This summer, the man who would be Superman finally gets his chance.
After the Batman franchise kicked off a new wave of comic book movies, Warner Brothers was eager to launch the Man of Steel into his own series of films. Naturally, Tim Burton seemed like the right guy for the job. He cast Nicolas Cage, a renowned comic book geek, into the role of Kal-El, and the film quickly deteriorated from there. The details of that failure can be found exhaustively plundered in Jon Schnepp’s recent documentary The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened?
Twenty one years later, Cage (who in the meantime named his own son Kal-El) is about to have a second chance… just not in the format he originally intended. Warner Brothers Animation has revealed that the Superman-who-never-was will be lending his voice to the character in their Teen Titans Go! To The Movies. Spun forth from the popular Teen Titans Go! cartoon series, the feature film is set to fly into multiplexes on July 27th and promises to be a parade of classic DC Comics characters.
While speaking to USA Today, executive producer Sam Register addressed the importance of finding the right voice for the right character:
“Every superhero in the DC Universe has an impact on the fans, so we felt a great responsibility to find a voice for each character that would not only suit the role, but the playful tone of the Titans, and we’re thrilled with our cameo cast.”
Along with Nicolas Cage, Teen Titans Go! To The Movies will feature the voice talent of singer/songwriter Halsey as Wonder Woman and rapper Lil Yachty as Green Lantern. They may not be the the characters driving the narrative, but they’ll score a few points with the geeks in the audience. Or at least, our curiosity will earn them a few extra dollars.
As was the case with the television show, this is a sidekick adventure. Robin (Scott Melville), Starfire (Hynden Walch), Raven (Tara Strong), Cyborg (Khary Payton), and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes) are the stars here. Their mission will focus on snagging the attention of a big time Hollywood director (Kristen Bell) to helm their break-out blockbuster. The top-tier Justice League members are expected to only guest star along their road to fame. A support group, if you will.
Teen Titans Go! To The Movies will not be the brooding Zach Snyder misery-porn we’re so quick to label the DCEU adventures. Warner Brothers boosting their zany, self-referential television show to the cinema goes a long way in revealing other dimensions to their intellectual property. As we’ve already seen also with last year’s The Lego Batman Movie, they can have fun like Marvel too.
Dropping Nicolas Cage’s vocals into a 2D Superman is an easy method for gaining our attention. It’s less about a redemption for the actor as it is teasing our obsession. Watching Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, when Superman opens his mouth, we’ll be able to nudge the partner we’ve dragged along to the movies and regale them with our bottomless trivial knowledge. It’s basically an excuse for bragging rights. WB understands how much we love to preen to our non-geek friends.