Editor’s Note: This lovely article was assembled by the Batman/Superman-esque tag team of Dr. Cole Abaius and Adam Sweeney.
After sitting around imagining a world where Christopher Nolan happens to be the only human being who can deal with classic superheroes in a modern way, we got to thinking about what we would want from the new reboot of Superman franchise. Now that Warners has gone to Batman’s ressurector, the production can pull out the big guns, big budget, and big talent to make it work.
But it’s not going to be easy. So we’re doing our part with a list of what we, two humble Super fans, demand from the next installment. Up, up, and away…
No Origin Story, Please
Trust us. We know it. Everyone knows it. There’s no need to spend the first half hour let alone the entire first movie re-hashing the second most famous origin story in history. Hell, do it as a montage style in the opening credits if you’re really itching to include it, but otherwise let’s dive right in. The first five minutes should be ridiculously entertaining and fun.
Show Us Something New
This should go without saying for any film, but it’s especially difficult with the hyper-known, heavily-adapted stories of this character. You can play this one of two ways: show us something innovative with those characters we love, or come at us from left field. I’ve suggested adapting Red Son. Why not go crazy? Get creative. Give yourselve the challenge of making the audience fall in love instead of assuming we’ll eat it up instantly because it’s Supes.
Bring on Mark Millar
Tied directly to innovation, it’s almost imperative that you hire Mark Millar as a producer or as the screenwriter. He has done more for this classic character in recent years than anyone else and seems to have a bottomless well of ideas to push the Man of Steel beyond his boundaries.
Superman needs a larger budget. You’ve got a producer that can demand the entire US Treasury – so use that. Don’t hobble yourself the way the Spider-Man franchise seems to be doing.
We know Superman will have to save the citizens of Metropolis. Any superhero can do that. What would really make a Superman saga stand out is a display of how heavy the cross is to bear for him. It’s lonely at the top for the Son of Krypton. Show us just how tough. How does that affect his relationship with the people he keeps around him? Nolan nailed this idea in The Dark Knight. Whoever he mentors would be wise to learn the same lesson.
Offer a villain truly threatening to Superman
Again referring to The Dark Knight, the beauty of The Joker was that he held a complete opposite philosophy from Batman, and brought a tangible tragedy to the film by killing Rachel Dawes. For a new Superman film to win a place in our hearts again, we must see him lose. Only an absolutely dangerous villain can achieve that. Think Lex Luthor to an exponential degree, Zod or Doomsday.
Don’t make Superman too humanistic
Every superhero has a main squeeze. Spider-Man has Mary Jane, Batman has had a few, and Supes has Lois Lane. That doesn’t mean it’s right to put them together. Doing so is the superhero movie equivalent of jumping the shark. (See Spider-Man 3 for a great example.) Superheroes have to be willing to sacrifice things we wouldn’t. It’s what sets them apart. They also shouldn’t use their powers in a creepy way. (Why was Superman spying on Lois Lane in Superman Returns again?) They also don’t need to have kids. The character is enough. Superman with a kid only reminds me of a comedic scene from Mallrats. This isn’t always a good thing.
Bring Batman to Metropolis
The director of the last two Batman chapters is already helping with Superman, so why not bring the Dark Knight into a film. Even if it’s a cameo, it would make fanboys and DC Comics lovers drool. It might also bring an equal ally/adversary to Superman’s world. Anyone who has read Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns knows about that dynamic. The most recent Marvel films have jumped on this idea (Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk, Nick Fury in Iron Man, which will all set up for the Avengers film.) A few cameos involving DC’s finest heroes and villains would also open the door for the Justice League of America. Pretty exciting stuff, indeed.