From the polarizing Man of Steel to the universally acclaimed Wonder Woman, the DCEU has certainly been a mixed bag, with one of the biggest criticisms being the gloomy, brooding depiction of Superman. While he died in #BatmanVSuperman, we know that Kal-El makes an appearance in #JusticeLeague and there will be a sequel to #ManOfSteel coming afterwards.
Now Kingsman helmer Matthew Vaughn is in talks to direct the Man of Steel sequel, and he's told Collider his ideas for the movie's tone:
“Weirdly if I did do Superman—and I made the mistake of telling someone yesterday I have spoken about it and then wallop (laughs)—I think my main take would be, it’s really boring but make a Superman film. I just don’t feel a proper Superman—I think Donner did it to perfection for that time. Just doing the modern—I wanna do a modern version of the Donner [version]. Go back to the source material… For me Superman is color, feel-good, heroic. He’s a beacon of light in darkness. And that’s what I think Superman should be.”
Vaughn seems to be acknowledging the issues that fans have with Man of Steel and the rest of the #DCEU — particularly when he says that Superman is a beacon of light in darkness. Because of this, his ideas for a sequel to Man of Steel would take inspiration from the perfect film adaptation of Superman.
How Richard Donner's Superman Could Influence Man Of Steel 2
Richard Donner's 1978 Superman was a triumph that delivered exactly what the poster promised: "You'll believe a man can fly." Much like Man of Steel, we're given Superman's origin story and his subsequent struggles with fitting in on Earth. The key difference between the two films is the tone; whereas Superman is bright and hopeful, Man of Steel is much darker.
Perhaps this was a result of the time it was released. Following the success of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, there was a growing trend of more realistic approaches to superhero films.
While Henry Cavill may look the part, Christopher Reeve was Superman. He perfectly embodied both parts of the character, right down to some very subtle movements. Reeve's Superman was the beacon of hope that Vaughn speaks of, and he behaved in a way that mirrored the comics; his Clark Kent was affable and charming, while he also showed vulnerability that belied his true identity. Cavill's portrayal has gravitas, but he does lack something in the Clark Kent element of the character.
Perhaps Vaughn intends to bring in more of the mild-mannered aspect of his character and create a clear difference between Clark Kent and Superman. At present, the DCEU's Clark Kent is not quite the character we've all grown up with. Looking back at the highly successful Richard Donner films for inspiration can only be a good thing, and may help deliver the Man of Steel that the DCEU deserves.
How Will This Affect The DCEU Overall?
The interesting question posed is how Vaughn's vision will affect the DCEU as a whole. Superman is obviously a key part of DC's film universe, as the greatest superhero in their world, so a change in his character could have some broader positive effects. Optimism is infectious!
Perhpaps Superman will be a different guy when he returns from the dead in Justice League. After sacrificing himself to save the world — finally convincing the human race that he's a hero, not a threat — he might not feel so alienated or take himself so seriously. Perhaps this is where Matthew Vaughn's ideas will fit in.
It's possible that Vaughn's Superman film could also take place outside of the DCEU, particularly with the announcement of the standalone Joker movie that will have a separate continuity. (There's also some doubt on the continuity of the upcoming Batman film.) Perhaps DC is waiting to see how Justice League performs before making any concrete plans for the future of its cinematic universe.
Either way, a proper Superman who'll bring light to the darkness... sounds good to me.
What do you think of Matthew Vaughn's ideas for Man of Steel 2? Let me know in the comments!