This sounds like a reaction to Marvel’s public franchise plans stretching into the next decade. It feels like filmmakers don’t know how to tackle Superman in the modern age–the Boy Scout who never lies is a hard concept for them to grasp without tacking on angst, yet the original concept of Superman worked in the cynical 70s. People like Superman because he’s the embodiment of all-American optimism punishing evil in spite of a cynical world. When Superman at the end of the first film says, “Don’t thank me, we’re all part of the same team” before flying away, it’s hard not to like the character and his values.
Personally, I think they should avoid Superman for a while, but part of me doesn’t want the character to dwindle from the public’s consciousness. The new film will go “dark,” but if my armchair filmmaking skills landed me in the producer’s chair, I would set it in the Depression Era 1940s with villains out of a Max Fleischer cartoon. Mobsters, mad scientists with boxy robots, and more. I’d tone down Superman’s strength so that breaking chains and lifting cars was still an amazing feat.
I’d make it a hopeful, optimistic movie. The bad guys get what’s coming to them, and there would be no force-fed social commentaries or cynicism. It would be an homage to the Golden Age of comics and a fictional look at a troubled time in America’s history in which pulp heroes like Superman were born. Come to think of it, the Batman films could have been set in the same era, but then we wouldn’t have as many explosions.
With that said, I know there are huge numbers of SUPERMAN fans out there, and maybe just as many fans of some of the films. But I’ve always found the character inherently boring. There’s no real angst to the character to provide an interesting character arc. Oh, the Lois Lane/Clark Kent angst? Fuck that. Boring. Lois Lane is a boring, one note character who’s storylines never provide anything worth scripting and filming. Oh, the “my planet blew up and I’m the only one of my kind” angst? Waaah, Supes. Once you get right down to it, there’s not all that much worth saying with this character. You do the same shit, over and over, and when that’s done, you fly around in circles to do it again. Cockfag.
And, lest we forget, the obstacles put in his way are always fucking weak (that’s Cartman “weak”, not strength-“weak”). There’s a reason that almost all the films used Luthor as the main foil: the rest of Superman’s villains are going to look absolutely retarded if filmed as live action characters. Brainiac? Try turning that dude into a moving image and not have every audience in the country comparing his head to a nutsack. Mr. Mxp(whateverspellingneededhere)? Retarded. Full retarded. Total Corky. Doomsday? Not unless you’re killing off the franchise, WB, and even then it’s gonna look dumber than a box full of Lohans. I know there’s plenty more, but they all suck thick, veiny, moist dicks and are not worth mentioning.
Batman has cinematic villains with interesting, compelling backstories and attributes that make a well-done Batman film, well, kickass. I wanna see a Zodiac-killer style Riddler in the next one, for one thing. Or…well, I’ll get to it in a second.
Sounds like the WB has misinterpreted the huge grosses of THE DARK KNIGHT into thinking that “dark” and “gloomy” are what made the film so fucking great. How is it that these imbeciles are running a major studio? That thing made $500+ million, but these are the fucktards that get to figure out how to spend it?! They have no idea why the film was successful. How are you going to apply that “dark and gloomy” tone to a Superman film, anyway? We got as close to that as possible with Singer’s version, and that was the very definition of weak sauce. That movie bored me to tears and self-soiling.
So, yeah, I think they oughtta leave this property alone. Or, if you’re really, really determined to get that caped lummox up on a film screen, pair him up with Batman in a VS. movie (how about adapting some of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and having Supes be the villain? How’s that for “dark and gloomy”, you doucheboxes?) or, if you absolutely insist, in a Justic League movie. Which, by the way, will also likely suck. Sure, roll out the Martian Manhunter and see if he doesn’t get laughed right the fuck off screen. I dare you. And this wetdream ya’ll have been jerking yourselves off to about a WONDER WOMAN movie? Never gonna fucking happen. Again, same reason: It will look absolutely absurd if put on a film screen. Modify the costume and the jagoff storylines (an invisible jet? Fuck your mother), and then all you have is a roomfull of pissed off fans who didn’t want their favorite heroine changed. They’re the only ones that give a shit. And there’s about 27 of them. Worldwide.
If you absolutely have to make another Supes movie (or, as that fuckmouth who made WANTED would have us believe, a fucking trilogy of new Supes movies), and you want that dark and gloomy pallette, go balls out.
Give David Lynch $190 million to make that trilogy, and don’t check up on him at all. Don’t look into his casting choices, script, dailies, anything. Just give him all that DARK KNIGHT money, twenty pounds of mushrooms, a camera, and let him disappear into Washington state for five years as he creates what would, in all likelihood, be a series of films an assfull more entertaining than anything anyone else will come up with.
