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Old 09-20-2011, 03:13 AM   #1
Kal el
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Default Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

The old Superhero movies rarely captured the reality theme like Batman begins & Dark Night. There was no serious approach superhero moves not even X-men.

My question is can movie staring Superman have a realistic approach? His character being superpowered makes me think not but what do you all think?

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Old 09-20-2011, 04:06 AM   #2
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

I know what you mean ............. but what is a realistic approach anyway?

I was thinking about this a few weeks ago. What is it about Nolan's films that make them realistic? I mean, they still have a man dressed as a bat carrying out amazing feats, using advanced technology and hiding his identity in a way that would never work in real life. Yet they're described as Batman finally meeting realism.

My thoughts on it are this. Nolan has grounded the Batman mythos by removing a lot of the elements which made previous incarnations (both the Burton/Schumacher films, and the 60s TV series) fairly outlandish.

  • The camp humour is gone, replaced by a more serious tone which was only elevated by the Joker's ravings in TDK.
  • There is no reliance on any overly specific visual theme - Nolan's world looks gritty, and close to our real world - not dark and gothic like Burtons, and not a neon-lit futurama like Schumacher's.
  • There are no-super powered villains - so far. Any villains we've encountered so far in Nolan's films may have been psychotic, strange, crazed, and schizophrenic - but they're all human.
  • Nolan has added insight and reasoning to Batman's choices, and this is something which wasn't explored in earlier incarnations. Why choose bats as his motif? Where did he learn his skills? Where did he get his technology?
  • His tools and technology now favour function over form, for the most part. We have a Batmobile (in the form of the Tumbler) which is very obviously a military tank of sorts. The Batmobile in previous films looked very cool perhaps, but it would never have gone over a speed ramp never mind anything else. We have a Batsuit (without nipples) which after evolving from the original version in Batman Begins, now resembles a body armour suit which we would use in real life - it's very obviously focused on speed and movement.

There are lots of other Nolan touches which add to this 'realism' but you see where I'm going.

With Superman, it's going to be a harder sell. The very concept - even his name, and what it implies - is almost immediately beyond the realms of realism. However there have been a few articles in recent years about 'the science of Superman' and how someone like him could potentially exist. But from what vague recollection I have of these articles, I don't think they accepted the solar power explanation and instead suggested he must have some kind of latent telekinesis which also drives his other powers.

But perhaps this is getting into way too much science for a 2hr superhero film. Is that what fans really want to see or know? Do they want a Superman film to be realistic? Or would it be enough for Snyder to go down a similar route to Nolan - set Superman in a real looking city, remove any camp humour and unbelievable physics, and then let the fans buy the realism if they want.

I'm not sure the quest for realism is even relevant, unless they ever go down the JLA route and thus need to have a shared universe for Batman, Superman and the rest of the superheroes. In that scenario, it would only work if all the individual films beforehand took the same approach. And even then, it may be a rebooted version of Batman which doesn't follow the Nolan approach, grounding him in reality.

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Old 09-20-2011, 03:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

Yes we both are on the same ''realism'' page.

The quest for realism for me atleast is portraying these fantasy characters in the real world dealing with real problems. I feel that is the way we can take these characters more seriously. They are presented to us as real people, in a real society being a vigilante. I think its much easier to connect with that than the comic book style. Having a comic book theme is not bad but how can the audience really relate? When you have a serious tone it brings more intense action, more suspense, more clever story telling. Its easy to overloook things because its fantasy but when its portraying realism you cant cut corners. You have to think things through. Not I have a magical sword now i can defeat the monster. Instead the character would have to come up with a real plan that can help him overcome

Yes Batman wears a costume & does all these unrealistic things but its believeable because its set up a certain way. In past Batman films we just knew he was a superhero dressed up fighting comic book villans that lack depth in terms of story.

Batman Begins shows us the young Bruce wayne dealing with problems & learning to overcome that. Taking up Martial Arts & learning these ninja techniques. So he wants to change Gotham from corruption & takes on the hero role. Thats much more you can say than past Batman films. It took a much serious approach with story telling & the character himself. The Drama is up'd & the sci fi element is lower'd


------------
Now I agree Superman entire situation is different because he is a creature that can shoot fire from his eyes. That can fly, that can run faster than the speed of light but it possibly can be handled in a serious tone.

Examples -

- Portraying Clark as an outsider, ditching the clumsy goofy characteristics.
- Show struggles between juggling time with the Heroic acts & Daily Planet work
- Possibly a self doubting Clark who believes hes no Superhero
- Have the world in Aww & frightened by this Superpowered Alien
- Crime needs to be gritty
- Main plot that revovles around a realistic scenario

I actually thought Smallville did a decent job with realism overall. We saw a kid coming into his own dealing with being different.

-----------

Iron man is another film that takes the serious tone & makes the movie great for casual movie goers & comic book fans. Designing weapons & being held captive in a war territory with no way of escaping. Its done extremely well. Nothing over the top & thats what i loved about it. Put the character in a real society with restraints & we have a interesting product.


