Recently I saw “Man of Steel”, with one of my friends who is very into all things superhero and action.
I’m not, but I sat through the film and didn’t mind it one bit even though I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the ridiculousness that was unfolding on screen. As good battled evil, for like, the sixth time, I was taken over by laughter as the rest of the audience watched with rapt attention and jaws drooping. Can I also just say that THAT MOVIE IS LONG. After drinking the jumbo water I coaxed the food attendant into giving me for free and then sitting through over two hours of epic strength showcases, I was expecting to be handed a blue ribbon for my “bladder of steel” upon exiting the theatre. This did not happen.
Anyways, by using “Man of Steel” as an example, I have created “The Super Hero Movie Formula”, and here it is:
You will need:
A ridiculous sum of money to pay for all the things you are about to break
Various things. To break.
Obscenely attractive man
Pretty and independent girl who, despite this, ends up still needing to be saved about 1000 times
Lots of extras to act as citizens of the Earth and look up at the sky nervously every few shots
Less attractive bad guy
Very serious mentor who is grossly depressed and has not learned how to smile
More or less, these are the things you will need for your movie.
Scene 1: Establish that this IS GOING TO BE VERY COOL AND INTENSE AND YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND ANYTHING BUT IT’S REALLY COOL OK.
Scene 2: Introduce your sexy superhero; who is for now in underdog mode. Flipping burgers or something. Save the car flipping for later.
Scene 3: Introduce bad-ass pretty girl WHO DON’T NEED NO MAN…for now.
Scene 4: Less attractive bad guy decides to go to throw an Apocalypse Party and all citizens of Earth are invited
Scene 5: Very serious mentor has very serious chat with sexy superhero, and he’s all like, “okay then, you’re right, I’m awesome. I’ll save the world.”
Scene 6: Less attractive bad guy is getting more furious by the second, things start breaking.
Scene 7: Lots of extras are already dead, but it’s okay, because pretty girl has been saved (1st of many times)! Sexy superhero and no longer bad-ass girl are now in love.
Scene 8: RAGE. RAGE. RAGE. Things SMASHING. You don’t even know what is being broken. Oh, did I say broken? I meant SMASHED.
Scene 9: Extras are scared. You can tell because they’re running around and staring up at the sky and probably wishing they were as pretty as pretty girl.
Scene 10: Suddenly unquestionably spandex-clad sexy superhero isn’t sure is he can do it! We’re not sure exactly what he has to do anyways (SMASH things, perhaps?) but he’s doubting himself. Depressed mentor tells him he can do it!
Scene 11: With renewed faith, sexy superhero SMASHES less attractive bad guy YAY IT’S ALL GOING TO WORK OUT.
Scene 12: BUT WAIT, less attractive bad guy has done this really intense RAGE driven, non-specific, but very detailed THING and now the Earth is in jeopardy again!
Scene 13: It’s okay though because sexy superhero has had a moment of realization and knows just what to do and AH IT’S SO TENSE AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PLOT OR WHAT IS GOING ON OR WHAT ON EARTH THE CHARACTERS ARE REFERENCING BUT…
Scene 14: SMASHING. MORE SMASHING. TENSION. RAGE.
Scene 15: Good triumphs over evil! Success! Lots and lots of things have been smashed and surely masses of extras have been killed and the world looks like hell but…
Scene 16: THE SEXY SUPERHERO IS STILL SEXY and it is now make-out time.
Scene 17: Lalala everything is fabulous. But wait, you want to make another movie and break more things so you need to use this scene to not so subtlety state that THERE IS STILL EVIL OUT THERE and you can expect a sequel.
Scene 18: Roll them credits, champ.