Don't say "spit-curls are dumb" in Metropolis or this is the last thing you'll ever see.


Don't say "spit-curls are dumb" in Metropolis or this is the last thing you'll ever see.

SUPERMAN

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. PLASTIC MODEL OF KRYPTON

MARLON BRANDO and a bunch of GIANT WALL FACES are holding a TRIAL.

MARLON BRANDO

Terence Stamp and Terence Stamp’s two angry friends, we find you guilty of trying to take over the entire world, apparently just by yourselves? Anyway, you’re hereby banished to the Sequel Hook Dimension.

The CRIMINALS are IMPRISONED in a passing SPACE POLAROID.

MARLON BRANDO

Well that was irrelevant, now onto more pressing concerns. Hey bureaucratic government pricks, Krypton is about to explode!

BUREAUCRATIC PRICKS

Is not!

MARLON BRANDO

IS TOO!

BUREAUCRATIC PRICKS

IS NOT INFINITY! We’re warning you, Marlon, if you cause a panic by fleeing the planet, we’ll polaroid banish the shit out of you, which you already said was preferable to being on the planet when it explodes!

MARLON BRANDO

But it turns out that we’ve studied the cultures of dozens of other planets, so wouldn’t a scientist going on a space voyage be totally routine around here and not at all panic-inducing? But fine, I promise that neither of the adult members of my family will leave the planet HA HA, LOOPHOLE!

MARLON goes home and builds an INTERSTELLAR SPACECRAFT in his GARAGE, then sticks his BABY SON inside it.

MARLON BRANDO

I’m sending him to a planet called Earth, where his dense molecular structure will give him super-strength and invulnerability. And since density makes you unusually heavy, he will obviously be able to fly. Also eye lasers for some reason?

SUSANNAH YORK

Maybe we should have just stuck with the usual “yellow sun = superpowers” bullshit.

MARLON BRANDO

Anyway, good luck son, off you go!

(launches spaceship)

Wait. Babies don’t need, like, food or anything, do they?

Immediately the planet starts to COLLAPSE into typical 1970s DISASTER MOVIE SET-IMPLOSION CHAOS!

MARLON BRANDO

The planet’s blowing up! Run!

SUSANNAH YORK

...To where, exactly?

Finally KRYPTON EXPLODES as predicted, and so does its SUN as was never hinted at and doesn’t really make sense, while SUPER-BABY flies off through a version of space that is unusually full of psychedelic SMEARS and BLOBS.

MARLON BRANDO

(on spaceship radio)

Son, my digitized consciousness will now teach you science, mathematics and Earth facts for the duration of your journey. Of course without any stimuli other than my voice, there’s no way for you to learn what any of these words mean, so prepare for three years’ worth of indecipherable blathering I guess.

Eventually the SPACESHIP lands on EARTH, where it is discovered by kindly old farmers GLENN FORD and PHYLLIS THAXTER.

PHYLLIS THAXTER

Aw look honey, it’s some kind of superhuman space alien whose very existence ought to be terrifyingly incomprehensible to us! Let’s keep him.

GLENN FORD

And this is the point where anybody who’s ever had to look after a three-year-old for more than one day shudders at the thought of how disastrous a concept a toddler with super-strength would be. Especially one who had gone utterly insane after several years of solitary confinement.

PHYLLIS THAXTER

Meh, I’m sure he’s inexplicably fine despite being trapped in a small box his entire life.

EXT. SMALLVILLE

The BABY grows into JEFF EAST, who spends his teen years encountering pretty much every single Superman villain and ally over the course of ten seasons of increasingly shoddy soap opera plots and bad special effects hiding his superhuman powers.

JEFF EAST

Man, pretending to be a weakling sucks! Why won’t you let me go in for sports, fake human dad? Is it because I’d be GREAT?

GLENN FORD

Look, I know you’re frustrated, but one day you’ll get to use your powers and it won’t be for something like sports. I believe you and your abilities are meant for something more meaningful.

JEFF EAST

Uh oh. Did my adoptive dad just tell me that with great power comes great responsibility?

