Superman at the Movies: Let’s Try This Again

Rumors are all a'swirl about a forthcoming Superman motion picture, the revitalization of a franchise that many argue was soured by Superman Returns back in 2006. It seems a foregone conclusion that star Brandon Routh, director Bryan Singer, and writers Dougherty and Harris will have nothing to do with the continuation of the film series, if the next installment should adhere to that continuity at all. In the years since, we've seen the rise and fall of Mark Millar's vision of a grandiose, eight-hour film epic. More recently, reports have claimed that The Dark Knight's Christopher Nolan would oversee the development of yet another take on the project. Then last week, Latino Review reported that David Goyer would take a stab at the screenplay or possibly advise other writers on it (I'm imagining a clipboard and a whistle here). This proposed "Man of Steel" script would draw from John Byrne's interpretation, itself a revitalization of the Superman comics in the '80s. This story would have a greater emphasis on action and involve a significant helping of Kryptonian mythology, no doubt laying the pipe for sequels. It would also involve the dual threat of Lex Luthor and Brainiac, serving as the latter's live-action feature film debut. It all sounds pretty enticing, but none of this has been confirmed by the studios or the writers. 

[NOTE: AICN has alleged that Latino Review's scoop is incorrect and that Goyer has not been approached by the studio with regard to this project.]

I have no delusions that I wield any kind of influence on the Powers That Be, but given my emotional investment in the success of a new Superman film, and my love of screenwriting, I thought I'd offer a few thoughts on the matter. Because, ya know, why not?

Brainiac's a No-Brainer.

It's 2006, and I'm skipping merrily from the multiplex, bathed in the afterglow of Superman Returns. It'll be months before I realize the extent to which it missed the mark, even if it wasn't the creative failure that many have deemed it. For now, I'm just stoked for a new superhero film franchise with my favorite comic book hero in the starring role. I'm not even on the asphalt before I start working out how the sequels will work. Returns established the current continuity and got Luthor and his pesky real estate schemes out of the way. Now, now, we can finally bring in Brainiac. He's the most compelling of Superman's admittedly screwball rogues gallery. Sure, Parasite, Toyman, and Metallo make for great images, but they're thugs. Use them in the opening credits sequence to really sell the fact that this is a new era in Superman films, a smart saga that's still action-packed.  If you want a blockbuster with a villain who can stand toe-to-toe with the hero, Brainiac is practically a no-brainer. He's scary, he can pose a threat on multiple fronts (the secret to creating a genuine threat to Superman), and he's even the perfect vessel for exposition. Whether Brainiac originated on Krypton, caused its destruction, or simply attacked its populace, he's a database by design. And that creates the perfect opportunity for Clark to learn about his birth parents, their culture, and his history. It's also a perfect method to lay the groundwork for future storylines involving Kandor or even new iterations of Zod and his followers.  


Lose the Toupée. 

Yuks aside, Luthor is one of the biggest problems with the existing films. He has some great moments, but other dramatizations have shown that Luthor can be much more than an egomaniacal real estate magnate. He's not Superman's Joker. He's his Harvey Dent. A man who might be selfish, but who also has the insight and the capability to make the world a better place. It's as if his heart is in the wrong place, but he can innovate and enrich peoples' lives. He doesn't, but he could. It's his hatred of Superman, his jealousy of another man's success and impact that turns his endeavors toward evil. If you use the Luthor of Bruce Timm's animated films and serials, you almost can't go wrong. The push and pull between Luthor and Superman and their respective relationships with the people of Metropolis define their story. It's easy enough to make Lex cartoonishly evil. But what if he makes some valid points about the world's trust in Superman? Should any one individual have that much power? Lex isn't just the polar opposite of Superman, he's the alternative. Also, the bald alternative. 



Pay homage or borrow from Superman: The Motion Picture where it makes sense, but don't sacrifice anything at the altar, least of all good characterization and storytelling. That film got a lot of things right, but not everything. Move forward.

