Slowly, but inevitably, we’re getting our fill of Superman scoops as Zack Snyder tours Europe. The latest story hint is one that really dampens my fledgling enthusiasm, though I’m desperately trying not to be one of those geeks.
We’ve all been tossing around a lot of theories as to what this Superman story is. That undefinable term “reboot” doesn’t help. Will it be an older and wiser Superman? Will it be an origin story? Will it make the same mistake Bryan Singer did, and tie itself to the Richard Donner films?
Snyder answered three out of three to Film Actu, and Bleeding Cool thoughtfully translated them: “As I have already explained, the film will focus on early days of Superman, so there will be no links with other films. This is not a remake then. Similarly, although I still can not talk about the script, I can assure you that this new Superman will not be based on a comic book in particular.”
Early days of Superman? That is essentially an origin story all over again, earmarked for moments to explain again who Superman is. That’s not reinvention. That’s reiteration.
I know it was probably impossible to hope, as many were, for an older and wiser Superman.
Hearing that they intend to go backwards suggests a story focusing on all that “what does it mean to be a hero / maybe I should be a normal guy” stuff. It also lends credence (despite the weight I’ve given Snyder’s “nobody knows anything” quotes) to the script whispers of a Superman that travels the world, and agonizing over
whether he should even be Superman.
I’m making a lot of inferring leaps from a tiny quote, but if it’s at all true, I’m terribly disappointed. I’m not opposed to a soul-searching story, but that particular angle has been done. To have it playing out alongside all the Marvel origin stories just feels even more tired and thin. We know who Superman is. I don’t think we need to go over that story again and again. I don’t think the audience is that dumb.
I don’t think the question is “Who is Superman?” I think it’s a more along the lines of “What can Superman do for us?” I want to see a story like Superman: Peace on Earth where the answer might be something more like “Help us to help ourselves.” I thought the theoretical immigration issue was equally poignant. I even think you can ask that “What use is he?” question while having Superman fight something that’s massive and dangerous to all of mankind. I’d like to see him battling that question on two fronts. Isn’t there something insane in a superhero who is constantly fighting something huge, and ignoring the smaller dictators and wars of the world? I think you could have something intriguing about there ultimately being too much for him to do. Maybe, in the midst of all that, he does just want to give it all up. What’s the use of being a hero? What can he do, really?
Look, I don’t even know the answer to that question. But I do wonder how you’re ever going to get this character to speak to anyone if you just keep rewinding him. Relevance comes from age and experience. Not the initial introductions.
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