In case you haven’t heard, Christopher “King Midas” Nolan, the God behind Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception (not to mention Memento, Insomnia and The Prestige) has handpicked Zack Snyder, the wunderkind behind 2007’s awesome, 300, 2009’s not-so-awesome-but-worthy-effort, Watchmen, and the recently released Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, to direct the forthcoming reboot of the Superman franchise. Despite all the rumormongering now taking place, this makes me extremely pleased.
One of my earliest memories of cinema-going as a kid was seeing Christopher Reeve save Margot Kidder from the crashed helicopter dangling from the edge of The Daily Planet’s roof (“You’ve got me!? Whose got you?!) in 1978’s Superman: The Movie. I remember coming home after the show and hopping into a homemade Superman outfit that consisted of pajamas, cowboy boots, a burgundy towel (or maybe it was an afghan) tied around my neck and underpants pulled over my PJ bottoms for good measure and added authenticity. Needless to say, Superman has a special place in my heart and is probably, alongside Batman, my favorite superhero.
Nevertheless, I see the challenges of making a modern-day Superman movie, as did poor Bryan Singer, whose 2006 reboot bombastically stormed the box office and whimpered out to middling reviews and box office performance. That’s where Christopher Nolan, his brother Jonathan and their Batman Begins/The Dark Knight collaborator, David S. Goyer come into relevance. These guys have shown they can take a classic, iconic superhero and remold him to fit the nuances of life in the 21st Century. Superman, above all other superheros, needs this makeover in a bad way.
Reaction to Snyder’s hiring has been mixed, but I’m optimistic he’ll pull this off with flying colors. Why? Because I have a hard time thinking Christopher Nolan would put his name next to anything or invest his time and energy in a project or director that he didn’t feel was capable of blowing audiences out of their seats. Even if you don’t like Snyder’s movies, you can’t argue for a minute that his creations are stylistic and iconic. The guy has confidence and probably just the right sized set of balls to pull off a fantastic Man of Steel reboot.
One thing is clear – Snyder’s hiring has set off a firestorm of casting and story rumors. I’ve heard everything from Jon Hamm (TV’s Mad Men) to Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) to even the balding, aging Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes). Storylines are even as varied, with some reports having Clark Kent traveling the globe, pondering whether or not he should become Superman, to a return of the beloved General Zod (played previously by Terrance Stamp in Superman II). Bottom line: Snyder has to finish Sucker Punch and then the Superman reboot will be in the fastlane. Until then, everything you here, unless released by the studio, is mere fangasms and conjecture.