AICN has posted and others have since picked up a G4 interview with comic book writer Mark Millar who reveals he may be writing the next “Superman” movie/trilogy. Now Millar has said on many occasions that he’d love to write a Superman movie and I’m sure he’s got a good one in him. However, the chance of Millar writing a Superman movie is about as likely as yours truly getting the call.
Still, I have a few ideas on how to fix the mess of the Superman franchise. Superman Returns failed on many, many levels. A Superman movie should never, ever fail.
Read All-Star Superman and Superman For All Seasons
You need a modern take on Superman, but modern does not mean dark. Batman is dark. Superman is anything, but dark. The two best takes on Superman and his supporting characters are Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman and Jeph Loeb’s Superman For All Seasons. Both take the exact right tone with all the characters and are filled with fodder for the reboot movie. Nolan’s Batman movies mined the best of the Batman mythology to find the right kind of characters and characterizations needed. Do the same thing with Superman.
Remember the Core
Superman is the one iconic hero probably close to everyone on the planet knows. His character is solidified in the minds of moviegoers as someone who is a strange visitor from another planet with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal man. He fights for truth, justice and the American way. That’s Superman. That’s the character. He isn’t a boy scout or a goody two-shoes. However, he isn’t dark or super-mysterious either. He is a midwestern boy with midwestern values. He is polite and a little vanilla. However, when he gets angry it means something.
No Origin Story
All Star Superman told the origin of Superman in four panels on one page with eight words: Doomed planet, Desperate scientists, Last hope, Kindly couple. The audience doesn’t need to know anything else. They already know everything they need prior to coming into the theater. The origin of Superman can be told in the pre-credit sequence as if it’s recapping a prior movie. It instantly propels the movie into what the audience really wants: action.
Superman Does Super Things
Give us an over the top action movie first and then drop in the Superman mythos. Give us something only Superman could do. If Superman’s around, the whole plot of Armageddon is over in ten minutes. Giant robots attacking the city? Superman melts them with his heat vision and throws them into the sun. With Superman you have to think big. Bank robbers and kittens caught in trees? That’s too small. Phantom Zone villains with powers and abilities on par with Superman’s? Seen it before, but always a good plan. Alien dictators with Death Star like weapons and billions of shock troops? Now, you’re talking.
Casting/Costuming/Set Design/Directing/Scripting – Follow Marvel’s Lead
You have to get the right actors in the roles, the right costuming, set design, script and director. Superman Returns failed pretty miserably all across the board. Find the writer who understands the character. Find the director who understands and loves the material. Find the actors who embody the roles. The Marvel movies found all or most of the right ingredients, tweeked when it needed tweeking and let the creative people who love the source material create the movie. It’s a plan for long term success. Steal it.
I’m sure I’ll see all these pieces fit together sooner rather than later. I hope.