Clark Kent struggles with his identity as he confronts General Zod, a ruthless Kryptonian hellbent on destroying all inhabitants of Earth.
Why we went
Um.. Have you heard the hype? Seen the Walmart ads? Not to mention the people involved: Dark Knight writing team David S. Goyer and Chris Nolan, Hans Zimmer as composer, Michael Shannon as the villain, and my favorite cardboard cutout Henry Cavill as the big ‘S’?! Yes please!
Why it didn’t work
Director Zack Snyder and his Editor Spencer sit in front of a computer reviewing what would become the final cut of the movie. Zack clicks away at his Nintendo DS. Spencer stares at the screen and looks as though he hasn’t slept in weeks.
Editor: Ok, So here’s the scene where Superman’s parents are about to send him to Earth.
Zack Snyder: (disinterested) Mhm.
Editor: Now, we have some footage of Lara Lor-van really losing it. I was thinking a big dramatic swell of music and then waterworks. Maybe linger on the moment for dramatic effect.
Editor: Mr. Snyder are you listening?
ZS: No thanks, I already have my coffee.
Editor: With all due respect sir, I’m not sure how you can be so indifferent about this. Our final cut has to be finished by tomorrow and it still needs a lot of work.
ZS: Listen kid, we filmed this shit for 7 months. Do you realize the labor I went through to get it to look just right? Besides, its already great!
Editor: I can tell you worked really hard on it, but…
ZS: But what, Lester?
Editor: Well…Like this scene I was talking about. Shouldn’t Superman’s mom look, I dunno, sadder?
ZS: What do you mean?! We KNOW she’s sad. Why bother sitting on it?
Editor: (Sighs) What about this? So Kal-El is on earth, disguised as Clark Kent. He’s taking odd jobs and basically drifting so as to elude being “found out.”
ZS: Ok, perfect. What’s the problem?
Editor: I mean, it’s good. And a huge plot point that’s totally relevant to the character development. But it feels sort of disjointed. Maybe we can segue into it a bit better. He just keeps appearing in these really weird totally unrelated settings. Don’t you think the audience might be initially confused as it stands now?
ZS: No, not at all. Besides, its supposed to be a nonlinear narrative. What should we do, add a more coherent story structure just to dumb it down for the dummies?
Editor: Well, no. But it might be more compelling for the audience if they experience firsthand Superman’s journey as its happening. To see how and why exactly he gets from Point A to Point B.
ZS: They’ll get it. Moving on.
Editor: Ok. So there’s the first Earth battle with General Zod. Don’t you think its a bit much?
ZS: How do you mean?
Editor: Well, don’t get me wrong – the animation is top notch, it really is. The visual effects team did a great job. But 20+ sustained minutes of that stuff is kind of… boring isn’t it?
ZS: No way! What’s going to keep the audience engaged between all the lame parts with talking? Modern audiences need BIG. Explosions and flying and falling buildings and shit. That’s the sweet stuff.
Editor: Should we save it for the end then? So it’ll be more satisfying?
ZS: Why save it when we can pack the movie with as much of it as possible? It’s perfect!
Editor: You’re the boss. But there’s one more thing I think could use some work.
ZS: Oh geez. What is it now, Lester?
Editor: Actually, its Spencer sir.
ZS: No! No!!!
ZS tilts his Nintendo DS two and fro, clearly not listening.
Editor: Anyway… Its the climax. That scene could be so dramatic. We could cut back to an earlier memory or have Superman really act out. This is the actor’s time to shine, and his delivery is about as convincing as Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith. Can’t we amp it up? You know, go “BIG”?
ZS: Lester, have you seen Henry Cavill? He’s gorgeous. Drop dead. I’m a babe magnet and I’d drop to my knees for that guy. Why on earth would we have him do anything more than the bare minimum? I mean really. Just look at that jawline!
Editor: Woah, that really is impeccable… So I guess the movie’s perfect just the way it is. Should i send it over to Warner Brothers?
ZS: Eh, why rush? It’s probably already made back 3x its budget in ticket sales.
Editor: Good point.
It looks pretty effing cool, but there’s just not enough high-stakes drama to set-up a satisfying payoff.
And, ‘scue me, Superman is NOT supposed to wear his undies on the inside. Just sayin’.