Pop Rocks

Pop Rocks: Go Ahead, Tug On Superman's Cape

I'd done a decent job putting the fact they're rebooting the Superman franchise *again* next year out of my mind, that is until a flurry of recent Man of Steel-related news items popped up in the last week or so.

"Wait," you're saying, "Didn't they just make a Superman movie?" Yes they did, 2006's Superman Returns. Bryan Singer's slavish tribute to Richard Donner's 1979 Superman brought in "only" $400 million worldwide and took the unique approach of turning Superman into a creep while simultaneously chucking about 80 years of continuity out the window.

So they're making another one, which will be the third reboot for Supes since Donner's movie. Superman: The Man of Steel will star The Tudors' Henry Cavill (as Superman), Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as the Kents.

Oh, and maybe Lindsay Lohan, too.

And she wants to play a villain. Oh, if I could only make this stuff up:

Lindsay Lohan may have missed out on the coveted role of Lois Lane in the new Superman film but she's still in the running for a role as a villain, according to reports.

The troubled actress was edged out of what could have been a major comeback role by Doubt star Amy Adams. But according to Radaronline.com, the 24-year-old Mean Girls actress is due to read in front of producers for another role in the much-anticipated movie.

A source told the gossip website: 'Lindsay plans to return from New York and meet with producers and read with an actor who is up for the role of Lex Luther." [sic]

The website states that film bosses are said to be "very interested" in casting Lohan.

That's right, Lohan was "edged out" by three-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams. I guess those performances in I Know Who Killed Me and Herbie Fully Loaded came up just a bit short.

I was ready to dismiss this item out of hand, especially that bit about film bosses being "very interested" in her coming aboard, until I remembered who they ended up with as director: Zack Snyder.

You remember Snyder. His latest movie, Sucker Punch is enjoying an unhealthy 20% "fresh" rating over at Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, it isn't like Hollywood's A-list directors were knocking down the door to helm a new Superman movie. Names from Darren Aronofsky to Tony Scott to Jonathan Liebesman to Ben Affleck(!) were attached at one time or another. All bailed for various reasons.

When did Superman become so uncool?

That's a trick question, really. Superman was never *cool*, per se. From the start, he was saddled with that whole "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" garbage, which makes it hard to have a dark side (not that they didn't try). It's funny how Bruce Wayne took his parents' murder harder than Kal-El did his entire planet getting blowed the fuck up.

Batman always represented the seedier side of DC Comics ("Gotham" City, the "Dark Knight"), fighting criminals plagued by overt madness (the Joker, Scarecrow) vs. Supes' rogues' gallery of alien threats and mere megalomaniacs. And while kids can argue about each hero's relative merits, both always operated from clear positions of superiority. Superman has unearthly strength, powers of flight, and X-ray and laser vision, while Batman is able to support his crimefighting ventures thanks to a massive family fortune. Even so, Bats always seemed cooler than his Kryptonian counterpart. Your choice of who to dress up as a kid merely indicated whether you'd become a fan of unregulated capitalism or neo-Aristotelean perfectionism.

This was cemeted in the 1980s with the publication of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, which simultaneously redeemed the character from the cheesy-ass 1960s TV show and served as the template for everything from Tim Burton's 1989 movie to Batman: The Animated Series to Christopher Nolan's obscenely successful films.

Ah yes, Nolan. The funny thing is, the director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Returns drew inspiration from Donner's 1978 movie when casting big names like Oldman and Caine in his movies. Donner, after all, had Ned Beatty and Gene Hackman when he was still, well, "Gene Hackman" and not "The Guy In All Those John Grisham Movies." The Batman franchise, with Heath Ledger's Oscar win for his portrayal of the Joker and Christian Bale a winner this year for The Fighter, is now celebrated for its acting as much as for Bat-gadgets and fisticuffs.

Superman Returns, on the other hand, was viewed as such a misstep Warner Bros. made the decision to reboot the entire franchise less than two years later. With the guy who originally lost the gig to Brandon Routh five years ago and the "Mariner" from Waterworld. Restarting comic franchises is the in thing these days (The Hulk: 2003, 2008; Spider-Man: 2007, 2012; The Punisher: 2004, 2008), and with competition from a slew of Marvel films coming out this year or next (X-Men: First Class, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and the aforementioned Amazing Spider-Man), Warner Bros. isn't taking any chances.

The thing, maybe they should. I haven't bothered given much thought to what a Snyder-directed Man of Steel film is going to look like, but it's more than likely going to be a lot of this:

Granted, his two previous films, 300 and Watchmen were heavily stylized as well, but the foundation was laid by two of the most respected writers in the industry. The Superman reboot is being written by David Goyer, who scripted both of Nolan's Batman films, so that's something.

'course, he also wrote Jumper and Blade: Trinity, so temper your expectations accordingly.

2012 will be interesting, at any rate. In the meantime, here's Kate Gosselin with her own Superman reference. Who knows, dating her might accomplish what Lex Luthor never could.