Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What Will Zack Snyder's Superman Be...?

Director Zack Snyder (300 and Watchmen) has been tapped by Warner Bros. to direct The Man of Steel, WB's big reboot of Superman being produced by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) and written by Batman Begins and The Dark Knight scribes David Goyer and Jonathan Nolan. Now, I really had no reservations about the story, with such heavyweight screenwriters like Goyer and Nolan onboard, not to mention the older Nolan, director Chris producing. Word is the story wont simply be a retread of the origin, which is nice, seeing as how most know the basics of how Superman came to be. It's said that the story will simply pick up with Clark Kent already established as Superman in Metropolis, so that's that. Real question is, with Zack Snyder now onboard to visualize and bring The Man of Steel back to moviegoers, what will Superman be like when he is rebooted?

The easiest assumption I could make about what Snyder's Man of Steel will be like, is that it will be hard-hitting, action-packed, and visually stunning. Snyder's movies, while most of them often falter in the story department, are always packed with wondrous visuals, and it's safe to call Snyder a visionary. As well, Snyder has the right sense of epic scope to tackle a character as large as Superman. I truly believe that he could present Superman as this larger than life being, and one would only need to look at his work in stuff like 300 to understand these points. But what to expect from story? Well, we've gotta go back a few years...

Now, I was a fan of Bryan Singer's Superman Returns from a few years back, but many fans weren't. To them, the action was minimal, if almost non-existent, making it a superhero drama, but not really a superhero blockbuster; as well, it was a Superman movie still stuck in the world of the Christopher Reeve movies. Lots has happened in the Superman comics since the 1978 original, and making a 2006 sequel did not reflect the Superman that most viewers wanted to see done justice.

I'll try and make this simple, in the world of DC Comics, there are two Supermen. There is the Pre-Crisis Superman, and the Post-Crisis Superman. Pre-Crisis Superman is pretty much any Superman before the classic Infinite Crisis story arc from the mid-80s in which redefined every DC Comics superhero. Infinite Crisis is what ultimately gave us the Batman that we now see in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but Superman Returns, was still set within the Pre-Crisis world, which I believe was a large factor to its poor reception.

See, Pre-Crisis Superman is more cheesy, so to speak. Lex Luthor was a mad scientist, not the tyrannical businessman that most fans came to associate with the character in the Post-Crisis world. Post-Crisis Superman is also more hard-edged. He's not really darker, cause Superman still stands for, "Truth, Justice, and the American Way," but the challenges in which he faces as a character are more human, and at times more down to Earth. Superman's humanity is the key to Post-Crisis Superman, his relationships with his parents and Lois Lane, rather than the Pre-Crisis Superman which sort of presented Superman as this otherworldly Greek God of sorts. What the Post-Crisis Superman showed readers, was that Superman could be made vulnerable in more ways than just Kryptonite.

Now, as for Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, I think it's safe to make certain assumptions. Obviously WB would not be going ahead with the movie if it was a Pre-Crisis Superman story, seeing as how that was a major complaint with Superman Returns, so I think it's pretty safe to say that the Superman in Snyder's movie will be the Post-Crisis Superman. What does this mean? Well, I don't think it means we'll be getting a darker Superman along the lines of Snyder's own Watchmen or Nolan's The Dark Knight, but I do expect to see a Superman more troubled by his human relationships and the dangers of being a public figure in our modern time, and how those dangers may affect the humans in which he cares for. Thus, in a sense, the movie will be darker than any other Superman before it, purely because it will most likely have that character depth to it.

So what else to say? I really feel that in pairing Snyder with such terrific screenwriters like Goyer and Nolan, it will make the difference in beefing up Snyder's work in the story department. And the action is not an issue either, seeing as how Snyder always knows when to properly slo-mo a scene or have swells of musical emotion to make an action sequence all the more impactful for an audience member. So overall, I'm excited to see Superman throwing down with General Zod in the streets of Metropolis. A real, bona fide, Superman throw down has not been seen with modern day film technology, and with Snyder at the helm, the deal just gets even sweeter. Great choice of director WB! Holiday 2012 can't come fast enough!

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