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So Long Superman, And Thanks

Updated on May 28, 2012
Brandon Routh as Superman
Brandon Routh as Superman

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.

Christopher Reeve as Superman
Christopher Reeve as Superman
Christopher Bale as The Dark Knight (Batman)
Christopher Bale as The Dark Knight (Batman)
George Reeve's as the Mild-Mannered Reporter
George Reeve's as the Mild-Mannered Reporter
John Williams
John Williams
John Ottman
John Ottman
Henry Cavill as "The Man of Steel"
Henry Cavill as "The Man of Steel"
Henry Cavill
Henry Cavill
Stan Lee
Stan Lee
Tom Welling as the Young Superman
Tom Welling as the Young Superman
Tobey McGuire as Spider-Man
Tobey McGuire as Spider-Man
Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man
Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man

Superman Returns Movie Trailer

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    • rjbatty profile image
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      rjbatty 15 months ago from Irvine

      You raise good and valid points. There are the way things are and they way they ought to be.

      When I go to see a superhero film, I don't see many teenagers. They may have more expendable cash, but they aren't going to the theater. What I see is a theater filled with anxious Boomers. My suspicion is that the newer generation is much less interested in seeing superhero films that Boomers once thrived upon -- and so where is the money really coming from? The newer generations have many other outlets for entertainment. Visit a comic book store -- any store. Who do you see flipping through comics? It isn't teenagers, it's aged Boomers who are frightened to be recognized. I sort of see this whole superhero hoopla as the last hurrah of the Boomer generation. They've owned this territory for generations and are massively the ones to give a thumbs up or down on any new creation. The younger generation are playing games on their iPod. The Boomers are the ones to post comments on the Internet and have their voice recognized by Hollywood. Statistically, the younger generation shells out more dollars, but it isn't to visit superhero films. Just take a look around the next time you visit a theater.

      The studios do what they can to lure the younger generations into the theater, but it's a struggle. They don't have the same interest.

      You say, "... even DC has found the need to update and rewrite their characters throughout their publishing history, so your argument is pointless." I cannot deny the constant updating that the publishers feel is necessary to draw an audience but it is only mere speculation that good writing and artistry could have minimized this ongoing reinvention of old characters every six months or so. I just find this ridiculous. The harder the publishers try to reinvent their heros and separate universes, the more scrambled things become and all the more unattractive. I don't think it's a "pointless" observation.

      Your argument centers around the concept that the younger generation is pumping more cash into the studios than the Boomers. I'd like to see your statistics on this. Like it or not, Boomers are still setting the guidelines. Most relevantly, the Boomers are the generation to influence whether a film is successful or not. They are far more outspoken and are not shy with their opinions.

    • rjbatty profile image
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      rjbatty 15 months ago from Irvine

      Very nice assessment of the whole dilemma re. presenting Superman to the screen. Here are a few things to contemplate -- for whatever they are worth. According to IMDB, "Superman Returns" grossed $200, 067.408. It received a critic rating of 75% and a viewer rating of 56%. "Man of Steel" grossed $291,021.565. It received a critic rating of 61% and a viewer rating of 76%. The fans obviously enjoyed "Man of Steel" over "Superman Returns," but this doesn't seem to pan out with the critical review. Of course you have to factor in the cost of production, which only trends upward, but basically neither film hit it out of the park.

      I think Nolan's trilogy of Batman gave WB/DC a false sense that going dark was a direction and a way of making their films distinct from Marvel. In retrospect, this seems like an error -- especially if you look at the results of "Batman vs. Superman."

      What might work for Batman is not a "formula" for expanding a line-up of your own characters.

      I don't think that "Superman Returns" was tremendously off-mark. The audience loved the Christopher Reeve films (at least the first two) and jumping off from this point seemed rather logical. "Batman Begins" came out in 2005. "Superman Returns" came out in 2006. "Batman Begins" was original in many ways while "Superman Returns" simply sought to carry on the Christopher Reeve legacy, which had proven to be lucrative. "Batman Begins" (2005) grossed $ $205,343,774 -- somewhere between "Superman Returns" and "Man of Steel."

      If I had my way, I'd make a film about Superman set in the 1950s and based loosely on the George Reeves' depiction of the hero. I might even film it in black and white.

