I have always been a huge fan of Kevin Smiths and have loved every single one of his films and even more so his podcast err I mean smodcast and one project of his that I feel unjustly got jettisoned is the Superman Lives project which Kevin Smith penned and Tim Burton was set to direct. As flawed as many aspects of the script and studio concept was it offered enough unique factors that if Zack Snyder were to tap into Kevin Smiths script he would without question end up with a Superman remake which would be a wet dream for DC and Superman fans! I am not a journalist I am a fanboy and a sad excuse at that sometimes and Kevin Smiths script for Superman Lives is the first script I have ever read and now I understand why so many of you love reading discarded scripts.
Kevin Smith has talked about his Superman Lives project and how he came to write it and in true Smith style its quite hilarious. He often quips that his Mallrats joke about a Kryptonite condom for Lois Lane should Superman ever have sex with her and the fact Wonder Womans uterus would have to carry the child got him the gig at Warner Brothers. His clear comic book knowledge and off the hip humor he figures helped get him called into the big office at the studio. He also jokes that had they of seen his films they would never have given him Superman their multimillion dollar flagship project to rewrite.
Having read the script for Superman Lives it is exactly what you might expect from Kevin Smith with his wry humor and clear talent for screenwriting. The script is so good that despite some flaws and un-needed characters it could work nicely as a base for the upcoming Zack Snyder flick Superman Man of Steel. Clearly Zack is not going to use Kevin Smith’s script but if he can tap into some of the ideas from the script in the Warner Brothers archives it would certainly not be a bad thing.
Zack Snyder it seems is considering bring back General Zod and Ursa as his villains for his upcoming retelling of Superman but fans have demanded much more from Braniac to Darkseid and Doomsday. In Kevin Smiths telling of Superman he tapped into not just one villain but in fact 3… 4 if you count a small cameo role from Deadshot in the opening scenes. He also does a nice crossover angle which the studio would have likely dropped bringing the Dark Knight briefly into the mix on Superman Lives.
Kevin Smiths movie saw Lex Luthor teaming up with Brainiac and Doomsday to bring about not just the defeat but the death of Superman which was of course also revealed in the comics. In Kevin Smiths film Superman is brought back by the Eradicator and takes on ‘robot’ form which also ties back to the source material via the shape shifting Eradicator. Kevin Smith’s script is fantastic but it has some oddball moments that will have you scratching your head. Things like Superman not appearing very much as Superman, Brainiac fighting guardian Polar Bears at the Fortrice of Solitude and even a giant spider.
Humor comes into play when you find out that those three items are key parts of the producer’s major requests on Kevin Smith. When he was brought on to write a Superman script the producer of the film had three demands upon Kevin that were not optional and will likely make you laugh as loud as the college crowds Kevin Smith has shared this info with during his stand up campus tours. These demands reportedly included a giant killer spider, killer polar bears and no red blue ( On this last one clearly from the script he took some liberties since superman does fly and does wear the suit all be it not for long )
Kevin Smiths film focuses on Superman but much like Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight and Batman Begins Kevin focuses a lot more on the human elements, the character and the inner mind of Clark Kent as well as the romance with Lois Lane. The Lois Lane angle is obviously in full bloom with the romance quite open similar to Bryan Singers Superman Returns. Unlike Superman Returns Kevin Smith’s script seems to be more based in the comics and is focused on telling a Superman story that comic book fans will love and that mainstream audiences can appreciate. Much like DareDevil its a very straight movie but does offer a smattering of typical Kevin Smith humor that made me chuckle but did not deviate to much from who Superman is and what his story should be. Alot of people look at Daredevil which starred Ben Affleck and groan. I agree the movie that was released into theatres was horrible but find time to watch the Directors Cut and you might end up like me finding a new appreciation for the entire film and not what the studio released.
In the end I think if Zack Snyder takes some ideas from what Kevin Smith did with his abandoned Superman Lives project we can end up with a much superior movie. Kevin Smith’s movie was slated to star Nicolas Cage as Superman and have Tim Burton direct and just from the suit images that leaked online alone I can tell it would have been typical Burton which doesn’t fly for me when it comes to Superman. Add to that Nicolas Cage couldn’t play Superman if his life depended on it and you end up with a movie that really and truly was doomed and we should be thankful the project died.
Zach Snyder has a talented unknown Henry Cavill slated to play Superman and a bevy of talented and gorgeous lesser known female stars lined up to play everything from Lois Lane to the female villain Ursula. If he can put together a script half as good as Kevin Smiths then we are going to be in for one hell of a ride and not just a tribute to the original film like Bryan Singer did with the Brandon Routh starrer Superman Returns. I am all for homage to the original but I want to see Superman back in a big way like Nolan has done with Batman. If anyone can do the Superman movie justice its Zack Snyder and if he borrows a little from Kevin Smith to make that happen all the better in my books. Checkout some test footage of Tim Burtons ‘Superman Suit’ that Nicolas Cage was slated to wear rather then the traditional suit and you will agree its in better hands.