Monday Morning Critic – Superman and The Top Five Problems With A Man Of Steel Sequel – The Grey on DVD
by Scott "Kubryk" Sawitz on June 17, 2013

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Man of Steel was profoundly much better than I had even thought it would be. My bar was pretty high going in, of course, because I’m a big fan of Zack Snyder and he had a fairly epic cast. Throw in $250 million or so for a proper budget and going in this was the Superman film we had hoped for. Throw in Chris Nolan producing, and his machine behind Snyder, and you got perhaps the best film of 2013 so far. I can’t imagine anything beating it but I’ve said that before, in years past, and have been profoundly challenged on that notion by any number of films.

But one thing keeps coming into mind about Man of Steel. Where do you make a sequel from here?

It’s the one thing that the Superman franchise never really was able to do properly. There’s a reason why the original Superman is significantly better than any of the sequels; trying to make him interesting is easy. But trying to put him in danger is difficult because Superman is the perfect hero. He can fly, is impossibly strong, has heat vision, etc. Any villain is necessarily at a disadvantage unless he’s exactly the same as Superman and I kept thinking. How do you do one? Time for a list, mainly because I’ve got nothing else witty to say about World War Z that isn‘t snarking on Brad Pitt for snark‘s sake. And let’s face it; sometimes you go the SEO route instead of the long form approach in headlines.


The Top Five Problems with a Man of Steel Sequel

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5. Kryptonite works once as a sequel idea

You can change out villains but once you introduce Kryptonite as Superman’s weak spot you can’t keep using it over and over; it makes for a dull sequel. In many ways it’s why the Die Hard franchise had to evolve from “Bruce Willis trapped in something” to a more generic action franchise. There’s only so many times he can get stuck in a place being taken over by terrorists, with his wife somehow caught up in it, before we stop caring or get bored with it. It’s the easiest trick to use to make Superman vulnerable, cinematically, but it only works once. After that it’s reaching.

Man of Steel - Google Search_1370549542456

4. Superman’s villains are going to be rough to translate into the more gritty, realistic Snyder universe

We said for Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, of course, but Superman has the same problem. Trying to craft villains from the comic book world has to be tough, especially in a Nolan type universe, so trying to find a villain who’ll be the following has to be tough; cinematic, a threat to Superman and able to port over into the real world.

Superman The Animated Series shows Superman The Man of Steel shaving his beard 2

3. Superman can’t go full dickhead or else ruin the good vibes he’s supposed to have

Superman was kind of a dick in the sequels to the original franchise, honestly, because they had to . No one had a clue on how to top the original film, of course, and as such they turned Superman into kind of a douche for dramatic purposes. For a guy who’s supposed to be the embodiment of hope, of course, and for him to be turned evil (or just dickish) didn’t really work. Major changes to a character won’t work with him because Superman doesn’t need a dramatic arc to prove his goodness, for lack of a better word. Turning him bad, even if it’s only temporarily ala Spider-Man 3, won’t work this time around. Superman is being positioned as the paragon of hope and you can’t quite piss on it now.

June 2013 Solicitations Batman Superman #1 debut DC Comics New 52

2. You won’t have nearly as stellar a supporting cast like you did on Man of Steel

Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner aren’t going to return in nearly the substantial role, if not in anything more than a brief cameo, for the sequel. They have served their purpose, of course, so they don’t need to be in the sequel but let’s be fair. You’re not going to get actors with that kind of gravitas for a sequel, only a franchise opener. It’s rare that big time cast members, especially in the comic book genre, come aboard. Normally it’s big but not massive stars; Johnny Depp isn’t going to become Lex Luthor, you know?

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1. Comic book films are the toughest to make sequels to

There’s a reason why The Dark Knight stands out as both a rare sequel better than the original regardless of genre. Sequels are tough business for any genre but in particular comic book films. A sequel to Man of Steel, which was pretty brilliant, has a tough time trying to figure out where to go next.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – The Grey

I loved it in theatres, loved it on DVD and its game 5 of the NBA finals so I’m going to wrap it up briefly.

Liam Neeson and bunch of character actors crash land in the wilderness. They get chased by wolves. Awesomeness ensues.

Recommended.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

World War Z – Brad Pitt vs. Zombies. Yawn.

Skip it – The book is brilliant … and the movie has nothing to do with the book.

Monsters University – A prequel to one of Pixar’s bigger hits

See It – There’s Pixar and then there’s everything else.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .



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Scott "Kubryk" Sawitz

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  • http://www.arrby.wordpress.com/ Arby

    Whatever. They, who just never get fired no matter how much crap they sell us for too much (while calling us pirates), could simply make good movies if they wanted. I will qualify that. Since Hollywood is actually Hollywood/ Pentagon, movie-makers would have to reclaim their independence or else eschew all the assistance the military gives them in making flicks with military special effects in them first. But then it would be up to them. If they make crap movies, that’s because they choose to. There’s no mystery here.

    As for Superman, He’s ridiculous. He was ridiculous from the start. Hollywood/Petagon has shown no hesitation to tweak original stories in order to own them and entertain (although most of the time it seems their idea of entertain is ‘annoy’), so Why do they tweak everything in the Superman story that doesn’t need tweaking and nothing that does? He flies, as all superhumans do in fantasy stories, like a missile. Doing ballet. I seem to be the only one who finds that distressing.

    Actually, At this point, I’d like to see a new Superman who isn’t Superman, but who is all that an impressive, ‘I want to be him’, Superman should be. He’s not a dork. He’s principled (saves the people, not the White House). He’s thoughtful and has interesting things to say. He doesn’t have to be perfect, but he can’t be a fascist. Then you’ve got me.

  • Michael Sailor

    No offense, of course, but you might wanna stop using the term “of course” over and over. Of course, it’s quite annoying, and of course it makes you seem as though you had no higher education than high school. Of course, I’m being a bit snarky, but of course you knew that.

  • http://www.arrby.wordpress.com/ Arby

    Lol! Are an MPAA agent or something? You sound like Brittany Spears saying, duh, that George W. Bush must be right because, he’s, like, the president. Like you know? You might ‘actually’ be angry with someone for having an opinion about a comic book hero if you’re capitalists and investors connected with the MPAA and Hollywood/ Pentagon.

  • http://www.arrby.wordpress.com/ Arby

    I don’t know whether it’s even useful to compare the two. They were both crap, although in honesty, I did get more entertainment from MOS. Krypton was cool.

  • http://www.arrby.wordpress.com/ Arby

    Which makes it political and spin. Agreed. Keep the fantasy, and fun – and escape! – in the fantasy, I say.

  • Saros7

    There’s no “awesomeness” or “awesome sauce” with the film The Grey, it’s all Despair and Desperation throughout the WHOLE FILM… Don’t sugar coat it by calling it “awesome” sick!

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