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Movie: Superman Re-do Too?

Some of you may remember a post that I made a few weeks back detailing how you can spot a bad sequel. To save you having to revisit the original post, here’s a short refresher:

Generally, if the creative team behind the original film aren’t willing to hang around for a film’s sequel then there’s a good chance that the sequel is going to suck… Of course, when we’re talking about the sequel to Bryan Singer’s 2006 painful Superman Returns, then maybe change isn’t such a bad thing.

Writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris wont be returning to the creative team for Singer’s sequel, however before you cheer, it may pay to remember that these guys wrote the screenplay to the story that Singer, Dougherty and Dan Harris (X-men 2) concocted. So only one of them can really take any heat for the stupid choices that were made as far as rehashing the Superman The Movie plot, or completely destroying Superman lore by introducing a half Kryptonian / half Bosworth kid. But even then, the guy who entered into that project as something of a golden boy, Bryan Singer, ultimately carries the blame for the suck-fest that was Superman Returns.

Don’t get me wrong, there were quite a few nerdgasm moments in Superman Returns, however most of them were trampled by the fact that the movie felt far too much like a rehash than a homage to Richard Donner’s 1978 film, almost as though Singer were too afraid to break new ground with the movie and then, when someone pointed that out, he threw the kid in just to prove them wrong.

Even before the loss of Dougherty and Harris, who have both moved on to other projects, the sequel (The Man of Steel) has been plagued by bad press and rumour mongering: There was talk that Singer himself would not be returning to direct the film, some suggested that the Superman franchise would be shelved again to let the stench created by Superman Returns die down. Now there is even talk that the next film will be a ‘re-boot’ (much like the new Hulk movie) distancing itself completely from the previous film… as though we never paid our money to see it.

However, I find none of those rumours more disturbing than the one doing the rounds a week or so ago that Singer is attempting to get Terrance Stamp to appear in the sequel and reprise his role of General Zod. Why, after being panned so unrelentingly for re-hashing the plot from Superman The Movie in Superman Returns, would Singer willingly go back to the well and re-visit the plot from Superman II for The Man of Steel?

I’m not saying that Terrance Stamp isn’t awesome, nor am I saying that seeing Superman go up against Zod (at some point in the future) isn’t something I’d love to see. But for Superman not to end up being the laughing stock of super hero franchise movies, the people behind the camera need to start being a little more respectful of the character AND the audience. Sticking to the canon doesn’t mean retelling the same stories with new special effects and expanding canon doesn’t mean completely destroying the biosphere in which the characters live (and have managed to do so just fine before Singer showed up).

It may turn out that the whole Stamp/Zod thing is completely bunk. But there’s no denying that Singer is going to have to work real magic with The Man of Steel to win back the disappointed fans…

Of course, I’d take it all back if the new film opens with Zod, Superman and Lois on the Maury Povich show just as Maury says “General Zod… you ARE the father!”. [source] [source]

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    That is insane. Personally, I enjoyed Returns based purely on the musical score and a few scenes and feelings that reminded me of the wonder of seeing Christopher Reeve as Superman when I was a young child. But the fact that there are people out there that are willing, almost urging, a ‘re-boot’ of the Superman franchise is beyond comprehension. What I fail to understant, and will never accept, is that Returns was THAT bad a film to necessitate a ‘re-boot’. Sure, there were things that didnt work, things that were done lazily and things that seemed completely odd as choices…but is it really worth doing ANOTHER Superman ONE? Honestly…it makes no sense. If the film-makers had any balls, they would focus purely on creating a much more unique (while still dipping its hat to the original – the music, etc.) setting/story/expansion on the universe that Superman resides.

    In all honesty it screams of arrogance and pig-headedness that the notion, however false it may be, is being thrown around the rumour mill.

    The answer is for Singer to grow some balls and not be afraid of his talent. I reckon he is more than capable; perhaps he needs to refresh it in his mind first.

  • Exactly my point Morgs.

  • Considering that they went to great measures to create a plot outline that has Superman missing for years then coming back from deep space after searching for actual proof that his planet was indeed destroyed, they really failed to capitalise on the opportunities for plot development that this may have opened up.
    Maybe a second attempt may actually rectify this…