MAN OF STEEL
The Abridged Script
Extreme close-up of RUSSELL CROWE's left eyebrow as he ARGUES before the Kryptonian Ministry of Silly Hats.
Listen to me! The Superman franchise is about to implode! It's decayed and grown stale and consumed all its energy! We're all doomed unless we evacuate now!
Nonsense. Everything is fine. Superman Returns broke even. We'll just carry on with Brandon Routh doing his best Christopher Reeve impression.
Those fools! Why does no one believe me?!
Evil General MICHAEL SHANNON enters!
I believe you! I'm leading a military coup to reboot this franchise, but only for those Kryptonian bloodlines who follow the true path!
You don't mean...
That's right - underwear outside their clothes!
You madman! I'll stop you from saving only the elite bloodlines by saving only MY OWN child instead!
And that makes you the good guy how, exactly?
Because I stole this monkey skull with the genetic roadmap for every Kryptonian bloodline!
That's the Kryptonian version of a flash drive? Monkey skulls?
MICHAEL chases RUSSELL across a deleted battle scene from STAR WARS EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES, complete with FLYING IGUANA MOUNTS and so much IRRELEVANT CGI WARFARE in the background that you can't focus on a SINGLE DAMN THING.
Eventually, RUSSELL escapes back to his DELUXE APARTMENT IN THE SKY and his wife AYELET ZURER, whose real name is somehow ten thousand times more "Kryptonian" than her character's.
As a woman, I guess it falls on me to show any emotion over giving up our child or the pending destruction of our entire civilization.
(takes a deep breath)
Are you over it yet? We're on a schedule.
Yep, I'm good. Bye, kid. Don't let the space capsule door hit your tiny pink butt on your way out.
MICHAEL SHANNON rushes in, but can't stop the spaceship from LAUNCHING! So he stabs RUSSELL CROWE to death!
Ha! Didn't see that coming, did you?
Eh. We all knew he was going to die anyway because the planet is about to blow up... RIGHT NOW!!!
Nah, just kidding. Actually, we've got enough time for your entire trial, appeal, sentencing, book deal, TV movie, and Las Vegas comeback special.
So we could have had a race against the clock as the planet explodes around us, but instead we opted for the pathos of watching Superman's mother wait patiently for inevitable death. How exciting.
By the way, the jury in your trial is going to be me and all your other intended victims on the silly hat brigade, so hurray for Kryptonian justice.
MICHAEL SHANNON and his PERSONAL ARMY are sentenced to 300 years in an ORBITAL BLACK HOLE PRISON, which keeps them safe when the planet BLOWS UP. In fact, it's an altogether BETTER SURVIVAL PLAN than RUSSELL CROWE's BABY-SAVING ROCKET.
Extreme close up of BABY HENRY CAVILL's right earlobe as he crash lands on EARTH. He's discovered by a crotchety KEVIN COSTNER and even crotchetier DIANE LANE, who teach him good, old-fashioned, heartland AMERICAN VALUES - specifically, to fear EVERYONE and EVERYTHING.
Remember, Henry, trust no one but your family! Not your teachers, not the government, no one!! I don't care if it kills a whole bus load of school kids! Be paranoid at ALL COSTS!
I get it... This is supposed to be social commentary on the change in heartland American values post-9/11, right?
Dude, Zach Snyder couldn't even manage to squeeze any social relevance from Watchmen. You are WAY over-thinking this.
KEVIN is then swept up in a TORNADO because KANSAS.
EXT. THE CANADIAN NORTHWEST
Extreme close-up of GROWN-UP HENRY CAVILL's nose hair as he spends the next several years HITCHHIKING from town to town, hoping to hide his SECRET IDENTITY, but each time someone eventually makes him ANGRY and triggers his SUPER-POWERED RAGE.
When did this turn into the old Incredible Hulk TV show? What's next, waking up naked except for some strategically shredded pants? Or maybe I'll start stealing clothes off of random people's clothes lines, haha.
After a brief stint as the SEXIEST PERSON EVER ON DEADLIEST CATCH, HENRY gets hired on at an ULTRA-SECURE MILITARY SITE, as any VAGRANT with a FAKE ID can naturally do. Journalist AMY ADAMS shows up to investigate, shows off her badass credentials by talking about DICKS, then ruins it by using the word TINKLE.
I know you're covering up something under that mountain of ice! Maybe even an alien spaceship!
Who, us? Nah.
But if we were, we'd be totally justified because if there were proof of aliens, all of human civilization would come CRASHING DOWN AROUND OUR EARS!