Have Michael Stephenson, the little kid from TROLL 2, play Superman. Have Stanton LaVey– grandson of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey–play Luthor’s brother, Cassius. Laura Dern’s a shoe-in for Lois, and have here inexplicably change her hair color six times over the course of the film in between shots of children fucking bicycles in an empty warehouse that’s on fire during a snowstorm in the 50’s. Then have Roy Orbison’s corpse play the new theme underwater, remixed by Fallout Boy (you know, for the kids).
This is box office gold I’m knocking out here, WB, listen up.
To answer the rest of your questions:
No, WB didn’t make a mistake burying that fucking thing now that all their hype failed. Flick sucked, so what would we have them do? Insult us by repeatedly releasing “new” versions of it every 18 months with bullshit special features that only the most minutaue-hungry geek would care about? George “King Lord Smug Face” Lucas has that market cornered, people.
And, no, I don’t believe Millar. I don’t want to. WANTED was a taint punch.
Rolando E. Corujo
I had written a CHUD blog a while back on why I thought disregarding Singer’s film is a mistake. The link is this:
But I’ll repeat my argument here, if that is easier:
First off, this would be a reboot practically on top of a reboot. Now I know the argument will be that “The Incredible Hulk” was also, coming just five years after Ang Lee’s “Hulk” movie. But the 2003 “Hulk” was a self-contained story that was not especially well received by audiences. There was no built-in audience base, in the sense that a “Hulk” movie had not been tried before. How much the character would appeal to moviegoers was uncertain. When the movie flopped, it was easier to forget a one-time failed experiment and start fresh, as opposed to a situation involving a long-established franchise.
That’s why, with “Superman,” it’s a different story. The first two Christopher Reeve films did such a tremendous job of telling the origin story and making the character popular with filmgoers. I’m one of the few people, I think, who enjoyed “Superman Returns,” because I get what Bryan Singer was trying to do. He realized that what made those first two movies special was what went on in between the action sequences. The stories had heart.
The extent to which Singer succeeded in imbuing his 2006 movie with that quality can be debated. Indeed, “Returns” has its share of problems. The biggest, I thought, was that Kate Bosworth was miscast as Lois Lane. Since they were trying to make this a continuation of the earlier films, they needed someone who at least suggested the spunky quality of Margot Kidder, which Bosworth totally does not. Not in the way Brandon Routh creepily resembled Reeve, or Kevin Spacey sometimes evoked Gene Hackman.
So when people talk about the need for a “Superman” film with amped-up action at the expense of everything else, that strikes me as such a boring prospect, because although the action and spectacle are important, they are not the only reason that the previous movies have worked. Maybe we just need to see Supes doing different kinds of things. Lifting heavy objects like the plunging airplane — OK, we’ve seen that before in the previous films. Luthor’s wacky real estate scheme — OK, we’ve seen that before in the previous films.
A reboot is not automatically the answer. If that were the case, they could have done a reboot in 2006 to erase the memory of the disastrous third and fourth “Superman” films. But enough time had passed where that was not an issue.
If Hollywood insists on a reboot, then it would be wise to wait at least 10 years or so, if not longer. But I think Singer and Routh were on the right track the first time. Maybe the issue is that audiences have changed, and those who flock to the movies now are not the same demographic, necessarily, that went to see the Reeve movies years ago. The expectation has become one of more spectacle, more faster-paced storytelling for people with shorter attention spans.
I think Routh did a good enough job, and showed sufficient promise of growing into the role, that he and Singer should be given another chance. Don’t just throw another reboot at us. Let them make “The Man of Steel” — and if that one does not work, then maybe it is time to just let Superman go.
And as far as whether the “Dark Knight” approach is the way to go, I hesitate to paint with a broad brush — meaning, the approach that works for one character is not necessarily the way to go with every character. Batman, by nature, is dark and disturbing. Superman is not. You have to be true to the character and the source material, not just take a “successful template” and try to force the material to fit it. Remember what happened when Tim Burton tried to take a “Burtonesque” story and force the Batman characters and situations to fit it? We wound up with “Batman Returns.” It was an interesting film on many levels, but not something I’d consider genuine Batman.
And yes, I think Superman is worth bothering with. He’s the signature character of DC Comics, and judging by the movies and various TV incarnations, is still quite popular. There is an audience for a good movie with a compelling, well told, heartfelt story.
Anyway, thanks for hearing me out. Hope you use some of this.
Hopefully enough filmgoers (not just fanboys, but genuine filmgoers) will feel the same way. We want to see this character on the screen again. We really do.
