The Superman Movie I’d Like To See

Superman is my favorite superhero of all time, and 1978’s Superman: The Movie is my favorite superhero film of all time. However, to my great sorrow, the current on-screen interpretation of Superman is not to my liking. My concept of what is “in-bounds” for a Superman story is pretty broad. The story of Superman has been told and retold so many times in so many different ways over the last 80 years that I actually think movie and TV writers have wide latitude in how they tell the story.

One of the challenges in telling Superman’s story is that he’s been given so many powers over the years that it’s difficult to depict a villain that can actually challenge him in any meaningful way without the writers dialing back his powers. But this comes across as “unrealistic” because it seems to violate the rules of the universe that the movie or TV show has set.

Just tonight I was watching the episode “World’s Finest” from season one of the current Supergirl show in which Supergirl teams up with the Flash against two villains: one could shoot electricity out of her hands and the other could turn her scream into a sonic weapon. Here’s the problem: Based on the stated powers of Supergirl and the Flash, these villains should pose no challenge whatsoever to Supergirl and Flash. Either of them should be able to move so fast that they could have had the villains tied up faster than they could blink. But if they did that, there would be no dramatic tension. So the writers have to hope that the audience forgets how powerful Supergirl and Flash actually are.

I have a solution to this problem: Make a Superman movie (or TV show) in which Superman has his original power-set. No flight. No heat vision. No freeze breath. No blue beam from his fingers which can rebuild the Great Wall of China. (What were you thinking, Superman IV writers?) Remember that whole “able to leap tall buildings with a single bound” line? That’s because Superman couldn’t fly, but could only jump really far. Remember “faster than a locomotive?” That’s because he couldn’t run like the Flash, only much, much faster than a human. The original Superman had skin strong enough to withstand bullets, but probably isn’t surviving a powerful enough bomb. Doing a film or show based around this version of Superman would actually provide plenty of drama because you could introduce villains who actually could defeat him. It would also show a version of Superman most audiences aren’t familiar with. As a bonus, I’d love to see it set in the 1930’s, but that might be too cost-prohibitive if this were realized as a TV show.

To say we’re unlikely to get this version of Superman is an understatement. But I’ve always wanted to see it. Hollywood, I’m right here if you need help making this a reality. 😉

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