As your boss at the Daily Planet, I agree 100% and wouldn't even print such as story because all of human civilization would come CRASHING DOWN AROUND OUR EARS!
So our top priority as journalists is to protect government secrets? I get it... This is supposed to be social commentary on the change in American media post-9/11, right?
Dude. Zack Snyder. Over-thinking.
The next morning, AMY and her NOKIA CAMERA (IN STORES NOW!) secretly follow HENRY into a STRANGE CAVE under the MOUNTAIN OF ICE...
Wow! It IS a spaceship! At last, maybe I'll finally get answers to all my lifelong questions! This is the most profound moment of my life and the greatest discovery in human history!!!
WONDER and AWE fill HENRY's face! He struggles to hold back TEARS as he stands on the cusp of a NEW UNDERSTANDING of the universe and his own existence!
DIRECTOR ZACH SNYDER
CUT! Now let's try it again, only this time act like you just got socks for Christmas.
HENRY gives it another go, regarding the spaceship with all the POLITELY FEIGNED INTEREST of a BACHELOR UNCLE AT A FOURTH GRADER'S PIANO RECITAL, even when confronted with a LIVE EXTRATERRESTRIAL BEING.
Behold! I am your birth father from beyond the grave!
Actually I'm a computer simulation. But you didn't think Russell Fucking Crowe was just going to be in the prologue, did you? I was Gladiator, motherfuckers! Anyway, you are the last survivor of the planet Krypton, blah blah blah, everybody knows the Superman origin story by now.
HENRY runs off to find AMY being ATTACKED by a SHAPE-CHANGING ALIEN ROBOT, which you wouldn't think could possibly be BORING, but it totally IS. She is even SERIOUSLY WOUNDED, but the injury is NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN, so fuck it. In the end, HENRY hugs the ROBOT to death, dumps AMY out onto the ice, and FLIES AWAY in the ship.
Sorry, where were we?
I was telling you about Krypton. Things were really bad before the end. Our entire civilization had grown stagnate and frail. We used to determine before birth the exact role of everyone in our society, with no room for personal choice or happiness!
Eh. That's kind of lame, I guess.
Super lame! That's why I determined before you were born that you would serve as a beacon of hope on Earth, introducing humanity to the existence of extraterrestrials, and then restart our entire race here to live alongside humanity.
What's the Kryptonian word for irony?
Listen, smartass, I was about to give you a bunch more vitally important information, but now you're gonna have to wait until a more dramatically crucial point in the plot. See where your wise cracks get you?
(opening a closet door)
In the meantime, go put on this Crowe family body armor. Your grandmother got it for you and she wants to see you in it. And don't forget to write her a thank you card.
Extreme close-up of AMY's adorably cute nose as she tracks HENRY down to farm where he grew up.
I figured out your secret identity in three minutes flat! So much for Lois Lane being a moron who can't see past a pair of fake eyeglasses.
(with puppy-dog eyes)
Please don't write a story about me, Amy. I'm more than a bird. I'm more than a plane. I'm more than some pretty face beside a train. It's not easy to be me.
So you've already figured out my identity and you've already fallen for me as Clark. No wonder there's no chemistry or tension between us for the rest of of the movie. Oh well, we can always fall back on more pathos.
My human dad taught me that proof of aliens would send human civilization CRASHING DOWN AROUND OUR EARS. He died for that belief.
Wait, your dad died to teach you a LACK of faith in humanity?
Yeah. In fact, my entire character arc is learning to REJECT the paranoid ranting that my human father drilled into my brain. I guess that makes him one of the villains.
Weird. At heart, everybody in this movie is exact opposite of the pure idealism you'd expect in Superman movie. I get it... This is supposed to be social commen-
Good point. Anyway, your sob story is enough to make me bury the biggest story in the history of journalism. Bye!
AMY leaves, and HENRY heads home to his mom, DIANE LANE.
Hey, guess what? I found my birth parents!
I guess I always knew this day would come. Are you going back to your home world now?
Nope. They're all dead!
They DANCE a happy little jig together. But an ALIEN SPACESHIP ruins this happy moment by announcing its presence to the ENTIRE PLANET.
(on every TV, computer, smartphone, etc., in the world)
Aliens exist. There's one among you. Give him to us, or we'll destroy your planet.
Immediately, there are RIOTS IN THE STREETS. Governments COLLAPSE. All of human civilizations comes CRASHING DOWN AROUND OUR EARS.
Nah, just fucking with you. Everyone takes it all in stride.
DEAD KEVIN COSTNER
Damn it. Most pointless death ever.
HENRY heads to church wallow in SYMBOLISM in front of a stained glass window of CHRIST.
