The Next Superman Movie

Posted: October 5, 2010 in Action Movies, comic books, Jeff Holland, Threat Quality
Tags: , , , ,

It seems pretty impossible to ask the internet to reasonably comment on the news that Zack Snyder will direct the next Superman movie.

So, don’t trust the internet: Trust us. We know what we’re talking about.

There are about a dozen different ways to react to the news, so let’s get the negative thinking out of the way first:

“Waaa he’s gonna fill it with slow-mo fighting shots!” Well…learn to cope with the stylistic quirk. We’re in a post-Matrix FX era, and this is part of the visual language now. I’ve never had a problem with Snyder’s slo-mo use, since one of my biggest complaints with modern fight scenes is the habit to chop them up in editing. Sure it looks like “violence porn,” but if the actors spent this much time going through fight training in uncomfortable costumes (or, as in 300, the opposite), their efforts should be as clear to see as possible.

“Waaa it’s gonna be all surfacy and macho!” Let me put it to you another way: we got an introspective, ponderous Superman movie – from Bryan Singer, a director who was supposed to be a sure thing. The general response? “Why doesn’t Superman hit anything?” If Snyder wants to bring a bit of fight-comics to Superman (and the rumored use of similar-powered Zod would lean this way), I’d say it couldn’t hurt.

“Waaa he ruined Watchmen!” Look: there was not a chance in the world a Watchmen movie was going to be 100% successful. Not a single chance in the world. A comic that narratively and visually complex – and a story that ripped apart superhero stories at a time when superhero movies are doing big bank – was virtually impossible to execute, but Snyder did his best.

More to the point, he did his best because he knew the alternative would be some other director who wasn’t interested in keeping the material in tact might get it. I had my problems with the movie, but he successfully brought Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan to the big screen, and that takes a director who gives a damn. You can’t ever fault Snyder for not giving a damn.

“Waaa it’s gonna be a slutty Lois Lane who can’t act!” This one I saw, and it sort of baffled me, since I’m not sure what it’s based on – that there were sex scenes in 300 and Watchmen? That Malin Ackerman is not a very good actress? (It can’t be how the part was written – her lines were wholly transplanted from the book.) That the 300 queen has to sleep with McNulty? That he bulked up the queen’s role (virtually nonexistent in the book) and actually made it the more interesting plotline is not something to complain about. Is it that Suckerpunch is so fishnets-heavy? Why would you assume that aesthetic would carry over to fricking Lois Lane?

“Waaa there’s gonna be inappropriate musical cues!” This is among those stupid “John Krazinski can’t be Captain America, he’ll keep smirking at the camera!” complaints where commenters don’t understand how the choices an artist makes for one project wouldn’t automatically be the choices he makes for another. It’s Superman, so…chances are it’ll be an orchestral score, because that works. That said: “The Man Comes Around” was a PERFECT way to open up Dawn of the Dead, and “Hallelujah” made the Watchmen sex scene (intentionally) hilarious.

So after the criticisms are taken care of, what’s left? I suppose it’s time to accentuate the positive.

1. This isn’t just Zack Snyder’s Superman. There’s also the input of David Goyer and Chris Nolan to take into consideration, so those worried that Snyder’s coming up with some idiosyncratic view of the character should remember Chris Nolan’s involvement counts for a lot (at the very least, it means we won’t hear a single meaningful detail about the story for another year).

2. Snyder’s Not Stupid. From Entertainment Weekly: “Don’t expect the man who helmed the revisionist superhero epic Watchmen to go all post-modern on the Man of Steel. ‘They are totally different characters, totally different worlds,” says Snyder. “I wouldn’t want to compare them at this point.’” So…just relax, internet.

Now then. What would I like to see from a Superman movie?

I’d like to see him hit stuff. I know this is a petty complaint (and I’m in the minority, here, but outside of the bafflingly wrong-headed decision to give Superman an illegitimate kid, I actually didn’t mind it. It was a really beautiful film, it just happened to be needlessly slow and a bit shambling).

No more “Last son” whining. Frankly, if I see one more moaning, weeping “Oh I’m the last of my kind, I’m so alone – except for my adoptive parents, my wife, my close circle of loyal friends and my dog” Superman story I’ll fucking lose it. I’ve never understood people to take this tack. I get the idea that an adopted child would be curious about his parentage (and yes, if that parentage was from another planet, more so) but not at the expense of the large circle of loved ones he’d accumulated.

No Jesus motif. I know this is gonna be hard, but please, we can do so much better than this. It’s Been Done.

No origin stuff. We KNOW it. We know it so well Grant Morrison was able to boil it down to four panels in All-Star Superman. Either do it this quickly, or don’t waste the time at all.

Remember: People Love Superman. My other problem with Superman Returns was the meta-question of “Why do we need Superman?” Simple: He fights giant monkeys and punches asteroids that would otherwise destroy us, and he doesn’t ask for anything in return. He catches us when we fall. So no more scathing Lois editorials, please. The world loves Superman, because he loves them. THAT’S what makes Lex Luthor’s antagonism that much more awesome – it’s jealousy couched in egotism. “They love THIS guy? What, because he can fly?! I EMPLOY HALF OF YOU BASTARDS.”

Powersuit Lex. Come on. Please? Big green kryptonite-powered armor? FINALLY he could get into a fight scene with Superman? Or – okay, how’s this: Lex throws Metallo at Superman early, Superman takes him apart, and Lex makes a final act suit of armor out of Metallo! (“If you want something done right…”)

Jon Hamm. I know this is slim on account of I guess you can’t have a 40-year-old Superman, but…why not? (Oh, and if you could just slightly redesign the costume to get rid of the underwear, that’d be great, too.)

OK, that’s my 80 cents, what about you?

  1. Tommy Deelite says:

    and “Hallelujah” made the Watchmen sex scene (intentionally) hilarious.

    Occam’s Razor is more effective when you’re gripping the hilt.

  2. Rorschach e seu teste arrebentam na busca da personalidade!…

    […]The Next Superman Movie « Threat Quality Press[…]…

  3. Alex says:

    Well, I mean, Superman did hit some stuff.

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