Remember all the failed on-screen attempts at reinventing Superman? Remember when Christopher Reeve flew at light-speed around Earth to reverse the rotation and turn back time? Remember Dean Cain? Remember Superman Returns?
When I think of these, one word comes to mind: Terrible.
Don’t get me wrong. Christopher Reeve’s Superman films were pretty solid, and still stand as the best attempt at bringing the world’s greatest superhero to the screen. But some of the stories really needed work. On the other hand, the story in Superman Returns isn’t half bad. But the movie is terrible because the acting is, for lack of a better term, hokey. Also, Superman Returns should not have been an effects movie. We’re not talking about Armageddon here. Superman’s character actually has an incredibly thought-provoking story that was completely ignored in the 2006 film.
The new Superman reboot – due to come out around Christmas, 2012 (assuming the world doesn’t end) – will be directed by Zack Snyder. You might find yourself asking, “Who?” Well, I’ll tell you.
Snyder may be most famous for directing 2009’s epic, Watchmen. He also directed 2004’s reboot of Dawn of the Dead and the critically acclaimed 300.
I recently, along with RFP, viewed Watchmen for the second time. I consider it to be one of the most interesting and thought-provoking movies I’ve ever seen. Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead is one of my favorite zombie films, as well, and made it into Xena’s top 6 on Miserable Retail Slave.
So the big question, really, is this: Why have such famed directors/writers as J.J. Abrams, Tim Burton, and Kevin Smith failed so miserably at bringing the character of Superman to the big screen?
If I had to answer, I’d guess that it has something to do with the viewers. We’ve become something of an anti-hero culture. We embrace the flawed characters, like Tony Stark, Batman, and even The Joker. We empathize with the “dark side” because we are all in touch with our own. Characters like Superman, who are wholly “good,” are difficult to adapt to because we simply don’t relate to them.
Personally, I’m excited about the choice of Snyder. He’s successful because he brings us flawed characters and makes us love them. Think about Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, and Mekhi Phifer’s character in Dawn of the Dead, who chains his pregnant girlfriend up so she’ll give birth after she’s already “turned” to a zombie.
I’m not saying Snyder needs to give Superman flaws. It’s not his job to reinvent the character. All I’m saying is that, somewhere, Superman already has flaws, and I’m hoping Snyder embraces them, brings them to the forefront, and reminds us why we started loving Superman in the first place.
– P. Walnuts