Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Man of Steel Teasers

Confession time.  Despite its flaws, I kind of like Superman Returns.  When all is said and done, I feel it's a movie that needed to be made.  The Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve Superman films just became so iconic, that if any kind of reboot were to be made, they would have had to have been acknowledged and referenced and been the basis for the films.

Let's be honest.  For most superhero films, writers usually go to the best-known storylines in the public consciousness.  And, with Superman, the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve films are the best-known storylines.

So, Superman Returns had to be made.  Now that all the homage, tribute and expected follow-up is out of our collective systems, we can do a proper reboot.

But the lesson we can take away from Superman Returns is that a lot of writers these days find Superman to be a tricky character to write.  I mean...a near-omnipotent being with a strict moral code.  In our grim and gritty anti-hero society, people find him tough to get a handle on.  Which is why it's kind of weird that Man of Steel, (aka the Superman reboot) comes to us from those who have really popularized the grim and gritty anti-hero superhero films...Christopher Nolan and the makers of The Dark Knight trilogy.

As the legend goes, shortly after the release of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan and writer David S. Goyer were sitting around brainstorming ideas for the film that would eventually become The Dark Knight Rises.  In their brainstorming sessions, Goyer said one day, "Too bad we're not doing Superman.  I have a great idea for Superman."  Nolan said, "Really?  Let's here it."  Goyer told Nolan his idea, and Nolan said, "That...is...AWESOME!!"  They went and pitched it to the bosses at Warner Brothers, and of course, Warner Brothers said, "The guys in charge of our biggest superhero franchise want to do another superhero franchise?  SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!"   (Money in this case being a green light.)

Nolan, however, wasn't took keen to direct, so after a talent search throughout Hollywood, they finally hired a director in Zack Snyder.  Snyder, of course, has his comic book cred, having directed 300 and Watchmen.  The interesting trivia bit is Snyder turned down the chance to direct Superman Returns, citing he just didn't know how to make Superman relevant in this day and age.  So this script, apparently, made Superman relevant to a guy who wrote off the character.

Time for the cast, and once again The Dark Knight crew decided to fill their cast with well-known character actors.  For Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El, they chose Henry Cavill, probably still best known as one of the stars of The Tudors.  For his legendary lady love, intrepid reporter Lois Lane, they went with one of my top celebrity crushes, Amy Adams.  Laurence Fishburne will be playing Clark Kent's boss, Perry White.  Christopher Meloni, fresh off his time on Law & Order: SVU, plays an Army general wary of this Kryptonian.  Richard Schiff from The West Wing plays one of Superman's friends-turned-enemies, Dr. Emil Hamilton.  Superman's Kryptonian parents, Jor-El and Lara, are being played by Russel Crowe and Ayelet Zurer, and his human parents on Earth, Johnathon and Martha Kent, and being played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane.  

For a villain in this piece, they skipped Lex Luthor!  That's one thing about The Dark Knight trilogy that I liked, and I like to see that they're trying to emulate.  Save the best-known arch-enemy for the sequel, so that way in the first one, you're completely free to focus on the origin story.  The villain in this one is General Zod, to be played by Michael Shannon. 

The first teaser hit theatres this weekend in front of The Dark Knight Rises.  There are two versions of this first teaser.  The first has a narration spoken by Costner as Johnathon Kent.

The second has a narration spoken by Crowe as Jor-El.

Upon looking at these trailers, all I can say is I'm very underwhelmed.  This doesn't look like a Superman movie.  They are sleepy.  They are boring.  They lack the iconography that we've come to associate with Superman.  Seriously.  Why is Superman on a fishing boat?

I guess we'll have to find out on June 14, 2013, when Man of Steel hits theatres.

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