Superman Returns, but not as expected

By | August 26, 2008

Warner will follow Marvel model to develop new superhero films : Slice of SciFi

Superman Returns darker

Superman Returns darker

Ever since Superman Returns was released, rumors were flying about the sequel. Would it happen? Would Bryan Singer return to helm it? Would anybody watch it?

Not long ago (May 7th, in fact), we were hearing that Bryan Singer would be getting Superman: The Man of Steel to theaters in 2009 with wall-to-wall action in a sequel to Returns. Personally, I was pretty happy with that news. I really think Singer knows how to pull off a movie that’s both intelligent and action-packed, and respects the source material.

But now we hear that in the wake of the success of The Dark Knight, Warner Bros. will be putting a darker focus on all its superhero properties.

For fans, this means that the sequel to “Superman Returns” won’t be happening. Instead, the studio will look to take a page from this year’s “Incredible Hulk” and reboot the franchise. Part of this is a need to freshen the franchise, but part of this can also be attributed to the fact that “Returns” struggled to make back the investment Warner Brothers put into the movie.


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.

That’s disappointing. While I get treating superhero movies as real world and serious is important in creating believability, forcing a dark tone on everything is, I think, a mistake. It’s completely appropriate for Batman, but Superman’s main character traits are hope and optimism, and a bit of naiveté (at least on the surface). It is possible to go darker with him temporarily – and I think it could be done really well – but I really think it has to be in a sequel to be good. The character has to be developed as an incorruptible, “thank God he’s here” kind of character.

Plus, I gotta imagine this new direction means a significant delay before the Boy Scout graces the screen again. So that annoys me, too.

On a side note, the linked article also mentions the other properties under development: Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman. I’m excited about each of them. All could translate very well to the big screen.

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