22 February 2010

Nolan to Reboot Superman? Wonderful!

In response to a dowdy, grumpy article on upcoming Superman movies, again at Film.com. I've included the parts of his article that I am directly responding to below my text:

The lines you draw between what Superman isn't versus what Nolan is/does are at best hazy and when fully thought out, plain non-existent!

1) Superman is not dark you say... but he is sad. How is sadness at being the very last one of your species on a planet that alternately hates and adores you not a cause for darkness? And so what that Clark represented some faulty ideal of perfection from the 1940s, those folks are sooo not interested nor paying to see giant, fun, complex, loud summery blockbusters like this! Who is going? Young(ish) audiences (and by young I mean everything from early 40's down to teens) who understand that "with great power comes great responsibility" is the freakin' superhero code! And like any nuanced code (or set of supernatural rules to live by) it is fully subject to the twisted pull of desire that power on that magnitude inspires! A Superman who perhaps taps into the allure of "I can do whatever I want!" would fully reboot the franchise! We don't want the goody goody Clark anymore, and the most recent attempt to reboot things made that superclear - goody goody Clark = boring! We are smarter and live in a much more complexly considered world than those 1940s folks did!

2) Superman is not a detective... he's a reporter. What part of reporting is not about digging into the crevices to discover the truth - like a good detective? The only difference between the two positions is that one gets paid after he does all the work to write it all down and share his good detective skills with the world! Tell Woodward and Bernstein that they weren't Investigative Editorial Detectives when they uncovered the Watergate scandal!!

3)... well you get the idea. I will stop here, but not before cautioning you that this review sadly smacks (and that is the perfect dentured adjective) of old timey, crotchety grandpa syndrome wherein you protest the new for the sake of maintaining some older version of perfection that no one can connect to at all anymore! Maybe Superman needs to revisit his roots, whether under Nolan's care or not, since kids don't all know the history! Heck, my husband's a teacher in his early 30s and his students don't even remember music or films from the mid-1990's let alone action figures from the 1980's! They think old is 20!

Remember that cinema is one of those storytelling machines that can and must use new blood, new thinking about the same ideas every once and a while - especially with regards to our Superheroes who, after all, are really just reflections of what we believe our capacity to see an Ideal World, or perfect response to our current world, would be.

Original Article Points I Speak To:

Five Reasons Christopher Nolan Shouldn't Oversee Superman

We loved Memento and The Dark Knight... but we're not so sure about a dark Superman.
C. Robert Cargill,

Here's why it sounds like a bad idea.

1) Superman ISN'T a dark hero. First and foremost, Superman isn't a dark character and neither are his villains. Superman is larger-than-life. He is the last member of an otherwise mostly extinct race, making him a lonely outcast who makes the best of his existence here. At his best, he is the embodiment of everything right and good with 1930s/40s America, while having lost (or never possessed) the negative elements of that era. He is Mom, baseball, and apple pie, and he stands for "truth, justice, and the American way." There's NOTHING dark about him or his story, only a sadness that drives his overtly boy scout tendencies.

2) Superman isn't a detective. Nolan thrives telling noir-ish detective stories. Superman isn't a detective. He's a reporter. He hits things. Hard. And flies fast. And burns holes in things. And blows cold air that freezes things. Thinking? That ain't his style. He's not dumb, but a good Superman story isn't about him tracking down criminals; it is about a world in peril with only one man who can save it.

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