      I'm really not sure that the modernization of old icons for the modern age serves a useful purpose. I don't see kids running around their backyards with red towels stuck into the back of their shirts. Does all of this updating inspire young kids as it did back in the 50's? I somehow do not think so. If all the studios want is to satisfy aging Baby Boomers, well, they are going to have a tough time. Very little is going to recreate the magic, the sense of imagination and fantasy that was once a national phenomenon.

    • Movie Arbiter profile image

      Movie Arbiter 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Good article, but I can't say that I agree with you from a fan of both the Supes. Superman Returns was a worthy sequel for the Donner story, but with the modern capabilities of cinematography, I felt cheated out of both story and was just really left craving some action. Story should always take precedence over action, but this one failed to satisfy in both. As far as the dark knight is concerned, I actually prefer Tim Burton's original to any that have graced the big screen since, not that Nolan's trilogy wasn't good.

    • profile image

      Taylor 4 years ago

      About Batman: I am not a Batman fan, but I have seen all three of Christian Bale's movies, and I have to say he did a really good job.

    • profile image

      Taylor Lange 4 years ago

      For me, regarding Spider-Man, the only thing I didn't like about the new movie was the costume. I find Andrew to be a much more relaxed, funny, and well-rounded actor to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man, whereas Tobey Maguire was too geeky and not witty enough. With Superman, I enjoyed Christopher Reeve's movies very much, I also really enjoyed Brandon's portrayal of the character in "Superman Returns", and I fell in love with Tom Welling's Clark Kent on "Smallville", and I believe Tom has earned the right to play Superman on the big screen. Dean Cain was also a really good Superman in the 1990's. If I were to make a Superman movie now, I'd cast Tom Welling as Superman/Clark Kent because I feel he deserves it.

    • rjbatty profile image
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      rjbatty 5 years ago from Irvine

      Nickalooch: Thanks much for the feedback. As far as "The Man of Steel" goes, you're right. We haven't seen enough to formulate a solid opinion. I am hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. The film has an "A" list of actors, and, who knows, maybe the final cut won't feel as dreary as I've somehow anticipated. "Superman Returns" did stretch credibility regarding the effects of kryptonite. The way I took it was Lois removed the kryptonite blade with which Luthor stabbed Superman; however, a few slivers remained in his abdomen. Superman then "recharges" himself by flying above the cloud cover to bask in the energizing rays of earth's yellow sun. This, plus incredible fortitude, allowed Superman to lift the island/small continent (containing kryptonite) and heave it into outer space. As you will remember, the effort took everything he had, and Superman literally fell back to earth. He came as close to dying (in the movies) as he's ever come. Superman does not recover fully until the doctors remove the splinters of kryptonite -- and even then it seems like his chances are 50/50. While unconscious Lois whispers something into Superman's ear (probably informing him that he has a son), and this gives him an unconscious boost toward recovery. "Superman Returns" was by no means a perfect flick, but I FEAR that Brandon Routh's portrayal of Christopher Reeve MAY be the last of Superman as we came to know and cherish him. Cavill's Superman will be at the mercy of Snyder and Nolan, and that has worried me enough to write the hub.

    • Nickalooch profile image

      Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD

      Just adding one more comment on the subject...I think it is way to early to be talking down on Man of Steel. All we have is a few pictures, and that's what people are getting upset about? My biggest concern is Zack Snyder as director more than anything else. All of his movies are mostly style over substance which bother me. The writers involved with the script should make it stronger than previous entries and I truly think Henry Cavill will do a great job in the role and same goes for Amy Adams. What surprises me the most is the lack of Lex Luthor, but I am also glad they aren't not going that route. It's a bit overplayed, we know how that story goes. Lex uses his smarts but ultimately his downfalls as a human is what gets him beat in the end by Superman. Having Superman face off against a foe of similar power like Zod could bring multiple references to Superman 2 but I also think it is safe to say that Nolan/Snyder will do enough to make it stand on it's own.

      In terms of these comments on this hub, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Like I also said before, it's a very well written hub but I respectfully disagree. Superman Returns to me felt like a carbon copy of the original Superman films and I had a big problem with the inconsistencies that Kryptonite had on Superman. One minute he is stabbed by it and can't function until he is right in front of the sun, then the next minute he is lifting a planet sized rock made from Kryptonite out of the ocean and sending it into orbit. Doesn't make much sense, and it honestly ruined the movie for me. Spacey like stevennix said, is a great actor but was too much like Hackman's Luthor. I do think Brandon Routh did a terrific job, I think Tom Welling on Smallville was very average and I think Cavill could definitely be better than both of them.

