Monday, September 01, 2008

Superman Gets Moody-- Along with Everyone Else

It was bound to happen. The success of "The Dark Knight" has gotten the attention of studio executives and they are ready to get as much mileage as they can out of any interest that can be drummed up in comic book heroes. Even if "The Dark Knight" had been the only comic book movie to be released in recent years we'd be seeing movie-makers scrambling to get as many caped-crusaders in action as possible. But with the one-two punch of "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight" this summer, more comic-book movies are guaranteed to hit movie theatres as soon as possible. But, and this is a big point here, movie studios are really taking their cues from "The Dark Knight." After a serious disappointment with "Superman Returns," Warner Bros. is going to pretend it never happened and totally reboot the franchise, as well as any other comic-book character they can sell, in the moody style of "The Dark Knight." From The Wall Street Journal~ Like the recent Batman sequel -- which has become the highest-grossing film of the year thus far -- Mr. Robinov wants his next pack of superhero movies to be bathed in the same brooding tone as "The Dark Knight." Creatively, he sees exploring the evil side to characters as the key to unlocking some of Warner Bros.' DC properties. "We're going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it," he says. That goes for the company's Superman franchise as well. Warner Bros. also put on hold plans for another movie starring multiple superheroes -- known as "Batman vs. Superman" -- after the $215 million "Superman Returns," which had disappointing box-office returns, didn't please executives. "'Superman' didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to," says Mr. Robinov. "It didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned." "Had 'Superman' worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009," he adds. "But now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a Batman and Superman movie at all." The studio [Warner Bros.] is set to announce its plans for future DC movies in the next month. For now, though, it is focused on releasing four comic-book films in the next three years, including a third Batman film, a new film reintroducing Superman, and two movies focusing on other DC Comics characters. Movies featuring Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman are all in active development. The article also goes on to say that Warner Bros. is planning on putting out as many as 8 comic-book movies in the style of "The Dark Knight" by 2011. Damn. Is it possible that is too much of a good thing? I am not remotely surprised by this story. Every time a movie hits it big, from westerns to horror films, you can bet the box office returns are going to ensure that the studios pump out as many films in that style as humanly possible in as short a time frame that they can manage. It's all about the $$$. And as much as I like comic-book movies, they really are my favorite, I worry that by trying to re-capture the mood and style of "The Dark Knight" what we'll really end up with is a bunch of overly slick, carbon copies of Batman without any real soul. The fact is Superman isn't Batman. I like the idea of creating a grittier Superman movie but I wonder if a director can be found who will appreciate the challenge. Superman isn't Batman and I'd like to see a movie that honors the differences. Superman doesn't have the tragic history that Batman does, so I don't expect him to have the edge of vigilantism that comes with Batman. I would expect a man who feels alienated from society to some degree but I don't expect him to be the same brooding type as Batman. Don't even get me started on Wonder Woman. Despite myself I still feel as if this is good news. I love comic-book characters, especially those I grew up with, so I will be waiting, eagerly, for these movies to be made. My expectations will be tempered by the fact that Hollywood isn't about quality as much as it is about making money. But I will still hope, a little, that something almost as good as "The Dark Knight" will someday appear.

6 comments:

furiousBall said...

yeah, i agree... this smacks of Rolling Stones tours for the past 15 years... just draining the last drop of money making power out of them

Heather said...

Like you, I'm not going to complain about another Superman movie as long as it's good, but it's so funny you posted this because I had the exact same conversation with my husband yesterday regarding "Superman isn't Batman."

I don't really crave a gritty Superman. But I do want him to have a strong archvillain/foil--that's what will make or break the next incarnation, imho.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

The truth is, the two characters are very different, and ond can't be like the other.

Steve Malley said...

You know what got me about that Superman movie? The timing:

Clark leaves. Lois 'moves on'. The guy she marries actually believes her kid is his own.

How long *exactly* did Lois wait?

Just saying, is all...

Hammer said...

Hollywood has been botching super hero and comic book movies sinceday one. I think it's because they don't have real geeks and comic book writers running the show. I hope they've learned something from the last 30 years of crap.

Nepharia said...

I agree also. I think Superman can definitely lose some of his "goody two shoes" attitude, but you can't turn him into a brooding character like Batman. Superman could never be a bad guy -- you might be able to make him a little more streetwise, but I think that's it.