”I made Superman real”

This is what Hollywood uberhack Zack Snyder said in this interview in regard his Superman film, Man of Steel. He says:

 

“The thing I was surprised about in response to Superman was how everyone clings to the Christopher Reeve version of Superman,” he told Forbes. “How tightly they cling to those ideas, not really the comic book version, but more the movie version. … If you really analyze the comic book version of Superman, he’s killed, he’s done all the things. I guess the rules that people associate with Superman in the movie world are not the rules that really apply to him in the comic book world because those rules are different. He’s done all the things and more that we’ve shown him doing, right?”

Like in “Watchmen,” which he directed in 2009, Snyder said he wanted to depict the true nature of violence rather than the sanitized, unrealistic version.

“It’s just funny to see people really taking it personally … because I made (Superman) real, you know, I made him feel or made consequences (in) the world,” he said. “I felt like, it was the same thing in ‘Watchmen.’ We really wanted to show it wasn’t just like they thought, like the PG-13 version where everyone just gets up and they’re fine. I really wanted to show the violence is real, people get killed or get hurt and it’s not fun or funny.”

 

It’s fucking Superman, not Taxi Driver. People love Superman because it’s hopeful. fun and ultimately it’s a giant power fantasy which allows us as an audience a bit of escapism. That’s why people love the Christopher Reeve Superman films, (well, the first two), myself included, and it’s also why people reacted badly to Man of Steel, myself included.

A good Superman story isn’t going to teach you the reality of violence, because Man of Steel avoided showing that. It was sanitised Hollywood violence which was firmly the sort of disaster porn the likes of Michael Bay trades in. The sad truth is that there’s nobody making these films with any really new ideas so they trade constantly on the ‘realism’ angle but it’s impossible to do a ‘real’ story about an alien in blue tights who can fly.

Constantly feeding people misery, death and violence featuring characters meant to inspire children isn’t ‘adult’ or ‘real’ it’s just a depressing lack of imagination, not to mention desperation throwing Batman and Wonder Woman into the sequel in order to try to jump start a Justice League film. People are in a recession. They’re struggling to make a living. They want fun escapism. They don’t want Superman being ‘real’ and killing people left, right and centre. A little bit of fantasy, joy and escapism works wonders, especially with characters designed to be enjoyed by children and anyone really, not just a group of grim blokes who think ‘adult’ means death, and kewl explosions.

There’s a lot to hate the Marvel films for with the lack of payment/credit to Jack Kirby and other creators being the main one, but they at least understand that a relentless, joyless experience is going to turn people off, and also, these characters are bloody silly so you need to ground them, but at the same time give them a sense of fun. That’s what Snyder misses. That’s why his film was a failure, and why the sequel will probably be the same.

Honestly, what’s wrong with a bit of fun and joy with your superheroes?

 

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