GLENN FORD

OH FUUUU-

(drops dead)

JEFF EAST

Oh what a cruel irony, to have the godlike power to keep my loved ones safe from any large-scale accident or violent event, yet be helpless to save my father from something as mundane as a heart attack! Like if he’d been caught in, say, a tornado, it would’ve been incredibly easy to stop him from dying.

PHYLLIS THAXTER

So easy! In fact, in that situation it’d be positively moronic if you DIDN’T save him.

JEFF EAST

Right, it’d be such an absurd decision that any hypothetical audience would consider that the moment where the story of my life went off the rails, never to recover. ANYWAY! I now find myself short one parental figure, so if anybody has a conveniently-timed plot development that can fill that particular void...

GREEN CRYSTAL

(sending psychic vibes)

Paging Jeff East, would Jeff East please report to the North Pole for exposition and Chrisreevification.

EXT. NORTH POLE

JEFF heads up to the ARCTIC, where he tosses the GREEN CRYSTAL into some ICE, causing it to create a GIANT UPSIDE-DOWN BIRD’S NEST. Inside this he finds a MASSIVE HOLOGRAM of MARLON’S HEAD.

MARLON BRANDO’S HEAD

Hello, son. I am here to tell you everything about your heritage and your place in the world. And I mean EVERYTHING. Seriously, during this conversation we’ll be drifting off into space somehow while I yammer on for twelve years nonstop.

JEFF EAST

Twelve fucking years of continual infodump?! There’s no WAY I’ll be able to absorb all that. Please tell me I get at least an hour for recess.

MARLON BRANDO’S HEAD

Let’s begin with the big number-one rule: you CANNOT interfere with human history.

JEFF EAST

Oh. So if there’s some kind of big disaster, like an earthquake or a terrorist attack, I should just stand by and let it happen?

MARLON BRANDO’S HEAD

What? No, you can totally step in and prevent disasters and stuff, that’s fine.

JEFF EAST

Ohh, but I have to do it discreetly, so that humanity doesn’t find out about aliens and thus have their understanding of the universe shaken to its core.

MARLON BRANDO’S HEAD

Pfft, nah, go ahead and tell them all about Krypton. Give interviews about it, see if I care.

JEFF EAST

(frowns)

So what the fuck do you mean about not interfering in human history, then?

MARLON BRANDO’S HEAD

I don’t know! Does the key tenet by which you’re supposed to live your life have to MEAN anything? Geez!

They float through BLOBBY SPACE for twelve years, and when JEFF returns to EARTH he’s grown up into CHRISTOPHER REEVE! And somehow gotten a CAMPY BLUE-AND-RED SUIT! He then FLIES for the first time in the movie.

SUPER-CHRIS

The implication being that I can now fly thanks to my deepened understanding of my powers! Which, by extension, implies that I got to the North Pole in the first place by super-dog-paddling.

INT. DAILY PLANET

CHRISTOPHER gets a job at the DAILY PLANET, while wearing HUGE NERD GLASSES and doing an AWKWARD SPAZ routine that makes a young RICK MORANIS sit up and take notes. There he meets MARGOT KIDDER.

CHRISTOPHER REEVE

Uh, h-hello there miss. I hope my stammering, mumbling, head-hunching mannerisms aren’t too annoying, it’s just that I’m, er, trying to pile on enough behavioral tics to make my “just a pair of glasses” disguise seem less absurdly flimsy.

MARGOT KIDDER

Well I’m this paper’s ace reporter, although as with all previous versions of Lois Lane, this aspect of my character pales in comparison to my main defining trait-

They step OUTSIDE and are IMMEDIATELY MUGGED.

MARGOT KIDDER

-as a nigh-supernatural peril magnet.

CHRISTOPHER REEVE

I see. Well then, I think I can take a wild guess who’s gonna be my hugely-coincidental first gig as a superhero.

MARGOT KIDDER

I don’t know what you’re talking about. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go ride a helicopter off of a skyscraper.

CHRISTOPHER REEVE

(sighs)

I’ll go change.

MARGOT’S HELICOPTER trips and falls! As MARGOT plummets fifty stories towards the pavement, SUPER-CHRIS flies up and CATCHES HER!

MARGOT KIDDER

What the fuck is happening?!

