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Old August 9 2008, 11:37 PM   #1
Admiral_Young
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Superman Begins

I've been thinking about this since the Pressure on Superman Thread has been up and running and was wondering how intriguing a "Superman Begins" movie would be if someone were to do a Nolan-esque Superman movie. Now I'm basically talking about the cinematic story telling aspects such as using flashbacks to tell Superman's origins, while having the main story be in present tense. I'm wondering if its possible to use the same concepts as Nolan used for Batman Begins? I guess it would have to depend on the cast, plot, etc but I think it would be truly interesting. How would you take on a possible Superman Begins movie?
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Old August 9 2008, 11:43 PM   #2
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Re: Superman Begins

Why would a re-boot be neccesary? Since "Superman The Movie" is still regarded as the bench mark for superhero movies, a re-boot is moot imo. What they should do is show a film where Supes must use all his powers fighting someone like Doomsday.
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Old August 10 2008, 12:00 AM   #3
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Re: Superman Begins

Sigh...this is a speculative thread about a Nolan style Superman movie, I'm not saying that a reboot is neccessary at this point nor am I intending on using this thread for more bashing towards Superman Returns...leave that for other threads about the film franchise. This is supposssed to be a fun creative excersise. Superman fighting Doomsday for an entire movie and demenstrating all of his powers isn't exactly what I had in mind.

Since structurily this movie would be different from Batman Begins since the character is obviously different there would be no training montage...but the flashbacks could show Clark discovering his Kryptonian heritage in Smallville and the creation of the Fortress of Solitude. I realize this has already been done in "Superman: The Movie" and even "Superman Returns" used Flashback sequenenes...maybe its just not possible to use Superman this way?
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Old August 10 2008, 01:05 AM   #4
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Re: Superman Begins

The Donner film is so definitive that I don't think an all-out origin movie should be done. I was just thinking in the other thread earlier how I'd rather see them go the opposite direction--Superman Ends. Give us an older Superman in a Kingdom Come-type story (but centered more on Superman rather than featuring all those other characters, which would probably be undoable).

The more people hash around what the next Superman movie ought to be / where Returns went wrong / etc., the more I hope that the proposed Shazam! movie works out. The Big Red Cheese pushes so many of the same classic superhero buttons, without all the baggage and expectations.
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Old August 10 2008, 01:10 AM   #5
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Re: Superman Begins

Actually one thing a Nolan Superman movie could do is bring back the more grounded and down-to-earth Superman of the early comics-- before he became this all powerful, godlike being with magical superpowers.

Instead he would just be an alien with super tough skin whose muscles give him a huge advantage in Earth's lighter gravity. He might be able to leap great distances, but there'd be none of this flying and hovering in the air. And much like Batman, he uses those powers to become a crusader for justice; instead of fighting fanciful supervillains he uses his reporter's skills to hunt down and stop real criminals. And of course like any alien would, he'd have to deal with constant fear and suspicion from the people of Earth.

Frankly, I think the original version of the character lends itself really WELL to a Nolan-style movie. I'm not sure it's the kind of Superman most people would want to see though.
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Old August 10 2008, 01:15 AM   #6
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Re: Superman Begins

^I would support that if they went the whole nine yards and made it a period piece set in 1938. (And Superman himself didn't learn that he was an alien until 1949, so the anti-alien angle would be out.) Not sure how it would play with the general public, though. There's been too much water under the bridge, people expect Superman to be flying and all.
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Old August 10 2008, 01:36 AM   #7
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Re: Superman Begins

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
^I would support that if they went the whole nine yards and made it a period piece set in 1938. (And Superman himself didn't learn that he was an alien until 1949, so the anti-alien angle would be out.) Not sure how it would play with the general public, though. There's been too much water under the bridge, people expect Superman to be flying and all.
I would prefer a period version too, but I still think a modern day one would work. It would basically be like the last 20 minutes of Unbreakable, but with a more colorful costume.

And even though there wouldn't be flying per se, it would still be pretty powerful and dramatic to see him launching himself into the air. And of course he would still have heat vision and x-ray vision and some of the more basic powers.

If audiences could adjust to a Batman movie that plays more like a crime drama than a superhero movie, I'm sure they could adjust to a less powerful, stripped down version of Superman who isn't such a goody-goody and has a bit more of an attitude. Obviously it would take some great storytelling and a great director like Nolan to make it work though.
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Old August 10 2008, 02:23 AM   #8
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Re: Superman Begins

Well, to reply to the actual topic at hand, something I'm sure the author of this thread will appreciate, I think that would be a good idea. If they could find a truly good director, another Nolan, someone who isn't about big blockbusters but about telling stories, and they where to make a more grounded and telling story of Superman... I think it might do wonders.

"Superman Returns" wasn't as bad as the later Bat-films, but at this point the Superman franchise is suffering similar ills. Over-exposure, poor incarnations, the like. I think Superman needs a fresh start. A Begins-style reboot might work well. Especially if they keep him more grounded. I realize such is difficult with him being superman, but, they could try to be a little less fantastical about it. Make it believable fantasy. No lifting freaking rock islands the size of New York into orbit. Lets stick with the old classic of bending a gun barrel, punching a bad guy. You know?
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Old August 10 2008, 02:26 AM   #9
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Re: Superman Begins

I'm amazed some people want a period piece Superman. Yes, because Skycaptain was such a huge hit.
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Old August 10 2008, 02:31 AM   #10
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Re: Superman Begins

I think davejames and I have been working with the original topic--if you're going to do a "Begins"-style movie, 1938 and/or with stripped-down powers are valid potential elements. But for another take close to what the OP suggests, I have previously advocated that if they were to find it necessary to do another origin movie, they should take their cue from the Golden Age comics and Byrne's reboot, and have him not even learn of his Kryptonian origins until after he becomes Superman. They could do an entire movie without one scene on Krypton, flashback or otherwise. Smallville could be flashed back to, in sticking with Clark's POV.

