Sunday, January 25, 2015

Recap: "Steel" Intro

This week, I'm going to be looking at the story of a brilliant inventor who decides to stop manufacturing weapons for the military after great personal tragedy involving one of his own creations. Taking matters into his own hands, he will use a suit of metal armor to wreak righteous vengeance upon those who would use his devices for evil purposes.

LOL nope.
You poor, optimistic fool (who apparently didn't know I already covered that last Hanukkah). Go back to 1997.

There ya go.
This film's history begins in the 90's, during the Death of Superman. Long story short, the writers needed to create a year's worth of stories to fill up the four titles Superman had at the time (Superman, The Adventures of Superman, Superman in Action Comics, and Superman: The Man of Steel). That's somewhere around 48 issues at least. So the plan was simple. Kill him off, focus on four different heirs to the name "Superman," and then bring back the original Superman in a story formula that would be endlessly copied nearly every summer since then.

The four successors featured in the "Reign of the Supermen" would each be formulated to represent one of Superman's nicknames or titles.

"The Last Son of Krypton" was the Eradicator, a Kryptonian weapon that thought it was a resurrected Kal-El.

"The Man of Tomorrow" was the Cyborg-Superman, a villain who claimed to be a rebuilt Kal-El.

"The Metropolis Kid" was Superboy, a clone of the original Superman (arguably the most popular of the four).

"The Man of Steel" was a black man in a suit of armor. He ended up getting a movie.

Why, yes, I am including this picture just to brag that I have their debut issues. I'll admit it.
A scientist-turned-construction-worker Henry Johnson (the pseudonym for John Henry Irons) was hiding from the U.S. government after refusing to make weapons for them for ethical reasons. When he saw that his former partner was putting them on the street, he remembered back to the day when Superman saved him from falling off a building. In a world without a Superman, John Henry Irons would become its new Man of Steel. (Spoiler: Superman came back.)

The character (created by Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove) was an instant hit. And since it was the 90's, the decade that would give us the word "toyetic," of course they were going to make a movie. I mean, if they played their cards right, Steel could be the new Batman! But they aimed for Keaton and got Clooney. Uh-oh.

When the project went forward (thanks to the support and money of music producer Quincy Jones), Kenneth Johnson was brought in as the screenwriter/director. Though he had brought us cult hits like Alien Nation, V, and The Bionic Woman, his only film experience before this was when he made Short Circuit 2 and D3: The Mighty Ducks. In short, this thing was doomed even before Shaq got involved.

Oh, did I not mention that? Shaquille O'Neal played the title character. Apparently, he took some acting lessons between basketball games. From what I can tell by his acting, he didn't have much time between games. Shaq was nominated for a Golden Raspberry award for Worst Actor, but lost to Kevin Costner (who would ironically go on to play the dad of a the real Man of Steel). And I have to say, Shaq doesn't deserve a Razzie for this.

The man's a basketball player, not an actor. We shouldn't expect him to be able to act because he shouldn't be acting. Putting an athlete in a superhero movie as a named character only really worked in Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man.

"To snap into a Slim Jim!"
It's like putting me on a basketball field and giving me the award for Least Valuable Player. What did you expect? Dammit Jim, I'm a blogger, not a shortstop! ...I don't know sports. Who do you think I am, Bo Jackson? All I know is that this movie is terrible and I'm going to make fun of it. Let's begin.

Coming up in Part 1, the origin of Tony Stark. But on a budget.

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