SUPER-CHRIS

Just a superhumanly strong flying dude, nothing to worry about! I’ll just smile charmingly while your brain utterly breaks.

MARGOT KIDDER

Oh I’m fine with the flying thing. I just mean, I’d been falling for five hundred feet when I hit your arms. Which were flying UP towards me, which would just INCREASE the impact velocity. Shouldn’t that collision have given my body all kinds of interesting new corners?

SUPER-CHRIS

What is that, physics? Let me show you something.

He catches the falling HELICOPTER by its LANDING SKID. All FIVE TONS OF FORCE gets absorbed in a piece of metal the size of ONE GUY’S HAND, which proceeds to not BEND or TWIST or REACT AT ALL.

SUPER-CHRIS

Ha ha haaa, FUCK YOU, PHYSICS!

He dumps MARGOT and the HELICOPTER and goes off on a SUPERHERO MONTAGE! He nearly kills a JEWEL THIEF, blocks a STREET with a BOAT, and gets a little girl SLAPPED IN THE FACE.

SUPER-CHRIS

I’m sure that all the chaos, panic and confusion that’s bound to result from this sudden spate of alien sightings won’t cancel out the benefit of me catching a few burglars!

EXT. MARGOT’S BALCONY

SUPER-CHRIS shows up at MARGOT’S HOUSE to give an interview.

SUPER-CHRIS

So yeah, I’m a space alien from the planet Krypton.

MARGOT KIDDER

Fascinating. Where is Krypton? Why did you come here? Are there other Kryptonians around? Will you be sharing any of your scientific knowledge or technology? Can you-

SUPER-CHRIS

Woah, woah. Look, you COULD ask some meaningful questions while you’re holding possibly the most important interview in the entire history of journalism. But how about we go flying around for a while instead?

MARGOT KIDDER

Being carried around the sky by a scientifically impossible flying brick sounds absolutely terrifying, but what the hell, at least I won’t get as much motion sickness as Mary Jane Watson.

SUPER-CHRIS

Well I won’t be “carrying” you so much as holding onto the teensiest tips of your fingers.

MARGOT KIDDER

But wouldn’t that leave me dangling limply in your wake, flailing like a rag in the breeze - oh right. That's physics talk again.

SUPER-CHRIS

Seriously, physics can go eat the biggest possible bag of dicks.

They fly around and look at the various sights of New York City Metropolis, such as the Statue of Liberty Some Chick With a Torch.

MARGOT KIDDER

This is so magical! I think I’ll compose a little poem in my head. One that rhymes and everything. It even perfectly matches the love theme that John Williams wrote for this movie, which suggests that at some point this was intended to be a song, but apparently THAT is where the movie finally draws the line on ridiculousness.

In the end SUPER-CHRIS returns MARGOT to her home and then leaves.

MARGOT KIDDER

And now to write a story about my exclusive interview/romantic date with Super-Chris. Of course, since I didn’t get a photo or any other form of proof that this outlandish event ever took place, I guess there’s no reason for even my editor to believe this was anything other than an absurd made-up fantasy of mine.

CHRISTOPHER REEVE

(showing up)

Why hello Margot, I was wondering if you were ready for our date.

MARGOT KIDDER

Wait, what? Are you saying I already agreed to go out with the non-super version of you? Then why the hell are you also trying to seduce me in superhero form? What is the point of deliberately starting a romantic triangle against yourself??

CHRISTOPHER REEVE

As I see it, dating’s a numbers game. And if both Christopher AND Super-Chris wind up striking out with you, well, that’s what Hector Cortez is for!

(puts on fake moustache)

¡Hola, señorita!

INT. SUBTERANNEAN LAIR

Meanwhile in a secret underground base, GENE HACKMAN is plotting with the help of NED BEATTY, VALERIE PERRINE and his ARMY OF DISTRACTING WIGS.

GENE HACKMAN

I am an evil mastermind whose enormous wealth is sufficient to construct this elaborate base and plot a criminal scheme that involves purchasing vast quantities of land, but who apparently who can’t afford any henchmen other than one fat clumsy moron, and one woman who likes Super-Chris, doesn’t like me, doesn’t want to be involved in anything evil, and honestly I have no fucking clue what she’s doing here.