Was it the period aspect that made Sky Captain a flop, or was that the least of its problems? Seems like the Indy movies and Titanic did just fine as period pieces. Was The Rocketeer a flop? Just because one period piece flops doesn't mean another will.
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Old August 10 2008, 03:02 AM   #11
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Re: Superman Begins

Funny, I always thought that Superman Returns was the "Nolan-esque" version of Superman. That movie was far more grounded than the Christopher Reeve films and Superman himself was humanized quite a bit.
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Old August 10 2008, 03:09 AM   #12
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Re: Superman Begins

A fedora-filled, non-flying Superman would certainly be interesting... problem is, Batman, especially in Nolan's films, has pretty much conquered film noir-like crime stories. I wouldn't want to see any Superman taking on the mob. If he were jumping around fighting some kind of evil King Kong, on the other hand, that could be neat... In the past or present, I think we need an action-heavy Supes movie.
Oh, and there's a Superman Begins tv show. It's called Smallville... but while it long since jumped the shark, I think it'll be some time before people will be ready for another look at his origin.
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Old August 10 2008, 03:10 AM   #13
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Re: Superman Begins

I'd be open to a period piece or a contemporary setting, but I think bringing Superman's power levels way down and reducing the level of fantasy would be the wrong way to go.

I just watched Superman: The Animated Series on DVD and watched and listened to the special features, and the view Bruce Timm and Co had of how to make a Superman series is the approach I'd like to see in the feature films (and the approach I think the general public would respond to the most favorably), namely that Superman is a powerful science fiction superhero who needs to operate in a science fiction milieu and face powerful science fiction villains. They toned his powers down somewhat from the comics, but he was still powerful enough to be capable of dazzling feats, and they gave him powerful villains who could really challenge him. That's the way to go.

Also, in terms of characterization I think the mistake SR made is that Superman was too much of a quiet, withdrawn loner. That's just not a Superman that the public, or at least much of the public, is comfortable with. A certain amount of angst about finding his way in life and reconciling the different parts of his nature has often been an element in Superman stories (from the Chris Reeve films to Smallville), but at heart he's always an optimistic All-American hero with a commanding presence. If there's a reboot it should be true to that.

As for the storytelling structure, I think there would be a lot to be said for a reboot that just dives into things in media res and doesn't have flashbacks at all - just have the elements of the universe in place and let the audience discover them as you go, with the origin story left unsaid.
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Old August 10 2008, 03:14 AM   #14
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Re: Superman Begins

Well, firstly I don't think one is needed. Superman's origin is so iconic and definitive that I really don't think we need to see it commited to film again for a very long time, if ever.

And I really don't think a "Nolan Style" Superman would work. His style I don't think would fit well with Superman. Singer's style barely worked and I'd even argue Donner's style only slightly worked.

I think to do a good, true, Superman movie that looks and feels like it should would require a different style and look that we've seen in a long time. It would need a real "30s era" look and feel and style while possibly also taking place in current times.

It would require a bit of lightness and fun without getting to Supermans 3 and 4 levels and whole lot less angst than S:R had and no kind of darkness would work.

And Superman's powerset as shown in the movies that matter aren't too fantastical so they don't need much "reigning in" back to a level of "realisim."

The style and look I think would work best (which a vastly expanded budget) I really think is this VIDEO. It just has a look and feel about it that I think is ideal for what a Superman movie should be.

(Again, take the generalness of it and add a few dozen-million dollars and higher-caliber actors. And no Batman.)

The very first scene we see in that video is Clark (Superman) looking up at (what I think is) the LA PD Building (what it's suposed to be in the "reality" of the trailer's universe I'm not sure if it's supposed to be the DP or a Metropolis city office) captures a look and feel that I'm going for. The way the coloring and lighting is and just the look of it just *sings* "Superman" to me. Around 30 seconds into it there's two more scenes (one of Superman looking thoughtful against another sunrise/set cityscape and one of him shilouetted in a doorway with his redcape shining) that look great to this "feel" of Superman other clip I like for the "Superman feel" I want to see: Clark and Lex talking on the phone and Clark sitting in his apartment.

The trailer has a degree of corniness and "too much" to it and its production values show but it's got moments in it that better capture the "Superman" feel better than anything we've seen in film or on TV.
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Old August 10 2008, 03:23 AM   #15
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Re: Superman Begins

If anything Nolan-esque needs to be applied to Superman, it's his angle of finding a fan loved story and basing his world from that, like he did with Batman.

We don't need another origin. Everybody knows all about Superman. What we need is to jump right in there with a good story. Superman is like Zues. All you need to know about Zues is that he's a god, a womanizer and he turns into different animals. Well, all you need to know about Supes is that he's the best, he's honest and you know, all that stuff.

We don't need another origin. We don't need to see the Fortress being built. We will understand it's the fortress as soon as he walks into it. We don't need to see him discovering how to fly. We'll get that he flies before we step into the theater.

And I would still say all this even if Smallville never aired, but you include that and geez, you really don't need to retread that territory.

For Iron Man, sure, you need to have an origin. You need to see the suit. You don't need it for Supes.
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