Not Rated  |  104 min

Director: Jon Schnepp
by Jason Koenigsberg

Last week we saw the third official trailer for next years Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Regardless of whether you think it looks good or not (you know you’re going to end up seeing it anyway), there is a fascinating documentary on Showtime and streaming on Hulu Plus about a Superman movie that was so close to being made before Bryan Singer’s snoozefest Superman Returns (2006) and Zack Snyder’s polarizing Man of Steel (2013). 

The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened? is a comprehensive chronicle of one of the most intriguing big budget movies never made. Warner Bros. and Jon Peters were going to produce a Superman film directed by Tim Burton and starring Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel. The cast was also going to include Christopher Walken as Brainiac, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olson, Sandra Bullock or Mira Sorvino as Lois Lane and Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor (Spacey would be the only element of that project to remain once WB finally made a Superman movie about eight years later). Starting with a script from Kevin Smith that would be revised by screenwriters Wesley Strick and Dan Gilroy, along with detailed costume designs by Colleen Atwood. All of the main participants in this movie-that-never-was are interviewed in The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened? with the exception of Cage and all are very compelling. When it was over you will be left wondering what could have been if WB gave the greenlight. Worst case scenario it would have been another overblown failure like Batman and Robin (1997), but more likely we may have been deprived of the best Superman film since the early Christopher Reeve pictures. 

The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened? is available to stream on Showtime Anytime and Hulu. 

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