Man of Steel, Warner Brothers’ latest attempt at rebooting their Superman franchise, exists for one reason and one reason alone, and it isn’t because fauxteur par excellence Zack Snyder needed more money to buy soldier outfits for his doll collection. The truth is Warners stood to lose a large share of the rights to the last son of Krypton come 2013, so getting Henry Cavill in spandex became a greater priority than, oh, say, having a compelling story to tell. Luckily, broody genius Christopher Nolan was brought in as executive producer to sprinkle some of his critic-proof, money-minting angst dust on the proceedings. And judging from the just-released first photo of Cavill in those iconic blue (and now scaly?) pajamas, Nolan is certainly earning his gigantic paycheck. Step one in Nolanizing a movie? Lean on the dimmer! Judging from the photo this small step alone has definitely succeeded in making things darker — just probably not in the way anyone had intended. Still, what’s the point of waiting for white-balances when you have a legal obligation to duck? We look forward to squinting — in 3D! — when Man of Steel releases the summer after next.
Green Lantern opened and bombed in mid-June — or, in blog years, in 1874 — and since then its failed cinematic vision of a charismatic Ryan Reynolds and a heroic Space Chicken has been on the mind of absolutely no one, save for the accountants at Warner Brothers who have to try and explain away over $300 million in sunk costs. Still, a creative and financial disaster like that can only mean one thing in Hollywood: sequels! Yes, Warner Brothers president — and apparent masochist — Jeff Robinov told the L.A. Times today that Green Lantern 2 is still in the works. According to Robinov, the problem with the first one wasn’t the cartoony CGI, it wasn’t the fleet of Muppet-y space cops, and it certainly wasn’t the Pullman Loaf with Abs that is Ryan Reynolds. No, Green Lantern’s Achilles' heel was that it wasn’t edgy and dark enough: "To go forward we need to make it a little edgier and darker with more emphasis on action," says Robinov. To aid with the transition, director Martin Campbell will be jettisoned in place of someone bleaker (Lars Von Trier?).
It all makes sense, of course. Because a movie about a test pilot with a magic ring that can project giant emerald fists would be a success if only it were broodier. Cue up the torturous backstory and throw some Linkin Park on the soundtrack! Creeping Nolanism strikes again!
When Marc Webb was announced as the director of The Amazing Spider-Man, the long overdue reboot of a franchise left sadly rudderless since the first year of the Obama campaign, certain assumptions were made. That Webb just might have the perfect kicky-cool visual style — not to mention last name — to reinvigorate the most pop of popular superheroes. That a greater emphasis would be placed on the story’s sweet-natured romance between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, his doomed (in the comics at least) blonde love. That even if Spidey didn’t tussle with the Vulture he at least might dance with him to some early-eighties Yacht Rock in a totally non-ironic way.
Stark black and white images. Solemn voiceovers detailing the nature of man, the importance of heroes. English actors undertaking interesting accents. A lurking, unspeakable evil. It’s the end of a story — and the potential end of countless lives.
If you think we’re referring to the newly released teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises: congratulations! You’re right! Give yourself a gold star. (Heck, give yourself a Golden Globe!) But we could just as easily be talking about another somber blockbuster from the early nineties. No, not Batman Returns. We’re talking about Schindler’s List.