Thread: Superman Lives!
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:42 AM   #227
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Default Re: Superman Lives!

Originally Posted by theMan-Bat View Post
Superman needn't be consumed with angst to function as an entertaining character. Superman wouldn't have been a success for decades, entertaining generations, if he failed to function as an entertaining character.
To be sure, Supes gets credit for longevity. But it’s a big stretch to say that those 75 years have been marked with solid, uninterrupted quality. A lot of the material is, frankly, crap; a lot of it is dated; and a lot of the rest gets forgiven as quaintly charming - inasmuch as it was always geared towards a youth demographic.

So then the question becomes, is a big budget movie necessarily beholden to any of that? Not really. Not any more than Nolan was beholden to the Batman TV series; not any more than Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood was beholden to Disney’s animated version (starring anthropomorphized animals). A $200M PG-13 Superman film simply can’t bank on the warm-and-fuzzy nostalgia factor; it has to compete on the same playing field as the Dark Knight, Spider-Man and various Avengers and X-Men. And it’s not as if Superman isn’t up to the challenge. Indeed, one of the reasons that he has endured, imo, is because his basic mythos remains resonant and evocative. But that doesn’t mean perpetually consigning the character to 1940s/kiddie fare sensibilities.

I’ve said this before: modern audiences are onboard with the fantastical abilities and outré costumes of superheroes. That kind of Kool-Aid goes down just fine. But they expect everything else to conform to general standards of “realism.” I.e., given the genre convention that the protagonist can do X, what are the logical/plausible ramifications? If Superman were real, what would that look like? How would he feel? What would everyone else think? There are different and legitimate ways to interpret those questions. But winking to the audience or wisecracking during fisticuffs or smiling as bullets fly aren’t among those ways.

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