By Miscellaneous | | February 9, 2010 |
By Miscellaneous | | February 9, 2010 |
13 years ago, little fanboy me got to meet Kevin Smith and talk to him about his plans for Superman. I got so excited (this was before I grew tired of Smith as a filmmaker). But it didn’t happen. Years later I again got excited about Tim Burton taking the helm of a new Superman movie (this was before I grew tired of Burton as a filmmaker). It didn’t happen. And years later I got excited again about Bryan Singer’s movie (this was before I grew tired of trying to accept Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane). It happened, but it sort of didn’t, if you know what I mean.
I’m not going to get excited about the news (which Dustin mentioned earlier) of Christopher Nolan’s “godfather” involvement with the Superman franchise, either. And not just because I’m expecting to any day now grow tired of Nolan as a filmmaker. I’m just going to wait and see what happens. So I’ll just let these bloggers get excited, seriously or sarcastically, instead:
Interestingly enough, Nolan coming on board the “Superman” franchise echoes Warner Bros’ previous attempt in the 1990s to bring “Batman” filmmaker Tim Burton in on the Man of Steel’s big screen voyage. That attempt never took flight.
While it doesn’t mean that a movie is on its way, it means that Warner Bros. is actively trying to make something happen. It also means that their heads are in the right place. […] they need to be moving on something soon. It would appear, at least for now, that step one is in place.
At least now no one can claim Warner Bros. isn’t doing anything with one of their most valuable characters. They’re totally moving forward! Look, they just created a fictional “godfather” position and assigned someone to that! A finished film can’t be far behind.
Get excited, fans of rebooted things! […] Let the implausible casting rumors commence!
Other than this has to be too good to be true, there’s nothing to comment on. To make suggestions or to give advice or to create some kind of wish list regarding these upcoming films, as though anything anyone could come up with will surpass the genius of Christopher Nolan, is foolish. So carry on, Mr. Nolan. See ya, opening day.
Nolan is a skilled director, but his creative interests (namely, complex mysteries) seem at odds with the material. I think fans have been waiting for a more fun approach to Superman on film — something with more comic book science-fiction and large-scale action. We’re waiting on Darkseid and Brianiac and Mongul and Doomsday, not another Lois Lane/Superman love story set against a Lex Luthor money-making real estate scheme. Maybe, just maybe, they’re meeting with Nolan to get his thoughts on revitalizing Superman by having him appear in the third Batman film?
Obviously Nolan has success in rebooting a DC Comics franchise, as evidenced by the work he’s done with Batman. But Superman is a different beast all together, and one imagines they’ll start with trying to ground the franchise a bit more with a freakier set of villains and perhaps a more relatable, down-to-earth storyline. Not that we need Clark Kent making MySpace references for 120 minutes, but I could see them focusing more on the burden Superman is carrying — that “weight of the world” angle — and less on his little romance with Lois Lane.
We have every reason to believe that any new Superman movie will be grounded in some form of realism. I’m excited about any forward motion on a new Superman movie, and am even more jazzed that Nolan, who has yet to make a bad movie, is attached in any manner. But I do wonder if a gritty Metropolis is the best approach to the infinitely wholesome character of Superman.
The big question here is whether or not they’ll force the “darker” Superman down our throats. Batman’s origins are naturally that way so there’s a reason Nolan’s vision worked on him, but Supe is a different case. After the success of The Dark Knight Warner Bros mogul Jeff Robinov stated “we have to look at how to make these movies edgier,” but one of Finke’s insiders stress that he meant “more sophisticated.” We hope that’s what he meant.
An insider at the studio said, “We know what we don’t want to do. But we don’t know what we want to do.” That sounds like every Friday night conversation I had with my friends in high school. Result: we all decided to stay home, much like the audience will for this film.
Apparently Nolan has a take.
What would that take be? Here are some ideas that our made-up sources have fed to us:
- Trapped in the Phantom Zone, Superman is disconnected from temporal linearity. He must go over his life - out of order - to discover who stuck him there.
- Nolan is interested in remaking Superman III, just without any of the edge or subtext.
- Superman actually has no powers but wears an armored suit and has a cape that functions as a glider. He runs around a dark, oppressive city and has a sore throat. Everybody is impressed by how realistic it is.
- He’s just going to convince the studio to rerelease The Prestige, but in IMAX and with Mr. Mxyzptlk CGI’ed over Hugh Jackman.
Kevin Spacey took a stab at Lex Luthor, but never quite pulled it off. Compare that to the astounding, Oscar-grabbing work from Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. If Nolan knows something, it’s how to fashion a great take on a comic book baddie. Superman’s rogues gallery may suffer in comparison to other costumed crusaders, but there are several great enemies that Nolan could figure out a new take on - Doomsday? Bizarro? Even (whisper it) Zod and co.
Look — no matter how you slice it, Superman is a corny legend from a corny, bygone era. If we can for a moment put aside the specter of his tweets on the subject (“Quick show of hanz: shud kryptonians b SYTYCD alumz? will check after the gym!”), what Shankman has going for him is enough energy to power Baltimore, a Pollyannaish spirit befitting the subject, and, with Bedtime Stories, a proven track-record with big-budget fantasy and effects. He might not exactly be the most popular choice among fanboys, but if anyone can return the shine to Superman’s belt and boots, it’s Shankman.
What’s really remarkable is how WB has allowed Nolan to hold all the chips. Now, without him, there’s not only no Batman, but no Superman either. God help us all if Nolan gets hit by a bus, or even takes a Dave Chapelle-style leave of absence. It’s not just a nation of fans now relying on Nolan to lead us, but an entire multi-billion dollar studio. Let’s hope the guy we’ve always regarded as a genius can keep it up.