Like many, I was a little disappointed in the film. The spectacular CGI and sound effects kept it from being boring, but in terms of character and plot I thought it was nothing groundbreaking. I've been thinking, if we had it to do over again and were rebooting the DC universe anew with a Superman movie, how else could we approach it? I came up with kind of a genre-bending approach that I think could have been great if done right.
In my concept, the protagonist is Lois Lane. She's an investigative reporter. Updating the character for modern times, she probably works for a television news network rather than a daily newspaper. She's gorgeous, which is an asset on television, but also a liability because many people assume that she got where she is on looks alone.
She gets a new colleague, Clark Kent. He's a good reporter and a really nice guy, a man of remarkable kindness and compassion. He quickly falls head over heels for Lois. She greatly respects him as a colleague, a friend and a good person, but she does not return his romantic feelings.
One day a crisis threatens Metropolis and a superhero shows up to save the day. Lois begins investigating this Superman. He has better ways of disguising his face and voice than Christopher Reeve, so it's believable that even when she meets Superman she doesn't recognize him. As she gets to know him better, she falls in love with him. Only after falling in love with him does she figure out that he's Clark Kent. She already has his heart, but in order to make love work she must convince him, and more importantly herself, that she loves him for who he is as a person, and not just for his superpowers.
It's a chick flick crossed with a superhero movie. The superheroics are a subplot and exist to serve the main story, rather than the story being constructed as an excuse for the superheroics. It's a human story about human characters, establishing a human world before introducing an alien superhero into it and focusing on how his presence affects the humans, rather than spending a lot of time on the elaborate backstory of an alien civilization and alien characters who will soon be disposed of. Because it reveals only as much of the alien backstory as the human characters need to know, it provides a lot of flexibility to further develop that backstory to serve the needs of sequels (or to leave it mysterious if it is not needed). In the hands of writers and directors who understand women (or are
women), it could be a film that appeals directly to women instead of relying on men to drag women to the theater.
[Story-wise, the concept draws from existing material. Most of what I described up there happens in the Donner films, but those films don't explore these themes, and they tell the story from the perspective of Jor-El and Clark rather than the human characters. Plus they make Clark and Superman similar in appearance but very different in personality, while I suggest the reverse.]
What do you think? Would this have been a good approach for the reboot?