My thoughts on the Superman concept as a franchise are not in one camp or another. While the “soft” reboot Bryan Singer did with Brandon Routh in the lead wasn’t up to everyone’s expectations, I think those expectations are largely what ended up sinking the film theatrically. Singer had already proven his ability to manage a comic-based property with the first two X-Men films, and managed to get together a reasonably solid cast for his Superman (Spacey, Langella, an otherwise-unknown who looked and delivered lines quite like Reeve did) while hewing pretty closely to the first two films from which he was inspired (which was his intent from the get-go, as he had said in interviews that the Donner film and the 3/4 Donner sequel was what he wanted to try to build off of for his own). I think he largely succeeded, in that the style of Superman Returns was a lot like Donner’s.
That being said, I can definitely see where some people would have issues with the film, as the Lois/Superman lovechild was definitely something that should not have been made possible by the second Superman film. I can also see the problem that people have with Superman, in the same scene, speaking as if he is taking responsibility for his son, and then leaving him. Had that subplot been removed, I think the film could’ve stood far better on its own merits. Luthor’s plot in the film is just as goofy as anything in the first two films or the comics. A nuke on a fault line is more plausible than using crystals to build a continent where Superman can’ t get him, but still, it is a pretty smart plan, given the fake science involved.
The other main issue people seemed to have is that mostly Superman just lifted things or used his strength to solve the crises at hand. In all fairness, I think the airplane rescue was a great sequence that showed just what he could do, however I think it would’ve shown him as far more an altruistic savior if Lois hadn’t been on the plane, and still would’ve been as thrilling.
All in all, I personally think that the most important part of the film, the feel, was there. It felt like Superman; far more than any Nic Cage-starring abortion could’ve. Far more than several of the other possible concepts surrounding the character. Including Superman 4.
And I don’t think that Brandon Routh was the biggest problem in the film; I think Singer’s instinct conflicting with his own nostalgia got in the way. He went about it from a reverent, Donner-fan angle, but didn’t know when to let his own style take over and add to the proceedings. I know this sounds like I’m conflicting myself from earlier about the “feel” of the film, but the film’s biggest flaw is that it came off seeming like Singer didn’t know whether he wanted to mimic Donner or let himself take the reigns in some scenes. The best example is the scene where (spoiler) Superman flies the kryptonite continent to space, expending his last bit of energy, and falls to earth. Mimicing Donner, Singer would’ve followed Superman from a mid-range wide shot, and let the earth come to meet him, with a loud crack of earth. Instead, we get a limp Superman hurtling downward, only cutting to a wide shot of the park where he slams into the earth, with a dulled and suppressed thud and a bit of dust, and no image of the crash site.
Again I need to reiterate that overall I did like this film, and honestly would’ve liked to see Singer give it another go, expanding on the story he started/continued, and maybe fixing some of the problems he brought to Superman Returns. He’s a directorial talent who just got lost in nostalgia when it came time to figure his own film out.
I’m not a massive fan of Superman as a character, I think his time has come and gone and needs some serious re-invention to “fit” the world we live in today – if in fact that is a direction that is worth going in. My ideas below are from the perspective of taking Superman “out” of our world “today” because with events like Terroism, 9/11 and the recent direction of US policys (and from my perspective, their effect on the world) I can’t seriously see a Superman “fitting” into the new millennium as a character that is going to resonate with Audiences in the way, Batman or Iron-Man have. They “Fit” into a darker world, a REAL world. Superman doesn’t, he’s NOT a dark character, he’s a character invented to lighten Dark Times, to bring a sense of ‘Fantasy’ to the real world and right now, I don’t think cinema-goers are LOOKING for fantasy for escapism anymore.
Which I way I think a Superman re-invention needs to occur in the Past.
They way I would approach a re-boot would be an older Superman, perhaps even a dying Superman reliving his “greater” years in the past. I’d do a period Superman basically. Perhaps during a WWII setting, that way you can build on some great fantasy Nazi elements (Ala Indiana Jones) and not have to rely on the crux of a Lex Luthor or “Space Alien” type characters. You can do it “real” but perhaps in an alternative “Fantasy” Universe.
Here’s my answers to your questions given that initial premise
Who do you think would be the best director to tackle Superman Rebooted?
A period Superman only two directors come to mind that could fufill that type of “Vision”
First up would be Martin Scorsese. It’s a genre of film he’s never done to begin with, and I think Fanboys would salivate at the thoughts of the little master putting his “spin” on not only a comic-book franchise, but a revisionist tale of Superman during a war-period. You could build into the script themes that would resonate with todays “war on terror” environment, whilst still having Superman kick-arse…against Nazis! He would be my number one choice, he’s done period pieces before and approaching it from a pseudo-real-world type angle, you’d have a great story-telling director who can still handle a great action set-piece or two. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t get him for a 3 picture-type deal…so you’d need to do a “Harry Potter” or “Bond’ and build on what was set up from there.
