'Den of Geek' Tells Us: "What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel"

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'Den of Geek' Tells Us: "What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel"

Post  Apologist Puncher on Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:28 pm

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/1308592/what_were_looking_for_in_man_of_steel.html

What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel
Shahid Khan

With the new Superman logo now unveiled, Shahid takes a look ahead to next year’s Man Of Steel, and what he hopes it will bring...

Published on Apr 3, 2012


The new Man Of Steel logo was made public last week, reminding us that of all the superhero movies being released this year, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, what's glaringly, obviously missing is the superhero who started the whole superhero business both in the comics and the movies in the first place. But no matter, there's one being released next year - and Henry Cavill has huge red boots to fill as Superman in 2013’s Man Of Steel.

However, given the lukewarm reaction to Superman Returns, with noted film critics and fans criticising the movie for being too much of an homage to the original Donner versions with not enough action, what can the new movie do to reignite the franchise?

Let him speak!



If there was one thing that really bugged me about Superman Returns, it was that Brandon Routh really wasn't given much to say at all. I wasn't the only one - Roger Ebert noted that as Clark Kent, Routh was monosyllabic, and as Superman, was microsyllabic. I don't know if it was a conscious choice to limit his dialogue, but it certainly didn't help, as Routh made even less of an impression than he otherwise could have done.

There were many shots of Routh as Superman flying, lifting, fighting(huh???), and standing authoritatively with arms folded. Nowhere near enough of him just saying something. Anything.

Strong, silent leads do have their place in cinema. Clint Eastwood did it; Kevin Costner gave it a shot in Waterworld, and more recently Ryan Gosling did it much more successfully in Drive. Hell, even Arnold Schwarzenegger had fewer than 90 words in the entire running time of The Terminator, and 30 years later, it’s still arguably his most memorable character. My argument, though, is that this shouldn't apply to superheroes, because it just doesn't work.

Spider-Man wisecracks, Batman moralises on his actions, Robert Downey Jr reinvented Tony Stark to be much more talkative than he ever was in the comics. Because in the movies, we don't have thought bubbles above the character's head telling us what they’re thinking. (The exception, of course, is The Spirit, which unsuccessfully substituted narration instead, with unintentionally hilarious results).

Unless the hero in question is being portrayed by a truly exceptional actor who can emote everything their character's thinking and feeling so we need no verbal exposition to tell us what's going on in their mind, we're going to need some dialogue.

The only hero-type character I'll let get away with little to no speech is the Hulk. And even he still has an alter ego who's able to say a few words (just don’t get him angry).

Even with the best will in the world, any actor even of Shakespearian calibre will be hard put to convey any subtle emotion or inner turmoil when asked to do so wearing a costume in front of a green screen which later places them in the middle of shit being blown up real good.

So please Mr Snyder, let Henry Cavill polish up his midwestern American accent and give him some dialogue – Superman doesn’t need to be the strong, silent type.

Don't be afraid to have fun

[/img]

Another mistake that Returns made was that it was just so po-faced. Only Kevin Spacey seemed like he was enjoying himself. I guess he didn't realise he was the only one at the party.

Superhero movies need to have some element of humour somewhere. Even The Dark Knight managed a couple of lines for goodness’ sake. And Brandon Routh proved he does have some comedic ability with his rather good performance in Scott Pilgrim.

I'm not saying the new movie should be completely self-aware, but when you're living in a universe in which a grown man wearing blue tights and a red cape is flying around shooting fire from his eyes, you don't need to play it completely straight.

Donner managed it in the original movies, and The New Adventure Of Superman and Smallville were confident enough to realise the potential for humour in their versions. But I haven't seen much humour from Zack Snyder in any of his films (although I haven't seen Legend Of The Guardians - his only family film to date). Everything I've seen of Snyder's work is all very stylised, very pretty but oh, so very serious.

All I ask is that Clark and Superman are given some levity. As the Man of Tomorrow, he doesn't need to be Batman, all brooding and guilt-ridden, compelled to continue on an impossible quest due to severe childhood trauma.

Let him crack a joke or give a knowing glance now and then, that's all.

