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‘Superman’ Has ‘Dark Knight’ Envy
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SupermanIt’s official, there won’t be a sequel to Superman Returns … instead, it’ll be a reboot.

Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov spoke to WSJ about where the studio is going, where they want to be in a few years, and what their plans are for their DC Comics properties, such as the caped man in the spandex going darker on us right along with other heroes.

“‘Superman’ didn’t quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to,” says Mr. Robinov. “It didn’t position the character the way he needed to be positioned. Had ‘Superman’ worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009, but now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman… We’re going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it.

Now, judging by how incredibly well The Dark Knight has done, this seems like simple logic — hell, I could run a studio if decisions were this easily laid out — but when you look closer, it might not be as easy as that. TDK is about as good as it gets, so that’s the way to start it off; and next up they have Watchmen, which had it’s dark tones already laid out for it. If after that they decide to do this re-boot of Superman, will it work?

I personally think Supe’s costume alone makes it really difficult to go dark and we all know there’s no one anywhere that could make Superman as good as The Dark Knight was; but there were rumors of the sequel looking at Superman more like an “angry god” and if they keep that with the re-boot, it has a lot of potential. Then comes some other characters such as Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman — maybe two of those having potential for the “darker” treatment.

Actually, come to think of it, Wonder Woman shouldn’t even be made at this point; it’s been thrown around from director to writer to director to star to star to coffee boy. It’s jut a dirty property now and no one is even that excited about it. Move on. You had your Joss Whedon and you blew it.

Now, the big question is, were the comments that Mark Millar made a while back about wanting to re-invent Superman for the 21st century as absolutely insane as we once thought they were?

Maybe he knew something we did not.


  1. WB is missing the point. Superman is NOT a DARK CHARACTER. What’s with these idiots? Superman Returns was not a bad movie, but we were simply hoping for more action. A dark villain, better writers, that’s all. Routh was a great Superman. U can’t blame him for such a crappy script. And The Dar Knight did as good as it did because of the publicity. You can’t buy publicity like that. Heath Ledger’s death fueled that movie like nothing we’ve seen before. Its a fact. Batman was awesome, but Ironman was better. Give Superman a worthy villain! Now I have to wait probably another 3 years for Superman.

    Comment by AJ — August 23, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

  2. Considering that the Bryan Singer Superman movie wasn’t a reboot at all, this news is pleasing. I liked “Returns” but it was an ode to Richard Donner. I didn’t want an ode, I wanted Superman!

    Comment by TechGOnzo — August 23, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

  3. Superman Returns was by far one of the worst movies ever made in the history of cinema. A stalking deadbeat dad who doesn’t throw one punch in the whole movie. Bye-bye Singer. Good riddance.

    Comment by SingerSucks — August 23, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

  4. They could have done superman returns better .. look at it as a re-introduction. As for the “darker” image …. HAHA “ok, let revamp alvin and the chipmunks because it didnt sell as good and give it a darker image. Hell it worked for TDK it can work for everything else”. Keep Routh IMO! GET a decent villain (more action, blood, destruction). Too many greedy bastards out to cash in on a great thing. A shame they dont take their time and do it right!

    Comment by JoJo — August 23, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

  5. I don’t think the “angry god” concept is the right way to go at all.

    …unless you’re talking about exploring the concept through a metaphor for our generation’s perception of Superman, the American ubermensch, as an upset, intolerantly high standard the rest of us simply can’t live up to, who is right to hate us for allowing his mere presence to excuse their imperfection.

    But that can’t be done with Superman, he’s just not that dark. He’s the ultimate in his genre’s corner of pulp myth fantasy, and as such operates within a certain frequency that, while not necessarily wholesome, doesn’t support such an exploration.

    That concept sounds like something better explored by the dozens of Superman knock-offs prevalent in superhero publishers unconstricted by rules like “Superman can’t kill” or “Superman must be seen as a good guy in the end.”

    Those inextricable qualities Time Warner (and thus Warner Brothers [and thus DC]) will ultimately be required for the sustained mass appeal of the character and would neuter the angry god concept and thus the film in general.

    Besides, why is everyone so afraid to make a movie that’s really in Superman’s head? It’s always ABOUT Superman, but none of the films really went out of their way to get inside Clark Kent’s head and show things from his perspective.

    Sure, it’d be expensive as all hell, but Superman’s such an icon that as a franchise he demands such treatment. Either the WB will go balls deep into making a film about the character or they’ll continue retarded attempts at tailoring an unfortunately rigid icon to fit the mold of a character that is by definition Superman’s virtuous opposite.

