Man of Steel: The Abridged Screenplay (spoilers)

Man-of-Steel-3D1

MAN OF STEEL
(The Abridged Screenplay)
by Dan Cooper
(with apologies to the guy who used to do them for Total Film back in the day)

(Warning: This post contains spoilers and religious references that may offend the easily offended)

JOR-EL’s HOUSE, THE PLANET KRYPTON, Int. Day
JOR-EL and his NAMELESS WIFE are going through a birthing ceremony. It is twice as long as is necessary and is deeply UNCOMFORTABLE.

CUT-TO

GOVERNMENT HQ, Int. Day. (?)
The Jedi council are having a discussion about the forthcoming collapse of the planet that involves them sitting quietly and not speaking to one another.

JOR-EL
I am Russell Crowe, modern cinema’s greatest badass, and I am your chief scientist.

GENERAL ZOD
I’m a guy with a flat head and a Spock haircut with the world’s geekiest beard. I may look more like the head of a provincial web design firm, but I am actually this planet’s greatest warrior.

JOR-EL
Your insistence on shale gas fracking has finally caused the planet to explode.

THE COUNCIL (as one)
No, it hasn’t.

GENERAL ZOD:
I’ve been genetically conditioned to protect Krypton from its enemies. As such, I hope you’ll forgive my logic as I now launch a coup and kill the Government.

CUT-TO

We are now made to watch a set-piece from ATTACK OF THE CLONES. Half-way through, JOR-EL steals Krypton’s most HIGHLY-PRIZED MACGUFFIN, for which he suffers no consequence.

CUT-TO

JOR-EL’s HOUSE, Int. Day (?)
JOR-EL DOWNLOADS the MACGUFFIN into KAL-EL and then spends 12 hours staring at him, eyes wrapped in milky-white tears.

JOR-EL
My son, with great power comes great responsibility, it’s what you do that defines you, you’re to protect truth, justice and the American Way (but not when we sell this film to China)

During all of this SPEECHIFYING, GENERAL ZOD manages to catch up. After a fight, ZOD stabs JOR-EL to the left of his ribcage with a knife.

ZACK SNYDER
Dude! That is so totally an awexxome reference to Gladiator! I ROOL THA SKOOL!

CUT-TO

A scene left on the cutting-room floor from the first X-Men, in which a HEAVILY BEARDED WOLVERINE UNNAMED BURLY MAN is in an episode of DEADLIEST CATCH.

SHIP CAPTAIN
Hey, mute, silent newbie, get me my binoculars! We wanna watch these people on a BURNING OIL RIG burn to death, because that’s what we rough-and-tumble fishermen do.

However, the UNNAMED BURLY MAN has DISAPPEARED off to SAVE THE OIL RIG MEN.

CUT-TO

SOMEWHERE COLD, ALASKA OR THE ARCTIC CIRCLE OR SOMETHING

LOIS LANE, lands on a helicopter and is greeted by THE GUY FROM BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, THE GUY FROM LAW AND ORDER, THE GUY FROM THE WEST WING AND THE OTHER GUY FROM BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

THE GUY FROM LAW AND ORDER
I’m gonna make you sleep in the fridge, because that’s what we rough-and-tumble burly secret military men do.

LOIS LANE
I’d react to this and display some personality, but that’d require me to have a character.

THE GUY FROM LAW AND ORDER
Also, piece of friendly advice. We’re here in the Alaskan Wilderness or the arctic circle or

LOIS LANE
The Canadian Government gave me permission to be here

THE GUY FROM LAW AND ORDER
Wait, this is Canada? Really? Wow. Okay, well, don’t go wandering off in a parka you bought from Target and some thin cotton trousers as conditions get pretty bad out here at night.

LOIS LANE goes to bed. Gets out her NIKON 3DS with NIKON FLASH, NIKON STRAP AND NIKON BAG and goes out in the night. She takes a picture of the cliff-face with her NIKON 3DS and uses the NIKON 3DS’ zoom function to identify CLARK KENT wearing a t-shirt, not even trying to hide his super ability.

CUT-TO

INT. CRASHED ALIEN SPACESHIP

JOR-EL
So, it turns out that they paid me $15 million to be in this film, and they’re gonna they their money’s worth. Despite being dead, my consciousness has been downloaded into this ship, I wanted you to carry on my work, you see, although it’s never quite explained what that work is.

