Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

Discussion in 'DC Comics Films' started by Vader's Fist, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. Vader's Fist

    Vader's Fist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2017
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    0
    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?
     
    #1
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  2. Jochimus

    Jochimus Autobot Slacker

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2004
    Messages:
    2,699
    Likes Received:
    2
    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".
     
    #2
  3. semper

    semper Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    7
    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.
     
    #3
  4. Rorschach2012

    Rorschach2012 I'll Cancel the Pizzas

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Messages:
    16,879
    Likes Received:
    76
    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.
     
    #4
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  5. titansupes

    titansupes Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Messages:
    10,520
    Likes Received:
    15
    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).
     
    #5
  6. Boy Scout

    Boy Scout Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Messages:
    11,944
    Likes Received:
    61
    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.
     
    #6
  7. Iceman

    Iceman Daffy Duck Vs The Joker

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    120,837
    Likes Received:
    862
    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.
     
    #7
  8. RomanticPenguin

    RomanticPenguin Superman loves ya

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2017
    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    32
    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?"
     
    #8
  9. Boy Scout

    Boy Scout Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Messages:
    11,944
    Likes Received:
    61
    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.
     
    #9
  10. RomanticPenguin

    RomanticPenguin Superman loves ya

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2017
    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    32
    #Jenkins4Superman
     
    #10
  11. The Batman

    The Batman The Dark Knight

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2002
    Messages:
    23,649
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
    #11
  12. Milk Tray Guy

    Milk Tray Guy 70s Man of Action

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    8,851
    Likes Received:
    185
    Cain, Welling, Routh, Cavill, Hoechlin... Who am I missing? :huh:
     
    #12
  13. Fincher

    Fincher Too far gone

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,022
    Likes Received:
    30
    John Newton and Gerard Christopher from Superboy.
     
    #13
  14. RomanticPenguin

    RomanticPenguin Superman loves ya

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2017
    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    32
    the 2 dudes from the superboy tv show i think
     
    #14
  15. Milk Tray Guy

    Milk Tray Guy 70s Man of Action

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    8,851
    Likes Received:
    185
    Ah, thanks (could be wrong but I don't think we had that over here :shrug:).
     
    #15
  16. semper

    semper Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    7
    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)
     
    #16
  17. semper

    semper Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    7
    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.
     
    #17
  18. Iceman

    Iceman Daffy Duck Vs The Joker

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    120,837
    Likes Received:
    862
    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.
     
    #18
  19. TheVileOne

    TheVileOne Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    54,764
    Likes Received:
    157
    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.
     
    #19
  20. Milk Tray Guy

    Milk Tray Guy 70s Man of Action

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    8,851
    Likes Received:
    185
    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.
     
    #20
  21. Boy Scout

    Boy Scout Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Messages:
    11,944
    Likes Received:
    61
    That’s exactly my point.
     
    #21
  22. jmc

    jmc away for a while

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Messages:
    32,392
    Likes Received:
    81
    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.
     
    #22
  23. STARMAN

    STARMAN Rebel With A Cause

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Messages:
    7,965
    Likes Received:
    52
    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.
     
    #23
  24. Flint Marko

    Flint Marko Bring me Thanos

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Messages:
    15,914
    Likes Received:
    204
    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.
     
    #24
  25. Milk Tray Guy

    Milk Tray Guy 70s Man of Action

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    8,851
    Likes Received:
    185
    Exactly, and let Superman highlight precisely that.
     
    #25

Share This Page

monitoring_string = "afb8e5d7348ab9e99f73cba908f10802"