Show the mythology, but don't let it dominate the story



Everyone knows the Superman story - Krypton exploding, Jor-El sending his only son to be the hope of mankind and so on. Even my Dad knows the story.

I'm perfectly happy for elements of the origin to be worked into the new film - after all, it is essentially a new universe and they should be allowed to do their own take on it. But because the story is so well known, we don't need to see all of it recreated again, surely? For my money, Smallville has given the best interpretation on screen thus far, but that's only because it had 10 years to create a rich tapestry of back-story that could add to what had gone before.

Doing something similar for 15 or 20 minutes of a possible two-hour movie? Just show the basics and then get on with it, I say.

Mind you, if the synopsis is anything to go by, then it'll probably just be flashbacks interspersed throughout the film. I don’t think many people would have a problem with that. Especially as they've got Kevin Costner to play Jor-El.

Action, please!



And again we come back to Returns. Even Bryan Singer admitted he'd called it wrong and should have put more action in. No kidding - it says something when there was more action in the relatively low-budget Smallville than a big budget blockbuster movie with the same character.

Another thing that struck me was that Returns also put me in mind of the classic Fleischer cartoons at times. Specifically, the scene with the falling jumbo jet which Superman prevents from crashing into a baseball park. As Superman whizzed between falling pieces of aeroplane to try and catch it, the clear use of a CGI stand-in meant that Supes might as well have just been hand-drawn and animated – the character had no appearance of weight or presence (the first Spider-Man movie also suffered from the same problem). Hopefully, this will be less of an issue with the advancements in CGI in the last few years.

And if there's one thing I'm sure of after 300 and Sucker Punch is that Snyder is happy to direct over-the-top action sequences and make them look very, very pretty.

Let just hope that’s not all we get.

Romance? If you must...



The Clark/Superman/Lois saga is now 80 years old. I don’t know how many more versions they can do of Lois Lane where she’s smart enough to be a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist but can’t recognize a superhero once he puts on a pair of glasses.

Good luck to Amy Adams with that challenge.

Make Zod a true badass



I think one of the missteps that Smallville made was casting Callum Blue as Zod. No disrespect to Callum - but I never envisaged Zod with a London accent (it was bordering on Cockney at times). Unfortunately, to me, he seemed like more of a thug or a low-level henchman than portraying the gravitas of a general. Mind you, the previous Zod was played by Terence Stamp. That was a pretty tough act to follow by any stretch.

But Callum did at least manage to exude menace, and with some deft storylines he did end up appearing as a viable opponent for Clark in the show.

Michael Shannon is an inspired choice for the role – Oscar nominated for best supporting actor for Revolutionary Road and leading man of 2011’s well received Take Shelter.

So please, Mr Snyder, make Zod really mean, really tough and really intelligent – someone who can truly be a rival to Superman.


Let Richard Donner's version go



It was brilliant. It’s been done. Let’s move on...

Please have a decent story



The synopsis for the new movie is all that I expected it could be. If not exciting, it does at least allow for the new version of Superman to be introduced in a new way without retreading too much old ground. The weak link may not be so much the story itself but rather, how it’s portrayed. Which brings us to the director.

How many of us felt our hearts sink after Sucker Punch? I wanted to like it. I really, really wanted to like it. I didn't hate it.

The visuals were fantastic, the action was at times mesmerising if overblown, and the premise was intriguing. But the delivery of what is an unusual idea on a fairly big budget didn't work for me in the end. It was just too stylised, the story a tad too ridiculous. I went in watching Sucker Punch knowing Snyder had been given the Superman gig and hoped against hope I could walk out knowing it was in safe hands. When I did walk out, I wasn’t so sure it would be.

Only the involvement of Christopher and Jonathan Nolan in the production of Man Of Steel has kept my hopes up. So please Mr Snyder, don't mess this up for us.

Because one thing's for sure, with all of the issues, expense and drama that has plagued the development of Superman movies for nearly 20 years, if this one doesn't work, then it could well be a very long time before Superman really does return.[img]

Lots of criticism for Singerman, and that ain't never a bad thing!