LOIS LANE stumbles into the scene and promptly gets stabbed

CLARK KENT
I’m going to have to cauterize this wound with my laser-vision.

LOIS LANE
I’m going to casually accept that, as if this is entirely normal.

CLARK KENT burns the wound with his now easily-focusable LASER-VISION. LOIS LANE promptly SCREAMS, thereby fulfilling AMY ADAMS emoting quota for this film.

CLARK dumps LOIS on the side of the road in the night and FLIES OFF in his SPACESHIP.

CLARK KENT
So is this the new fortress of solace?

JOR-EL
Yeah, it turns out building a palace of crystals was a bit too far-fetched.

CUT-TO

WARNER BROS. STUDIOS. INT. NIGHT.

ZACK SNYDER
Oh Crap, everyone in this film is white! We need some racial diversity or people will start to think I’m some sort of racist. I really should have cast a black person in Sucker Punch, or 300, or Watchmen, or that insane Bird Movie I did.

CUT-TO

DAILY PLANET OFFICES. INT. DAY.
We open on the Daily Planet offices, which look like the accounting department of Lehman Bros. rather than the only surviving print newspaper. In a corner office, a HEAVY-SET STOCKBROKER is FUMING at LOIS LANE.

LOIS LANE
Morpheus, you have really let yourself go

PERRY WHITE
The Matrix was fifteen years ago, shut up, I’ve got low blood sugar, which is why I eat a lot of doughnuts. Also, I am not a corporate-stockbroker type, I’m Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet, a shoot-from the hip gutsy editor, and that’s why we still have jobs in the age of Online media.

LOIS LANE
I saw an alien spaceship and was rescued by an alien

PERRY WHITE
I’m sorry Lois, but the dwindling ABC1 figures mean I can’t print that story, not to mention the fact that our owners would go mad. I’m also thinking about your career, as this spreadsheet suggests that it wouldn’t have long to go if you revealed your alien abduction theories.

LOIS LANE
Telling me I can’t do something has made me sad. I am sad.

PERRY WHITE
No, Amy, love, you can’t just say your emotions, you need to act them. Try pulling a frowny-face, like mine.

LOIS LANE
I don’t like you.

PERRY WHITE
I don’t like myself, either.

LOIS LANE
Isn’t that going to be tough to garner empathy if you’re in jeopardy later in the film?

PERRY WHITE
Probably.

CUT-TO

BAR. LOIS LANE drinks some WHISKEY to establish that she’s BAD ASS and then chews out a BLOGGER (We know he’s a blogger, because he’s wearing GLASSES) for being unprofessional

LOIS LANE
I’m going to leak this story to you because no credible newspaper will print it

BLOGGER
I don’t know if I should be flattered that you’re talking to me, annoyed that you’re talking down to me or insulted that you’ve just pissed on my profession.

CUT-TO

FLASHBACK
KEVIN COSTNER does some MORALIZING, except this time he sounds like a prick rather than the most important character in this movie.

CUT-TO

MONTAGE OF THE WORLD’S TVs. People in TIBET, INDIA, AMERICA etc watch a TV screen of TALKING STATIC.

GENERAL ZOD:
I am General Zod. Hand over the alien known as Kal-El to us or we will destroy the planet.

CUT-TO

US MILITARY HEADQUARTERS

CHIEF GENERAL MC NOBODY
Hm, diplomacy done down the barrel of a gun. I think we should do whatever they say, on the basis that I left my balls in my other trousers.

CUT-TO

CLARK WALKS through a GARDEN in GETHSEMANE, which is in SMALLVILLE, KANSAS.

CLARK KENT
I wonder if I should give myself up to what is almost certainly death in order to SAVE the people of Earth

CUT-TO

HEAVEN. INT. DAY (?)

GOD is sat watching a pre-release screener of the movie on Blu-Ray.

GOD
Hey, wait a minute! I’ve let most of this shit fly but this is taking the piss. Call my lawyer

CUT-TO

KANSAS. CHURCH. INT. DAY
CLARK KENT wanders into a church, where he is met by a PRIEST wearing a DOG COLLAR. CLARK sits down in a pew, behind him is an inexplicably placed stained-glass window depicting JESUS’ AGONY in the GARDEN.

CLARK
I’m having trouble working out if I should sacrifice myself for the greater good.