What should I do? Should I follow the teachings of my human father or my heavenly father, who sent his only begotten son to Earth to teach them hope and love? Should I lay down my life for these humans?
We get it! Enough! Knock off this Superman Returns emo brooding and go punch some shit!
EXT. GENERIC MILITARY INSTALLATION
Extreme close-up on HENRY's lower left bicuspid as he surrenders himself to the MILITARY. They immediately turn him over to GENERAL PONTIUS PILATE, er, I mean MICHAEL SHANNON, and his INCREDIBLY HOT (and INCREDIBLY EVIL) GAL FRIDAY, ANTJE TRAUE.
We also demand Amy Adams because her hair complements the color of our couch.
Seriously, it doesn't fucking matter why. If you're going to play Lois Lane, you're going to be the damsel in distress. Just get in the damn ship.
She DOES. HENRY slips her the disc with RUSSELL CROWE's computer consciousness on it, while MICHAEL SHANNON slips into the HENRY's dreams. Literally.
This is our Kryptonian interrogation method! In it, I unveil everything to you about our evil plot to obliterate the human race and rebuild Krypton on its ruins, while learning absolutely nothing from you!
I really am going to have to learn the Kryptonian word for irony.
Meanwhile, AMY uploads RUSSELL CROWE into the computer, and he TAKES OVER the entire ship.
Oh good, a man to save me! For a second, I was worried Lois Lane might get to do something useful on her own.
Hey, I just got a great idea for one of those "How It Should Have Ended" cartoons!
RUSSELL leads HENRY and AMY to an escape pod, then flies the spaceship to ANOTHER SOLAR SYSTEM and crashes it into a RED SUN. The end.
Instead, RUSSELL leads AMY to an escape pod and resumes his PREVIOUS CONVERSATION with HENRY.
Here's the thing... Michael Shannon wanted to preserve ALL Kryptonian culture but only an ELITE FEW genetic lines.
Okay, I see how that's evil.
I, on the other hand, wanted to save ALL the genetic lines... but ONLY if I could completely eradicate every trace of our culture and heritage.
And that makes you the good guy how, exactly?
Why do people keep asking me that? I mean, sure, I let every man, woman, and child on our planet burn in the cleansing fires of death so that I could restart our civilization from scratch according MY PERSONAL VISION, with MY SON as the sole survivor, but that's not crazy or anything, right?
Wasn't Superman created specifically to fight people like you?
It is what it is. Anyway, I just discovered I can access Facebook from this spaceship so I'm going to do dick-all-else for the rest of the movie. Why don't you go jump out of a window or something.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the spaceship, MICHAEL SHANNON gets some IMPORTANT PLOT INFORMATION from his crew...
CHIEF EXPOSITION OFFICER
The genetic roadmap of every Kryptonian bloodline is written into every single cell of Henry's body!
Cool! All we have to do is find a stray skin cell or hair follicle he left around here while we had him captive and then head off to any other planet with an old colony ship to restart our civilization! After all, we visited dozens of them before we found Earth.
Good thing common sense doesn't exist in this movie! Now let's kill Henry Cavill and restart Krypton right here on Earth!
INT. KRYPTONIAN COLONY SHIP
Extreme close-up on the space between MICHAEL SHANNON's front teeth as he ENTERS the Kryptonian colony ship that HENRY found under the mountain of ice earlier in the movie.
Hi. My computer-simulated self is still running on this ship, too. Did you forget that? Henry apparently did. He never calls, he never writes. I mean, Christopher Reeve spent 12 years home-schooling with Marlon Brando after he found his birth father in a computer. You'd think Henry'd be curious to find out something about his home planet, but nooooooooo.
Russell, my old nemesis! There's a question I've been dying to ask you. Why didn't you just share the genetic roadmap thing with me in the beginning? You could have sent your son off to one side of the galaxy, and I could have led my people off to the other side of the galaxy, and we'd have twice the chance to save our species!
Because I was actively rooting for Krypton to die so I could start over from scratch! It's the only explanation for why I let everyone -- even my own wife -- get blown up with the planet rather than build a bigger rocket. Why is that so hard for people to understand?
Because it's seriously fucked up. Now it's time for the final showdown between us! Prepare yourself for all the heart-pounding drama of helping your grandmother get rid of an unwanted toolbar!
Computer, delete Russell Crowe.
Are you sure you want to move "Russell Crowe" to the recycle box?
Yes, damn it! And empty recycle box!
Are you sure you want to delete "Russell Crowe" and all its contents?
RUSSELL CROWE dramatically disappears.