…my other choice to direct such a ‘style’ of superman would be Martin Campbell. Lets face it, he’s a SOLID director. He knows action set-pieces, he KNOWS how to re-boot a franchise and he KNOWS how to create a character (Bond) who is timeless and re-invent him from a “no specific-time period” type angle. Casino Royale showed he can handle action scences whilst still keeping Bond in a pseudo “world-without-a-period” look. He was classic bond, had technology but wasn’t quite “of this time” in a lot of scenes he could’ve been in the 60s or the 2000’s. I think Martin Campbell is the other obvious choice to re-boot a Superman ‘period’ piece, if not a contemporary Superman
Do you think Warner Bros is making a mistake in junking Bryan Singer’s film/
The mistake Warners (and Singers Script) made is they were basically doing a style of film that was connected to an 80’s style of Superman – but placing him in todays environment where Superman is unfortunately, a little unbelieveable (given how close it was released to events in Iraq etc). Superman just doesn’t work in that environment anymore, and having a gutless Superman moping about lost loves and who has “been gone” for a long time, just doesn’t work. He wasn’t there when earth needed him most (9/11) if anything, Singer could’ve riffed on that motif more, rather than stalking Lois. So no, I think forgetting the Singer fan-film piece is for the best.
What angle should Superman Rebooted take? Do you think it should follow The Dark Knight playbook, or should it be more like the recent cartoon show?
As I said above, I view Superman taking place from a flashback perspective during a WWII period, if they’re going to go for a Trilogy I think the first movie should start off with Superman being killed by an “unseen” enemy. You then flashback to a WWII period where Superman “arrives” on earth, you briskly move through a basic “revisionist” origin story and how Superman battles with is he on the right side of the war. Ends up helping the “Allies” take on the Nazi’s in the war – that sort of thing.
That’s film One, film two is during the end of WWII where Superman is battling with his decisions during the war and the rise of Lex Luthor, who’s been profiteering from the previous War. Perhaps he’s now working on his own super-weapon and funding peoples efforts to re-take the globe, that sort of thing. Superman is helping re-build the US and then BAM, Peal harbour occurs and Superman is pushed back into a war he’s not sure he wants to be a part of again. The film ends when Superman decides he doesn’t want to be pawn in the plots of the US Government anymore, so they decide to drop “The Bomb” to end the war. All of a sudden, Superman realises his decisions have consequences and what he thought he did for the good of Humanity, ended up being a greater threat.
Film Three picks up again “today”, with Superman having being gone for many years – the decisions during the war forced him into hiding and lives his life as “Clark Kent” (I ideally see the “Clark Kent” character being a minor hardly-seen role in the first two-films. Lets focus solely on Superman for those). He’s still wrestling with his decision to not get himself involved in world events since “the Bomb” and the war on terror has all-but forced him to abandon Superman All together.
This is when Lex comes back into the story, as an old man who’s “perfected” the weapon (or whatever) he began in film two turns out to be an “alternate” (perhaps cloned?) “Superman” to protect the world, but one who is under his control, who does his bidding and ultimately, is just being used to push Lex’s agenda on the world.
The film would end with a huge battle between the two “Super-men” and ultimately end with the real Superman prevailing and the flashbacks from Film 1 turn out to be a “dream” of the young Clark Kent during WWII as he forsee’s his future – which is where the film ends with the young Superman stepping out from his “Spaceship” that has just crashlanded in a small farm during that time period. The 3 films come full circle and you end the last, with the beginning of the first.
Basically, you turn Superman GLOBAL rather than US-bound. You put him in extreme situations where he has to battle his own inner-feelings of is he just being USED by the US and their allies rather than making his own choices. Along with an EPIC tale throughout Time placing Superman at the forefront of real-life events.
Do you believe notorious self-promoter Mark Millar when he says that he’s got a Superman trilogy just moments from a green light at Warner Bros?
No, he’s full of crap.
Should Warner Bros even be bothering with Superman right now, or should they be turning to the hundreds of other DC characters available to them?
Given the right approach, I think Superman needs to become relevant again and could be a great money-maker but you need to have the right “Superman” story to tell. No necesscarily using a comic-book ark that exists but building on the great storys and the “Theme” of Superman, but giving him something NEW to do. Something people wouldn’t expect.