VALERIE PERRINE

Aren’t you afraid that Super-Chris will use his studly muscles and handsome handsomeness to stop your evil scheme?

GENE HACKMAN

Nope, because I’ve got a second evil scheme designed specifically to keep Super-Chris from thwarting the first one!

(holds up Daily Planet)

In his interview with Margot, Super-Chris said that Krypton exploded in 1948-

VALERIE PERRINE

No. No he didn’t. The audience saw the entire interview and that fact never emerged.

NED BEATTY

Duhhhh besides, we know that’s wrong anyway. The Marlon Brando Head said that he’d been dead for thousands of years, what with Super-Chris having traveled to Earth at relativistic speeds and all.

GENE HACKMAN

AS I WAS SAYING, chances are that fragments of Krypton have landed on Earth as meteorites-

NED BEATTY

RELATIVISTIC SPEEDS, I said! Even assuming some random Kryptonian debris just happened to follow the same trajectory as the spaceship, as mind-meltingly unlikely as that would be, it’d be traveling SO MUCH SLOWER that it wouldn’t arrive until probably MILLIONS OF YEARS later!

GENE HACKMAN

Ah, but you’re forgetting that a meteor could have covered that distance in that timeframe due to the rare astrophysical phenomenon of IT JUST FUCKING DID OKAY.

(opens book)

See? My library of just a couple hundred books just happened to contain a full-page illustration of a meteorite that landed on Earth at some time or other. And since it’s a rock from space obviously it MUST be from Krypton, and since it’s a part of Super-Chris’s home planet I ASSUME that to him it’d be lethally radioactive!

VALERIE PERRINE

HOLY FUCK. You absolutely do not deserve for this theory to turn out to be correct. This is totally unfair.

INT. DAILY PLANET

CHRISTOPHER is hanging around, nerding it up, when he gets an ULTRASONIC MESSAGE FROM GENE.

GENE HACKMAN

(in dog frequencies)

Hey, Super-Chris, I’m gonna poison some orphans unless you meet me at the obvious trap in five minutes.

CHRISTOPHER REEVE

Oh no, I’d better get over there right away! I’ll just change my clothes by having my work suit literally disappear off my body in midair, which, huh. I thought it wasn’t until next movie that they started giving me stupid new powers whenever the hell they felt like it.

He becomes SUPER-CHRIS and hurries over to GENE’S TRAP.

GENE HACKMAN

Welcome, Super-Chris. I will now explain my entire evil scheme to you in an effort to trick you into opening my box of Kryptonite, even though I could have just thrown it at you the second you walked in the door.

SUPER-CHRIS

All right, what’s the plan?

GENE HACKMAN

The army is testing two missiles right now. Due to their laughably lax security protocols I was able to reset their coordinates, and one of them is going to blow up the San Andreas fault and dump California into the ocean. This will turn a bunch of worthless desert that I own into hugely valuable beachfront property, just so long as nobody minds the difference between “the ocean” and “miles of irradiated rubble, liquefied soil, and corpses”.

SUPER-CHRIS

California? But Margot happens to be there right now, as insulting a coincidence as that is! Tell me where the detonator for the missiles is! Where’s the trigger? WHERE’STHETRIGGERRR?

He opens a LEAD BOX and is immediately KRYPTONITED!

GENE HACKMAN

Mwa ha ha, now to wait for the missile to destroy California! Oh, and for the other one to blow up, let’s say, Hackensack.

VALERIE PERRINE

What?! But Gene, in another insulting coincidence, my mother lives in Hackensack!

GENE HACKMAN

Oh, does she? Funny how you could save her life simply by taking that rock off of Super-Chris, which would totally fuck over all my plans. Welp, I guess I’ll just leave you in the room with him.

(wanders off)

VALERIE PERRINE

All right Super-Chris, I’ll take away the kryptonite if you promise to save my mother before saving Margot. I know I can trust your word, because you don’t lie.

SUPER-CHRIS

Actually I lie all the time. I have a whole fake identity, I lie more than almost anybody else on the planet. But I guess I’ll keep my word this time.