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Old 09-20-2011, 03:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

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Originally Posted by Kal el View Post
The old Superhero movies rarely captured the reality theme like Batman begins & Dark Night. There was no serious approach superhero moves not even X-men.

My question is can movie staring Superman have a realistic approach? His character being superpowered makes me think not but what do you all think?
The Incredible Hulk TV series pilot - and I mean the pilot - had a completely serious and dark approach decades before Nolan's bat-movies.

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Old 09-20-2011, 04:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

Havent seen it but was referring to movies

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Old 09-20-2011, 04:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

Okee. Anyways, the pilot was released as a movie in some countries of Europe and Soputh America in 1980.

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Old 09-24-2011, 12:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

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The old Superhero movies rarely captured the reality theme like Batman begins & Dark Night. There was no serious approach superhero moves not even X-men.
You were watching different films them me it seems. The first two Blade films seemed pretty grounded as well.

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Old 09-24-2011, 01:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

I think this "realistic" approach can also just be described as "serious"
The Amazing Spider-Man looks pretty serious and i think tmos will have that sort of feel

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Old 09-24-2011, 01:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

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I think this "realistic" approach can also just be described as "serious"
The Amazing Spider-Man looks pretty serious and i think tmos will have that sort of feel
Yes I agree, and even "serious" in how you portray humor. Nothing over the top and cartoony to where it becomes artifice.

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Old 09-26-2011, 03:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

Realistic and serious are two different things.

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Old 09-30-2011, 12:34 PM   #11
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

Absolutely. Nolan's Batman movies have a strong sense of verisimilitude, and that's not the same thing as reality. If this could happen, then this is how it might go.

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Old 10-03-2011, 07:45 AM   #12
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

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Absolutely. Nolan's Batman movies have a strong sense of verisimilitude, and that's not the same thing as reality. If this could happen, then this is how it might go.
Totally spot-on.

And I think it's important to note, that the moment Nolan adds even a hint of something farcical or which serves no purpose other than to implement some campy humour (nipples on Batman? neon lights on the Batmobile? Mr Freeze's one-liners.....) ................ his films will totally lose this sense of verisimilitude.

One thing I notice about Nolan's Batman films, is that everything has a purpose and reasoning behind it : the suit, the vehicle, the villain's motives, the plot, the lines, everything. And that what makes the films work so well. Even some of the Joker's lines and mannerisms, which seemed random and crazy, were carefully structured to convey this sense of chaos which he represented, and that worked really well against Batman's more measured & controlled speech and movements.

Although I will admit, Nolan almost lost it with that "nice coat..." line .........


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Old 10-03-2011, 08:52 AM   #13
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

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Absolutely. Nolan's Batman movies have a strong sense of verisimilitude, and that's not the same thing as reality. If this could happen, then this is how it might go.
Exactly.

And that's how I would hope they approach MOS.

I also think it helps when you make the world of the hero reflect our world - issues, social attitudes and trends, wars etc etc.

It all helps towards making us feel like this isn't just a fantasy about some hero called Superman and some town called Metropolis - but a fantasy about what it would be like if we had a hero like that in our world today.

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Old 10-03-2011, 09:26 PM   #14
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

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Exactly.

And that's how I would hope they approach MOS.

I also think it helps when you make the world of the hero reflect our world - issues, social attitudes and trends, wars etc etc.

It all helps towards making us feel like this isn't just a fantasy about some hero called Superman and some town called Metropolis - but a fantasy about what it would be like if we had a hero like that in our world today.
The more I've thought about it, the more I've come to believe that the key to making a more "grounded" Superman, as it were, that might still be workable may run parallel to what Morrison is doing with "Action" right now...which is to say, referring back to the early Siegel and Shuster days of the character. Because, lower power levels notwithstanding, I think the manner in which Superman dealt with conflicts at that time and the reactions to him as portrayed in the comics of the time would synchronize rather well with how the real world of today would probably greet him; Lois Lane would probably genuinely be more awestruck-in-a-terrified-way than lovestruck the moment she sees him, the local newspaper would probably not take his existence seriously at first or at least would not be rushing to splash praise for his every deed on the front page of each edition, and the authorities would probably not welcome his "help" AT ALL. Which would add to the obstacles he would have to contend with and provide a bit more substance to temper all the CGI explosions and lens flares whoever would make such a film would doubtless be compelled to cram into it.

That's not to say that I think such a film would limit what kind of problems you could have him face, though...I mean, yeah, at a certain point he should be facing threats that he and he alone, as Superman, must contend with and that the Metropolis Police Department would be able to do jack squat against. I think even alien threats could be made to work in a more "grounded" context...in fact, I think the more alien and potentially frightening you make a character like, say, Brainiac - as opposed to, say, a big green man in a purple suit with funny-looking nodes on his forehead - the more formidable an impression they're likely to leave on an audience that could just as easily have written off Superman as being able to handle anything you throw at him up to that point.

