If I had to pick one movie in 2013 that I hope works, it would be Zack Snyder’s “Man Of Steel.”
I think it is beyond comprehension that Warner has taken this long to get Superman back on track. He is not just DC’s single most important and iconic superhero character, he is also the single most iconic superhero owned by anyone. Superman is, for many people, the definition of what a superhero is in pop culture, known pretty much everywhere. And while almost everyone has some idea of what Superman is, it seems like it has been insanely difficult for the studio to figure out exactly which version of the character they want to see onscreen.
There has been a ton of speculation about how Warner Bros would start to build their way towards “Justice League,” and most of the scrutiny is now focused on whether or not we’ll see our first steps towards that with “Man Of Steel” next summer. One of the questions involved has to do with tone. You look at how Marvel handled their build-up to “The Avengers,” and the most important thing they did was set a certain tone that meant you would be able to accept it when Tony Stark and Bruce Banner and Thor and Steve Rogers all ended up in a frame together, no matter how different their individual stories.
The last few years, Warner’s one unqualified success in the DC realm has been Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, and when we got our first glimpse of “Man Of Steel” this past summer, it felt very much like we were seeing a similar tone with Henry Cavill offering up a very different Superman than we’ve seen before. There’s little chance they’ll be trying to mimic what they did with “Green Lantern” based on the general reaction to that film, so “Man Of Steel” is really where this begins. And now, according to Snyder, we are sure that it will tie into the larger world of DC movies.
“I can’t really say anything to that, because that’s a big spoiler,” Snyder told The New York Post. “I will say, yeah, they trust me to keep them on course.”
I’m not sure what other films they’ll even have a chance to make between now and “Justice League,” since Warner hasn’t announced their plans. With Marvel, it’s apparent what we’re going to end up seeing between now and the return of the Avengers in 2015 because they’ve made those announcements, and most of those films are in some stage of production already. WIth Warner, it’s like the entire corporation is holding its breath, waiting to see what fans think of the new movie before making their final decisions about how to take the next step. They know they can’t just keep making a new origin film every few years, and that these may be their last chance to reboot Superman for a while. If this fails, it’s a safe bet they’re going to have to take a big step back and assess what their plans are.
All I know is that I asked Snyder the one question that is most important to me about a new Superman film back when he first was announced for the job. “Please tell me you’re going to give him someone he can punch this time,” I said to Snyder, and the laugh and smile he gave me as an answer, plus the giddy smile one of my favorite other people at Warner also gives whenever I ask him about the prospect of some serious-scaled superpower fisticuffs, makes me think that at the very least, they’re going to give us a Superman we haven’t seen onscreen before.
“Man Of Steel” heads up, up, and hopefully away on June 14, 2013, and you’ll see what Snyder promises is a “crazy” new trailer in front of “The Hobbit” in theaters this Christmas.