"Superman is the King Daddy of all superheroes; everybody knows that", is how director Zack Snyder put it to a Hall H crowd at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. The reaction in the room was one of muted disbelief. To a world that had experienced The Dark Knight, and was just weeks away from the premiere of the The Dark Knight Rises, it seemed like a preposterous thing to say. Made all the more preposterous for knowing that the only full length, live action Superman feature of the last 25 years was 2006's underwhelming and criminally boring Superman Returns. With a production budget somewhere north of $200 million, Bryan Singer had delivered a superhero movie that felt as long as Gone with the Wind, with about the same amount of action, but none of the critical and popular acclaim. When Snyder gets to back up his bold statement in June of 2013 with the release of his Man of Steel, he would have done well to not repeat the mistakes of Singer's very sincere, but very flawed attempt at resurrecting the Superman movie franchise. Here are the top 10 mistakes from Superman Returns that Man of Steel must avoid.
Superman Returns tried very hard - mostly successfully - to establish Metropolis as a city that is in every way a match for a real-life metropolis like New York City. (Something that Tim Burton famously ignored by creating a shockingly empty Gotham City for his 1989 Batman). What the movie forgets to do, is to populate this Metropolis with real people. People who react to the events around them in a believable way. That doesn't just mean running away from a gas line exploding underneath your feet, screaming in terror, and managing to only come across as either victims or apathetic. Other than for a few newspaper articles and a nice standing ovation at a ballgame, Metropolis hardly seems to acknowledge or care that the hero of their city has returned. We have to know what it is that Superman spends his life protecting, if we're going to be asked to care about the outcome. A hero is nothing if he has nothing worthwhile to save. Man of Steel owes us a Metropolis with some character.