The PRIEST moves closer, and in a wide-angle shot, is clearly seen standing against another inexplicably placed stained-glass window depicting JESUS rising from the tomb after the resurrection.

PRIEST
Perhaps you need to take a LEAP of FAITH.

CLARK
But what am I putting my faith in, Padré?

PRIEST
What about humanity itself?

CLARK
Wait, I’m confused. Am I meant to be Jesus or is it a metaphor for all of humanity?

PRIEST
Erm.

CLARK gives himself up to GENERAL ZOD. Shortly after, GENERAL ZOD decides to attack the EARTH with a handful of troops including URSA, who has changed her name to FAORA for some reason. They land in the main street of SMALLVILLE, where PEOPLE are running back and forth.

CLARK KENT
People, go indoors, you’ll be safe there.

MONTAGE of people running into the stores along Smallville’s main street and locking the doors. Then more footage of locked doors, just to ram home the point that people are hiding in the stores behind the locked doors.

In the ensuing fight, CLARK throws URSA and NON through each of the buildings, crushing them entirely. NON then throws a train into the crowded SEARS building.

THE AUDIENCE
Didn’t Superman realize that by throwing his enemies into those buildings, the collateral casualties would be enormous?

ZACK SNYDER
No! It’s like in a videogame. When a character is done in a cut-scene, they just disappear. It’s fine, Superman’s killed no-one at all ever so leave me alone.

THE AUDIENCE
B… but Chris Nolan and David Goyer wrote this script. Aside from the Dark Knight Rises, which was bobbins, that pair’s work is normally very rigorous.

ZACK SNYDER
No, that was Jonathan Nolan, the writer one. We got Chris Nolan, the director one to write it, so you can kiss any hope of logic out of the window.

THE AUDIENCE
Is it too late to ask for our money back?

CLARK KENT defeats the Kryptonians in a scene utterly devoid of tension or jeopardy.

CUT-TO

Three hours later, and ZOD decides to begin terraforming Earth into Krypton, even though if they just moved in, the Kryptonians would rapidly turn into Superpersons like CLARK and be able to rapidly subjugate the native human population. No-one comments on this.

ZOD’s ship splits into two and begins drilling a hole through the core of the earth.

LOIS LANE
I know how to stop this, because I am clever.

GENERAL MCNOBODY
No, Amy, again, you have to emote, you can’t just say what you feel and expect us to believe you.

CLARK KENT
I’m going to fight the smaller one in the Indian Ocean, while you fly a plane into the one that’s destroying New York

GENERAL MCNOBODY
Metropolis

CLARK KENT
Really? We’re still going with that?

GENERAL MCNOBODY
Besides, Gotham City is New York, Metropolis is a cipher for another, different New York City

CUT-TO

The drilling device in the INDIAN OCEAN. The robot gains arms made out of ball bearings which looks COOL. CLARK KENT easily defeats the arms, as once they’re hit, they just fall to the ground.

CLARK, however, is finding it hard to cope with the Kryptonian ATMOSPHERE and the laser beam the drilling device is making.

CLARK KENT
Damn, I wish Superman had some sort of arc. This would be where I’d have my meeting with the Goddess and overcome my personal problem.

The DRILLING LAZER bears down on CLARK KENT some more. He looks as if he is close to death, but isn’t.

CLARK KENT
Oh well, since I’m immortal and effectively perfect, I suppose I should just try a bit harder.

CLARK KENT tries a bit harder. We know this is happening because HENRY CAVILL is showing off his WONKY TEETH, thereby revealing that he is ENGLISH to the audience.

AUDIENCE (In MIDDLE AMERICA)
Aw hell naw! Batman’s Welsh, Spiderman’s from Surrey, Superman’s from the Channel Islands. I’m so glad that Jesus remains an all-American superhero.

CLARK KENT defeats the drilling machine in a scene utterly devoid of tension or jeopardy.

CUT-TO

Metropolis

THE GUY FROM THE WEST WING and the GUY FROM LAW AND ORDER are on a plane, about to bomb ZOD’s mothership, which is drilling a hole in the earth.

Below, skyscrapers are collapsing and cars are exploding. PERRY WHITE, STAMPER FROM HOUSE OF CARDS and a RANDOM LATINO ACTRESS are observing the Prometheus method of running away from a tall (but narrow) falling object.