    • Movie Arbiter profile image

      Movie Arbiter 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      This is a good hub and I actually am in the middle of publishing one on Man of Steel as well, but will be just looking on my own personal wishes for the new addition to the franchise.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

      Wow....you have written a fantastic hub that has received some outstanding comments. I enjoyed reading both of them. I most admit I was not the biggest fan of Superman Returns...but after reading this hub and the comments I am thinking I should revisit the movie. Thanks for the photos that you added....and I agree the new Superman outfit will take awhile to get used to...voted up and very interesting.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      Adversarial position? Is that how you feel when someone doesn't agree with you? I don't know why you feel that way, as I'm merely trying to have a friendly debate about this with you, so lighten up. Just because I don't agree with you, and choose to debate with you about your views it does not mean that I'm here to pick a fight with you. Seriously, if I got this upset like you are over every person that disagreed with me, then I'd probably be a nervous wreck right now.

      In fact, if I was being so adversarial, then why do I say things like "no offense" and "I respect your opinion, but I just disagree." Trust me, if I wanted to insult and demean your opinions, then I never would've said those things to imply that I mean no ill offense.

      I know your new to hubpages here, but let me give you a word of advice. You shouldn't take someone that tries to have a friendly debate with you too seriously. Hell, I write movie reviews on here, and you think everyone agrees with what I have to say about a film? No, but that's life.

      However, since you obviously don't like it when people simply disagree with you, then I'll just bid you good day sir. Like I said, you brought up a lot of valid arguments, but I respectfully disagree. Don't like it? Too bad. Get over it, as you can't expect everyone that you debate with or read your work to always agree with you. If you can't accept that, then that's your problem. Not mine.

    • profile image

      rjbatty 5 years ago

      Stevennix2001: Some of your remarks glean of an adversarial position, and I'm not into that. You and I watched the SAME motion picture. We simply had different feelings about it. I have no special favoritism toward Bryan Singer. I saw the animated films you mentioned, and they obviously didn't alter my opinion about "Superman Returns." I stayed in-tune with Superman from the early 60's to around 2002. FYI: If I were in charge of scripting/directing/producing a Superman film re-boot, I would have it take place in the 1950s. I would add as much "realism" as possible. I would post-date the Superman movie because he was a symbol of an earlier time. The crowds on the streets of Metropolis would be shocked to see a man flying above the skyscrapers. My film would be a re-do of the TV series Superman -- brought up to date but still placed in an earlier time period. I would put him up against Brainiac -- someone/something that could confound Superman but ultimately be smashed to smithereens. I wouldn't go campy. I'd keep everything completely serious, but, because of the time setting, the slogan of Superman fighting for "truth, justice, and the American way" would not come across as a politically incorrect statement. At this time period, the US and Superman were at the top of their game. People still believed in their government and they still had an admiration for heroes -- fictional or otherwise.

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 5 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      Superman was my favorite film series as a kid. Christopher Reeve was amazing as both Superman and Clark Kent. When Superman Returns came out I thought Brandon Routh did one heck of a job portraying Reeve's Superman/Clark Kent. However, the supporting cast around him did not live up to the other characters. I am a bit nerveous to see how this new actor does in this big and famous superhero movie. it will be interesting to see. great and interesting hub. voted interesting and up.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      By the way, if you want a real accurate review of Superman Returns, then I'd highly recommend you watch this youtube video, as he's dead on accurate about it if you ask me.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOr1CbyG9so

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      Again no offense, but I think you and I must've watched a different "Superman Returns" movie then. Maybe you're tight with Bryan Singer, and he allowed you to watch a director's cut with him during it's opening week, but the version I saw didn't have the deep characterization you described. Sure, the subtlety of it was there, but it wasn't deep enough to where you could say that you had a clear definition of who superman was, and it tended to rely on the idea that everyone that saw the movie was fans of the Christopher Reeves' films. Granted, your right that not all fans of the original movies are dead, but as I said before, statistically people that see movies are teenagers and young college kids, and because Singer failed to acknowledge that when he made Superman Returns, then that's why it failed. Plus, you forget that budget you looked up on imdb doesn't show the overall marketing that went into promoting it either.