Superman is one of the most identifiable characters in the world. Have faith that the audience knows the general story of Superman and even some of his relationships. I'm not gonna say don't revisit the origin at all, because it's one of my favorite stories in comics and I'll gladly watch it again. But that shouldn't be the crux of the film. Don't worry about fitting this into the existing film continuity either. The Incredible Hulk offered a pitch perfect Hulk origin in its opening credits and transitioned directly into a new story. It distanced itself from the previous film incarnation, but still managed to work as both a sequel and a fresh start. People are willing to reconcile continuity when it means progress. And anyone who disagrees can't be satisfied anyway, no matter what you do. We can do a better Luthor. We can do a better Zod. Let's move forward. 


Superman isn't Batman. Sounds easy enough, but there are those who would suggest otherwise. 

Following the massive success of The Dark Knight, there was a lot of talk about studios pushing for dark and gritty adaptations, especially when it comes to comic books. Superman is none of these things. While I'm sure Batman's tone is probably more appealing to modern audiences, the reason Dark Knight worked artistically, was because it was well written, acted, and was an appropriate translation of the source material's tone. To paint Superman in that same Gotham brush would be a disservice. It would be unfaithful in the only way an adaptation really can be unfaithful: by missing the point. Superman isn't a badass. I don't even mind saying that Superman isn't cool. He broods, but not on gargoyles. He hangs out in a big igloo for cripes sakes. He's got issues, but he deals. Look to Christopher Reeve's portrayal or those Byrne or Johns comics, but don't worry about making him edgy. That's what Brainiac's for. Let Clark and Jimmy be remarkably, comfortably lame. It can still be explosive. It can still be scary at times because people are in danger and Brainiac is effing with your wireless router. But it's Batman who inspires fear. Superman inspires awe. 


Lois is the Speeding Bullet

The love triangle between Lois, Clark, and Superman is the kind of romantic subplot that writer's dream about. It's a dynamic that we constantly try and reproduce in countless romantic comedies and action films. Margot Kidder actually had it pretty well worked out. She's dismissive of Clark, but everything melts away when she sees Superman. But that's not the whole of her character. She exists outside of those relationships. She's a ballsy reporter who leaps and hopes that the net will appear. She doggedly pursues her stories as if she had Superman's powers. She's out for truth, justice, and the American way even without Superman. These days she's even more relevant than her boyfriend because she's a real journalist, and those are in short supply. I don'y know where she is right now, but somewhere out there, there's a modern Katharine Hepburn destined to rock Clark's world. 


What does Metropolis look like? Can we shoot it in Vancouver? 

Shoot it wherever you like, but watch those Max Fleischer cartoons before you load up the vans. 


Geoff Johns Knows What He's Doing

Nolan's a great filmmaker and Goyer's sure to have some great insights too, but I really do hope Johns' new standing gives him some leverage to influence this movie. There have been many, many great writers to work on Superman books. For my money, Johns is the guy with the best handle on bringing the folksy charm of Smallville's favorite son to the Metropolis era. He's an archival salvage man who finds the best of these old stories, dusts them off, and makes them new again. The trick to good screenwriting isn't adding bells and whistles. It's subtracting them. It's finding the simplest route between two points, making sure every element is connected. Byrne did some things that worked great in the 80s, in comics. Johns has proven himself to do things that work well in a contemporary setting and in a dramatized medium. Trust in Johns. 


It's gonna be tough, but I'm willing to believe a man can fly…again. 



Paul Montgomery will be camped out in the telephone booth if you need him. Follow him on Twitter or contact him at 


  1. Seeing the Zod and Geoff Johns images on the same page has just made me think: Kneel Before Johns! And I would.

    Spot-on article, but I would add one thing: Too many films today portray "good" people as either naive or ignorant, and Superman should not fall into that category. The great thing about Supes, for me, is that he is fully aware of all the evil and darkness in the world and he feels it as if it were his own pain, but he does not let it corrupt him or bring him down. He stares into the abyss and the abyss blinks.

  2. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I absolutely loved Superman Returns. I have no complaints about it whatsoever. I’m disappointed this will be another reboot, but I am still cautiously optimistic at this stage.

  3. @BrianBaer: You’re not.

  4. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I think Routh was a great Superman, and I’m kinda disappointed he’s probably not going to be asked to come back because of his association with Returns. At least from the reports I’m reading. I still like the movie more than I dislike it, but there’s some critical missteps in there that kept it from winning over audiences. I think a lot of it has to do with its faithfulness to The Motion Picture. For characters like Superman and Clark and Jimmy it works. For Lex it doesn’t. The kid can be problematic for sequels, but I was okay with it for that particular story. I really do think it’s the Luthor stuff that hurts it. 