The LATINO ACTRESS gets trapped under some rubble. PERRY WHITE and STAMPER FROM HOUSE OF CARDS try to rescue her.

LATINO ACTRESS
Please! I’m in Jeopardy!

PERRY WHITE
I won’t leave you.

THE AUDIENCE
I wish we cared about these characters, this would have been a great scene. Maybe they should have cast some more people, as had they been randoms, we could have seen how people are trusting each other in the wake of Superman’s good example. Unfortunately, Stamper from House of Cards is a dickhead and Perry White’s been nothing but crap since he arrived. Let ‘em burn!

CUT-TO

MEANWHILE, a montage of extras watch the impending devastation from a short distance away. They look bored despite being mere miles away from MORTAL DANGER.

Inexplicably, the plane remains able to hover beside GENERAL ZOD’s MOTHERSHIP, despite it being a PLANE and NOT A HELICOPTER. THE GUY FROM THE  WEST WING works out that the BOMB is slightly WONKY and THE GUY FROM LAW AND ORDER crashes the plane into the MOTHERSHIP.

Instantly, a BLACK HOLE forms.

CUT-TO

A Shot of EXTRAS looking BORED AS HELL outside Union Station

CUT-TO

The black hole eats ZOD’S MOTHERSHIP and then burns out, rather than OBLITERATING all of PLANET EARTH.

GOD
What? It wasn’t enough to rip off my own begotten son’s life-story, they’ve now utterly ignoring the laws of physics?

Inexplicably, GENERAL ZOD survives.

GENERAL ZOD
I was born, genetically programmed to protect Krypton and the lives of her people. Not only, therefore, have all of my actions been in direct contravention of that, but also I can’t even redeem myself, as I’m merely following the programming I was given when I was born. I was BORN THIS WAY, BABY.

CLARK KENT
Why don’t you stop? We can live together in peace!

GENERAL ZOD
Don’t you understand? I’ve been genetically bred to PROTECT KRYPTONIANS. It’s hard-wired into my DNA, which is why my only course of action is to kill you, the only other Kryptonian that exists.

CLARK and GENERAL ZOD have a FIGHT which beats the MATRIX’s BURLY BRAWL for cartoony, rubber-faced CGI animation and bad rotoscoping.

CUT-TO

Scenes of buildings, still full of people standing at the windows as they watch this superhero fight

CLARK throws GENERAL ZOD through several buildings, causing them to collapse, killing untold thousands of people.

ZACK SNYDER
What have I told you! It’s like a video game! Those people didn’t die, they just disappeared!

CLARK stops for a REST

GENERAL ZOD
I was bred to fight, to kill. What were you? Raised on a FARM?

CLARK
Wait, is there meant to be a witty retort coming in a minute? Yay! Finally, a chance to develop as a character. I can’t wait, I’ve been so bland I’ve been sleeping through most of this fight scene.

CLARK and GENERAL ZOD land in UNION STATION, where bored extras are GENTLY MILLING AROUND as if it was SUNDAY AFTERNOON and not DOOMSDAY.

GENERAL ZOD
Wait a tick, I don’t need to kill you. I can just kill all of the humans.

GENERAL ZOD fires his LAZER VISION at a family who are too stupid to crawl under the beam and get away. HE MISSES.

CLARK KENT
Don’t do this!

GENERAL ZOD
You got your witty retort for the ‘Farm Boy’ line all ready?

CLARK KENT
No!

GENERAL ZOD
Then watch this random, stupid family die!

CLARK KENT snaps GENERAL ZOD’s neck. As far as he is concerned, in his thick, solipsitic mind, this is the first time he has killed anyone.

CLARK KENT
I’m so sad that I’ve killed my first ever person that I’m going to emote!

CLARK KENT screams a bit. It is WEIRD. Despite being miles away from the damaged crater (in the long shots earlier), LOIS is standing on the steps of UNION STATION. They KISS. It is WEIRD.

CUT-TO

Several Months Later, and GENERAL MCNOBODY is driving through Afganistan, or Texas, or Montana, there’s trees. SUPERMAN punches a DRONE to the ground.

GENERAL MCNOBODY
Is that a comment on Obama’s foreign policy?

SUPERMAN
Nope, I’m as American as Apple Pie

GENERAL MCNOBODY
How do I know you’re going to protect America’s interests?

SUPERMAN
We’re cutting that line for when we flog this to China, right?

END CREDITS

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