Initial reaction to Synder directing Superman

By now everyone and their grandmother knows that Zack Snyder is set to direct the new Superman reboot for Warner Bros, Superman: The Man of Steel, finally ending months of speculation.

My initial reaction to last night’s news was mixed. I know that Snyder has a strong comic sensibility, I mean visually his previous adaptations of the medium (300 and Watchmen) were stunning, but his movies lack that substantive feel that I believe is absolutely necessary for any Superman movie. The last son of Krypton must be more than just muscles in a cape.

Thankfully with David Goyer on scripting duties and Christopher Nolan in a producers role Snyder has two heavy-weights that will be more than capable of adding the meat to his sauce.

The lingering doubt remains however due to a number of additional circumstances. Warners are under big pressure to get cameras rolling on this as the rights will revert back to the original creators estates should production not start before 2011. That’s never a good reason to start a movie. Also the last director to take on the man of steel, one Mr. Bryan Singer, had an enviable track record in comic-book adaptations too, and his version never managed to soar as it should have.

Rumours have already started in gusto regarding possible plots, and potential casting for the new movie, with General Zod being a favourite to return according to THR. This is not the worst idea ever as it allows for Superman’s strength and moral fibre to be shown to its full extent, the very essence of what makes him Earth’s champion. Additionally it allows for the tease of Lex Luthor, setting them up nicely for the inevitable sequel. The only caveat here is that Terrence Stamp put such an indelible mark on Zod in Superman II that it’s going to be very difficult separating from his performance or mimicking it without coming off second best.

The same goes for whoever dons the cape, with the shadow of Christopher Reeve almost impossible to escape from under. Brandon Routh did a fine job in Superman Returns, but it is unlikely that he will be offered the chance to put back on the tight red speedos. Which is a shame really as it was the script that let him down.

This new movie being a reboot offers the production crew a new chance to tell the origin story of Clark Kent, as well as Superman, and while this may be tempting it can bog down the opening act (or two) of a movie if not properly paced. Snyder has been quick to talk to news outlets regarding his vision and is keenly aware of the potential sentimentality that Superman can attract.

Talking to EW he said “I’ve followed Superman over the years. I wouldn’t say I was a huge devotee, but I’ve kept an eye on the character in the pop culture, and as the pop culture has regarded him, for the past 10 years, especially. I think there’s a real opportunity here. He’s in the perfect place to do something. Think of where Batman was when Chris took that on earlier in the decade. I think Superman is in a very similar place, in terms of being available and in terms of his relationship to where the culture was at that time. Superman is right there. He’s ready. And can I be any more cryptic?”

Not much info there but he was a little more candid when discussing working with Christopher Nolan with Heat Vision and MTV. “In the initial meetings, he’s been super amazingly smart and also amazingly kind, filmmaker-to-filmmaker. I have great respect for him. The process has been amazing so far, and it looks like nothing but pluses.”

“It was really just talking about, in really sort of civilized and fun terms, who [Superman] was to us and what he could be. I think that those conversations felt free from the pressure of an ‘audition’ and felt more just talking about a character that we both liked. It was really, at that point, I was content if I was the one picked or not, that I had had a great visit. From a creative and fan point of view, I was satisfied, and that was cool.”

Snyder is unavailable to start production immediately, but with an entire cast to find that shouldn’t matter too much. He is looking to start after he has finished working on his next film Sucker Punch which is scheduled to be released March 25th, 2011. I just hope that for the sake of my very favourite superhero he is up to the challenge.