Hollywood can’t figure out Superman, and it’s their own damned fault.

GeekTyrant gets it where apparently Hollywood doesn’t, or at least GT gets a lot of it and I’m not going to quibble on the rest*:

Superman is a genuinely good person and a beacon of hope who uses his power to help people and keep the world safe and he also holds others with power accountable for their actions. How can they not see the relevance of that!?

Although I will say that you need to say the Six Words: “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.” Superman was originally written as anti-totalitarian propaganda (this is neither an insult or a sneer); from the start he was deliberately a rebuke to the Nazi concept of the Ubermensch, although he works equally well as a quiet reminder that the New Soviet Man was not, in fact, possible in a Soviet-style society**. You don’t have to turn Superman into a hyper-patriotic parody of itself***, but if Hollywood can’t even manage to turn the character into a Truman Democrat then maybe Hollywood needs to figure out how to find some writers and directors who can.


Moe Lane

*Seriously, a Superman movie made on that premise would work in a way that they’ve had a lot of trouble even approaching lately.

**Look, I enjoyed Red Son, too: but I didn’t take it seriously. Mark Millar had to mightily deform the plot and characterizations to make them fit the conceit, and while I don’t begrudge him that I also don’t feel the need to think of it as anything except an amusing diversion.

***I don’t really mind those, either.

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  • Jon says:

    The danger with hopeful comic book characters in the hands of Hollywood is that they become tempted to stray from it ab go “gritty”.
    The initial seasons of “Supergirl” were hopeful, and then they strayed.
    The exceptions are those that are generally successful… Captain America, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman and Shazam. Even parts of Aquaman, I suppose.

  • junior says:

    MCU Captain America suggests that Feige could pull it off. But of course he’s not going to be signing onto that any time soon. I think part of the problem is that too many in Hollywood try to overcomplicate things. Cap and Supes are not complicated characters. The world can get complicated around them. But the men themselves are not. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have depth. But people don’t pay money to see them in a gritty, morally grey story.

  • Aetius451AD says:

    Captain America and Superman are not tough- they are who they say they are. To be done right they cannot be played with a wink or over the top.
    One of the few director’s commentaries I have listened to in the past few years was Joe Johnston’s for First Avenger. He said they had difficulty casting Steve Rogers until Evans came around because every actor tried to inject something into the performance either over the top or ironic. Evans just played it straight and open.
    Johnston was a good director for Captain America. The Brothers, who did The Captain America movies and then the Avengers movies understood that while you can increase the complexity of the story around Cap, the character himself does not change. And that can work as long as the director/writer actually likes the character.
    That is part of what I think it comes down to: The directors, writers and actors do not LIKE the characters of Captain America or Superman. They see them as too simple or even boring when they are just truly decent, honest men. The sad thing is that those kind of men only exist a couple of times in history and that makes them special and resonant.

    • acat says:

      I do disagree with one point.
      The U.S. is quite rich with decent, honest, competent people.
      Fortunately, we mostly don’t need ’em to beat Loki’s ass or storm the Red Skull’s super-science facilities .. but they are out there.
      p.s. Musical Interlude:

      • Rockphed says:

        “Arrogance is not an American invention, but you do excel at it.”

        • acat says:

          We didn’t invent the horseless carriage, but we did figure out how to get them into the hands of the people.
          We didn’t invent the broadcast of images or sounds, but we refined both as ways to inform, influence, and entertain.
          Rockets aren’t our idea, but we figured out how to ride them to the moon and stars.
          We didn’t invent nuclear power… oh wait, we did.
          So… is it really arrogance.. if we really can do what we say?
          (Cheshire grin)

          • Rockphed says:

            To be fair, the French embraced nuclear power much more effectively than we did. I am slightly saddened that nobody has had France be the region of origin for an abnormally large number of heroes as a result.

  • Irascibli says:

    Which fanfare? The John Williams ditty from the 1970s flicks? Or the one from the 1950s TV show? I’m down with either.

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