    Batman is the good guy that gets to go as dark as he pleases. Superman gets to be wholesome. Not nauseatingly so, but in a way that reminds us of just how wonderful our history and modern life really is.

    He is Helios, Batman is Luna. Apollo sure as hell doesn’t need to be a nice guy, but he brings the light. Luna is the light that shines where there there are only flecks of far-away light in-between chasms of darkness.

    Comment by Raniz — August 24, 2008 @ 2:22 am

  6. Are they nuts! What made Dark Knight incredible was the amazing script and incredible performance! Superman doesn’t need to go dark, it just need a better writer. Find someone like David Koepp or better yet the Nolan brothers to write it for you. A Frank Miller screenplay would be pure heaven. Go somewhere who understands the character and not the numbers at the box office!

    Comment by Lestat — August 24, 2008 @ 3:28 am

  7. Superman begins..

    Maybe. I hope dark as the character allows means an adult intelligent film, not let’s change the iconic costume even more; like make it black and moody…

    I’d look to Seigal and Shuster for inspiration, back in 1938 Superman beat up bad guys; accepted that sometimes bad things happen to bad people, They increasingly portrayed Lois as smart and independent, and by 1940 planned to introduce K-metal (their version of Kryptonite) in a comic that ended with Lois discovering that Superman was Clark and then agreeing to be partners. Decades ahead of their time. Over ruled by unimaginative exec’s at DC. it didn’t happen.

    So something like this ; start with a lower powered Superman, build a relationship with Lois, have him learning about his heritage, details of his origin, as an adult with/because of her, and power him up over the story arc, just as the character did in the comics, as he learns his limits (or lack of them) as he is tested by adversity and adversaries – but not a big rock.

    Also no Lex. or at least only as a minor character, the only human that has a chance of really being anything more than annoyance to Superman, is Batman on a bad day with help and lot of planning.

    Also no more “every other thing from Krypton” is bad news, be it Rocks, Zod, etc, that’s also old and has been done already. I’m bored of Yay Superman! boo oh no! because we have Superman come to earth some Kyrptonian bad thing is killing us.

    Comment by Charles — August 24, 2008 @ 9:00 am

  8. By “dark” I thnk they mean giving him an edge. Making him grittier, while still being all blue, red and yellow. Many comics have been able to portray him that way. When he’s Clark, he’s Clark. When he’s Superman, he’s Superman with an attitude.

    Comment by Rick — August 24, 2008 @ 12:03 pm

  9. It’s a fact that The Dark Knight was good but Ironman was better? Did I actually just read that in the first comment? Moron! Ironman was great but as a movie wasn’t anywhere near as good as The Dark Knight. Ironman was popcorn fluff…good popcorn fluff but popcorn fluff none the less. TDK is much more than hype, that was more than obvious about 5-10 minutes into the movie. You just knew you were watching something so much more than a comic book or superhero movie. Ironman was a comic book/superhero movie, a great one yes but nothing more.

    The morons over at Warner Bros did the right thing handing over Batman to Nolan but Superman doesn’t need the dark treatment, it needs someone that doesn’t want to pay respect to Richard Donner but who actually wants to do that reboot. Dark is not the way to go, the villian can of course be dark but Superman is a boy scout and should be written and played that way.

    Comment by Ron — August 25, 2008 @ 2:08 am

  10. Those people arguing over Dark Knight vs Ironman – which was better is a matter of opinion so please stop using the word ‘fact’ where it does not apply. I enjoyed both films.

    I agree that Superman is not a dark character. To be honest I don’t think he is a very interesting character at all for our day and age – he was born of the idealism and naiveté of the 40’s and 50’s and thats part of what he is.

    Having said that the one ‘dark’ superman story is the Death of Superman and the Reign of the Supermen that followed it.

    Comment by DanJW — August 25, 2008 @ 7:53 am

  11. “Superman” should be a Beacon of Light in a Dark World. A Symbol for Hope and Purity. An Icon of all that is good in Humanity from the eyes of ‘child’ Visitor to this Planet… with of course, the tragic realizations that ‘What Mankind strives to be’ is an ideal and the reality of ‘What kind of creature a human being truly is’ a harsh lesson for us all to accept.

    I would like to see Superman treated like the ‘Juno’ of the Super Hero world. A happy go lucky child that gets a reality check, but still goes on with life.

    Comment by Tony B — August 25, 2008 @ 9:16 am

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