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Re: 'Den of Geek' Tells Us: "What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel"

Post  thecolorsblend on Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:43 am

Apologist Puncher wrote:Lots of criticism for Singerman, and that ain't never a bad thing!
True, but that's one of the few things I agreed with. And even there, he seemed to want to be a bit political and cut BJ more slack than he deserves. His turn in Scott Pilgrim was... funny? Seriously? But whatever. Hollywood politics, I guess.

But here's the deal, if Smallville demonstrated anything, it's that people don't know Superman's origin as well as we fans do. It's not open to debate. The common man isn't as familiar with the history and the mythos as we think. They need an origin story to put the character into some kind of context. One reason TDK worked was because audiences were invested in the character from BB.

And something else, this whole vaguely anti-Snyder shit in the article really bugs me. "He makes pretty visuals but where's the substance?" By now, Hollywood has proven that they don't get Superman. So my ideal Superman movie is one with minimal plot and character development. Hollywood will inevitably fuck up one and leftwing-politicize the other. So skip that shit and just give me a bunch of fun action sequences with just enough of a coherent plot to tie it all together. The fact that the Nolan brothers are supposed to be so involved in this thing... frankly, that's been the one aspect of this sucker that's given me genuine pause. I trust Snyder and give him credit for a lot of stuff but the Nolans... frankly, my big hope is that all Chris Nolan did was use his own cred to get Goyer into a meeting with the execs for the big pitch, after which he collected his "producer" credit and hit the door.

And I'm not just saying all this because I don't want to hear some douchenozzle who loves the hell out of TDK criticize anybody or anything for lacking substance... but, no, that doesn't help their cause.

Something else, Sucker Punch wasn't high art by any stretch but it was a lot of fun. If you somehow have problems with a mindless action movie filled with half naked women getting into fights that doesn't try to pretend like it's anything other than a mindless action movie filled with half naked women getting into fights, my guess is that there's some Apologist forum out there that'd love to have you as a member. So get out of my face.

Look, I was as cynical as anybody (and more so than most) about Snyder's participation in this thing. "Guilty until proven innocent", remember? But so far, except for the missing trunks (and who knows what could happen if there's a sequel?), he's proven that he can and will make the right choices. Guilty until proven innocent. Nothing's changed. But for right now, I'm content to not run Zack Snyder down all the time assuming he's going to fuck it all up. Because he's definitely going in the right direction so far.
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Re: 'Den of Geek' Tells Us: "What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel"

Post  webhead2006 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:11 pm

Very good find ap. Enjoyed the read. I hope mos will hit all the right marks. For us fans, the joe smoe public, and the shit hollyweird execs. I too agree as much as folks know at least the basics to supes. This film/take needs its own view/look on sv life/krypton and all that. So we see why these characters are the way they are. Not having to sustain to reusing 30+yr iold take on events. That was a thing I loved on sv. Sure they drew from donner stuff a lot of times, bbut they also toss in other comic era stuff. While also putting there own stamp/twists on things. As for nolan I too hope he was just more name/cred to get wbb to take the film. And then left it up to snyder for the rest. I am sure I recall a interview nolan wife mentioned he was going to be hands off mos.
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Re: 'Den of Geek' Tells Us: "What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel"

Post  Apologist Puncher on Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:58 pm

thecolorsblend wrote:True, but that's one of the few things I agreed with. And even there, he seemed to want to be a bit political and cut BJ more slack than he deserves. His turn in Scott Pilgrim was... funny? Seriously? But whatever. Hollywood politics, I guess.

With everyone pretending that bullying is somehow a "NEW" phenomenon, people on the interwebs want to act like they won't kick someone when they're down.

And EVERYONE sees that BJ is done as a "leading man" in HollyWeird.

But here's the deal, if Smallville demonstrated anything, it's that people don't know Superman's origin as well as we fans do. It's not open to debate. The common man isn't as familiar with the history and the mythos as we think. They need an origin story to put the character into some kind of context. One reason TDK worked was because audiences were invested in the character from BB.

Nolan took the character serious, and there are still a lot of people around who remember "Batmania" from back in '89. That didn't hurt.

