So Long Superman, And Thanks
It Wasn't Kryptonite That Killed You
"Superman Returns" was a superior film to "Batman Begins." After you finally see Nolan's signature on "The Man of Steel," you'll come to appreciate Brandon Routh and "Superman Returns."
The love/adoration that Christopher Reeve garnered for his conceptualization of Superman was not misplaced. And Routh did a marvelous job of standing in for Reeve. That was his assignment, and I don't think anyone could have pulled it off with the same mixture of respect and spark of originality. "Superman Returns" made decent (profitable) bucks for WB, but greed always gets its way, and the studio was looking for "The Dark Knight" kind of loot.
There was absolutely nothing "wrong" about "Superman Returns." I felt it was a perfectly balanced piece of film making, with a heart-tugging plot and terrific original musical score, which blended the bold, familiar orchestration of John Williams with John Ottman's careful arrangements.
The problem is that no one at WB has anything resembling a heart or a sense of integrity. Heart and integrity are not business values. WB would put a Lady Godiva wig on Superman if they thought they could pull in an extra million. They don't give a s**t about the sentiment many of us hold toward the character. With "Superman Returns" I'm pretty sure we have seen the last of the Superman we once cherished.
The muted Superman to be revealed in 2012 "Man of Steel" (Henry Cavill) will be an aching vestige of the character so many of us in our fifties came to know and love. One look at at the new costume, without the red trunks and without the yellow belt, but with the outline of a very evident male member (as if he were wearing a blue, skin-tight leotard) tells me that this new iteration is going to reek.
With the John Williams (and certainly John Ottman's) musical score pushed to one side, we are probably in store for another jarring soundtrack via Hans Zimmer attacking on our ear drums. Put simply, it won't be Superman -- not the Superman any of us have known.
I grew up loving George Reeves in the TV Superman series. Reeves may have hated the role, but if only there had been some way of his knowing what a terrific job he was doing and how the series would leave an indelible impression on the minds of many, many young boys. After watching an episode, I'd fly around my back yard -- totally lost in magic and fantasy.
Now, because of the success of an angst-ridden Batman (thank you Stan Lee for bringing angst to comics), we're going to be hauled through what might pass as planet Bizzaro.
The Batman strewn across the big screen lately is not Bob Kane's Batman -- not by any stretch of the imagination. For some reason people who are put into decision-making appointments are not comic book fans. They don't care about Bob Kane nor what represented Batman for over 60 years. For the executives, Batman or Superman are just a concepts through which they can push what they THINK are added values -- strangely influenced and based on sociopaths who dominate the unofficial, Internet judgment panel about what Batman or Superman SHOULD look like and the degree of realism to which they must be represented.
Tom Welling spent ten year's on TV's "Smallville," finally becoming the superhero we all recognize and admire. Will Warner Bros. use Welling in any new Superman permutations? Not likely. Chances are he'll be tossed aside in the same manner as Routh.
Marvel Comics' number one character is also due for a re-boot (in the minds of media moguls). Tobey McGuire had Spider-Man/Peter Parker down pat. His low-key style of acting will be very much missed.
Andrew Garfield will have a tough time living up to McGuire's legacy. The fun in comic book film adaptations seems nearly gone, folks. For those of you who are still wearing them, the capes can be turned in at the door.