If comic book films are going to continue to be recycled and reimagined, they must be less reverential, more innovative, more relevant; Batman Begins signaled a shift in this direction. James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, the upcoming Ninja Assassins), who is rumored to be under consideration to direct the next Superman, wants to bring that idea to the Man of Steel. First Showing interviews McTeigue about his vision, if he is to assume the director’s chair:
“I’m just saying that I think there are some things that you could excise from the Superman mythology that people would get into it, if you took the world that he was in and changed that a bit, and maybe even project that into the future a bit. I think you don’t really have to play into the origin story anymore. I think there’s a whole bunch of things you could do to make that film more alive and exciting again.”
There is always the danger of turning out a script like the one written by JJ Abrams, which wasn’t reverential enough, but the truly daring ideas, such as Superman: Red Son, which has been a rallying cry amongst fans recently for the kind of change that they’d like to see, would go over about as well as Michael Vick at the Humane Society. Understanding the heart of the story means differentiating between the important themes and characters and the superficial details on the crust.
Superman: Red Son reached to the core of the mythology of Superman in a way that distends well beyond the bounds of mere mythology, touching on nationalist pride and basic rights and the ways in which we identify ourselves. It’s almost clinical in our minds to think that the so-called perfect man stands for our own values; it’s another thing to be shaken from that imperative. But when was the last time a studio risked over $100 million and the good name of an entire brand on such a provocative story? For once, teabaggers aren’t solely to blame. This wouldn’t go down well in any “wholesome American town”. It would probably make us all a little uncomfortable.
Either way, a Superman film probably won’t surface for awhile; Warner Brothers is tentatively deciding which direction to take the franchise.
McTiegue also discusses his work with The Raven, a film set in 1850s Baltimore about a serial killer who takes his MO straight out of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous books, much like in the thriller Se7en, and the rumor that he’s co-directing X-Men Origins: Magneto with David Goyer (hint: it’s not true). You can visit First Showing for more details on both.