What do we know about Zack Snyder’s ‘Superman’ so far?

10.06.10 7 years ago 16 Comments

DC Comics/Alex Ross

Yesterday’s big movie news was the hiring of Zack Snyder to direct whatever Warner Bros. eventually calls their next Superman movie, and sure enough, people were quick to an opinion about whether or not that was good news.

I’m a fan, and I am amused by the people who get angry about Snyder as a choice.  Someone yesterday complained that the film is doomed now to be “an all-greenscreen movie,” and that just makes me laugh.  Snyder did that once, with “300,” and since then, the films he’s been making have been shot on sets and locations.  Sure, he uses greenscreen for some things, but so do all filmmakers working in the big-ticket spectacle realm right now.  Does that commenter think someone’s going to make a Superman film that somehow uses no greenscreen at all?  If so, I must admit that I’m curious what that would look like.  I’m guessing it would be a wee bit light on that whole flying thing.

But when Snyder’s only done something one time out of a five film feature directing career, how is that the knee-jerk thing that you throw at him for the rest of his career?  One of the things that comic book panels do that is almost completely philosophically opposite from what movies do is that panels pick a particular moment, a beat, an image, and that’s meant to represent the entire idea of what’s going on.  I think Snyder’s use of slow-motion is a really lovely way of doing the same thing in a film that a panel does in a comic book.  You’re underlining something.  You’re emphasizing this idealized image, this perfect beat.

All of this is just hypothetical, anyway, because we know so little about what sort of film Snyder’s making and what sort of story is being told in the David Goyer script.  There are two important nuggets that have been dropped in the reporting on the film, though, potentially significant enough to mention.

First, there’s the mention in the article over at Vulture, where they say the following:

“Until last weekend, though, Aronofsky was far more interested in directing WB’s original take on Superman — in which Clark Kent is a journalist traveling the world trying to decide if he should, in fact, even become Superman — than doing a sequel like Wolverine 2.”

That sort of angsty “should I or shouldn’t I?” version of Superman has been done before, certainly.  The Tom De Haven novel I love so much, “It’s Superman,” has some elements of a Clark Kent letting the world convince him that it needs a Superman.  There’s certainly plenty of great material to play there, but that can’t be the entire movie, and I”m sure it’s not.

For one thing, Borys Kit over at the HeatVision Blog said this:

“Goyer is writing the script, which is rumored to have, like “Superman Returns,” a Richard Donner Superman connection. In the movie’s case, it’s a villain connection: General Zod.”

General Zod?  Okay.  First thing I like about that, it gives Superman someone or something to punch.  That is one of the most important things you can do with a Superman film.  He has to have an enemy that gives him a real physical challenge. It’s the only way his super strength is interesting.

I had a conversation recently about Superman and about Zod that left me wondering if this was going to be an element of the new movie.  In the conversation, the idea of Kryptonians as immigrants came up.  Superman, raised as Clark Kent with a connection to American human culture, follows the rules of the country and the rules of the world not because he has to, but because he chooses to.  But if a group of Kryptonians arrived on Earth, led, let’s say, by General Zod, and they didn’t feel any particular reason to follow anyone’s rules or laws but their own, that might well allow a smart storyteller to put Superman/Clark in a position where he’s serving as the enforcer for the ultimate case of illegal immigration of all time.  And to complicate things emotionally, these are people from his planet, people who should be his family.

I’m not saying that’s what they’re doing with the film, but it’s interesting that the person I spoke with… a person somewhat related to things… had Zod on their mind.  Our conversation was more about potential, I think, and again, I’m seeing people complain that “Zod’s already been done.”  They certainly can’t just do the same exact thing that Richard Donner did back in 1981, but I think there’s room for the character to be a great choice.

Hopefully we’ll talk to the people making these choices soon, and we’ll get a firm idea of what it is they’re trying to do.  For now, I’d rather be optimistic about a possible new iconic take on the Man of Steel than automatically dismissive, especially when I can think of so many easy things to be excited about already.

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