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Date: March 15, 2008
In January 1999 I wrote an article titled "How to make a Superman movie". Now, with news that the sequel to "Superman Returns" is moving into development stage, I thought I'd go back and have a look at some of my previous ideas and note down a few new ones.
Bryan Singer has noted that the new movie will be more action packed. "The first one was a romantic film and a nostalgic film," he says. "I'll be the first person to own up to that without making any apologies for it. I knew it was going to be that from the outset. And now that the characters are established, there's really an opportunity to up the threat levels."
Tentatively titled "Superman: The Man of Steel", the new movie, likely to be release some time in 2010, has the Superman fanbase divided. Time will tell whether Bryan Singer can win back those fans who were disenchanted with "Superman Returns".
"Superman Returns" contained a lot of night sequences or situations with dark/drab backgrounds. In these sequences Superman was usually the brightest object in the scene, and rightly so. However if the new movie contains more day time sequences (and it should) then I'd prefer that Superman stood out more. Brightening the red in his costume (and especially the cape) would go a long way to making this happen.
Another heading in my 1999 article was:
There is a faction amongst the fanbase who are calling for a reboot to the franchise. We don't need a reboot. We don't need a new origin story. What we need is a stand-alone movie. A new Superman adventure. Why can't we simply have a Superman movie that has a beginning, a middle and an end? A self-contained adventure story that isn't weighed down by previous continuity, that doesn't contain held-over threads from previous incarnations. Same cast, same setting, just a new stand-alone story. One that could fit into any incarnation, any era, any version. The world is faced with a threat, Superman comes to the rescue to face that threat, and through twists and turns, he comes out at the end victorious, flies past the camera, smiles at the audience, who all go home happy, whistling the Superman theme. No loose ends, no unanswered questions, no unresolved issues. Just a solid story.
James Bond movies have been doing it for years. We know who the characters are. We know where they're situated. How they're connected to one another. We don't need major changes in their lives. Superman doesn't have to go through some major personal developmental overhaul. He doesn't need to grow a beard, live in China, become a policeman instead of a reporter... or be the father of a child.
I don't understand why filmmakers feel the need to make major changes in the Superman mythos.
For all their faults, "Superman III" and "Superman IV" had the right idea. They were both stand-alone movies that didn't require you to have seen the previous films. They didn't leave any unresolved issues that weighed down the franchise. They had the right idea, they just didn't execute them very well.
Back in 1999 I next wrote:
On the subject of soundtrack, my previous article stated:
Regarding the Special Effects, I wrote back in 1999:
Major Villain. One subject I didn't cover in my 1999 article was on the topic of who the major villain should be. For "Man of Steel" I'd personally like to see Brainiac. Other villains that could be used are Bizarro or Metallo. Lex Luthor (if he has to be used, and with Kevin Spacey signed on you'd imagine he will be) should not be the main villain again. Perhaps he could, as in some of the comics and animated episodes, form an alliegance with Brainiac, or be responsible for the cloning of Bizarro or the creation of Metallo. But let's leave the real estate "land land land" obsession behind please.
Before I conclude, I'll do as I did back in 1999, and leave you with this quote from Ilya Salkind, as I think it still says it all, and shows the wisdom we hope all involved in making this new Superman film can take to heart and learn from....
"From the outset, we were determined to stay true to the spirit of Superman. We wanted this movie to have more color, style, action, and spectacular visuals than any film of its kind ever made before. But there would be no tampering with the legend."
Executive Producer of "Superman: The Movie".