Warner Brothers now wants to remake Superman with “dark shades.” Flush with the success of the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight, Warner Studios will now repackage Superman, and maybe Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman as dark super beings with emotional baggage. Warner Brothers was not too pleased with how Superman Returns was received by audiences, and now wants to reinvent Superman totally.
Considering the last Superman movie, Superman Returns, was as flat and unidimensional as they come, a more flesh-and-blood characterisation would be welcome, provided the potrayal of “darkness” does not degenerate into a sob story a la Spiderman 3 where one is disgusted at the sight of a sniveling Spiderman. As a Spiderman fan, I clearly remember him as a sarcastic, sometimes flippant character operating with wits as much as muscle. Does trying to understand how superheroes are made and what defines their personalities mean martyrish soliloquies?
The other point I want to make is why does the plumbing of a character necessarily mean that it would be dark? Do superheroes have to be angsty to turn into beings with great power and responsibility? I would love to see a movie that presents Superman as a person, not a cardboard character. What shapes Superman’s morality? How does Superman reconcile it with the unconscious destruction his immense strength can cause? I don’t think Superman has too much angst about that in the first place. I don’t think he even realises it.
Yes, Superman loses his home in Krypton and his father, and is lonely on earth despite having a wife and family because he is different. How on earth are there going to present this as dark? I can understand that Spiderman has reason to be angsty (Spiderman 3 still sucks) and Batman has issues to resolves, but Superman? On the main, Superman is a good boy. He is a pretty upbeat dude. Superman does not waste too much time being sorry for himself. If there is work to be to be done, dark or not, he does it. Sorted!
I am not saying that there cannot be a realistic, gritty interpretation of the comic; heaven knows, Superman Returns could have done with some reality and less special effects that go nowhere.
Superman does have many characters that can be explored, some dark, some grey, but to decide it’s going to be a dark, broody take just because The Dark Knight, and before that Batman Begins, works is just formulaic cinema.