I honestly don’t know what to think about Superman movies anymore.
Look, here the thing. The original Christopher Reeves Superman film is wonderful and iconic and more than a little silly. The second one was far superior, though I wish that Donner had been able to fully realize his vision for it, which would have been a much darker film with fewer goofy Lex hijinks. The worst crime Hollywood ever committed regarding Luthor was making him some kind of bumbling, weaksauce evil-genius-wannabe. Lex Luthor is fucking evil, people. He is a bad, bad, bad man. Then there were a series of missteps and ideas that were either unrealized or just flat out silly — two more terrible sequels. That stupid Lois and Clark show. A rumor about a never-happening Wolfgang Peterson-directed Batman vs. Superman film. And who knows what the fuck is happening on “Smallville,” aka Superman 90210.
I actually rather enjoyed Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, though it is admittedly a deeply flawed film. But it also almost destroyed the franchise — it cost too much money, didn’t earn nearly enough, the Bosworth casting was a disaster (although Spacey absolutely killed as Luthor), and it caused Warner Brothers to almost abandon the character altogether.
Well, the news has been bouncing around for a while that Warner is finally ready to try again. Initially, the rumor was the Christopher Nolan was sort of… coaching the project. Not writing, not directing, just sort of holding its hand. However, DC and Warners have since sort-of denied that rumor. Now, Latino Review has a source, who has been pretty reliable in the past, who is saying that David Goyer has been hired to write the script. Goyer is a well-known name in genre circles and among comic book geeks — he worked with Nolan on the Batman films, he wrote all three Blade films, and is the creator of the show “Flash Forward,” which I’ve never seen a single second of. But he’s a creative, interesting guy who clearly has a firm grasp on the comic book world. This is a good thing. Other news that LR has to report:
- The film will be called Man of Steel, which I think is fucking awesome.
- No Brandon Routh, which I’m neither happy nor sad about. He was fine, if unremarkable.
- No Bryan Singer. Much as I love Singer for X-Men 1 and 2 and The Usual Suspects, I’m OK with this. Might as well start from scratch wholesale.
Now for the most important, and interesting part: It’s not an origin story, which is great news, since that means it’s not a reborquel™. It assumes, rightly so, that everyone knows the origin of Superman. Christ, it’s been around in popular culture for nearly 80 years now. It will have Lex Luthor in it. There will be a side story about the Daily Planet and how it’s struggling financially.
And, it will have Brainiac.
Fuck and yes. Brainiac is the alien android who is one of Superman’s best enemies, and has all kinds of possibilities (as long as it doesn’t involve that silly shrinking cities bit, because, you know, it’s dumb). The films desperately need a new villain — not necessarily instead of Luthor, but there needs to be a new antagonist. One of the things that made Superman II so great was the freshness of General Zod and company. I think that, handled properly, the addition of Brainiac is an excellent idea.
It’s still verrrrrry early to get our hopes up too far. But it seems that they might be on the right track, at least conceptually. Since clearly Batman vs. Superman is never gonna happen, as much as I would absolutely destroy my pants if it did, this may well be the next best thing.
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