It’s been officially announced that a solo Superman movie is in the works and should be released sometime soon after Ben Affleck’s Batman movie. I’m a big fan of Superman and I’m excited to see how he is on the big screen again since the last film.
A common complaint that I hear is that Superman hasn’t had a good movie in a while. While I certainly disagree I wanted to give my thoughts on what a REALLY good Superman movie needs. These suggestions will turn even the hardest critics of the Man of Steel into one of his biggest supporters (maybe).
1. Visuals Must Be Spectacular
The thing that has kept the Superman side of things so amazing in the eyes of young and old alike is the feeling of wonder and awe at the things he can do. The flying sequence in Man of Steel is a great example of how to do visuals right. Keep that kind of thing going? Also, the fight scenes must feel like something out of the ordinary. Again I cite Man of Steel as a good example.
The visuals for a long time have been what held Superman back from really reaching his full potential. As good as the Christopher Reeve movies were, they look kinda sloppy by today’s standards. We now have the technology to make Superman look right and we have had a demonstration of the visuals being used correctly. Keep doing that.
2. Get The Atmosphere Right For The Character
Superman has just captured a boatload of bank robbers and delivered them to the police. The police are astonished at this mysterious stranger that has provided this good deed. Superman flies to go help someone else and sees a little girl struggling to get her cat out of a tree. He stops to help her.
We have a real opportunity to explore Superman’s personality and values in a new movie. In Man of Steel we saw Superman make some very hard decisions that are going to affect the way he sees things in the world. How will he react when he stops a shooting and the bad guy references how Superman killed General Zod? How would Superman react if he is trying to intervene a violent engagement between good police officers and protestors with a righteous cause? How will he react to a terrorist whose sole purpose in his attack was to prove that Superman can’t save everyone?
Superman is supposed to represent the peak of human potential. According to Jor-El in Man of Steel he is the Ideal the people of Earth should strive for. He is the Man of Tomorrow, or at least is the one we want to be. With that title comes an immense amount of opportunity to explore possibilities in issues that face us today. The atmosphere of the movie needs to be free to explore these routes and show Superman struggle to find the right choice and then make it, no matter how hard it is or how it effects his image. Imagine that argument with the police and protestors. What if the police were right and Superman takes their side? How would media react? How would it effect public opinion on Superman? Would there be a way to peacefully end the violence? These are heavy stuff that would almost automatically make the audience think even long after the film is over.
In, short, Superman should fight the big issue, but never loose sight of the individual.
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3. Don’t Do Creepy Stuff!
Zod submits a vision into the mind of Clark Kent. The world has been destroyed by the world engine and Superman finds himself sinking in an endless pool of skulls. This scene looks like likely hundreds of Batman comic covers, but it’s not Superman.
In the mid to late '90s, both Superman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series were on TV. Batman was animated using bright colors on a black canvas which gave it a noir feeling. Superman was colored with the standard coloring method and all the colors were bright, yet this did not sacrifice the adventure that was available to Superman. Superman is not the creepy character. DC seems to like being the dark and brooding studio with the dark and brooding films. What needs to happen is that every movie needs to reflect the character that it’s about. You need dark times to make a good and engaging story, but you don’t need an entire movie about the embodiment of hope to be dreary and ironically hopeless. Don’t use anything that looks like it came out of Hot Topic and brighten up the colors. Bring some more hope into Superman’s world.
4. Let’s See Some Clark Kent Sleuthing
Superman/Batman #1. Batman is searching for clues to who is digging up graves in Gotham. Superman shows up. Metallo has been in town and is searching for his old body. Superman found that Metallo had made a trip to STAR Labs to find more information about where his remains may lie. The extra dug up graves were a diversion to keep Batman guessing. Batman asks, “which one of us is the detective?” Superman replies, “It’s called investigative journalism.”
Superman is not just the muscle-bound humanoid that he is sometimes portrayed as: He’s smart. He’s resourceful. He fights for the good even when not as Superman. Just as important as Superman saving someone from a burning building is Clark Kent finding out why the building was burning, finding out it was faulty construction, and then fighting the corrupt business in the pages of the Planet or on the web.
A large part of the vision of Superman as a dumb muscle freak has come from the runaway success graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. This book, while showing off Batman quite fondly, does not do justice to the magnificent and deep character that is Superman/Clark Kent. If you want a Superman movie to be a success you must show him not just as the super-man but as the man who is super.
We don’t have a whole lot of information yet as to this new Superman movie, but for me and a whole lot of other fans this could be the chance to really do something cool. To DC: do your homework, consider what I’ve said, and give us a story that truly makes us believe that a man can fly.
What are your thoughts? What needs to be included to make an amazing Superman movie? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to share this article with a friend who either really likes or really hates Superman.