Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Man of Steel Goes Dark?

After the disappointing Superman Returns, Warner Brothers is talking about either rebooting the Superman franchise or making a darker sequel – and it looks more and more likely that they may go into the direction of a dark story, since The Dark Knight did very well at the box office.
I have problems in making Superman a dark character, because he was never meant to be dark. I know Batman succeeded because of its tone, but that’s what Batman is supposed to be. Batman was a success because someone finally got it right.
Since the beginning Bruce Wayne and his alter ego were more of the edgier comic characters and Clark Kent and his alter ego were always the symbol of hope – why try to change a character after years of being one thing?
A lot of people say that Superman was darker in Frank Miller’s comic The Dark Knight Returns and I beg to differ, he wasn’t dark at all in my opinion. The scenes that Superman had in this comic book were extremely lighter toned and had more of an old patriotic feeling.
I feel like the producers are just looking at what The Dark Knight did and they just all want to cash in on darker storylines. This won’t work for Superman and cause the movie to be yet another disappointment.
Here is a great example, Spider-Man 3, that movie went dark and it missed the mark by a mile. Do you know why Spider-Man 3 missed the mark? Because there is a difference between dark and emo. Plus … the dancing scene, the strutting down the street scene and a total hack job of the character Venom made this movie even worse.
What I’m getting at is that not every comic book character can be dark and not every comic book character needs to be dark.
With all that said I do believe they should abandon the sequel idea and restart the franchise from scratch. Here are some things they should do to make the new Superman movie great.
1.) Enough with Lex Luther, he can be in it but just not as the main villain. I’m sick of seeing him as the main villain, and each time they use him they make him too campy.
2.) Superman does NOT become a gritty character that is held back because of his human restraints. He’s a god character and he should be fighting super villains that have equal power as him. I mean with all our advances in movie making and we still can’t get Superman fighting Brainiac?
3.) Superman is not Batman and they should go in their different directions. That said this movie should be about how Superman is a savior for Earth.
4.) No origin stories, we’ve seen Superman’s origin too many times and we should just start the next movie aware on who he is and where he came from.
5.) More action and less romance, but still enough to make an effective Lois and Clark storyline.

1 comment:

Alicia said...

I disagree.

I think that Superman's appearance in "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" was darker than "normal" Superman, in that it portrayed him as having to deal with the real-life fallout of Batman's obsession and borderline psychosis. Just the moral convolution of having to fight someone we'd normally think of as a "good guy" makes Superman's motives questionable.

It also calls into question the morality of the vigilante (Batman) vs. the institutional morality of authorities (the president, the police, Superman). I don't think the book ends up on Superman's side, there, not cleanly. I wouldn't characterize it as patriotic.

I also feel Superman's origins and his quest to be human, which is what's behind his disguise and effort to fit in (which he doesn't, quite) as Clark Kent, is a main part of his story. That doesn't mean we need to re-tell the story of how Superman got here ad infinitum, but a reinvention of Superman would be most effective -- as you say, going along with the character rather than just trends in movies making money now -- if it pitted Superman against humanity, or forced him to deal with the conflict inherent in having extraterrestrial origins but living among and loving humans.

Lex Luthor is useful because he represents human power, the only knid Superman can never have (because it would be unethical for him to fix the lottery, or take everyone's money, for instance), and he keeps reminding Superman that Superman isn't and never will be human.

Superman is an outsider, just like Batman. The difference is that Superman longs to be inside. Batman is twisted by the desire for revenge. Either of them could end up making questionable (and therefore "dark") moral choices if they're challenged according to their conflicts.