  5. I watched "Superman The Animated Series" by iFanboy’s article suggestion.  The whole series is awesome.  I’ve never liked Superman much before.  I find his current comics uninteresting.  But that cartoon is astoundingly good.  Whoever made that cartoon should write the movie.

    Or Mark Millar.  I’d like to see his trilogy.

  6. I agree with Paul on this. there’s parts of Returns that were great (like most of superman’s action scenes), because at times it made him look like i always envisioned him…the majestic awe-inspiring hero – even though routh seemed to youngish at times.

    but the awe-inspiration and all that jazz was portrayed perfectly in timm’s animated series. on top of that, it had the quintessential luthor for me. dangerous, scheming, charming, brilliant. the movie version always seemed so whacky…regardless of spacey or hackman, he was just over the top. i sort of had the feeling that lex was more of a comic book character than supes himself. that’s what dragged returns down for me, in the end – the portrayal of lex(uh, alright, there’s the stuff with the kid – i hated that, too).

    if you base a movie on johns’ work and timm’s cartoon, you can’t go wrong.

    @rapideyemovement: that was a beautiful description of why the big guy is not lame or boring. thank you. 

  7. What action scenes?  He never threw a punch!

  8. Wow! People I should’ve been friends with!


    I also really liked "returns", I watch it loads and think that it’s totally in the spirit of Superman. Still, get why people got defensive about it and can accept that the franchise is retooling. The way there are stand alone and else-world comics, I can easily enjoy Returns in that vein for a different approach to Sup’s. 

  9. Story Story Story – You got it right there. You have to get the writing done properly. Make us CARE, make us laugh, get us engaged with this strange vistor from another world. Get a good writer with a good story , and the rest falls into place.


  10. @KickAss: the plane rescue, the gatling gun robbery thingy and supes sealing the gas leaks are the action scenes i liked. scenes that demonstrate his power or show superman in action in contemporary film and with contemporary means compared to the 70’s and 80’s version.

     btw, what i really liked about superman returns was the flashback part to his childhood. the whole way it was depicted visually had me totally captivated.

    there’s also one thing i’d like them to keep for the reboot: the title theme! i love that title theme. 

  11. Also can we have a young Luthor for once?  So far the closest to the Luthor I want to see has been Michael Rosenbaum. As great as Hackman and Spacey were in their roles I don’t want to see another schlumpy, overweight, over the hill guy as the man who should basically be a cross between Jobs, Obama and Feynmen. 

  12. I liked Superman Returns as well. The plane/space shuttle sequence were awesome. Also, the scene where Luthor and his goons beat on him was really hard to watch. It was vicious.

    I’d like to see Routh in the role still. I thought he was a good Clark and a good Superman. 

  13. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    I remember thinking that RETURNS was just okay when I saw it. I own it on DVD but haven’t felt a desire to rewatch it since the theater. This might show my feelings for it more than anything else. I will have to watch it again sometime.

    You’re totally right about the writing being paramount. We know that a superhero movie will look amazing in this CGI/3-D world we live in. It’s the story being told that is key. I’d love for Brainiac being the main baddie of the next film.

    But, if we can get Jon Hamm in a better looking skull cap than that, I’d be a little more lenient about getting yet another Luthor story. 🙂

  14. Say what you will about superman returns, but it was grander than the first x men movie by quite a lot.  Superhero movies tend to peak around #2….

  15. For all it’s flaws I still liked Superman Returns. Routh and the kid that played Jimmy were great. Bosworth was a less than stellar Lois. The girl they have on Smallville is just about perfect, a little hammy but good writing can fix that. As far as a villain goes they should go with someone a little different. I’m sick of Luthor and Brainiac has been done pretty recently in Smallville. My vote is for Darkseid. I sooo want to see Superman beat the snot out of someone that can take a punch. If it could be half as good as that fight they had in the Justice League cartoon I would be estatic.

  16. I think Darkseid is too big a character for Superman just to take on by himself.  If he shows up it brings in this whole New Gods cosmology that is quite literally Earth shattering and that’s something that if we’re on the road to a JLA movie (which we may or may not be) that’s something that they should all should show up (along witha boatload of B and C list characters) for.

