In honor of Man of Steel hitting theaters this week, I thought I would reflect on the last time Warner Bros. tried to reboot the franchise with 2006's Superman Returns. Many people didn't really like it. They were quoted as saying how it was a rehash of Donner's Superman and how it lacked originality and that was the point.
What happened was this: Around the time that Warner Bros. wanted to put a new Superman movie going, Bryan Singer was committed to directing X-Men: The Last Stand and he wanted to direct both as he was a fan of the guy and he did everything he could to make it work but sadly, Fox wouldn't budge on the schedule they already had set. Singer, already having directed the first two, felt that he could leave and focus on the Superman movie.
In an interview, Singer did admit that there were problems, but he also said that the film was a love letter to the Donner films. Sort of his thank you.
Here's why I really like the film.
- Singer got Superman. He understood him.
- I like the fact that it sorta, kinda picked up from where Superman: The Movie left off.
- People bug out over the dialogue where some of it was word for word and I get that, but it's relevant to the story and make sense.
I could go on and on but you get the idea. I understand that Singer gets flack for this but I don't see it that way. What I saw was a fan who not only tried to respect the franchise but also went and asked for Donner's approval. In fact, Singer had said that if he (Donner) had said "No." then he would have not done it.
In my book this is pure respect because clearly Singer has a lot of respect for the materiel and knows what to do with it. So much so that he even got the okay from Dana Reeve (Christopher Reeves wife) on the casting of Brandon Routh who had an uncanny resemblance to Chris Reeve. Even Kevin Spacey was perfectly cast as Lex Luthor.
I recently watched it again when FX aired it last week, and upon further viewing, I do get some of the complaints, but I understand why certain things were done..
Singer knew what he was doing. He made it for nostalgic reasons and a sort of "Thank you" to Richard Donner. While he tried to update it for today's audience, he also put in nods to the old SUPERMAN as well for instance: The Jimmy Olsen from the 50's TV show.
Superman has been around for 75 years and no matter who's in charge of the guy, true die hard fans will always find something about him to nitpick on and while I have yet to see Man of Steel (of course I will await judgement till I see it), I know that it's been updated and refreshed for today's audience and that they redid the whole origin story by expanding on it. And that's okay because with 75 years of history, change is good and if DC Comics can start all over why can't Warner Bros.?
Would love to hear your thoughts. Sound off in the comments.