6 Things I Want to See in a New Superman Movie
Word has it that there’s a new Superman movie coming from J.J. Abrams and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Word also has it that it’ll star a Black Superman. All of that sounds fine by me. I didn’t care for Man of Steel and I’m more than ready to move on to a new Superman movie. Once again, Warner Bros., DC and Hollywood will have a chance to make a modern Superman movie. I wish them all the luck in the world.
So what would I like to see in a new, modern Superman movie? I have opinions. Of course I do! The movie starring a Black Superman already fulfills one of them. But considering all I know about the world of Superman, surely I have some other thoughts. Villains. Status quos. Other characters? All that good stuff! So let’s have it! Join me after the jump for things I’d like from a new Superman movie.
6. Forget the Christopher Reeve stuff
Everybody loves the old Christopher Reeve Sueprman movies. They’re fine. They were before my time, so I can take them or leave them. But devotion to those movies is what sank Superman Returns. Simple as that. So jettison any attempt to hold on to those old movies. Don’t reuse General Zod. Don’t do goofy Luthor and his sidekicks. Don’t cast someone just because he looks like Reeve. Maybe keep that cool theme song? But only in the same way the MCU Spider-Man movies held on to the theme song. Start fresh with Superman.
5. Don’t replay Krypton
Just like the death of Uncle Ben and the deaths of Bruce Wayne’s parents, I don’t think the new movie needs to replay Superman’s origin on Krypton. We all know the origin. We all get it. We don’t need it repeated. And we definitely don’t need any of the weird modern retcons, like Rogol Zaar. We can all go into this movie knowing exactly what happened to Krypton and that it’s part of Superman’s past. That’s all it needs to be.
4. Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor
We all want it to happen. It should have happened with Man of Steel. I’m all for using Lex Luthor as the villain again, but let’s cast him as someone serious and real. No more comedic or zany takes on Lex Luthor. No more real estate schemes. Let’s get a real evil Lex. A Lex who represents the worst of capitalism and humanity, while being viciously real and charming. And that’s Bryan Cranston. It’s the role he was born to play!
3. Incorporate the journalism
Clark Kent being a mild-mannered reporter is good stuff. Journalism is in a weird place these days, but it’s no less important to America and the world. Find a way to comment on that and incorporate it into the story. Don’t just have Perry White get mad at Clark because he won’t randomly jump on the high school football beat. Use Clark’s position with the Daily Planet to tell a meaningful story. To that end, I’m also perfectly fine with keeping the Daily Planet cast the same. Perry White, Jimmy Olsen and definitely Lois Lane are all solid choices in my book.
2. Look to Grant Morrison for inspiration
All-Star Superman by Morrison and Frank Quietly is, in my opinion, the greatest Superman story of all time. It so perfectly captures the magic, majesty and humanity of the character. Of all the characters. So I would be perfectly happy if the movie used All-Star Superman as inspiration. I don’t think the film should be an adaptation. All-Star Superman gets pretty weird.
1. If he’s Black, go ahead and do everything different
We don’t yet have any idea what it will mean to make a Superman movie where he’s Black. There have been a couple of different Black Supermen throughout the comics, including one based on President Obama. We don’t know if they’re going to use one of them, or if Coates is going to write something original and brand new. If either is the case, I’m totally fine with that. And, as such, they shouldn’t be afraid to completely re-write everything about Superman. No Daily Planet. No Smallville. No Clark Kent, maybe. Embrace the freedom of an original character.
But keep the themes. Superman can be anything if you keep the important themes. He’s an immigrant story. He fights for truth, justice and the American way. He’s the ultimate good guy. Keep those themes and you can apply them to anything, including and especially the Black experience in America.
Though I would be more than happy if they dropped the “Superman as Christ” stuff.