i09 got to sit down with Zack Snyder, director of Sucker Punch (out this Friday), and grill him about his next project, Superman. One of the most noteworthy parts of the interview deals with Snyder’s take on the film and how it will be the most realistic movie he’s made yet.
I feel like, I mean I’ve said to the studio that this will probably be the most realistic Superman movie ever made. It takes place in the real world much more than [my previous films]… I mean, I’ve just never had the subject matter that needed that, you know what I mean? Like everything I’ve done up to this point really has the benefit of existing in a stylized world. It’s fun for me that the most realistic movie, the movie that I’d say I’m making in the most realistic way of any movie I’ve ever done is a movie called Superman! That’s kinda fun!
Great. Hit the jump for my nerd rage-fueled ranting.
When I think of Superman, I don’t exactly think grounded (despite what J. Michael Straczynski will have you believe over in the flagship Superman comic). I want ludicrous slo-mo scenes, I want guys that can do fantastical things, and I want flashy, Zack Snyder visuals. It took a legendary run by Geoff Johns, the guy who hypnotized me (and one Alex V. Katz) into getting a Green Lantern tattoo, to make me think Superman was cool.
Well I feel like what we’re trying to do is we’re going to make him as relevant as we can, as culturally relevant as we can, and I don’t know if that sort of big blue boy scout image… does he work today? That’s the question, and I’m not going to answer that here, but you sort of start to think about that and if that makes sense to a modern Superman.
Superman being a boy scout is exactly what turns many people away, but it takes a skilled hand to retain his unwavering sense of right and wrong and still make it entertaining. That sense of morality is a staple of the entire Superman mythos, and hopefully Snyder doesn’t eff with a basic principle of the title character that badly.
Conversely, he might treat us to a version of Supes that finds him questioning himself, and whether he’s still relevant today. That would be cool. Too bad we’re probably just gonna watch him punch the snot out of Zod, which brings me to my next point.
It’s still mostly a rumor, but a tenacious one, that Zod will be this film’s villain. The only thing that could piss me off more would be if Luthor was the main villain again. I can certainly understand and appreciate a single-villain approach, but what makes me recite the Red Lantern oath and rain liquid red napalm death on everyone around me is a seeming flat-out refusal to use any of the other villains in Superman’s rogue’s gallery.
Luthor is the archetypal arch-nemesis, but we’ve already seen him in not one, not two, but four films in the Superman franchise. Even if we discount the third and fourth films like Superman Returns does, that’s still three films! Zod’s only been in the one film so far (Superman II), along with Ursa and Non, but if he’s in the Snyder film, that makes two films.
Off the top of my head, I can think of more than half a dozen Superman villains that haven’t been used in the film franchise yet that would make an awesome bad guy for us to watch on the big screen:
- Bizarro, Superman’s creepy polar opposite
- Metallo, a soldier-turned-cyborg with a kryptonite heart
- Toyman, a creepy toy-maker whose M.O. consists of killer toys
- Doomsday, the alien that, y’know, killed Superman that one time
- Darkseid, the biggest, baddest villain in the DC universe (who most recently ‘killed’ Batman in DC’s Final Crisis)
- Mister Mxyzptlk, a fifth-dimensional imp who can bend reality on a whim
- Parasite, once a man, now a purple monster that can absorb powers and use them for himself
- Ultraman, the other, less backwards-talking evil counterpart of Superman from the reverse-world of Earth-3
- Superboy-Prime, the angsty, testosterone-fueled teenage version of Superman who has all the powers of Superman and none of the self-control
This list goes to show that there are plenty of other awesome villains to mine for awesome stories. Lex Luthor and Zod persist because they’re great bad guys, but seriously, who doesn’t want to see Superman thwart his enemy by tricking him into typing his name backwards on a giant, extra-dimensional typewriter? Geoff Johns proved that even the most hardened Super-haters could be swayed, so maybe Snyder needs to take a lesson.
Don’t get me wrong, I have all the hope in the world for this film. Snyder is, if nothing else, capable of appealing to my Attention Deficit Disorder. There’s no reason to use Zod again, and I hope the rumors aren’t true, and while I’m all for Snyder wanting to break out of his slow-motion, nitty gritty wheelhouse, I don’t think Superman is the franchise to start with.