I start by asking you to CLICK THIS
See there… The most powerful opening of a movie since Star Wars, I think. It immediately brings me back to the early eighties. Where I would watch the original movie a gazillion times then run down my street, arms extended, simulating the whooshing sound of a man flying – complete in my underoos and a curl in my wet, slicked hair.
I HAD to start with the credit sequence from the original SUPERMAN movie Directed by Richard Donner because… well, we’re talking about Super-f’ing-man and his imminent return to the big screen. You have to start with the best interpretation of the man. The big cheese. The head Chihuahua. El Duderino de Guapo.
It is the movie that started it all for our superhero friends. And I’m not talking about that Batman movie from the sixties with Batman and his Boy Wonder dancing the funky chicken to some groovy tunes. F’ no. That was retarded. I haven’t even seen the movie so my assumptions are absolutely correct.
Superman is coming back to the big screen, people. And he will be directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Chris Nolan.
Welcome able humans, to another Reilly Roundtable. I’ll be your host, Mark Reilly. Charmed, I’m sure you are.
I will also be accepting donations for my new Superman tattoo to prove my loyalty to the man…
Please send all types of payment, cash preferable, to: Schmoes Know c/o, their mailboxes. Between the hours of 3am and 5am on Wednesdays. That’s when I stand outside their houses wondering what they’re wearing.
I’m kidding. I stand over them while they sleep, simulating ocean sounds with my armpit.
SUPERMAN THE MOVIE is in my top five movies of all time. Directed by Richard Donner, the movie changed me. It made me believe in magic. STAR WARS of course made me go ape-shit, but it seemed so far away. In a galaxy far…real far away or something, my kid brain couldn’t comprehend its existence in our world. Not so for Superman. Once he took to the sky, saving Lois Lane, carrying a friggen helicopter, I was convinced he was real and I could be just like him.
I wanted to believe a man could fly. And based on that brilliant tagline from the movie, I was tickled red, yellow and blue when the filmmakers delivered.
I’m a Superman junkie, not because of the comics, because of the original movie. I named my dog Kal-El… Not because of the comics. Because of the movie. I broke my arm jumping off my roof at age 12. Not because of the comics, because of the voices in my head telling me to fly home to Jesus.
Story for another time….
It’s been a twisted, complicated return to the big-screen for the flying boyscout. Anyone familiar with the history of this franchise (and there is a DEEP history) knows there have been some problems. There are books on the subject for God’s sake. You know there was a failed movie with Tim Burton directing, Nic Cage starring Super– gag. Shudder. Puke.
Maybe you heard of a certain JJ Abrams script – which told of a planet Krypton that NEVER blew up!!! Weak sauce. In JJ’s script, there was a civil war happening on Krypton and, ready for the twist? Lex Luthor was actually a Kryptonian!
For a detailed description on the script click here
Can you believe that shit??? Lex Luthor from Krypton! Seriously? Come on, JJ. I expected a little more from a Varsity letterman.
And don’t get me started on the BRETT RATNER directed interpretation that was in the pipeline! Jesus Christ On A Sesame Seed Bun.
When Ratner was hired, he sent out Christmas cards with him pictured in a Superman suit. When I heard that, I immediately lodged a complaint with the “I’m A Douche And Here’s Why” institute in Langley, VA.
Worse still…? Once all the other ‘visionaries’ crapped out, they threw a bone to McG. Of the Coney Island Mc’G’s… And, rumor has it – he didn’t come through because he was afraid to fly to Australia to film the movie.
Can we please comment on the irony here? Way to go McG.
One piece of news that had me somewhat hopeful was the hiring of Kevin Smith to write the DEATH OF SUPERMAN line of comics into a movie. This seemed promising. Then I read the script. On page 2, I was introduced to the villain Brainiac and his trusty sidekick robot… L-RON.
Read that part again. L-Ron. For the cheap seats in the back….? L-Ron. As in Hubbard. As in that guy who started Scientology.
Knock, knock? Who’s there?
Sorry, K Smith. That’s beyond ridiculous. Thank god your movie didn’t get made. You wouldn’t be making all those other movies about Porn and Donkey fucking. You would have been tarred and feathered then raped by a bunch of comic-cons. Dodged a bullet, homie. Check out the script if you don’t believe me:
Yes, everyone. Superman seemed to have been cursed by some Gypsy woman from Paris whose daughter was run over by one of the filmmakers of the original four movies. Looking at you Alexander Salkind… Oh, he’s dead? Well then, must be his son, Illya. What, dead too? Shit.