And something else, this whole vaguely anti-Snyder shit in the article really bugs me. "He makes pretty visuals but where's the substance?" By now, Hollywood has proven that they don't get Superman. So my ideal Superman movie is one with minimal plot and character development. Hollywood will inevitably fuck up one and leftwing-politicize the other. So skip that shit and just give me a bunch of fun action sequences with just enough of a coherent plot to tie it all together. The fact that the Nolan brothers are supposed to be so involved in this thing... frankly, that's been the one aspect of this sucker that's given me genuine pause. I trust Snyder and give him credit for a lot of stuff but the Nolans... frankly, my big hope is that all Chris Nolan did was use his own cred to get Goyer into a meeting with the execs for the big pitch, after which he collected his "producer" credit and hit the door.

It's "hip" for people to hate on 'Sucker Punch' because others say so.

Something else, Sucker Punch wasn't high art by any stretch but it was a lot of fun. If you somehow have problems with a mindless action movie filled with half naked women getting into fights that doesn't try to pretend like it's anything other than a mindless action movie filled with half naked women getting into fights, my guess is that there's some Apologist forum out there that'd love to have you as a member. So get out of my face.

Peruse the internet. Look for people crapping all over 'Sucker Punch'. See if you can find ANY legitimate criticism of it beyond vague hyperbole.

*Psssst* You won't be able to....

Look, I was as cynical as anybody (and more so than most) about Snyder's participation in this thing. "Guilty until proven innocent", remember? But so far, except for the missing trunks (and who knows what could happen if there's a sequel?), he's proven that he can and will make the right choices. Guilty until proven innocent. Nothing's changed. But for right now, I'm content to not run Zack Snyder down all the time assuming he's going to fuck it all up. Because he's definitely going in the right direction so far.

We need to start seeing something from this film. The haters and Apologists are going to keep trying to build ill-will towards Snyder and his film, and the longer they wait, the more ignorant people will see this and jump on the "Stupidity Bandwagon".

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Re: 'Den of Geek' Tells Us: "What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel"

Post  thecolorsblend on Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:44 pm

Apologist Puncher wrote:Nolan took the character serious, and there are still a lot of people around who remember "Batmania" from back in '89. That didn't hurt.
It's weird how history has developed new opinions about Burton's movies over time. At the time, I remember both being criticized for being too dark and violent. After Burton was shown the door and Schumacher came along, Burton was deeply missed. After Shumacher was shown the door, Burton was venerated. But after Nolan, Burton has been vilified, his movies were "campy" (do people know wtf that even means? I realize what people think it means but the actual meaning is something else entirely), on and on and on.

Not really related to your point but there it is.

Apologist Puncher wrote:It's "hip" for people to hate on 'Sucker Punch' because others say so.
Ah yes, group think. The same conventional wisdom that said Singerman was guaranteed a sequel, no doubt.

Apologist Puncher wrote:Peruse the internet. Look for people crapping all over 'Sucker Punch'. See if you can find ANY legitimate criticism of it beyond vague hyperbole.
The closest I've seen to valid criticism is the cover songs, specifically "Tomorrow Never Knows". Stuff like "White Rabbit" arguably plays nicely in a movie so heavily centered on person's perceptions of reality but the point was the TNK was unnecessary. Even that's subjective though.

As far as finding legit "problems" with the movie...
Apologist Puncher wrote:*Psssst* You won't be able to....
... precisely.

Apologist Puncher wrote:We need to start seeing something from this film. The haters and Apologists are going to keep trying to build ill-will towards Snyder and his film, and the longer they wait, the more ignorant people will see this and jump on the "Stupidity Bandwagon".
No argument here. After Singerman, WB has their work cut out for them selling Superman; what's left of the Apologist "movement" going out of their way to smack-talk it every chance they get won't help the cause. The early promo efforts, and teaser especially, have to impress people early on or this thing will be over before it starts. Let's see something already, WB.
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Re: 'Den of Geek' Tells Us: "What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel"

Post  webhead2006 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:13 pm

Totally when I think of campy that would be adam west batman. Wouldn't call burton bbatman that, his would be more dark and gothic. And we all know nolan's is a realism spiel.
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Re: 'Den of Geek' Tells Us: "What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel"