      As for Kevin Spacey, again we must've seen two different films, as you're obviously tight with Bryan Singer to see a director's cut, but the version I saw literally showed him not only reiterating the same lines as hackman, but he was generally ripping off and reimitating everything that Gene Hackman did in the role; while offering nothing of originality to the character. Same thing with Brandon Routh. Don't get me wrong, I understand they were both limited by the script and dictatorship of Singer, as singer is known to be a "dictator" type director. Yes, in my mind, there are only two types of directors a "dictator" or a "collaborative" one, and Singer is definitely a dictator. Anyway, on that note, I have to disagree with you. Although, I will say that the best live action Luthor that I've seen is the one on Smallville. However, I think if Singer wanted to make Superman Returns a success, he should've made it based on the modern man of steel from the 90's and beyond.

      If you like, I would highly recommend you watch "Superman: The Animated Series", "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited", as those show possibly the best adaptation of the modern superman that i'm talking about (that is if you don't want to bother reading the comics from the 90's and 2000's era). Not only does that characterization remain faithful to the same idealogies that you and I see in Superman, BUT it modernizes him for a new generation. if singer had made his movies based on that superman, then superman returns would've been a hit.

      As for your assessment about "The Dark Knight", I'm not going to comment on it, as I believe everyone has their own opinion. However, I still stand by what I said, as I firmly believe it's the greatest superhero movie of all time, with or without the death of Heath Ledger, as it showed not only a deep engaging story, but it offered the deepest characterization any superhero movie has ever offered before. But again, that's only my opinion on this, so you can take that for whatever it's worth.

    • rjbatty profile image
      Author

      rjbatty 5 years ago from Irvine

      Stevennix2001: You and I are making the same argument. The Marvel group of films have been entertaining and just plain fun to watch. My whole point has been that The Man of Steel doesn't have to go down the same alley as The Dark Knight. There are ways the studio could have made Superman more serious/realistic without making him or his world a darker place. You may remember that "Superman the Movie" began with a child opening up the comic in which Superman first appeared. The voice over is a direct read from the comic. I thought this was a spectacularly appropriate and artful beginning, and I loved the way the camera transitioned from the drawing of the globe above the Daily Planet building to "the real thing." At the risk of exposing my emotionalism, I started feeling a lump in my throat. By the time John Williams' score reached a crescendo and the Superman logo whooshed in front of the screen, my eyes were glassy and I was fighting back tears. The opening immediately caused me to become 12 years old again. I'm trying to keep open-minded about "The Man of Steel," but if the character is loaded down with too much angst, I'm sure to be disappointed. Due to the success of Marvel's angst-ridden, vast assembly of heroes, and the fact that their competitor was making more cash, DC seemed to have little choice but to make their own characters more psychologically complex. In my opinion "Superman Returns" presented a conflicted being -- one possessing human emotions but forced into the role of earth's ultimate protector -- even at the cost of his own life. He certainly wasn't happy about Lois having become involved with another man, and he seemed humbled and proud when he made a quiet entrance to his son's bedroom. For me, none of this was "cheesy" but filled with emotion. The scene of Superman hovering over the earth, listening to everything was almost spiritual. His conflict is not unlike that portrayed in most literary and film depictions of King Arthur. Though not the happiest of choices, Arthur realizes that he must be a king first and a man second. I see Superman wrestling with the same kind of conflict. Like Arthur, he realizes that his primary role is that of earth's guardian, and everything else is secondary, and this is the low-key yet realistic drama that I believe was portrayed quite deftly. Kevin Spacey played a much more menacing Lex Luthor than Gene Hackman. While Hackman exuded a complex sense of humor and irony (and a corn-ball ego), Spacey was dead-on serious, unrelenting, and apparently without a conscience. I viewed "Superman Returns" as a transitional piece of film making. It had the look/feel of the Richard Donner films, while venturing into more seriousness/realism. "The Dark Knight" garnered a disproportionate amount of acclaim due to the free publicity surrounding the death of Heath Ledger (who was stunning as The Joker). He was so amazing in this role that no one really noticed Christian Bale. One could make an argument that if Ledger had not died, the film would not have become such a startling box office success. Batman lives in a different city than Superman (one that always seems to totter on collapse). And, Batman is a mere human being -- despite his wealth, physical training and perseverance. He and Superman live in separate realities. Batman's world is stark, grim, seemingly in constant need of the National Guard. Superman's world takes us out of the back alleys. Yes, he has to deal with the evil genius of Lex Luthor, and Luthor knows of Superman's weakness to Kryptonite. He also has to deal with General Zod -- who, once out of the Phantom Zone, possesses the same powers as Superman (but I would surmise not the skill in using them). While The Joker might take over Gotham City, Superman has to contend with characters whose ambitions are to take over the entire planet. Both are pitted in a battle of good against evil, but the stakes are different. Also, while Bruce Wayne was seemingly raised by an affectionate butler, Superman was raised (from the stage of an infant) by a mid-west family who had a greater opportunity to mold their adopted son and steer his values in a more black and white sort of way. In the comics Superman and Batman (as in The World's Finest) fought side by side. In TV's "Smallville," which reached for a great deal of realism, Superman's partner was not Batman but The Green Arrow (who was a good choice because hardly anyone knew anything about his background or personality). Batman seems to live for the night, while Superman is a daylight figure, an icon of invincibility. Taking Superman down into the fog is a tremendous gamble. Well, none of us has seen "The Man of Steel" yet, so we should hedge our bets. I really hope it is a huge success. I hope I am awestruck. But, I truly worry whether the studio knows or cares about the icon of Superman. Going dark just for the sake of an audience segment that equates darkness with realism is a big roll of the dice.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      Again, you seem to be mistaking realism for darker, as you can make a more realistic superman without making it dark. Look at "Iron Man" or the new "Captain America" movies, and you'll see that it can be done right, and that realism doesn't equate to dark.