  17. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Smallville’s Brainiac hardly counts because the character can be portrayed at a much grander scale in the movies. Plus, all the Krypton connections I mentioned. As for Darkseid, that would involve way too much world-building for this next film. You’d have to really truncate his mythology. 

  18. @Heroville: You may be right about that. A full on "Apocalips Attacks" story would probably work better for a JLA movie. However, an intro to the charaters of New Genesis/ Apocalips could work for a Supes film. Maybe have Kalabak and a few para demons do a little rumspringa on earth. Have Superman get a little help from Orion, Barda and Mister Miracle and bada bing bada boom you have an action packed Superman story and at the same time sow the seeds for a much bigger conflict in a JLA flick. Also you warm the audience up to the idea of the New Gods and not have to waste time on explanation during on what is sure to be a very complicated JLA script.

  19. Great column, Paul, as always.

    My biggest problem with Superman Returns is that I was bored. Bored bored bored. I didn’t hate it. I wasn’t annoyed. I was just indifferent. I didn’t care about the paper-thin archetypes that they didn’t bother to make into actual characters, or the paint-by-numbers plot, devoid of any tension or subtext. I remember that I’d just lost my watch, and as I sat in the theater I kept trying to check the time.

    And I mean … this is Superman! Superman! If ever a story should not be boring!

    So my main wish for the new movie is … don’t be boring? Please?

  20. @Paul: I hear what you’re saying but I guess I’m just not that big a fan of Brainiac. I think he works better on the page than in a move. We all know that Superman (and most of the rest of the hero community for that matter) has issues from his past concerning his heritage/parents. Lets move on from all that stuff. He’s here, he has his green card, lets bust some heads. Having a Brainiac story would run the risk of way too (pardon the pun) cerebral Superman movie. I do see you point on Darkseid though. Adopting a "just the tip" approach I described in my previous post might work though.
    Great article btw! 

  21. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @EJ – But how do you know Brainiac works better on the page when he’s never been in a feature film. 😉

    Seriously though, wanting to move on from Kryptonian lore is a valid opinion. I’m also not against introducing the New Gods into the film series at some point, but venturing into the Cosmic is pretty ambitious for a film that really has to be a slam dunk. This next movie really has to work in order for there to be any more. You could argue that the New Gods are just another set of aliens. You can go that root, but that’s not the real New Gods. New Gods are more than SF. They’re fantasy. If this were my gig, I’d much rather go with Brainiac. That’s hard science fiction, and you can sell that as a visual and as "cool." Not to sound lazy, but he’s also easier. He’s 2001’s HAL 9000 with legs. How do you pitch the New Gods? Well. Not quickly. I’m not just approaching this hypothetical thing as a Superman fan, but as a screenwriter. That means streamlining this baby and coming up with something that would be accessible to as many people as possible. That’s why I’m going all in with Brainiac.


  22. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:


  23. I like all of Paul’s ideas and thoughts here.

    But I will fight any man to the death who has anything bad to say about Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor…


  24. Didn’t the Kevin Smith script feature Brainiac?  (and yes, lazer wielding polar bears)

  25. @Paul: Touche sir. i guess the only instances I have to go by are the Timm-verse cartoons and Smallville. So the only examples are from the small screen.

     As far as the science fiction/fantasy New God problem goes. I think that all we have to do is lock Geoff Johns in a room with with some pringles a few pencils, paper and a bucket and tell him he cant leave until he comes up with a way to solve it. My guess is that he figures it out before he has to use the bucket.

    Yeah, the New Gods are a pretty heady concept and I think if they were ever going to tackle it, they would have to make quite a few concessions continuity purists would have issues with. But I dont think its a problem that Johns and his bucket couldnt solve.

  26. This movie isn’t gonna be made for a very long time. I can just see it not happening.

  27. am i the only one who would of loved to have seen a live action adaption of Bruce Timm’s Worlds Finest, with Christian Bale as Batman and Heath Ledger as the Joker, with new actors playing Superman and Lex Luthor. to bad id hate to see another actor play the Joker after the fantastic performace by Ledger, i think it would of made a kick ass movie though

  28. Superman is my all time fave Superhero movie.  As far as I’m concerned it’s near perfect.  I also loved Superman Returns… I still fail to understand why people hated it so.

