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Old 02-04-2018, 04:29 PM   #1
Vader's Fist
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Default Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

It's been discussed to death at this point, but in the interest of starting yet another thread, what is it about Superman that making a successful movie about him, in this day and age, is so difficult? Maybe his personality, compared to other fictional protagonists, is just too squeaky clean? I don't know, but I wish I knew the answer.

Any opinions?


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Old 02-04-2018, 05:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

Because Warner Brothers keeps handing him over to filmmakers who make no secret of their contempt for the character and who would clearly rather be making a Batman movie - the same all-purpose plan they've had for the character on the big screen since the '90s; they just doubled-down on it after "Superman Returns".

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Old 02-04-2018, 05:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

Casting and characterisation.

Everything else is relatively easy. They've got the money for great effects. There is a well rounded supporting cast from the comics. If they botheed to look beyond Luthor and Zod, there's also a decent rogues gallery.

Casting Superman and getting him just right is one of the hardest things to do in movies. Everyone is still talking about Christopher Reeves as THE definitive Superman, and he appeared nearly 40 years ago. In one shape or another, at least 7 actors have played him in live action since Reeves, and none of them have come close to capturing the public's imagination and awe as Supes.

Dean Cain as fine for a TV soap version. Tom Welling was fine as a high school TV version. Brandon Routh felt like a watered down imitation of Reeves. Henry Cavill looks perfect, but the characterisation was so off from Man Of Steel, and he's never truly recovered.

Find someone who makes people forget Christopher Reeves, and you'll probably find the Superman movie that captures the worlds imagination again. Good luck with that. Don't envy the casting director with that task.

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Old 02-04-2018, 06:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

They really should’ve done that Superman Lives movie

And Matthew Vaughn and Mark Millar should’ve been allowed to do their take on Superman

I think the character would’ve been in a better place than he is now if they allowed Singer to do his sequel as well

So many f***ups on their part

Now they should just adapt All Star Superman as a one off movie for their new Elseworlds banner. Then do Kingdom Come after that

As far as a traditional take on superman goes, they should resell guide Hoechlin his own show. He’s far superior to Cavill’s boring portrayal. The time is right for another Superman show.


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Old 02-04-2018, 06:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

Because the studio is often in a stupid, unwarranted mindset of "Superman needs to be re-invented" and they hire filmmakers who understand him about as much as they do (aka not a lot).

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Old 02-04-2018, 06:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

Pretty much.

With respect to the many filmmakers who’ve tried to “make it/him work,” it’s really not that complicated. It’s even easier now that we live in a world where Captain America is a genuinely compelling and popular character.

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Old 02-04-2018, 06:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

We don't really know that it's hard. Both Singer and Snyder made films with some glaring unnecessary flaws that didn't need to be there. I think there was potential in the way MoS was put together to give us a great Superman film if someone could have been on hand to advise Snyder in the home stretch. And anyway that's 2 attempts by 2 people. And 2 directors could make 2 bad Godfather films or 2 bad LotR films. It wouldn't mean that making good versions of those isn't possible in the right hands. I don't really think making a good Superman film is hugely harder than for many other heroes, a little maybe. I've read enough great Superman comics to know that it can be done. You could shoot some of them frame to frame and have a good film.

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

just need someone to say things like

"how about we don't have superman bring the fight into a populated area?"

or

"how about we don't have superman spy on lois in the privacy of her own home?"

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

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Originally Posted by Iceman View Post
We don't really know that it's hard. Both Singer and Snyder made films with some glaring unnecessary flaws that didn't need to be there. I think there was potential in the way MoS was put together to give us a great Superman film if someone could have been on hand to advise Snyder in the home stretch. And anyway that's 2 attempts by 2 people. And 2 directors could make 2 bad Godfather films or 2 bad LotR films. It wouldn't mean that making good versions of those isn't possible in the right hands. I don't really think making a good Superman film is hugely harder than for many other heroes, a little maybe. I've read enough great Superman comics to know that it can be done. You could shoot some of them frame to frame and have a good film.
There were also a ton of projects that failed to get off the ground. WB is notorious for their Superman-centered ignorance. For a long time, their ideas were: kill him off; make him angry; make him fight Batman; change him to be more like Batman; and/or remind people how much they loved the Christopher Reeve films.

And on that note, how many interviews have we read where a director said, “I have no idea how to make this character work for a modern audience?”

I don’t think it’s at all that difficult to make Superman work, but the people who are actually responsible for getting these projects off the ground seem to.

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

#Jenkins4Superman

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:36 PM   #11
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by semper View Post
Casting and characterisation.

Everything else is relatively easy. They've got the money for great effects. There is a well rounded supporting cast from the comics. If they botheed to look beyond Luthor and Zod, there's also a decent rogues gallery.

Casting Superman and getting him just right is one of the hardest things to do in movies. Everyone is still talking about Christopher Reeves as THE definitive Superman, and he appeared nearly 40 years ago. In one shape or another, at least 7 actors have played him in live action since Reeves, and none of them have come close to capturing the public's imagination and awe as Supes.

Dean Cain as fine for a TV soap version. Tom Welling was fine as a high school TV version. Brandon Routh felt like a watered down imitation of Reeves. Henry Cavill looks perfect, but the characterisation was so off from Man Of Steel, and he's never truly recovered.

