The Script BSE - MAN OF STEEL Beat Sheet
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Listen to the BSE Podcast for MAN OF STEEL here on iTunes!
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https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-script/id602272713
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Filmmakers: Directed by Zack Snyder, Screenplay by David S. Goyer, Story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer
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The Script - Beat Sheet Edition: "MAN OF STEEL"
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Blake Snyder Beat SheetDavid Negrin's BEATsChris Durham's BEATs
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Opening ImageBirth of a childThe birth of Kal-El.

We don't know everything that this means in the opening move (I mean, we do because it's Superman, but...), but this scene is referenced later. We come to find that this is Krypton's first natural birth in centuries and is wrapped up in Jor-El's sense of hope -- the hope he has for his son and for the future of Krypton and Earth through his son. So while a birth scene is a bit cliche to open on, this is a very special event.
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Theme Stated"You just have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be, Clark. Whoever that man is, he's going to change the world." -Jonathan KentJor-El: What if the child aspired to something greater?...

This is all about destiny -- the enbrace of the individual over fatalism. This is like the happiest manifestation if Nietzche's Ubermensch. Kal-El, a natural birth, will be greater than the rest of his race. He will defeat the pre-fab Zod because he chooses his own destiny, and in doing so will choose the right path, the stronger path. In becoming this paragon of benevolent individualism he will not only redeem his race but improve ours. "He will be as a god to them"
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Set-up-Setup Jor-el and Zod as old allies against a wasteful government, Head Scientist vs. Head General
-Kryptonian apocolypse, no longer from a crashing sun but "overmining" -- weak, uncinematic.
-Jor-el flies around on his "How to train a Dinosaur"
This is broad, because the setup has more to do with the legend of Superman, his background, and the history of the Kryptonian race. It's a dying race and in many ways a failed race. Kal-El is the only future that race can have. This setup seems to ignore Earth and the human race; but it's pretty clear that the future of Superman is also the future of humanity as well. This is exactly what's being faced in the debate.
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CatalystKal-El is sent to EarthKal-El's ship arrives on Earth.
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Debate-Great cut to Clark 33 years later still searching to make a choice to do something with his gifts. To save people, to help the people of earth, he's hesistant.

I believe that everything that happens on Clark's journey as Clark is part of the debate. It's the whole question of who am I? What does my being here mean? Will I be accepted? There's even a refusal of the call when Clark asks his father, "Can't I just keep in pretending I'm your son?"
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Break into TwoClark chooses to find out where he came from and who he is.

The B2 is muddled here with the clever use of the flashbacks in the F&G, but the B2 has to be his choice is to find out where he came from and who he was. The cleanest B2 is when he goes to investigate the Kryptonion ship but that's too late.
Clark sneaks aboard the Kryptopnian scout ship. This is a long first act (as seems to be the trend in big movies these days), and it might feel like the second act begins after Kal's arrival when we suddenly cut forward 33 years, but I believe the Krypton stuff is just the first half of the first act. This is Kal/Clark's decision. It's the thing that really turns the world upside down for him. It is what signals Zod and is therefore the engine of the second act.
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B StoryLois Lane investigating the elusive hero.Lois Lane
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Fun and GamesVery cleverly the flashbacks and big setpieces before Clark dons the suit are the F&G, the promise of the premise in this Origin Story.

-Flashbacks to his childhood saving the bus
-Flashback to his 20s hiding his powers, shishkebobing the truck
-Present Day setpiece saving the men on the oil platform
-Evading Lois Lane's investigation
-Sneaking into the Kryptonian scout ship... when did it land there again?
-Kal-el puts on the Superman Suit
-Learns to fly

Everything that is Clark Kent becoming Superman. Jor-El gives him his back story (again). He learns to Fly. He is hunted down and bonds with Lois Lane, revealing to us how his father died. He tells his mother he's found out who he is. I must note that this isn't FUN fun and games but it suits the more contemplative first half of the movie.
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MidpointThe Arrival of Zod.

Superman cannot keep himself secret any longer.
The Arrival of Zod. At first I thought it was Clark and Lois being taken prisoner; but on second thought I think it was the arrival. It still qualifies as a false defeat because we now know Zod has not been defeated. It also preceeds Bad Guys. It also is a cross-point in Lois's story because it proves her story right and now we start to see the consequences of that.
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Bad Guys Close InZod vs. Earthlings
Zod vs. Superman

Zod's strategy, is a kind of LOTR: Two Towers attack, The World Engine is Mordor and his ship is Isengard? Gives our good guys 3 goals for the 3rd Act -- seige tower 1, siege tower 2, stop Zod himself.
Escalating battles with Zod and the Zodkateers. Superman hands himself over to the military and finds his faith rewarded with extratiction. The end of Jor-El's ghost, Superman Saves Lois. The Terraforming begins
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All is LostSuperman is cast into the World Engine. But there's no real Kryptonite to provide overwhelming antagonism. And so the stakes are never that high for Superman-- worst thing that can happen is some humans or Lois get hurt. Maybe he gets imprisoned. Superman is still essentially immortal. (until we learn later that you can break Kryptonian necks).Superman is cast down into the World Engine. Simultaneously, Perry white struggles to save the reporter trapped in the rubble. Metropolis is destroyed. The thing is here, a lot of this story is reflected in other people. Superman is Superman. He doesn't get so hurt. What hurts him is seeing people hurt (we see this in the bully flashback too) - so we have to see other people struggle as a reflection of what's going on with him
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Dark Night of the SoulClosest thing to a Whiff of Death is Perry White staying with trapped reporter.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: The Re-Death of Jor-el -- the pseudocommunciation that Kal-el has with holographic Jor-el should have been severed. The ship being destroyed or damaged would setup a a low point for Kal-el who spent his whole life thinking about where he is from. He can now think about where he wants to go.
On that note, it's best seen as Perry White knowing that they're going to die and choosing to stay with the trapped reporter. This is a human moment. A self-sacrificing moment. This is the opposite of what's going on with Zod. So we see Superman now rise up through the world engine, digging down deep to find the will to do it.

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Break into ThreeFly the plane into the ship... yeah yeah yeah... black hole... go read "Interstellar" by Jonathan NolanThey fly the plane into the ship and create a black hole, sucking the aliens in. Now it's just Superman vs. Zod
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FinaleSuperman vs. Zod.

Anyone else have a problem with Superman besting Zod with brute strength instead of ingenuity a la Superman 2 : Richard Donner -- reversal of the crystal chamber? The son of the Scientist should outsmart the General, not out fight him.
Superman vs. Zod in a final showdown
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Final ImageThe birth of a Superhero"Welcome to the Planet"
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