DC has a problem.
The current slate of Marvel film projects looks pretty awesome and what’s more, they are interconnected. And much like the kid next door, DC wants the same thing.
DC, I am here to solve your problems.
In various articles through my time with Comic Book Daily, I have mentioned how DC’s animation slate is top notch while their film slate is not so spectacular. Now granted I should specify that I mean the general DC Universe, not Vertigo, etc.
Having made this complaint a few times, one bold reader finally got up the nerve to ask me “How would you fix it?”
I had to think about it a bit but not only do I feel I have the cure for DC’s film woes but a way to set up for a JLA movie as well.
For the record, DC/Time Warner, etc, I am available for the project, I just ask that I am paid well and you allow me a run on Swamp Thing.
I would fix all of the problems with the same character that created a few of them.
I would do another Superman film.
Now Superman Returns is one of those rather debated films in the superhero world. The general consensus is that the film got everything right… but the plot. There are plot holes in this thing a mile wide (as Kevin Smith points out, Lois Lane should really think about pressing sexual assault charges) and even ignoring those plot holes the big fight scene does come down to Superman versus an island and the island nearly wins.
I’ll give the WB/DC folks their due. I think on paper this entire project seemed like a win and even before it came out, everything seemed perfect for us fans. In fact while a lot of us think that Superman Returns flopped, it actually did rather well in movie terms, it was the 6th highest grossing film in north America in 2006 and 9th highest grossing world wide. It just didn’t do the huge numbers everyone was expecting. Since then, WB/DC has been trying to figure out where to go from there.
This is where I come in.
Right now, this would be the hardest part of bringing back the Man of Steel to theaters. The first thing you do is figure out a starting point. A lot of people would do a complete reboot. I disagree. The world at large knows Superman’s origins due to years of film, cartoons, television, comics, etc. I would not jettison Superman Returns at all but I would move away from it. I would actually keep the Lois/Superman love child storyline but Luthor and the evil island of kryptonite doom would not be featured.
My Superman movie would be much more action packed, in fact I would open the film with Superman being punched through a building by someone like Despero. We introduce the world of weird and colorful villains and action all in one swift move. Superman defeats him and then we get to the meat of the story.
I’d use Metallo as my main villain. Make him a bit smarter then his comic counterpart and with the kryptonite power source, make him a real threat that can be very action oriented. Give him a good reason to pound Superman. If so desired, Metallo can make a useful way of getting rid of the son of Superman but that’s up to the writers. I’d also start planting seeds for sequel. Hint at Brainiac here and there and then make him a huge bad guy in the next film. Computers just starting going weird every once and a while. A shot of a computer turning on and a network downloading every single Superman story the Daily Planet has, stuff like that.
Cast and Crew
As I previously stated, I wouldn’t feel the need to reboot so a lot of the cast could stay the same. I rather liked Brandon Routh as Clark although I feel that Kate Bosworth could be easily replaced and no one would notice. For the record if forced to recast Routh, I would probably go for someone unknown but a bit more muscular.
Now let’s focus on the bad guy.
Metallo should appear human for a good chunk of the film (until he goes mostly robot right at the end) but should be fairly well built and slightly mean looking. My first choice would be Sam Worthington although given he basically played the good guy version of Metallo in Terminator Salvation and would probably pass, second place casting pick goes to Gerard Butler.
Now writer wise (assuming I wasn’t hired for anything more then concept) would be tough but honestly right now my choice would be Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the writers behind the Star Trek revamp. They get how to treat these characters with respect (yes I know they also wrote the craptacular Transformer films but I’m hoping they go the Star Trek route on this one) and do action.
Director… J.J. Abrams.
Wait! Yes I know he was behind the terrible script that came out before Returns came around. Heck, I was one of the nerds leading the charge against it but I feel under my proposed guidelines he would be the best man for the job. He knows story, he knows action and he can direct both.
Now here’s where it all comes together. Eventually they want a Justice League film, especially since there is an Avengers film in the works
The question however is how do you bring the somewhat realistic Batman from the Christopher Nolan films into this weird and wonderful DC universe.
Nolan inadvertently did this a little by introducing Two Face and The Joker in The Dark Knight, so the audience will be a little more prepared for it.
My idea to bridge the DC universe films is the following. Please note, this would be after a theoretical 3rd Batman film where he is again seen as either a hero or a vigilante instead of being hunted as in the end of The Dark Knight.
Taking a cue from Iron Man, the credits roll and then at the end we see a darkened city roof top. There is a small mechanical box right in the center of the roof top. We hear a whoosh sound and slowly the camera pulls back revealing Superman, slightly hovering over the box. He lands, picks it up and studies it. While still looking at the box he comments to seemingly no one.
Superman: “I know you’re there. I must admit, you did a great job making yourself invisible to me but you missed one thing. I can still hear you breathing.”
With that, Batman comes out of the shadows. Superman tosses him the box.
Superman: “Good job with that too. Enough noise to grab my attention but not too much to be annoying. Mind telling me what this is about?”
Batman: “Figured it was about time we met.”
BLAM, straight to black.
You don’t have to explain anything, you don’t have to make a big elaborate scene. It also firmly establishes that they both exist in the same universe, that Gotham and it’s street crime exists in the same world as Superman’s aliens which in turns lends itself to the other characters. If Batman exists in the same world as Metallo then it’s not a huge leap to think Batman exists in the same world as Green Lantern.
Sure it’s basic but it works.
DC, I await your phone call.