Superman tried on some weird shit back when Warners was bi-curious and experimenting. Exhibit A:
Look at that costume from Tim Burton’s Superman! The filmmakers obviously licked a few toads then snorted some gasoline before coming into work that day. Exhibit B?
Where’s the red, blue and yellow? Where’s the cape? The yellow utility belt? Which, BTW, what’s Supes holding in that utility belt? My guess, condoms.
The development hell that Superman found himself in from the late eighties all the way through the nineties is really some of the most amazing stories and details I have ever heard from a troubled production.
To expound, I got my geek on with one of the co-producers from that Tim Burton film. Sitting over coffee, this guy told me all about the many troubles that plagued his production (script changes, fist-fights, costume snafus, egos, pay or plays totaling over 30 million!) I wish I could go into more details and name names but I really want to have a contact that doesn’t have a restraining order against me.
But I will say, this producer was able to buy a house with what he made on the payroll from Warner Bros.
Did you read that correctly? A house. Not a bottle of Drakkar Noir, a fricken house! Think about how much money that was shelled out over a movie that never happened!
Every single update that came my way regarding Superman, I thought to myself, this isn’t right! They’re changing everything! I then read that Jon Peters, one of the other main producers, was quoted as saying he DIDN’T want Superman… flying. He wanted him to have a… jet-pack!
He didn’t want him wearing his classic uniform; he wanted Kal-El in black leather with a Superman shield made of swords.
Swords??? You asshole, this isn’t AMERICAN NINJA!
Note to self, there seem to be a lot of Turds out there, all claiming to be king. Remind me to gather them all on an island for a death match – last one standing will, in fact, be King of the Turds. End note.
I get it Jon Peters; it was all about the marketing. The toys. The merchandise. And it’s hard to sell toys with no accessories. Good to see the studios have really forwarded their thinking since 1999.
Superman is as American as Apple Pie, Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles! You can’t take away the very thing that makes him recognizable to a billion rabid fans. You will not believe a man can fly! Especially when he’s riding around on a jet-pack! What if it runs out of gas? Then what? He’ll leap tall buildings in a single helicopter? Tools.
….Sorry, I had to take a walk around the block and clear my head.
I’m passionate about my boy Kal-El. He’s special. Superman the movie and Superman II are arguably, the best superhero movies made at the time. And this was before the whole craze where every studio was putting some random superhero into development. Up until that point, superhero movies weren’t working.
Richard Donner changed all that.
Donner used a word to describe what he was setting out to do: verisimilitude. Look it up. I’ll wait…
It means, the quality of realism in something… namely in film or a television series. Donner knew that if you made Superman camp, like the Batman series from the sixties, you will fail. You’ve got to treat the material seriously. Superman is a piece of American mythology. Donner looked at Superman as real. Kind of like what Nolan did for his Batman movies.
Donner succeeded. Superman and Superman II were blockbusters. And don’t argue semantics with me about part II – he shot 75% of that movie. Richard Lester (credited director of II) also shot part III. Camp. F you, Lester. Way to take credit for a movie you stood in the back for.
I can’t talk about part IV without going to my dark place.
Then, after all the bullshit I read about, the false starts and blunders, Nic Cage and the fact they FUCKING HIRED NIC CAGE AS SUPERMAN….
They go ahead and hire Bryan Singer to bring Supes back. I was thrilled. I counted X-MEN and X2 as the cream of the crop as far as superhero movies were concerned so why shouldn’t I be excited for his vision?
SUPERMAN RETURNS was a valiant effort that, unfortunately, failed because it tried to capture the magic of the first one… or the second one, depending on your feelings.
Singer ret-conned III and IV, thankfully, and gave us a direct sequel to part II. But it seemed flat and un-involving for me. Brandon Routh, although a good actor, seemed like he was channeling Christopher Reeve without connecting to the role. He also seemed too boyish… Too young. This wasn’t a man. He looked like an Amerchrombie and Fitch model. Not my Superman.
The story seemed like it was treading on the same beats from the original… Lex has a missile, he wants to create real estate and take over the world. In the original, he was blowing away California and creating a new coast. In Returns, he was creating a new landmass made of Krypton.