Post  thecolorsblend on Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:12 pm

webhead2006 wrote:Totally when I think of campy that would be adam west batman. Wouldn't call burton bbatman that, his would be more dark and gothic. And we all know nolan's is a realism spiel.
Wikipedia on camp wrote:Attitude
Camp means and has been from the start an ironic attitude, embraced by anti-Academic theorists for its explicit defense of clearly marginalized forms. As such, its claims to legitimacy are dependent on its opposition to the status quo; camp has no aspiration to timelessness, but rather lives on the hypocrisy of the dominant culture. It doesn't present basic values, but precisely confronts culture with what it perceives as its inconsistencies, to show how any norm is socially constructed. This rebellious utilisation of critical concepts was originally formulated by modernist art theorists such as sociologist Theodor Adorno, who were radically opposed to the kind of popular culture that consumerism endorsed.

Distinguishing between Kitsch and Camp
The words "camp" and "kitsch" are often used interchangeably; both may relate to art, literature, music, or any object that carries an aesthetic value. However, "kitsch" refers specifically to the work itself, whereas "camp" is a mode of performance. Thus, a person may consume kitsch intentionally or unintentionally. Camp, as Susan Sontag observed, is always a way of consuming or performing culture "in quotation marks."

URL- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp

If there's one thing about Wikipedia that kind of pisses me off, it's that sometimes it tells you so much about something that it effectively tells you nothing. But the above is a pretty good quick and easy explanation.
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Re: 'Den of Geek' Tells Us: "What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel"

Post  Comicbookfan-V2 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:11 pm

webhead2006 wrote:Totally when I think of campy that would be adam west batman. Wouldn't call burton bbatman that, his would be more dark and gothic. And we all know nolan's is a realism spiel.

They also said that the "Spider-Man" trilogy was campy and unfaithful to the comics after getting a glimps of "The Amazing Spider-Man" trailers but in reailty the films were just a blend of humor, drama & action done in Sam Raimi's own unique style and borrowed plots from classic Spider-Man stories in comics.

Just shows how much people use terms when they really don't know the definition of them!
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Re: 'Den of Geek' Tells Us: "What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel"

Post  thecolorsblend on Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:46 am

Comicbookfan-V2 wrote:Just shows how much people use terms when they really don't know the definition of them!
In other words...
thecolorsblend wrote:But after Nolan, Burton has been vilified, his movies were "campy" (do people know wtf that even means? I realize what people think it means but the actual meaning is something else entirely), on and on and on.
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Re: 'Den of Geek' Tells Us: "What we’re looking for in Man Of Steel"

Post  Apologist Puncher on Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:30 am

thecolorsblend wrote:It's weird how history has developed new opinions about Burton's movies over time. At the time, I remember both being criticized for being too dark and violent. After Burton was shown the door and Schumacher came along, Burton was deeply missed. After Shumacher was shown the door, Burton was venerated. But after Nolan, Burton has been vilified, his movies were "campy" (do people know wtf that even means? I realize what people think it means but the actual meaning is something else entirely), on and on and on.

Not really related to your point but there it is.

I was referring more to Schumachers two abominations being the most recent film versions in people's conscious. Nolan flipped all of that on it's head.

Schumachers films ARE campy.

Ah yes, group think. The same conventional wisdom that said Singerman was guaranteed a sequel, no doubt.

Of which there is till a tiny minority holding out hope that it STILL happens.

Reality need not apply.

The closest I've seen to valid criticism is the cover songs, specifically "Tomorrow Never Knows". Stuff like "White Rabbit" arguably plays nicely in a movie so heavily centered on person's perceptions of reality but the point was the TNK was unnecessary. Even that's subjective though.

And one bad song, a bad movie does not make.

No argument here. After Singerman, WB has their work cut out for them selling Superman; what's left of the Apologist "movement" going out of their way to smack-talk it every chance they get won't help the cause. The early promo efforts, and teaser especially, have to impress people early on or this thing will be over before it starts. Let's see something already, WB.

I don't get the point of waiting. Why launch a FaceBook page, and have just a lone, sad little logo on the page? And on top of that, not add ANYTHING in the days that follow?

The mind boggles.

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