Man, did I feel like I fumbled that Zack Snyder story. No analysis! No extra context! Nothing! I consoled myself with the idea that when it’s big news, people want bare bones. It’s news they want to talk about, not listen to me blather on and on about. And there wasn’t much go to on beyond Snyder and Superman, sitting in a tree….
But now there is. And now I can appease my guilt by reporting what little tidbits have sifted to the surface.
Drew McWeeny over at HitFix highlighted two intriguing Superman story hints. One is an article at Vulture, which is focused on Darren Aronofsky and Wolverine 2. They claim Aronofsky was very interested in Superman, specifically David Goyer’s story where “Clark Kent is a journalist traveling the world trying to decide if he should, in fact, even become Superman.” There’s also a lot of dark hints about how Snyder was only picked because his schedule was clear, and Aronofsky would nitpick too long for Warner Bros’ time constraints. Allegedly, even Snyder has conceded the Goyer script is a mess.
This gossip (or at least the plot oriented part of it) would seem to be debunked by MTV’s quick, post-announcement chat with Snyder, who laughed at any whispers about Goyer’s story or that alleged Man of Steel title: “Yeah, they don’t know anything.” He also evaded questions about the villain, but heaped praise on Christopher Nolan and Goyer’s script. “All I’ll say is that those guys — Chris and David — have created an amazing story. The ‘Why [remake] Superman?’ is definitely being looked at with care, that’s all I could hope for as a director.”
Is Zod the villain? Heat Vision claimed it was, as did Latino Review. Interestingly, McWeeny talked to someone “close” to the production who also had General Zod on the brain: “The idea of Kryptonians as immigrants came up. Superman, raised as Clark Kent with a connection to American human culture, follows the rules of the country and the rules of the world not because he has to, but because he chooses to. But if a group of Kryptonians arrived on Earth, led, let’s say, by General Zod, and they didn’t feel any particular reason to follow anyone’s rules or laws but their own, that might well allow a smart storyteller to put Superman/Clark in a position where he’s serving as the enforcer for the ultimate case of illegal immigration of all time. And to complicate things emotionally, these are people from his planet, people who should be his family.” (Let me stress, as McWeeny did, that’s not an officially pitched idea that we know of. Just something from a conversation with a well-connected individual.)
Nolan, Goyer, and (now) Snyder have been putting a lot of stress on making Superman relevant to the modern world. Nolan already has toyed with politically tinged superheroes in The Dark Knight. Snyder wasn’t afraid of them with in Watchmen. (It would have been so easy for a director to tone down Rorschach, and neatly snip all the “What happened to the American dream?” stuff out. He held firm.) Might they be bold enough to involve Superman in such thorny, ripped-from-the-headlines issues? I hope so. It would be more of a talking point than Bryan Singer’s Christ analogy.
I’ve been sour on the Superman reboot since it was announced. I’m not a huge fan of the character beyond a surface appreciation of his iconography, and while I’m digging the comic trend, you are in danger of losing the audience. A Superman movie feels like a big nail in that coffin — unless they can avoid the origin story trap. Even Nolan and Goyer didn’t get me on board. It felt like perfunctory fan service. It still could be.
But I’m excited to have Snyder on board. Some have argued this is fan service too, but he’s a enough of a divisive figure among comic lovers that it reads riskier. I think it’s smart. I think Nolan, Goyer, and Snyder can balance each other out. Snyder will bring the scope and unapologetic love of bold strokes, Nolan will bring the brains and polish, and Goyer will bring the grit. (Hey, whatever his failings, he does do grit.) I’m actually keen to see how this comes together … and that means one more ticket sold than before. Win win, Warner Bros. Unless you’re rushing it. Then it’s a fail.
Now bring on the man who would be Super.