VALERIE saves SUPER-CHRIS.

SUPER-CHRIS

Thanks! Drop me a line to let me know Gene didn’t revenge-murder you, okay?

(flies off)

SUPER-CHRIS chases down the FIRST MISSILE! He pursues it frantically over mountains and through canyons!

SUPER-CHRIS

(flying as fast as he can)

GRRRR, SO DIFFICULT... TO CATCH UP... IF ONLY I WAS SO UNTHINKABLY FAST THAT I WAS CAPABLE OF ORBITING THE ENTIRE PLANET SEVERAL TIMES PER SECOND...

Finally he DESTROYS THE MISSILE! Then he flies to CALIFORNIA, but he’s too late to prevent the second missile from striking!

SUPER-CHRIS

It’s okay! I can stop the effects of the earthquake by going underground and just sort of shoving all the rocks back into place. There’s bound to be plenty of space for me to work down there, thirty feet underground, because this movie’s increasingly tenuous relationship with scientific fact is starting to reach a stage where most preschoolers would call bullshit!

He UN-EARTHQUAKES California with his BARE HANDS.

SUPER-CHRIS

All right, job done! Oh wait, are those aftershocks that I hear? Hmm, they appear to be concentrating on one dirt road in the middle of nowhere, almost as though irresistibly drawn there by some danger-attracting force of nature OH GOD MARGOT!

He flies over to find MARGOT has been BURIED and KILLED by an AFTERSHOCK.

SUPER-CHRIS

NNNOOOOO!!! Damnit, for all my power, I couldn’t save her. As much as people write me off as a boring, hopelessly overpowered superhero who wins at everything and has no flaws, in the end this goes to show that even for me their are tragic limits, that the possibility for high stakes and tension exists, that there are some things where even my writers won’t throw in yet more godlike powers to easily fix everything YOU KNOW WHAT, FUCK IT.

SUPER-CHRIS flies off into SPACE and, as much as it’s still impossible to believe that this was a thing that actually happened in an actual major motion picture, he FLIES AROUND THE EARTH so fast that THE EARTH STARTS SPINNING BACKWARDS, which somehow, SOMEHOW, causes TIME TO REVERSE ITSELF.

SUPER-CHRIS

No, no, that’s not what happens! That’s how it looks, sure, but in actuality I just fly so fast that I travel back in time, and the Earth APPEARS to spin the other way because that’s what it would look like from the perspective of somebody traveling backwards through time. It’s still scientifically impossible, but not completely, droolingly, moronically so!

Uh huh. Then what about the bit at the end, where you clearly stop, and then start flying just as fast in the opposite direction to start the planet spinning correctly again?

SUPER-CHRIS

Oh. That. Well, uh... I guess... damnit. I felt so clever when I came up with that slightly more plausible explanation.

He flies back down to the surface and saves MARGOT.

MARGOT KIDDER

There you are! Thank God, I almost got killed in an earthquake, and - wait, I did? You mean to tell me you reversed time itself, but you didn’t bother to go back just a few more minutes to stop the missile from exploding?

SUPER-CHRIS

I guess, but dumb character behavior is easily the least of our worries at the moment. I mean as far as I can tell, there should actually be two of me now.

(smiles)

But hey, now I know I can time travel, so everything should be piss easy from here on out! Now if I ever encounter space terrorists, nuclear supermen, or whatever the fuck was going on in Superman III, I can just undo the past whenever shit gets real and be guaranteed an easy win every time!

MARGOT KIDDER

Er yeah well I guess we have to assume that Professor McGonagall made you give your time travel powers back to the Ministry of Magic or whatever.

SUPER-CHRIS tosses GENE in PRISON and flies off into SPACE, where his cape flutters majestically in the breeze. In fucking SPACE. The fucking SPACE BREEZE caused by currents in SPACE AIR I guess and

END.

PHYSICS

Oh thank God, it’s over!

BIOLOGY

Is it safe to come out now, you think?

CHEMISTRY

I think so. Seriously guys, I’m gonna need like ten showers after this.

ASTRONOMY

I vote we just keep rewatching The Martian until the headaches stop.

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