‘Superman: Solar’ by AList Productions is a fan film that demonstrates love, understanding, and a passion for the Man of Steel and what all aspects of his character stand for. These excerpts and the overall main story can easily be imagined in the panels of Action Comics or a Superman issue. The half an hour film looks at Superman in his second year as a hero as he talks someone down from a ledge but allows him to make the final call after he spoke his piece in true Superman fashion.
Director and writer Andrew List met Glenn Kiil during his time in the United States Army. Kiil would be cast as this Clark Kent as public opinion circulates about Superman, how he operates, and the validity of it while he establishes himself as a superhero. There are lots of different multimedia ways this is explored with News anchors and recollections from Clark’s past adventures as Superman.
Superman later hears about a possible jumper in Metropolis and meets Matt (James Olsen). The All-Star Superman influence here as he speaks to him as Clark and not Superman about how man and Superman aren’t so different in hopes to sway his decision. We’re treated to flashbacks with Jonathan Kent (Mike Newton), Lois Lane (Machelle Noel), and even a confrontation with Brainiac. AList Productions’ time with the CW really shows here with all the flying and action effects which look especially good for the budget they were able to raise. These are all pivotal moments in Superman’s history too when his Jonathan Kent tells him what it really means to inspire people, his first interview with Lois shows that he has nothing but good intentions, and his Earth-shaking fight with Brainiac shows that while he can hold back, going all out can still be scary.
Shots of Smallville and Metropolis are made immersive with drone footage and the sound design is on par with Superman & Lois. There is also a great scene that shows just how fast and handy Superman is when he stops a tornado on live TV in no more than 15 seconds and the Brainiac brawl will give any comic book fan goosebumps.
On a personal note, I regularly watch forgotten and low-budget B movies from the 70s and 80s for fun. Hammy acting seems like a trap that several novice and journeymen filmmakers and crew fall into, but the crew of ‘Superman: Solar’ didn’t come across like that at all. They all have their hearts in it, but they’re not trying to overdo anything. Kiil makes a compelling Superman and his suit is unique because it adheres to the older black and red insignia along with more board shorts-like briefs. It’s a really high-quality piece of costume design that looks like it came right from the Warner Bros wardrobe.
‘Superman: Solar‘ has been hailed as one of the greatest Superman fan films ever put out as it proves to not just be another instance of Superman saving the day, but a very human character study. You can watch it in full here.