     If you do Reboot Superman I see no problem in letting Brandon Routh taking another crack at it…

    @Conor Regarding Gene Hackman… "you are wise in your generation", and I look forward to saying hello to you at Emerald city Comic-con! (I’ll be the Canadian taller than you…)

  29. @Conor: uh…uhm…does that mean you are gonna fight me now, considering what i wrote earlier? at least let me finish my drink first. 🙂

  30. I’m a little confused by this article, now. Is the Goyer thing a rumor or does it have merrit? I’ve seen split reports on it…

  31. @mcbaker: "[NOTE: AICN has alleged that Latino Review’s scoop is incorrect and that Goyer has not been approached by the studio with regard to this project.]"

  32. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Hawkboy – The problem with using Routh sadly has little to do with the quality of his performance. Returns didn’t do very well at the box office, so all of these reports are suggesting that the studio wants to distance itself from that production. That means a new start and a new creative team. It also means a new Superman actor. Now, I’m not entirely giving up hope that Routh could retain the role, but with the way things work, I’d put my money on the studio going with someone different. I also doubt they’d go with Smallville’s Tom Welling, a suggestion that tends to pop up constantly in these discussions. Smallville is another brand, and since it’s in its 9th season, they’d probably be afraid audiences would think the film was a continuation. No, I really think they’re trying to start fresh here. We see the same thing with the DCU original animated features. They alter the character designs and cast new actors in the roles of Superman and Batman to distinguish between projects. It’s all about branding. In a way, it’s like renumbering a comic series. Creating new jumping on points. 

  33. I enjoyed Superman Returns overall. Had some issues with little plot points (the Super-Dead-Beat Dad for one) but it definitely seemed to be in the spirit of the older movies. I think this was the problem for a lot of modern viewers who’ve seen a much more "grown-up" (for lack of a better word) version of comicbook movies. A complete reboot is the best thing if they want to make money but I do feel the cast was for the most part very strong in Superman Returns.

  34. I liked Superman Returns, loved some of the story threads. Routh was really good and wished I could see more of him, punching stuff. I liked his cameo on Zack and Myri. He seems like a very nice fellow. Facy, I think I’ll pop it again and see it. Yes, it may have been slow in some parts but was still inspiring and heroic in others. I’m a Bryan Singer defender!

    However they choose to address the next movies is out of "our" hands so, let it be and hope for the best. I really wish to se Routh as some other hero if he is no longer involved in Sups. Face it, the guy has a very heroic stance, not found in every corner. He would have been a pretty good Lantern. Nightwing? Bucky?

  35. At a Q&A with Mark Millar last week I heard a bit about his epic Superman trilogy type thing that he had planned for a while. It dealt with literally the entire life of Superman, from his initial trip to Earth, his teenage years, his Metropolis time, until eventually he was literally the last man on Earth, several thousand years into the future. It sounded really interesting, but possibly a bit too much for a mainstream blockbuster thing – some of the details sounded a little bleak.

    At this stage a Superman film would be difficult to sell back to the public – many (in the general public at least) see him as outdated and corny, wanting darker and "edgier" heroes. In some ways the overall perception of Superman is outdated – very few would think of Superman as the hero portrayed in today’s comics, but instead think of the old films, which while classic do not represent the evolution or any kind of modernisation of the character.

    To this end, a smarter approach needs to be taken with a Superman film…whether this will happen is yet to be seen. 

  36. Not Brainiac. No. I don’t agree. No more super-geniuses. Supes needs a villain he can punch.

    I say Darkseid and open up Appocalypse.

  37. "Trust in Johns".  That should be the next iFanboy shirt.

  38. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @JumpingJupiter – Not if you go with the Timmverse Brainiac. He’s a super genius AND a big, scary cyborg thing! Or a series of them. There would be a lot of the punching. 

  39. Ah, this I did not know. The punching sounds good.

    Like the Hulk reboot. Yeah they went to far the other way but it was ultimately a good thing.

