Brainiac, Doomsday, and the black suit. Still present was Superman’s pathos, a near death, and the red and blue “whooshing” suit (albeit a fairly dingy one).
Singer’s X2 screenwriters Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris made SUPERMAN RETURNS a continuation of the Superman story line from the Richard Donner films or, at least, SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE. There may be no mention of General Zod, Non, or Ursa but it’s apparent that Lois Lane bedded the Man of Steel. The product of their Fortress of Solitude union, Jason, spends the majority of the story as an asthmatic, bespectacled weakling except for one head-scratching, contrived moment.
The victim of an elaborate ruse, Superman returns to where Krypton ought to be only to find a deadly meteor field of Kryptonite. He manages to escape and get back to his adopted planet Earth five years after he departed. Instead of finding out how he got tricked and/or looking up his long-time nemesis, Lex Luthor, Superman hangs out in Smallville. Then he goes looking for Lex Luthor, right? Wrong. He goes back to Metropolis to learn that Lois Lane has moved on from Superman, even winning a Pulitzer for her piece “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.” Ouch! Then he doggedly pursues the only man who’s come close to defeating Krypton’s favorite son... wait, no. He doesn’t.
Even after Jimmy Olsen, in his infinite wisdom, suggests, “Why don’t you guys track down Lex Luthor?,” on page 73, the greatest criminal mind of our time is swept to the wayside. This leaves a lot more time for Superman to mope around and retread dialogue from SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor seems to be in his own film and pursuing a plot with earmarks of his ideas from SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE and SUPERMAN II only in reverse order. Luthor makes his way to The Fortress of Solitude before revealing his elaborate real estate scheme, paraphrasing his lines from the earlier films along the way as well. Who came up with this idea—the same guy who thought it’d be smart to build a second Death Star?
Superman finally catches up with Luthor on page 118 and they share all of three pages together in an anticlimactic showdown. Rather than squaring off like Kirk (William Shatner) and Khan (Ricardo Montalban) in STAR TREK II, Luthor and Superman are more like Hanna (Al Pacino) and McCauley (Robert De Niro) in HEAT.

SUPERMAN RETURNS (Bryan Singer, 2006)

Little stands out as being starkly different from the screenplay of SUPERMAN RETURNS to the final film version, except for the lack of explanation for Superman’s disappearance and the scenes of Superman flying (in a spaceship) amongst the ruined crags of Kryptonite asteroids.
The cuts between the Superman (Brandon Routh) story line and the Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) story line are jarring. The film moves from the moody introspective Kryptonian, who’s been dumped by Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) in favor of the boss’s son, Richard White (James Marsden) to the hammy criminal mastermind and his Miss Teschmacher stand-in, Kitty Kowalski (Parker Posey). The worst character in the film has to be Superman’s bastard son, Jason (Tristan Lake Leabu) and his awful Adam Rich haircut.
While I can respect the decision to emulate Donner’s SUPERMAN films, aping these superior movies just made me long to see the originals. The John Williams score combined with the unnecessary cameo appearance by Marlon Brando only reinforced this desire. Overall, I would have rather have seen J.J. Abrams’s version of the story, as it strayed the farthest from the Jon Peters directives, divorced itself from Donner, and actually managed to feel like an original take on the Superman story.

Even if it hadn’t taken over a dozen years and millions of dollars to bring the next chapter of Superman saga to the big screen, SUPERMAN RETURNS would epitomize anticlimactic. Rather than breaking new ground or taking the Superman story in a different direction (see “Red Son” by Mark Millar), the film was just a rehash of a better film that predated it by nearly three decades.