I had just arrived home and had several hours of installing programs on my computer ahead of me. I figured I would watch a movie to help pass the time. The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? was on Showtime. I started it from the beginning and watched a movie about another movie that never quite got to be made. I give The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? the Decent Watch rating.
This is a documentary about the Superman movie that didn’t happen. The film would have starred Nicolas Cage as Superman and would have been directed by Tim Burton.
The documentary is directed by Jon Schnepp and features a combination of interviews he conducted, footage from tests, and concept art. The story of the film that didn’t end up existing is widely known amongst comic nerds. Images of Nicolas Cage in the Superman costume exists on the internet. This film does a good job of going from conception of the idea, through the pre-production phases, and the inevitable cancellation of the project.
My favorite interview was with Kevin Smith. He named the project Superman Lives in what would be the first of three drafts by as many writers. Jon Peters was the producer on the project. He had some strange ideas of what he wanted the film to be. Most notably, the inclusion of a giant spider that Superman would fight. That spider would basically show up in Wild Wild West, which was the film that the budget of Superman Lives was given to.
Superman Lives probably would have been a disaster
The documentary focuses on four main interviews: Tim Burton, Kevin Smith, Jon Peters, and Dan Gilroy. However, there are other people who chime in with their sides or elements of the story. It’s a solid documentary for the most part. Yet, not exactly revolutionary to the genre. If you’re a comic book movie nerd, like myself, then it’s interesting to see the process behind the curtains.