Steel is a 1997 film based on the DC Comics titular character, staring Shaquille O'Neal as John Henry Irons, who along with partner Susan "Sparky" Sparx designs weapons for the military. However, when Nathaniel Burke (Judd Nelson), during a demonstration, tries out the gun on the highest setting, it causes the building they're stationed in to collapse around them. This results in Sparky getting injured, leaving her as a paraplegic, which causes Irons to retire in disgust.After being dismissed for causing the incident, Burke goes to Big Willie Daniels to recruit him to sell Irons' weapons to gangs. However, when Irons witnesses a bank robbery organized by gang members wielding modified guns based on his design, he begins to investigate, including confronting the gang members at their own hangout. Irons visits Sparky in a veteran's hospital and takes her to his own assembled labratory, where he hopes they can create weapons needed to combat the criminals. With the help of Uncle Joe (Richard Roundtree), they forge a suit of armor and the weaponry necessary for Irons to carry out his war on crime and become the vigilante "Steel". However, Irons is soon pursued by the cops, who believe him to be connected to the weapons and robberies.Steel was released months after Batman & Robin, and would be the the last DC Comics-based film released by Warner Bros. until Catwoman in 2004.
This film provides examples of:
- Batman Gambit: Steel pulls one on Burke in the end by using his vice against him.
- Canon Foreigner: Sparky (although she's arguably Oracle under an assumed name). In fact, pretty much everyone except John Henry and his grandmother.
- Court-Martialed: Happens when a seemingly harmless weapon the main character makes Goes Horribly Wrong.
- The Dog Bites Back: After Burke shoots Slats, within the confusion from Steel and Sparky's rebellion, the gang opens fire towards him.
- Drop the Hammer: Steel's iconic hammer, though he uses it as a gun most of the time.
- Endangered Soufflé: Grandma always tells John to quiet down whenever he enters the house.
- Fell Off the Back of a Truck: The explanation given to Sparks on how they'll get the materials they need for their plan.
- Groin Attack: Steel confronts some crooks who shoot at him to no avail. Then they shoot at his crotch, with the same result. Steel wags a finger at them.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Burke is killed by his own laser when it is deflected off of Steel's armor.
- In Name Only: The film cuts all Superman references apart from the title character wearing a Superman tattoo... which is unintentional, since Shaquille O'Neal, who plays the title character, already had it.
- The Internet Is for Porn: When the various groups are trying to buy the sonic weapons online, one of them mentions that the internet is good for more than just porn.
- Meaningful Name: "A man named John Henry must have a hammer!"
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Susan "Sparky" Sparx.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: As Burke lampshades, Irons as Steel isn't exactly a hard man to identify.
- Ray Gun: The weapons developed by Johnny and stolen by Burke appear to be able to switch between Frickin' Laser Beams and concussion blast.
- Running Gag: Johnny's inability to make a free throw and Grandma Odessa's attempt in making a souffle.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Sparky being paralyzed from the weapon he designed is what drives Johnny to leave the military.
- Take That Me: Steel has the same success rate of making Free Throws as Shaq does (See Running Gag).
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Burke casually shoots Big Willy Daniels in the middle of an auction.