  40. BRING BACK ROUTH!!!!!!!

  41. I look forward to this new Superman film. I loved the animated series as a child and still watch it to this day. Superman is a pillar, he’s a symbol, not just of comic-dom but of Americana. Which I think maybe scares some film makers or makes them want to just slap something on Superman. "Make him dark! That’s working." "Make him Edgy!" Or whatever. But Superman isn’t any of those things, and he doesn’t need to be. I liked "Returns" quite a bit and love re-watching it. But we do need a clean start. We need a "start for scratch, and make it great" approach. Would the New Gods be cool? Sure, but that’s something to put the seeds into a film one, maybe a film two (or putting the seeds in Superman and making "NEw Gods" a JLA movie). As long as they get Superman right, everything should hopefully fall in to place. Superman is best when he’s facing off against a genius, not a hulking punch machine. Superman is indeed powerful, but he’s at his best when he’s using his head. Give him a villain worthy of using his mind on, and you’ll have a hell of a movie. He’s as american as apple pie, and apple pie is not that hard to make.

  42. I would love to see Johns, Nolan, Goyer, and crew wipe the slate clean.  

    Give us a brief origin summary in the opening credits and/or first 15 minutes and then build a story around Brainiac (from Johns’s recent run) being a total badass while Supes runs around trying to keep the world from being torn completely apart.  It, of course, could all culminate in a gargantuan battle between the two ending with Superman quite simply tearing Brainiac to shreds (no need to go dark, but give Supes some bite).  Johns (and Goyer) have proven they are capable of injecting the necessary depth into a story that is positively overflowing with action.

    It is evident from films like District 9 that special effects have evolved enough to allow alien technology and life to be integrated into scenes with quality actors.  Make use of that potential with Brainiac and his machines.

  43. @cooper I understand what you are trying to say and I do agree with a minor part of it but that whole "The world wants edgier heroes…." and "He’s outdated’  spiel gets trotted out all the time yet Superman continues to sell and they keep making movies about him. It’s a mindset that is often expressed by some fanboys but is never really completely true…

    And let us not forget ‘Superman Returns’ made nearly 400,000,000 worldwide.  Many believe it completely failed at the Box office and that is simply not true.  It’s more like IF Canada’s Hockey team at the Olympics won Bronze instead of gold… it’s still good and you finished high but everyone here expected the gold (By the way WE DID WIN GOLD WOOOOOOOOT! *Ahem* sorry.  WOOOOOOOOOOOOOT WE’RE #1!!!!!!!! Okay really I’ll stop). 

    Also the general public does not look down at Superman… to them he’s one of the few comic properties they could name and tell you a bit about.  Sure more characters are out there in the public eye but Superman is KNOWN by everyone and it’s not in an negative way like you suggest.  Little kids still know who Superman is they still have Superman pajamas, and I’m more than 100% sure Superman is in the top two or three of money making properties for all of comics.  I could be wrong but I’d be shocked if I was.

     I’m also having a hard time with notion that the Superman film (I’m assuming you mean the 1978 film) not representing what the Character is today?  I dunno about you but that film is probably the closest characterization of the character that we see in comic today.  I mean they even draw Supes more Like Chris Reeve now.

    I simply don’t feel Superman is how you perceive him to be… but who knows I could be way out to lunch.  It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

  44. wheres that image from? the one with braniac and superman?

  45. got it!

  46. Action Comics #868

  47. Superman Returns was one of the worst movies of all time. This franchise has nowhere to go, but up.

  48. Did you see Punisher War Zone?

  49. Or WANTED?

  50. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Superman Returns isn’t even the worst Superman movie. 

  51. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    And, if you rolled into a multiplex on June 28th, 2006, you could’ve done way worse that Superman Returns. Also playing: Click, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties.

  52. Superman Returns is one of my all time favorite movies.. no joke, i saw it 17 times in the theater!

  53. I would honestly like to see a new Superman movie right now a lot more than I want to see another Spider-Man or X-Men or Daredevil film, so I hope it happens!  And for me as a fan, the right Lois is the crucial element.  Kate Bosworth was just miscast in ‘Returns’ (which I enjoyed but didn’t rock my world). 