Behold, I have vanquished one of the simulated copies of my already dead foe! Nothing can stop me now!
EXT. SMALLVILLE - BROUGHT TO YOU BY SEARS! (COME SEE THE SOFTER SIDE OF SEARS. OR WHATEVER THEIR SLOGAN IS NOW. HAS ANYONE BEEN TO A SEARS IN THE PAST 20 YEARS?)
Extreme close-up of MICHAEL SHANNON's left eyelid as he attacks DIANE LANE's FARM!
Damn it, why do UFOs always pick on people in Kansas?
Suddenly, HENRY rockets in and KICKS MICHAEL'S ASS.
No one touches my mommy!
MICHAEL SHANNON is hopelessly outmatched by HENRY and stands NO CHANCE against him whatsoever.
Um, don't you have that backwards? Shouldn't the hero be the underdog?
HENRY continues BEATING THE SNOT out of MICHAEL until ANTJE TRAUE finally rescues him and he RUNS AWAY. HENRY keeps fighting the ANTJE and some random OTHER BAD GUY.
Everybody ready? Here's our big promotional tie-in! In three... two... one...
HENRY and the BAD GUYS fight their way through an INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANCAKES.
Hey, remember me? I was the fat, sad kid from Henry's childhood flashbacks, and now I've grown up to be the fat, sad manager of the Smallville IHOP. Really makes you wanna eat here, doesn't it?
Worth every penny.
Despite everybody being COMPLETELY INVULNERABLE, they continue to PUNCH EACH OTHER until they eventually STOP PUNCHING EACH OTHER.
Extreme close-up of MICHAEL SHANNON's flaring nostrils as he gives ORDERS.
New plan! Let's just go ahead and destroy the entire surface of the planet and then pick up Henry Cavill's body from the debris!
Two GIANT SPACESHIPS position themselves on opposite sides of the EARTH and proceed to play PING-PONG with the planet's GRAVITY. CARS and ENTIRE BUILDINGS are lifted up and thrown down, but somehow all the HUMANS running for their lives are IMMUNE.
Okay, we have an unmanned and, as far as we know, entirely defenseless ship in a largely deserted area of the Indian Ocean that seems like it'd be the perfect target for a massive air strike. Meanwhile, we also have a spaceship filled with dozens of Kryptonian super-men in the middle of a major metropolitan area.
I'll take the unmanned one.
HENRY flies around the world to the INDIAN OCEAN to take on the TERRAFORMING DRONE and its ADVANCED ETCH-A-SKETCH-BASED WEAPONRY.
EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE
Hey, that looks just like the alien attack in Independence Day!
And how did they defeat the alien ships in Independence Day?
EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE
By flying straight into their laser-spewing vaginas.
Meanwhile, in METROPOLIS...
Oh, did I mention that Russell Crowe told me how to kill the bad guys? Just crash the ship that brought baby Henry to Earth into Michael Shannon's spaceship in Metropolis, and it'll create a black hole.
Awesome. We'll just shove Henry's ship in a transport plane and drop it on Michael Shannon like a bomb.
Now that I've passed that information along to some big strong men, I'm going to worthlessly fall out of the back of the plane now. Bye.
Such a brave and assertive and actively involved Lois Lane! They've really updated her for a new generation!
MICHAEL SHANNON's KRYPTONIAN ARMY punches every MILITARY JET out of the sky, EXCEPT for the TRANSPORT PLANE carrying BABY HENRY'S SPACESHIP. Out of appreciation for DRAMATIC TENSION, they decide to BOARD that one and KILL the crew one-by-one, until only COLONEL CHRISTOPHER MELONI is left.
It's time for my final faceoff with Antje Traue!
Lucky for you, I picked this moment to forget about my super speed powers that I've used to kill every other person on board!
ANTJE casually strolls after CHRISTOPHER, pausing to ENJOY A NICE ICED COFFEE and VISIT THE GIFT SHOP along the way. CHRISTOPHER takes this opportunity to fly the plane into the spaceship, SACRIFICING HIMSELF to save the world, making him BY FAR the biggest hero in the movie, while HENRY CAVILL is terribly busy rescuing AMY ADAMS.
Wanna make out?
Actually, I'm more concerned about the black hole. It was, like, 20 feet above ground and big enough to swallow two spaceships. What happened to it? Shouldn't it fall towards the Earth's surface, eat its way through to the core, then slowly devour the rest of the planet?
Uhh... I reversed the polarity of the Hawking particles to invert the Einstein-Rosenberg state so that the who-fucking-cares-ite negatively interfered with the no-one-gives-a-shit-ium. Just kiss me already!