    • rjbatty profile image
      Author

      rjbatty 5 years ago from Irvine

      According to IMDB, Superman Returns' budget was $209,000,000 (estimated). It's worldwide gross was $391,081,192. Batman Begins cost $150,000,000 (estimated) and pulled in $371,853,783 worldwide. Thus, I don't think money or overall audience appeal was the issue. The no-sequel may have more to do with the lawsuit against WB, and the studio's gamble to garner The Dark Knight kind of bucks by portraying a more gloomy image in Man of Steel.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      I think many of you guys that are in favor of a less plausible Superman movie seem to forget that you can make a more plausible superman movie for today's generation without the need to make it dark. Hell, just look at some of marvel studios current movies like "Captain America First Avenger" and "Iron Man" as perfect examples of this. Just because a fictional character is made with a bit more realism, it doesn't always equate to darker. Just saying.

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 5 years ago from The Garden State

      I enjoyed the first half of "Superman Returns" much more than the second half. It was simply fun to see "The Big Red S" taking to the air again, performing feats of superhuman derring-do, etc. But once things took a darker turn it took me right out of the movie. I understand that the current trend in superheroes is to be "grim & gritty" but that vibe simply doesn't work for Superman (in my opinion, anyway). He's SUPPOSED to be this all-American, red-white-and-blue, superhuman Boy Scout. "Returns" saddled him with so much trouble, so many problems, and so much pain that it may have been more "realistic" (or at least, as "realistic" as a movie of this type can be), but it was a lot less fun.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Some believe that the darker a film is, the more realistic it is. Some would say that a bleak outlook, darkness, and misery are the true human condition, and happy endings only exist in movies. I don't agree.

      I do agree however, that seems to be what society accepts as more realistic, in part because of a sense of hopelessness and cynicism that pervades our culture right now.

      I also agree that movies are mainly driven by money. God bless the indies! Sorry to see "the good guys" go...

    • Nickalooch profile image

      Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD

      I agree with Stevennix. I appreciated Returns but Singer stuck to the Donner formula a bit to much and as a result the film felt to corny, hence the film didn't do well and didn't even get a sequel. There is also a reason why Singer went back to the X-Men franchise.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      first of all, I think you're mistaking my post with Nickalooch's comment, as I said nothing about realism being necessary to tell a superman story. After all, if you want to get really technical, then all superheroes by definition are unrealistic with the exception of the Punisher and Kick-Ass, as I doubt seriously even someone like Batman would exist in our world seeing as how most people wouldn't go through the trouble like he would to construct his own weapons when it's so much easier to buy a gun at Wal-Mart or something. Let's get that straight right now.