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Old 10-21-2011, 11:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

It was in the realism of character and motivation that made Nolan's movies so good, and with the same writing team behind this movie, I'm guessing it will work in a similar way and be just as engrossing from a character standpoint.

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Old 10-22-2011, 05:45 AM   #16
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

As much as I loved (first one especially) the Superman movies (I was 14 when S:TM came out)

Even back then I wondered things like;
  • If Clark is at work all day and Superman is sorting things out at night and sometimes sneaking off during the daytime. When does he sleep or eat or relax?
  • Why was he accepted so readily?
  • Why does Kal-El have this ongoing need to protect humanity?
  • How come the police don't arrest him as a vigilante?
  • How can you stop all the bad things from happening?
  • Who is going to remove that boat from the middle of the street (Actually never-mind, it was a great visual!)
I'm all for grounding Superman more into the real world. But he is a more "fantastic" character than any other Superhero around, mostly because of his nature and the type of powers he has. But I believe it can be done. First thing is to remove all goofball humour. Not saying there should be no humour, but I don't ever want to see any waddling penguin toys on fire ever again...

With the latest incarnation of Superman arriving, I'd like to see certain things addressed...

Why does nobody else know about Kal-El's landing on Earth?
We have all sorts of tracking devices that are capable of detecting an event of this kind.

Why take up a mantle of Humanity's protector?
(Just because Jor-El says so will not be sufficient, I think audiences today are a bit more sophisticated than in 1978 and would like something with a bit more depth. Or maybe I am projecting my own feelings on the matter)
I'd like to see Kal-El as a young man discovering that the World is often a dangerous, nasty and sometimes downright cruel place and over time coming to the conclusion he could make a difference for the better.

Why choose to live and work among people?
Would it not be more efficient to actually be Superman all the time and do away with being Clark altogether? It's not like he needs to hold down a job to pay the bills or anything like that.

How does he choose which events to intervene in?
As I have gotten older, this question has become more and more relevant. Is it the scope/danger of the event? If two things are happening at once and on the one hand, 10 people will die. But in the other event, 200 people will die. Should he intervene in the latter event? Does it matter the type of people being saved? The 200 may be convicts and the 10, children. Who should he choose to save? And should these choices have a moral and/or emotional effect on him?

What about Humanity's reaction to him?
Someone as powerful as Superman could cause panic to many people. They might well not believe his motives, certainly at the beginning. Would the police etc. just stand idly by and let this alien interfere in the affairs of Humanity? Would there not be debates among local law enforcement agencies and perhaps even at Governmental and/or International levels about what to do about this person? Surely If Superman does not have some sort of official recognition for what he does, then in the eyes of the law he must be considered to be a vigilante.

There must also be seen, consequences of his actions. Both to him and to us.
If we get a Superman movie Universe as well done as Nolan's Batman, we will be doing well.

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Old 10-25-2011, 11:15 AM   #17
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

The idea of realism, in a fictional context is, aside from the premise, do characters react as we would react. If a person finds out they're a baby from another planet, and can see through walls and such, what do they do with that. If the government finds out about this person, if a newspaper does, how do they react?

That's what Batman Begins got right. The premise, a rich man with all this training and gadgets, was all there, just as unrealistic as ever, but the decisions involved, from Lucius designing the tech, to Lucius giving him the tech, to him getting the training, to the people deciding to train him, to the villain attacking the city, it all made sense psychologically. There's abo****ely no "because that's the way it was in a prevoius incarnation" one-liner explanations, and so it was more real, because, aside from the sci-fi, we didn't have to be in a parallel world where people react differently to stimuli.

I don't see the problem with calling such versimilitude realism, even though it isn't realistic. It is inspired and referential to reality. There's no need to feed the misconception that realism must be realistic, or possible, is there?

I'm sure under Nolan and Snyder, Superman will have similar realistic motivations and the movie will have a heavy dose of realism. I think carrying that forward means that you cannot insert any old new premise just because it was that way in comics. I think all the alien threats will/should come form Krypton.

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Old 11-20-2011, 08:19 PM   #18
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Default Re: Could Superman movies be realistic like the newer Batman films

I will accept nothing less than full integration of the full backdrop of the DC Universe, and all that is implied therein. I'm weary of the comics-genre films pretending that the main character is the only supernatural and/or superhero ever before in existence, whether by legal default (considering that other characters are linked to other producers or studios) or editorial whim.. Superman flies and is super-strong, etc., because the yellow sun allows kryptonians to do it. An ultra-scientific explanation along the lines of that ridiculous scientist rant near the end of the Matrix part 2 I really don't want to see..

science-realism is one thing...if some folks want social realism, they should pick up Grant Morrisson's Action Comics, which touches on the anti-alien paranoia that hasn't been seen in the Superman films yet.. there could be a Luthor-led whisper campaign warning of "kryptonian law" infiltrating America..

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