Bar Banter: Building a More Super-man Movie
Last night, I decided to rewatch the 2006 movie, Superman Returns, while watching the movie I couldn’t help but think of the presence that Superman has had over the last 20 years or so. It made me reflect on the fact that one of the most iconic superheroes of all time has been given the short end of the stick. That’s not to say Superman Returns isn’t good, well it really isn’t, but more importantly it isn’t special. When Christopher Reeves first dawned the cape in 1978, he made us believe a man could fly (or one would imagine, the movie is several years my elder, but still holds up well), and now over 30 years later, the Man of Steel’s role hasn’t expanded much. This will be a post about building a better, more interesting and special Superman movie.
First and foremost, and trust me readers this pains me to say, ditch all ties and connections to the Reeves’ film. Yes, that even means… dropping the John Williams theme song. This movie doesn’t or shouldn’t be slave to logic and continuity for something that is more than 30 years old. In the gap, the character of Superman and his world, as well as our own, has changed and morphed dramatically, it is time for the movies to reflect that.
Second, Lex Luthor. I’ve been going back and forth with this in my head. On one hand, you want to move beyond having Luthor as a foe in these Superman films. On the other hand, Luthor is tied to Superman perhaps more than any arch-nemesis in comics. Not only because of their relationships, but what Luthor has come to mean to both Superman and Metropolis as a whole. So I will say limit Luthor’s role in the movie. He isn’t the main threat, heck he doesn’t even need to be a threat, but he does need to have a presence even if it is him luring out of a LutherCorp building while Superman does battle with his foe.
Third, no origins. Another decision that is tough to make. Once again, it really is important to explain how Superman obtains his power, I mean not like the rest of us are flying around, but I feel at this point no origin story has been done as often as Superman. Certainly, you can ask random people who Superman is, and they will rattle off the basic gist of his origins and the source of his powers. IF you have to do an origin, I say minimize it and have his ship floating through space as part of the opening credits or something akin to The Incredible Hulk. Just don’t spend any significant amount of time on it.
I want to clarify the above statement as well and say when I say origins, I mean the whole thing about Krypton, rocketing to Earth, time in Smallville and the sorts. I think there is potential in examining Clark’s life before his arrival to Metropolis and starting off the movie with him not being Superman.
Fourth, world building. We tend to get some peaks into the working of the Daily Planet, but what do they do when they aren’t waiting around for the story on Superman? I think the movies should include some threat of organized crime in the movies. Don’t want it to be a copy of Nolan’s work with Batman, but something more along the lines of Intergang.
Intergang could work on many levels in a new series.
- How does Clark Kent get to Metropolis? Why does he become a reporter? Perhaps, in a nod to Birthrights, Clark is traveling the world and hears about Intergang or hears rumors of it. He tracks their operatives around the globe until he finally locates their central hub in Metropolis, and decides to set up shop in town to eventually take them down.
- Depending on how much we want to de-emphasize Luthor in these movies, they could several as the organization/group that funds any enemies SupermanÂ may eventually come into contact with.
- Darkseid, while he won’t be the villain in my ideal first movie, I feel like with proper build-up he would make an awesome foe in the final part of the trilogy.
Fifth, and final, the big bad, the villain, the anti-Superman. I’ve talked about decreasing Luthor’s role, and possibly bringing in Darkseid as a closer, but who is the ideal villain for Superman’s first movie back? This is really a t0ss-up because Superman really does have an amazing line-up of villains… okay not amazing, but he has some really good ones. From Bizarro to Doomsday to the Parasite, there are a ton to choose from, but I keep returning to one name… Metallo.
I’m not quite sure what Metallo has over all the other villains (aside from using less Luthor, and Darkseid not being a first movie baddie), but there’s something about the character that makes him intriguing to me. Perhaps, it is his visual appearance, he would remind most movie goers of the Terminators. Maybe, it is the fact that he is one of Superman’s most human foes. It could be that he is such a flexible character to work with. Over the years, we have seen him as a soldier who agreed to become Metallo to take on Superman, someone injured in an accident and forced to become this monster, someone who signed up for a project without knowing the full ramifications. However you cut it, there are a lot of angles to take with Metallo to play off of Superman’s own personal journey. Then there’s the fact that he could actually give Superman a run for his money in a fight. Yes, its mostly because his heart is made of Kryptonite, but when he spent the last movie lifting an island, anything is an improvement! If they wanted to start fresh, they could even have Superman (and to that extent the rest of the world) discover his weakness to K during this fight.
Those are my ideas for getting the Man of Steel off the ground again. Up, up and away!