      However, I think key term I would us is PLAUSIBILITY! Meaning, a superhero movie doesn't need to be uber realistic or realistic, but it does need to be plausible. Can we agree on that? After all, if you want to be a real jerk about it, you could say that "Iron Man" isn't realistic at all when you stop to think about it. One, there's no such thing as a 100 bullet proof armor that could withstand armor piercing rounds at point blank range. And even if it did exist, the armor would be way too heavy for any normal guy to carry; hence "Iron Man" isn't realistic. Don't get me wrong, I loved "Iron Man", but I'm just using it to prove a point that a movie doesn't need to be realistic, as it just needs to be plausible.

      As for how much money Superman Returns made, you are aware that the budget for that movie was over 200 million dollars, and that doesn't include advertising either. Therefore, they barely broke even with that movie, and most of the profits came from DVD sales and merchandising, as it didn't make a lot of money in the theaters to cover the cost of the film. Granted, it doesn't help that the movie was in production hell for so long, but that's just the way it bounces sometimes.

      As far as the superman lawsuit goes, you can look that up on google yourself if you don't believe me, but I only tell you the truth. I do know that part of the conditions for WB to keep the rights to superman is that they have to start production of a new movie before the end of 2012, or all the rights go back to the original creators, and they can be legally sued for royalties over the years. However, it's from my understanding from reading the details is that they are being allowed temporarily to use most of Superman's history, BUT if the movie bombs, then that's where things will get tricky to where they may not be able to reuse superman's origin again if they have to reboot it after this reboot.

      As for sometimes changes doesn't equate to something being better, it really depends on what you mean. Sometimes change is good, as DC has rewritten various character backstory over the years if you bother to research it. Hell, Wonder Woman had her origin rewritten various times in comics. You want to know what her original story was? She was an amazonian that fell in love with an air force pilot, and left the amazonian island to be with him in the usa. Of course, in later iterations, they rewrote her history to say that the real reason she left was to act as an ambassador for the amazonians in man's world.

      Joker, it's the same thing. His origin was rewritten countless of times in the comics, and so was Lex Luthor. In fact, his original origin was that after a lab accident that superboy saved him from, he ended up bald. After being permanently bald, he blamed superboy and became his arch nemesis. Now, if DC had followed your advice and not accept change, then let me ask you this..how would a modern audience accept that origin of lex luthor hmm..? Tell me. The point is that even DC has found the need to update and rewrite their characters throughout their publishing history, so your argument is pointless.

      As for as saying that you don't care what the younger generation wants, I got some sad news for you pal, but did you know that statistically speaking the average movie goer is in their teens and early twenties? Why do I bring this up? It's simple. Put yourself in a producer's shoes. If you knew that majority of people that wen to movies were teens and young college kids, then what would you to do to make money over a long period of time? Cater movies primarily to the baby boomer generation? Or cater them to the young generation that's statistically prone to not only see the movie more than once, but might possibly buy it's merchandise to add icing to the cake? It only makes sense from a business perspective.

      Look, I do apologize if I'm coming off as rude, as that's not my intention. Although, I respect your opinion, but I just don't agree with you. Sorry.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      I also sigh for the solid values of the original stories. Behind all the action in the original comic books and movies was a solid, down-home feeling of values being reinforced. Right is right and wrong is wrong and the good guys always win in the end. Crime doesn't pay in the end. These are things we need to believe; otherwise we become lost.

      So, okay, today's kids are a lot more sophisticated than we were back then. I don't care. Kids still need these kinds of values reinforced, not torn down.

      I agree with RJ. I'm glad he posted this.

    • rjbatty profile image
      Author

      rjbatty 5 years ago from Irvine

      Stevennix2001: I've a few points to bring up for you along with the other commentators. Bryan Singer was attempting to bridge the huge gap between the Christopher Reeve's movies and his own contribution. Singer clearly wanted to keep the original Chris Reeve look/feel. Yes, certainly key lines were repeated, even John Ottman's soundtrack incorporated much of John Williams' original scoring. All of this was deliberate, and (in my mind) a wise approach. It is not as if the Chris Reeve generation are now all dead and buried. There is no guarantee whatsoever that additional realism equals a better quality movie.