But where they completely lost me? Superman had a son. That meant Lois had to get busy with Superman within days of getting busy with Cyclops. Lois, you little minx you… Uh, uh. Not my Lois.
I believe that SUPERMAN RETURNS ultimately failed because it simply tried to recreate a 1978 movie without finding a voice of its own. I wouldn’t be fooled because they hired a Christopher Reeve clone and re-arranged the John Williams theme to conjure memories of the original. As my therapist said…. You really need to get a life.
When THE DARK KNIGHT came out years later, I lost my shit. Always a Batman fan, never crazy like Superman, I appreciated THE DARK KNIGHT because of its realism. It was THE GODFATHER meets… well, BATMAN! There’s a reason it became the number one superhero movie of all time. People dug the story, the characters, the realism. Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Maggie? Gyllenhaal? No?
So when they announced Chris Nolan, director of the Bat’s series, as a producer on a rebooted Superman…. I realized something interesting.
Donner and Nolan we’re doing the same thing decades apart. Treating the material as real. They created boundaries for what both Superman and Bats could and couldn’t do. Both heroes fit in their respective worlds. Verisimilitude.
Though Nolan would not direct, his presence would surely be felt on set and in the world being put on screen.
But who would direct???
Turns out Zack Snyder, director of WATCHMAN, 300 and THE OWLS OF WAVERLY PLACE, will be helming the pic.
I’m not against Zack, I really liked 300 and WATCHMAN. I thought the OWLS OF BARON MUNCHAUSAN was just okay… But really, I couldn’t wrap my head around him directing my beloved Kal-El.
Upon further geek-ish pontificating, I believe Snyder will do very well with this collaboration. It’s like directing a movie about your mother with Freud as a producer. Nolan is going to keep Snyder in check.
And here’s what I heard about a possible, rumored, story element from Nolan’s Superman… Clark Kent isn’t sure if he wants to be Superman.
That’s fricken genius.
Clark Kent… who was picked on when he was little, who didn’t fit in, who came from another planet yet had a great adoptive family in Pa and Ma Kent – an alien, the last of his kind…. This must weigh on him. Why call yourself out? Why not just fit in, keep your head down and be like the rest of society like a good American?
Superman’s humanity is Ma and Pa’s doing. It would make sense that Clark might be afraid to show his powers. An interesting element never really explored in the movies… Ma and Pa love Clark. They don’t want anyone finding out about his powers for fear of what the world will do to him. Wouldn’t they want him to remain hidden?
In my opinion, Clark wasn’t every really putting on an act as the goofy and clumsy guy…. I really think Clark Kent was his true identity. Superman became his secret identity. Nolan’s concept, if it’s true, follows this theme. And I think it’s exactly what Superman needs.
True, Zack Snyder doesn’t seem like the guy that could pull off a REAL Superman story. I mean, if Supes suddenly stops in slow motion to kick a thousand missiles into some giant, Twinkie, I will be pissed. But I really do think he has the directing chops. He has his moments. As I said before, look at 300… There are some really great action moments, some wonderful, stylistic visuals, and, to be honest, the parts with Leonidas and his wife were very beautiful. I’d like to see his take on Clark and Lois.
Just please don’t cast Kate Bosworth as Lois. Or Kate Hudson. Or Katherine Heigl. Or Kristin Stewart. Or any of those fucking actresses from VALENTINES DAY!
Look at the casting of Margot Kidder, a character actress, as your template. Lois demands to be funny, sexy and quirky. I’m voting for Elizabeth Banks or even Tina Fey. Ooh! Tina Fey… Think about that for a moment! Genius. My fee for casting is only 100,000 dollars.
Now…. For the man of steel himself? I will post some of my top picks later.
YOU CAN FIND THE LINK OF MY SUGGESTIONS HERE WHEN IT IS READY
I have to think about this. REALLY think about it… Because if you cast the wrong dude as Clark, you will sink the picture before it even straps on the spandex.
We need a Super-MAN. Not a super-BOY. Someone that will bring a weight and stoicism to the roll. Someone that will embody a man with powers beyond his own reason, afraid to be the man… the Super-man that he is.
I’m excited for this movie. I am willing to believe, again, that a man can fly.
See you in line…