  54. How to say this without being everything I despise?….

    I find the adherence to the "Donner continuity" extremely puzzling; it’s as if some superhero fans cling to continuity simply because it IS continuity, no matter how good or bad it is. And those Christopher Reeve movies… look, I grant you that I’m no Superman fan, but I can’t help thinking if Richard Donner or Dick Lester’s Superman movies came out as-is for the first time in 2010, Superman fans would be despondent. They would take to bed from the trauma of seeing their hero depicted in such a hambone, slapstick fashion. The "making the earth go backwards to reverse time" alone would be crashing message board servers all over the globe, with the mind-erasing kiss yet to come. That the same people who would be responsible for that Earth-2 conniption fit are on this Earth so devoted to treating those movies like the book of Genesis is not something I am able to grasp.

  55. @Jimski – Thank you for having the guts to point out the fact that Donner’s Superman movies aren’t as amazing as they get credit for.

    @ohcaroline – I would really like to see them try to find a Lois that matches the look and confidence level expressed by Frank Quitely’s Lois from All Star Superman.  Somewhat darker skin tone (perhaps hispanic or mixed race), a little meat on her bones (unlike Bosworth), and (most importantly) some serious acting chops.  Superman needs the diversity and Clark needs a believably strong female lead to play off of.

  56. @Jimski I get what you are saying and I don’t give a monkeys about continuity either but since I am a Superman fan I can say you are wrong… at least when it comes to me.  ‘Superman’ for myself is, and remains to be, the greatest Comic Book screen adaptation EVER.  I don’t need my comics or movies to be dark and gritty and all that other BS.  There is nothing wrong with a lighter tone.  They didn’t go Batman TV series by winking at the camera and they didn’t go all French Connection either to make it ‘Badass and cool’. 

     They walked the line perfectly.  And seriously, if one is willing to accept a man in a blue jump suit defying all known physics by flying… yet can’t swallow the earth being reversed and going back in time?  Each are equally silly and for me, I just can’t take part in that type of selective suspension of disbelief.  If anything (And I said it above) The Superman movie has a HUGE influence on the comics today (more so than the time the movie actually came out) and that is a very good thing.

  57. @jimski – i dont think its fair to even say what would happen if Donner’s movie came out today.  it wouldnt be the same movie, it was made in a different time and you’re looking at them thru eyes thats seen The Dark Knight and Spiderman 2.  its really not a fair comparison. That said, i think the original movie(s) stand the test of time and are iconic. It is still the template for the origin story comic book film IMO.

  58. To religiously adhere to the Donner Superman series is to entirely forget its spirit.

    It’s true that when audiences think of Superman, they think of the Williams score and the crystal fortress first and a less musclebound Kal-El as defining that mythos while that’s a valid opinion these elements only exist because the production crew took the risk of trying something different than what had come before. Bashing on the new Superman movie for potentially detaching itself from what has come before would be like fans in 1978 throwing a toddler tantrum that Donner’s Superman wasn’t like George Reeves and that Krypton didn’t look like this .

    Superman: The Movie did not leave such an impact upon the Superman mythos from which it originated because of specific aesthetic choices, but because it was bold enough to stray away from what was expected when considering these choices . For the new Superman movie to come close to the cultural impact of the Donner series, Nolan and Snyder are going to have to roll the hard six:

    Forget the Williams score, forget Crystal Krypton and forget every single interpretation that audiences and comic fans associate with and expect of the character had ever existed. If The Man of Steel is to be as successful as the Donner series, then it must also dare to be different and totally renovate the high concept and core values of ‘Superman’, of who and what ‘Superman’ would be to the world if it was a brand new creation. I feel that the many reboots of Superman have failed to stick as well as Byrne’s ‘The Man of Steel’ for the exact same reason, even Birthright and Secret Origins didn’t really re-envision the mythos (a la Ultimate Spiderman) as much as shuffle it around a little.

    Some examples: to solve the problem of why Kryptonians appear human, why can’t “the planet Krypton” simply be the Earth of a different dimension or even a colony of evolved post-humanity from the distant future? If Lex Luthor is supposed to represent the worst of what humanity can be (mad scientist in the golden age, corrupt corporate figure in the bronze age), then why not make him a super-intelligent terrorist – who perceives himself to be a revolutionary figure within a broken society and economy – that targets  “Superman” as the protector and embodiment of the “American way” that he fundamentally believes must be destroyed for the wellbeing of all mankind?