      I'm not even sure the hyper-realism of "The Dark Knight" did Batman any justice, although it was a big box office success. Secondly, I do not hear a tremendous crowd screaming out for more realism for Superman (once you get outside that small circle of mid-age critics vegetating in their websites). "Superman Returns" added a tad more realism over the Chris Reeve portrayal. The film pulled in over $40K, so it can hardly be considered a bomb.

      I don't know about the litigation you mentioned, but it isn't stopping DC/WB from depicting Krypton, Jor-El and his rocket-launch to Earth which is discovered by Ma and Pa Kent. So, I don't really see how the new film is being restricted in any way or fashion.

      Because of the success of The Dark Knight, the thrust of new superhero movies has been toward additional realism -- and I can't see where/how this movement will necessarily result in greater fan appreciation.

      There are a lot of geeks my age (part of the baby boomers) who will look askance upon a dark portrayal of Superman. For me, it doesn't matter what my juniors want or what they think will make a better film. I have been a Superman fan since 1960, and I think I have a good idea of what the character represents.

      "New" does not always equal better. Slapping on a new costume, toning down the colors, re-doing the contest between Superman and General Zod doesn't add up to an instant success in my mind.

      If they choose to abandon the John Williams' score and go with some new edgy, nerve wracking score by Hans Zimmer, I can tell you that the boomer generation will not be pleased. Every bit and piece I've seen from "The Man of Steel" seems contrary to the essence of Superman, and I, quite frankly, don't give a damn what the newer generation has to say. The vast majority of the uncertain audience will consist of "boomers."

      Up until the last few hours of the tenth season of "Smallville," which attempted to blend realism with a teenage soap opera, did we see Welling finally adopt the Superman costume and behave as Superman (and a Clark Kent who needed glasses to disguise himself, as well as a bumbling manner). These depictions are prerequisties to portraying the essential Superman. Whether he is wedded to Lois, has a child with her, or remains a lonely outcast, Superman is saddled with being the savior of the world. He must perform wonderous miracles, without pride, without ego. Perhaps the new Superman will (like the new James Bond) respond to the question, "Would you like that shaken or stirred), in which Bond replies, "I don't give a damn." If the new Superman is a more plain speaking, perhaps even somewhat crass speaking super-hero, I wouldn't foresake him. But, the movie will show some aspect of growing up on the Kent farm (with Kevin Costner as his dad). In my mind this means that his personality will be permeated with Mid-West humility and sense of right and wrong. If any director/producer wants to portray Superman, they cannot stray very far from these core Smallville values without the end product seeming off-putting, odd, and unlikable.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      Although, I think you bring up a lot of valid points, but I tend to agree with both hawkdad and nickalooch here. You're right in assessing that the original Superman movies and George Reeves' tv show was based on the older versions of the comics that were popular for that time period they were released. However, when Superman Returns was released, the original superman you grew up with was already long gone in the comic books. Hell, just ask any superman comic book fan of the 90's era and beyond about this, or just pick up an issue, from that era, yourself to see what I mean. When "Superman Returns" came out, it was representing an image of the character that was no longer current to what many of today's generation grew up with. Ideally, when you make a reboot, you're supposed to reestablish the character for a new generation, but "Superman Returns" didn't do that. If anything, all it did was try to play to an old audience that grew up with the Christopher Reeves version, without stopping to think about how to make it appeal to a new generation of fans.

      Not only that, but you fail to see some of the distinct flaws that "Superman Returns" had going against it. One, if you honestly stopped to break down the plot to "Superman: The Movie" and "Superman Returns" to their simplest context, then you'd come to realize that "Superman Returns" rips off quite a bit from the original movie that doesn't normally bode well when you're trying to reestablish a character for modern audiences.

      For example, Lex's plot in the first movie was hijacking nuclear missiles to blow up various big cities in California for his elaborate real estate scheme to get rich, while killing millions in the process, and his master plan to stop superman was kryptonite. Fast forward to Superman returns, Lex's plan now involves using a few crystals from Superman's fortress of solitude, and toss them into the ocean for his elaborate real estate scam that could potentially kill millions of lives in the process, so he can try to get rich...AGAIN. And what's his plan to stop superman if he should get in the way? Why just use a steady supply of kryptonite of course....AGAIN.

