Anders Bergstrom's blog on Words, Films, and Music

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Am I Predisposed to Not Like the new Superman film?

NOTE: I have not yet seen the film and this is just based on what I've seen and read, and what I, as a long time comic book fan, would like to see in a Superman film. If Singer's film delivers, I will happily eat my words and admit I was wrong.

I'm getting the impression from some that people might think I'm against Superman Returns without going to see it. This is not entirely true. Oh, of course I'm going to see it, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it (like Luke said on his blog, it's gotta be better than X-Men: The Last Stand, right?).

I'm not even saying I think it's going to be a bad movie. It's just that from everything I've read and seen, Singer's vision of Superman is not what I would do if I was making the film. I just don't think that making this a psuedo-sequel to the first two Chris Reeve films is a good idea. Why handicap yourself and tie yourself to continuity that way. Especially a continuity that, nostalgia aside, had some pretty stupid elements to it that took away from the epic feel of Superman (e.g. Otis, turning back time, amnesia kisses, levitation beams?). I think that the series could have used a fresh start like Christopher Nolan did with the Batman films. Though, I guess I would keep John Williams iconic Superman theme. That I'll give Singer. Good idea.

Heck, if I was going to make a Superman film with a $250 million dollar budget, I'd go back to Byrne's 1986 Man of Steel mini-series and use that as a basis for a screenplay with a few modifications. Here's what I'd put in the film. A Luthor who is a legitimit threat -- a billionaire scientist with the tech to actually take on Superman, and whom the world trusts and loves, and who's lust for power and glory makes Supes a rival. A love triangle for Superman and Lois -- involving Luthor no less; I know this was done on Lois & Clark but it worked. Not killing off Pa Kent, as the love of his adopted parents is what helps keep Clark grounded in the human world. Those are just a few things that I would work into a film.

As for casting, I cast a Superman who's a bit older than Brandon Routh. Superman can't look like a kid. We already have a young, inexperienced hero -- his name is Spider-man. Routh's age wouldn't be a problem, but if we're to believe that this is the Superman from the first two films who's been away for 5 years shouldn't he be like in his mid-thirties at least? That said, I do like the idea of casting a non-movie star in the role. I really can't see any of today's Hollywood elite as Superman, and then he brings no baggage to the role (I'll give Singer this, Routh makes me much happier than Burton's ill-concieved idea of casting Nicholas Cage in the role).

As for supporting cast, I'm looking forward to seeing what Kevin Spacey does with the role; I hope he takes Luthor and really goes with it, because the last thing I want to see is a Luthor in the vein of most of Spacey's roles; you know, the self-righteous, soft spoken guy who's just so smug. I want a Luthor with a bit of kick to him. I was thinking, "who would I cast?" and I came up with what I think would be a really interesting bit of casting: Ed Harris! Just think, he's got the aggressive, intelligent, determined thing going for him. He can play great villians, and we're used to seeing him bald anyway so that wouldn't be a distraction for people (like Spacey's egghead is). I think Ed Harris as Luthor would kick ass!

Now for the most important casting decision: Lois Lane. I'm sorry, I don't know if I'll be able to buy Kate Bosworth as a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. Lois has to be not just beautiful, but someone who you believe could track down a story, who could win the heart of the most powerful men on earth through her energy and aggression. I always thought that Terri Hatcher was the best Lois in any of the live action incarnations. She was easily the best part about the Lois & Clark show. But her time has passed, and she's now known to most as one of those Wisteria Lane women. Why not go after another TV actress, an up and coming starlet who I think would do a good job playing both a gutsy and beautiful Lois Lane. Why not Evangeline Lilly from LOST? I think she would do a fine job. What do you think?

With the right casting and the budget that Singer had, I'm positive we could have a definitive take on the Superman myth. But we have what we have, and I guess I'm going to have to see it for myself this week.


Luke said...

I like the Ed Harris pick, I think he would do an excellent job. Still I think luthor could be a bit younger. Like James Bond he has to be youthful, but at an age where he is a man confident in himself. He must be both feared and loved by the world. Luthor and Superman have to the correct age ratio. It dosn't look right to have a baby faced hero fighting a man in his late 60's early 70's. Nore dose it look right for the two characters to be around the same age (like in smallville).

I don't have a luthor in mind at the moment tohught, I put my energies into thinking about Lois. Like you I feel the casting of Lois was just plain terrible. I agree that she has to attractive, highly intelligent, and able to attract the most powerful men in the world. I have not been into lost, so i can't comment on Lilly. So I did some digging and found a few lane picks of my own.

if looking for the A level star, Cathernie Zeta Jones fits the bill. She is used to brushing up against the biggest actors in hollywood, and can protray the power and intellect required. Not sure if I could see it happening, but it would work.

Courtney Cox, has the age, and your T.V. actress stipulation. She dos't have the same feel as Hatcher did, but I could by it. I can believe her as a reporter sniffing out a story, but she'd have to prove to me that she can omit the charm and power to control a room.

A little more on the unknown side. I think Elizabeth Banks has potential. I'd still want to see her in a stand out role, but shes already proved she can work in the newspaper business, playing Betty Brant in Spider-man

Last but not least Bridget Moynahan comes to mind.
She's shown some brash attitude in Coyote ugly, and played with some big leads in i robot, the recruit, the sum of all fears, and fisher's favorite Serendipity.

I'm going to see superman in an hour and a half. I'll let you know which way the thumb goes

Anders said...

Is Ed Harris really that much older than Kevin Spacey though? According to IMDb, Harris is born in 1950, Spacey in '59. So both are in the same age range (40-50 years old, which I think makes sense timewise to become as rich and powerful as Luthor is). Plus, in that pic I posted of Harris, just imagine him without the glasses. Hell, he looks like he could come right out of the comic book!

I think Catherine Zeta-Jones is too glamourous for Lois.

I'm going to say "no way" to Courtney Cox. Just can't see it.

Interesting choices in Moynahan and Elizabeth Banks, but can't really comment on their acting (haven't seen them in any big roles).

If one is going to stick to the younger actress thing (like Bosworth), of course I could TOTALLY see Natalie Portman in the role, but then again I'd see Natalie Portman in ANY role.

I still like Lilly for the Lois role (plus, she's Canadian--from Fort Saskatchewan, AB!).

Luke said...

yeah that is a luthoresque pic..i do like the choice. you're right i guess he's not that old, I must have been thinking what he'd look like next to Routh. After seeing the movie, I think Spacey's Luthor was far too close to Gene Hackmen's, a step in the right direction, but too close. He even comes complete with looser henchmen(and henchwomen).

I thought of Natalie Portman too, but somthing didn't feel right. Altought i have no doubt she would be up for the challenge.

as for Catherine and Courtney..yeah I agree. they wouldn't work. anyway see you when you get back