They MAKE OUT for 17 straight minutes.
Wait, who are you? Where am I? That kiss made me forget everything, including Clark Kent is Superman!
(busts out laughing)
Yeah, right! How stupid would that be?!
Suddenly, MICHAEL SHANNON pulls himself from the wreckage of... something.
It's not over yet! Even though you've already kicked my ass in single combat, this time I'm doing it WITHOUT the underwear outside my clothes!
STRIPPING DOWN to his KRYPTONIAN LONGJOHNS, MICHAEL SHANNON demonstrates that he's finally figured out how to FLY THREE FEET OFF THE GROUND.
So, you see, it's a fair fight. Very exciting stuff.
HENRY again BEATS THE SNOT out of MICHAEL, not by doing anything NEW or CLEVER, but just by BEATING THE SNOT out of him. Utterly defeated, MICHAEL is reduced to threatening the lives of THREE RANDOM HUMANS just out of SPITE.
Whatever. Go ahead and kill them. We slaughtered hundreds of bystanders by knocking down every building in Smallville and thousands of people by crashing through every skyscraper in Metropolis. It's not like I tried to move the fight to the moon or something. I clearly don't give a shit.
No, this is a big moment! Filled with dramatic tension!
Yeah, will Superman save the world and get the girl AND rescue three people we've never seen before, or just save the world and get the girl? I bet the audience is on the edge of their seats.
Actually, it was Christopher Meloni who saved the world.
HENRY snaps MICHAEL's neck!
How's that for a SNAPPY comeback?
Looks like he finally caught a BREAK.
Now that's what I call a TWIST ENDING.
(just plain awkwardness)
Damn it, it looks so easy when Robert Downey, Jr., does it.
Holy shit! You just killed that guy! Superman murders people!
Hey, wait a minute, I did the exact same thing in Superman II, and nobody complained! And it was even worse because Zod was completely de-powered and could have just been thrown in jail. Plus, if I recall, Lois Lane also joined in on the murder fun and punched Ursa to death, so don't be such a fucking hypocrite.
HENRY CAVILL crashes a AMERICAN SURVEILLANCE DRONE and sends the wreckage to GENERAL HARRY LENNIX.
Dick move, Henry.
Then quit using drones to figure out my secret identity.
The secret identity that Amy Adams figured out in just two weeks on her own dime? Even before Michael Shannon sent a spaceship straight to your HOME ADDRESS in Smallville? We figured that shit out months ago. This drone was spying on Lex Luthor to set up the sequel, asshole.
INT. MORE DÃ‰NOUEMENT
HENRY CAVILL shows up for a JOB at the Daily Planet, because 10 years as a DRIFTER in the ARCTIC is apparently qualification enough.
Hey, Amy! Care to join me for a Justice League movie?
Justice League? You think one non-shitty Superman movie makes us ready for JUSTICE LEAGUE? For those of you that have your heads stuck under rocks, which apparently is the majority of the DC Universe, we have been FUCKING UP in terms of movie franchises! I've been getting texts and texts about our superheroes LITERALLY being so fucking AWKWARD and so fucking BORING. I do not give a flying fuck how much you fucking love THE DARK KNIGHT. It's done! It's over! Newsflash you stupid cocks: CHRISTIAN BALE IS GONE. Oh wait, DOUBLE FUCKING NEWSFLASH: REPLACING HIM WITH JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT WOULD FUCKING SUCK. This applies to you little shits that have talked openly about seeing The Avengers for the seventy-eighth time! Are you people fucking retarded? That's not a rhetorical question! If Warner Brothers openly said "Yeah we're going to make an Archie & Jughead movie," would you be happy? WOULD YOU? I don't care if you're fucking Mark Ruffalo, you DO NOT talk about The Avengers! "But Amy!", I saw Ryan Reynolds's shitty Green Lantern movie, and I even paid extra for the 3D ticket, doesn't that count for something?" NO YOU STUPID FUCKING ASS HATS, IT FUCKING DOESN'T. It's time someone told you, NO ONE FUCKING LIKES THAT MOVIE. I will fucking cunt punt the next person I hear talking about Ryan Reynolds in a Justice League movie! I would rather have 40 Booster Golds than 80 Ryan Reynoldses! Go fuck yourselves.
Rick Lewis has been an author at The Editing Room for 3 years. You can support Rick Lewis and the rest of the site on Patreon.
Rick is owner and editor of www.HappyNiceTimePeople.com, a TV humor site dedicated to lovingly mocking your favorite shows. If you like how The Editing Room makes fun of movies, go check out his site maybe?