      Plus, even some of dialogue is ripped off if you listen closely. Take one of Superman's first lines, in "superman the movie", when he tells Lois, "They say that flying is the safest way to travel." And in Superman returns, he says the exact same thing again when he sees her for the first time after so many years. To make matters worse, Lex utters the same lecture about how his father allegedly told him how land will always be valuable word for word in Superman Returns...which is incidentally the same speech he gave in Superman the movie. You see a pattern here?

      Granted, there are a few scenario differences, and I understand that "Superman Returns" isn't a retelling of superman's origin, but you can't deny how much it rips off the first movie so much that it's almost shameful to watch. Don't get me wrong, I don't think Superman Returns was nearly as bad as most skeptics make it out to be, but to say it's better than "Batman Begins?" I don't think so. Say what you want about Batman Begins, but you have to give credit where credit is due.

      Unlike Singer that focused too much of his reboot to serve as a homage to Donner's version of superman that he forgot to simply try to reestablish the character, Nolan on the other hand not only recreated the Batman for a new generation of fans, but he even managed to put his own spin on it as well while remaining faithful to the idealogies of the modern interpretation of the character around the time it was released.

      Plus, another thing to keep in mind is that Warner Bros. doesn't own all the rights to Superman anymore. If you look online, then you should be able to find a lawsuit that was filed between the original creators of Superman vs. DC Comics. According to the original creators, they felt their ancestors were swindled too easily when they sold the rights to Superman in the 1930's for 500 bucks, as they claim they didn't know how much the character would grow over time.

      Needless to say, there's been a heavy lawsuit since between the two parties. However, after superman returns was released, and WB failed to give the original creators royalties from that movie, a judge split certain aspects of the character between the two parties. Now DC no longer owns the following aspects to Superman:

      The original costume, any and all depictions of his original origin, infancy depictions escaping krypton, krypton exploding or any reference therein, love triangle between lois, superman and clark kent, and portrayal of clark working at the daily planet.

      What does DC still own?

      They still own the rights to all of Superman's powers, any expanded origin stories they established, and they own all his villains.

      therefore, even if they wanted to portray superman the way you want them to, then it would be almost impossible because DC and WB would get sued for copyright infringement on part of the relatives of the original creators. Granted, it sucks, but what other choice do you or I have? You can either just accept it, and watch the new superman with an open mind like I will. Or you can choose not to watch it at all, as the original superman you're referring to can never come back. I apologize if I'm coming off as rude or condescending, but i'm just telling you the truth.

      Although, you do write a very good hub on this topic, but I'm afraid I just simply can't agree with you. Don't get me wrong, I too enjoyed the first two Superman movies, but I think it's time we were treated to a more modern treatment to the man of steel.

      @hawkdad

      Actually, Bryan Singer made Superman Returns as more of a alternative-sequel to Superman II. You remember how Superman had sex with Lois in that one? Well allegedly, after Superman II, he went off into space for five years because he heard about remnants of Krypton being discovered; without realizing Lois was pregnant with his kid; thus when he slept with and impregnated Lois...he was human. Granted, I know that doesn't make much sense, but this is how Bryan Singer explained it in various behind the scenes interviews.

    • hawkdad73 profile image

      hawkdad73 5 years ago from Riverside, Iowa

      I enjoyed reading this. You definitely have some informed insights about what makes a good superhero flick. However, the more flashy a movie is, superhero or otherwise, the less "realistic" it is to me. That's why I have to disagree with you about Batman Begins and Superman Returns. I thought Batman Begins was refreshing in its gritty reality; I thought Superman Returns, although entertaining, was a bit cheesy in its attempt to be true to the Reeve's Superman (I'm still not over that cheese-fest!). That being said, I am somewhat jazzed about the new Superman's redemptive power due to it looking a bit retro.

      One thing that maybe you can clear up for me...not to get vulgar (and maybe this is for another Hub altogether), but is Superman in Superman Returns super in everything but his reproduction? I find it hard to believe that alien DNA could mix with that of a human.

    • Nickalooch profile image

      Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD

      Very well written but I don't necessarily agree. Movies as a whole are getting darker because that is ultimately what people want. The darker a film is the more realistic it is. The Nolan Batman film was so grounded in reality and that is what made it so good. When you try to make a comic book movie into what it should be from the source material it often comes off cheesy., unoriginal and very often doesnt do well in the Box Office, and thats what matters most.