For those of you that do not know, Tim Burton was set to direct a Superman film back in the 90’s, which starred Nicolas Cage as Superman. And a reason that only some of you have heard about that is because well, it never came out. In “The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened?” director Jon Schnepp picks the brains of everyone who was involved with that film, including Tim Burton himself. When I first heard about this documentary, I was instantly excited because I have been hearing about a Tim Burton Superman film for a few years but there wasn’t much to look at in terms of concept art, scripts, etc. Now did my excitement hold up after seeing this documentary and did this give me the answers that I was looking for? The simple answer is…YES!
Now in order to not spoil anything for you because personally, I always like to be spoiler free and there is a lot of surprise factors in this documentary, I will not go too into detail with what goes on in the documentary but instead, I will give you a brief run down of what topics were discussed and who exactly were the ones discussing the film.
The topics that were discussed in the film where all three versions of the script for “Superman Reborn” aka “Superman Lives,” including the famous Kevin Smith script which included a giant spider-like creature and polar bears. Other things that were talked about were Superman’s costume and powers, fanboys, Tim Burton’s Batman franchise and the actors the studio was looking at to play Brainiac, Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane. Producer Jon Peters was also a big topic in the film (and gives his take on how things went down) and who somewhat looked like a bit of a villain from everyone’s perspective in the documentary and as you watch the film, you could probably understand why.
The ones that were involved in ‘Superman Lives’ all give their insights on how things happened and you get to hear multiple sides of the story, which is awesome to see and you can kind of put together the story from there. We hear from Kevin Smith who wrote the first script of the Superman film, which also had the first crossover between Batman and Superman and quite a few popular villains in his version, it’s also known as the “fanboy” script. We hear from producer Jon Peters, the concept artists that worked on the artwork for the costume and set of the film, a bit from Nicolas Cage and of course, you get to hear from Tim Burton.
Getting to hear from Tim Burton, the genius behind so many films and getting a glimpse at his take on Superman is just so interesting in itself. The fact that he opens up about the film that he never got to finish, is great for fans all over the word whether you are a Tim Burton fan, Superman fan or comic book fan in general. You can appreciate the risks that Tim Burton was making with his version of Superman. It’s nothing like we have ever seen before and well, this documentary is the closest we will ever get to it.
I absolutely loved this documentary. I’m so glad Jon Schnepp decided to do this project and he did it the right way. It’s not just a bunch of information coming from one source or just hearing one person’s thoughts on the film, it’s not a one sided documentary like a lot of us have seen before. Just about everyone that was involved with the “Superman Lives” film, you get to hear from. Each person tells their honest opinions about the process, what ideas were absurd and which ideas were brilliant. Of course, by the end of the film, you all will have your own opinion on what you think could have worked and what would have never worked. In my opinion, I think that “Superman Lives” would have been something that would have changed the way comic book films are made. Not sure if it would have been amazing or ridiculous but it’s definitely something that would have been talked about for years to come. I also think that it may have been something that was completely before its time.
When all is said and done, “The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened?” just sparked my interests even more and it was even better than I had imagined it would be. Not only did it have some of my favorite people in it like Kevin Smith and Tim Burton but a lot like “Superman Lives,” it was something very unique. I highly recommend it to any comic book fan or Tim Burton fan.
I give “The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened?”10 fridges out of 10!