Find someone who makes people forget Christopher Reeves, and you'll probably find the Superman movie that captures the worlds imagination again. Good luck with that. Don't envy the casting director with that task.
Finding a good creative team is just as, if not more important than casting. Christopher Reeve would not have been as beloved without Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz. Superman 3 and 4 make that point abundantly clear.

Welling, Cain, Routh, and Cavill all star in below remarkable Superman media. Lois And Clark and Smallville aren't exceptional TV shows. Superman Returns was a boring movie that many people forgot as soon as they left the theater. Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, and Justice League all range from mediocre to bad. You get a great creative team that understands Superman, and you'll have a remarkable Superman again, one that'll have the impact Christopher Reeve has.

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

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Originally Posted by semper View Post
In one shape or another, at least 7 actors have played him in live action since Reeves, and none of them have come close to capturing the public's imagination and awe as Supes.
Cain, Welling, Routh, Cavill, Hoechlin... Who am I missing?

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

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Cain, Welling, Routh, Cavill, Hoechlin... Who am I missing?
John Newton and Gerard Christopher from Superboy.

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

the 2 dudes from the superboy tv show i think

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

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John Newton and Gerard Christopher from Superboy.
Ah, thanks (could be wrong but I don't think we had that over here ).

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:44 PM   #16
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

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Originally Posted by Milk Tray Guy View Post
Cain, Welling, Routh, Cavill, Hoechlin... Who am I missing?
There was a live action Superboy show that ran from 1988-1992. An actor called John Haymes Newton played him in the first season. He was replaced in the second season by an actor called Gerad Christopher.

So that makes 7.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superboy_(TV_series)

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:52 PM   #17
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

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Finding a good creative team is just as, if not more important than casting. Christopher Reeve would not have been as beloved without Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz. Superman 3 and 4 make that point abundantly clear.

Welling, Cain, Routh, and Cavill all star in below remarkable Superman media. Lois And Clark and Smallville aren't exceptional TV shows. Superman Returns was a boring movie that many people forgot as soon as they left the theater. Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, and Justice League all range from mediocre to bad. You get a great creative team that understands Superman, and you'll have a remarkable Superman again, one that'll have the impact Christopher Reeve has.
Of course. Finding a good creative team is a given and goes without saying. I just think it's so hard to find an actor who can not only physically embody the role, but has the acting chops, charm, comic timing etc to pull off the Big Blue Boyscout. As good as Cavill looked physically, i don't think he has the right qualities as an actor to nail the role (even without the badly judged characterisation from Snyder).

Batman is so much easier to cast. Any white actor than can brood convincingly will do.

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:55 PM   #18
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

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There were also a ton of projects that failed to get off the ground. WB is notorious for their Superman-centered ignorance. For a long time, their ideas were: kill him off; make him angry; make him fight Batman; change him to be more like Batman; and/or remind people how much they loved the Christopher Reeve films.

And on that note, how many interviews have we read where a director said, “I have no idea how to make this character work for a modern audience?”

I don’t think it’s at all that difficult to make Superman work, but the people who are actually responsible for getting these projects off the ground seem to.
They are just very bad at it but that doesn't mean it's difficult. Many people are bad at addition and subtraction when you go into double figures.

None of these should be entering their heads: kill him off; make him angry; make him fight Batman; change him to be more like Batman

Just do Superman. There are plenty of existing stories that would work fine on film. You don't have to try and be super-clever.

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Old 02-04-2018, 08:45 PM   #19
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

It's hard because the brass in charge don't know how to bring Superman into the modern age and updating the character. They see the traditional Superman as old-fashioned and outdated with his boy scout "truth, justice, American way" values. That's the struggle. Superman is vanilla, while Batman is the cooler, darker, edgier hero. Even though Batman was also created in the 1930s and basically a rip-off of pulp heroes, such as The Shadow.

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Old 02-04-2018, 08:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

I really like Man of Steel. That said, the success of Evans' Captain America shows that the 'anachronistic' (in Cap's case, literally) kind of characterisation can work. Instead of trying to hide it make that your selling point, that his 'outdated' values and standards can work in this cynical modern world of ours.

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Old 02-04-2018, 09:47 PM   #21
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They are just very bad at it but that doesn't mean it's difficult.
That’s exactly my point.

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Old 02-04-2018, 09:50 PM   #22
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

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I really like Man of Steel. That said, the success of Evans' Captain America shows that the 'anachronistic' (in Cap's case, literally) kind of characterisation can work. Instead of trying to hide it make that your selling point, that his 'outdated' values and standards can work in this cynical modern world of ours.
I've never really understood the idea the character's values were too old fashion. If anything, those are the type of values that are being overlooked in society as a whole.

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Old 02-04-2018, 09:52 PM   #23
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

WB has made it harder than it should be by using writers and directors who get caught up in the trap of modernizing Superman and falling down a rabbit's hole with a skewed point of view.

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Old 02-04-2018, 10:05 PM   #24
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

I think Captain America turning into one of Marvel's strongest franchises proves that making a Superman movie isn't as difficult as people make it out to be.

The problem is that WB has been flailing for decades and, up until 2017, couldn't make any character that isn't Batman work.

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Old 02-04-2018, 10:13 PM   #25
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Default Re: Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

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I've never really understood the idea the character's values were too old fashion. If anything, those are the type of values that are being overlooked in society as a whole.
Exactly, and let Superman highlight precisely that.

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