Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reactions To Superman Reboot Franchise

Various sites have seeked out reaction to the announcement from Warner Bros. that the Superman film franchise would be reintroduced. The genral concensus is they ain't liking the idea of a dark themed Superman.

The good folks at Superman Homepage had this report:
Greg Rucka (writer at DC Comics) said, "Hmm...well, yeah, I think a reboot is a good idea at this point. While there are elements of Returns that I thought worked quite well, the film utterly failed, in my opinion, to demonstrate why Superman is, frankly, the best of the best. And there's the tiny little problem I have with making any kind of Superman movie that you can't bring an 8 year old to see, let alone a 10 year old. Batman? Sure, PG-13 all the way. But Superman, especially as a film, needs to be something that both kids and adults can enjoy -- in many ways, it goes to the core of the character, his universality. So I don't think a reboot is a bad idea -- as long as we don't end up with a take on the material that has Kal getting his power from a special suit, or that turns Doomsday into his long-lost brother."

As for whether Rucka could see himself writing the script for the next Superman movie, "Oh hell yeah! Will it happen? I can't imagine it. But damn, I'd be there in a micro-second, no question."

Jack O'Halloran, who starred as Non in "Superman: The Movie" and "Superman II", says the decision to reboot comes down to money. "Warner's weren't happy with the returns on Superman Returns." As for who he'd like to replace Bryan Singer if the director decides not to continue on with the Man of Steel, O'Halloran says, "I hope if they are rebooting Superman they hand the reins to Richard Donner. It would be the salvation of the series. Dick has such a passion for the series, the fan base would finally get what they have been waiting for someone with the passion to light up the screen."

Comic book writer Mark Waid told that he thought the reboot was necessary but that he has reservations. "I think it's a good idea - though the idea of making Superman "darker" chills me to the bone. Still, what Batman Begins did for Batman gives me confidence. I have enormous respect for Singer, for Routh, and for all the people involved with RETURNS, I really do - and I'm sorry the sound bites picked up for the MTV piece didn't really reflect that - but as much as I loved RETURNS, and I really did, I grudgingly accept that the general audience thought of it as a misstep and that a reboot is probably necessary."
MTV also seeked out reaction:
”How stupid is that?” exclaimed “Hellboy” and “Buffy” writer Christopher Golden. “That announcement made my head spin. ‘Iron Man’ isn’t dark. ‘Iron Man’ worked because Favreau brought in all the best Iron Man creators and had them read the script and asked them, ‘Tell me what we did wrong?’ — and it worked because it had all the best things about Iron Man boiled down into the best movie they could make. ‘The Dark Knight’ was really good because it had all the best things about ‘Batman’ boiled down into the best movie they could make. Making a dark and gritty Superman movie because Dark Knight made a ton of money is incredibly stupid.”

While he wasn’t as direct as Golden, fan-favorite writer/director Kevin Smith also had reservations on a newer, darker Man of Steel. “You always have to always keep Superman very distinct from Batman,” he related. “Batman can be brooding and bleak and dark but Superman — if you want to take a realistic approach to him that’s fine, but I don’t think you can turn him into an angry character. Superman is about the hope in people, the good in people, whereas Batman is about the more driven, hungry for justice angry side of us. [So] I don’t know if doing a dark Superman is the approach, but I’m all for a reboot.”

“Superman, the character, inspires hope, as opposed to Batman, who inspires fear,” elaborated Jeph Loeb, who added that his “Superman for All Seasons” (which he created with frequent collaborator Tim Sale) could be a proper approach for a possible revamp of the franchise. “‘Superman For All Seasons’ is about Clark Kent trying to deal with the fact that he has this incredible power and responsibility, and that was an interesting concept to me. And one of the other things that I find interesting is that he’s set out to perform a job that will never finish, a never-ending battle. Is that dark? I don’t know.”

Meanwhile, Steven T. Seagle — who’s groundbreaking graphic novel “It’s a Bird…” took a unique look at Superman through the eyes of a comic book writer — feels that Superman has been a “dark” character all along. “Heroic struggles are basically all dark in tone. The idea of ‘villains’ implies something bad happening to good people most of the time, and that’s dark. Heroes look brighter emerging from dire consequence successfully,” said Seagle.

Longtime DC Comics scribe Mark Waid tended to agree with that assessment. “I [focused] on the part where they’ll make the films as dark as the characters allow us to go,” he said. “Hopefully they realize that Superman is not a dark character, but that doesn’t mean the story can’t be darker or more threatening. What makes Superman hard to write in the 21st century is that he’s a creature of hope and he lives in a brighter, more optimistic world than, say, Batman.”

However, Seagle seemed to sum up the announcement best with a point both sides of the argument could agree on. “‘Dark?’ ‘Light?’ Whatever. ‘Good’ is the main thing we’re looking for when we plunk down our ten bucks.”