The views have been counted and the winner of the Batman v SupermanHonest Trailers-off is… Superman… really? That means the gang at Screen Junkies were forced, by us, to give the HT treatment to Bryan Singer’s 2006’s homage/sequel/remake/reboot… “hobootquel” of Richard Donner’s 1978 classic, Superman Returns. This marks the 4th time the Screen Junkies team have dabbled in the Superman franchise, with Donner’s Quest for Peace and Man of Steel already having one.
It’s good to see Warner Bros. and DC Comics finally starting to learn from their past mistakes in bringing their classic comic book superhero stable to the big screen. Outside of Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy their future looked mighty bleak in the wake of the less-than-enthusiastic receptions given to Superman Returns and Green Lantern. Last week the long-in-the-works Man of Steel brought Superman back to the big screen to the tune of a record-smashing $128 million opening weekend despite mixed reviews. Warners/DC had been hedging their bets of Man of Steel being successful enough to begin constructing a long-running cinematic universe of multiple superhero movie franchises to rival Marvel Studios, with the end result being an all-star Justice League team-up film.
However, the Justice League movie has proved to be of even greater difficulty to get off the ground than the film adventure of any single DCU character. Gangster Squad scribe Will Beall took a crack at the project last year but his efforts were eventually discarded by the studio in favor of a fresh start overseen by David S. Goyer, the writer and hardcore comic fan who helped make Blade the first lucrative feature franchise out of a Marvel character and also co-wrote Batman Begins and wrote Man of Steel, as part of a three-picture deal that also includes a naturally inevitable Man of Steel sequel.
People tend to forget, or have the memory surgically removed from their brains, that fifteen years ago we saw Superman battle Brainiac, Lex Luthor, and Doomsday on the big screen without the benefit of his trademark costume or even the ability to fly. The possibility that a universally adored icon of comic book heroics could have gone such a revisionist undertaking once is enough to send the most ardent Superman fans into therapy.
Had all the pieces fallen into place in the summer of 1998 Warner Bros. would have brought to the world the Last Son of Krypton’s biggest – and potentially strangest – movie adventure to date: Superman Lives, directed by Tim Burton from a screenplay credited to several different writers including independent filmmaker/geek icon/current critical pariah Kevin Smith and Wesley Strick (Martin Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear), with no less than Nicolas Cage in the title role of the greatest hero of the DC Universe. Yes friends, this movie almost happened, except it didn’t happen.
A few years ago I read an interview with filmmaker Terry Gilliam where he was talking about a sequence he had to cut from his 2005 movie The Brothers Grimm that was so costly to shoot and with the amount of money that had to be spent on CGI the scene would be, in Gilliam’s words, “the most expensive deleted scene ever made.” It’s true that many films have to go through extensive reshooting and reediting before they’re released to theaters, often the result of unenthusiastic audience responses at test screenings or the will of studio executives far from happy with the final product. But in the case of Superman Returns — Bryan Singer‘s much hyped and ultimately disappointing 2006 attempt to relaunch the film franchise starring the iconic DC Comics superhero that first began with 1978’s classic Superman: The Movie — the decision to remove a costly scene integral to the narrative was the decision of the director alone. The long talked about “Return to Krypton” scene is now available for viewing online after recently being released as an extra in the Superman: The Motion Picture AnthologyBlu-ray box set [you can read review of the set here].
You can watch the over 5-minute deleted opening sequence here below.
Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology Blu-ray
Starring Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey
Release date: June 7, 2011
With all the superhero movies that have been made over the last few decades, the first Superman movie is still by far my favorite. Based on the DC Comics character, the 1978 film was the superhero film for all ages, not just children, and set the bar for all comic book movies to follow.
Now, all four original films, which starred Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel, along with the 2006 sequel/reboot hybrid Superman Returns starring Brandon Routh, are now collected in high definition in Warner Home Video’s new offering Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology Blu-ray Edition.