With Green Lantern turning out to be a bigger pile of green poo than Hulk’s morning ablutions, and with Chris Nolan saying he’s done with Batman, a lot is riding on Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.
For one thing, it’s a reboot of Superman, arguably the most well known Superhero of all time, which is already daunting enough. But then there’s the shadow of Justice League - Warner Bros and DC’s answer to Marvel’s box-office destroying superhero team-up movie, The Avengers - which is hanging over the production.
The production has been wrapped in secrecy, prompting a lot of questions. Would MoS tie into Justice League? How do you reinvent such a popular character? And why does Superman now have hair like a Wall Street banker? Snyder sat down with NY Post to address some of this.
When the first trailer for Man of Steel was released, it became instantly clear that this was not your grandaddy’s Superman. You could see Chris Nolan’s – who had been brought on as executive producer by Warner Bros – fingerprints all over it, as the trailer showed off a far darker and mature tone than any Superman film we’ve seen thus far. That paradigm shift was a very conscious decision, according to Snyder.
“There’s a logic and concreteness that has to exist with Chris. You can’t just do stuff because it’s cool. He demands that there be story and character behind all of it, which I’m a big fan of.”
“We tried to approach this as though there’s never been a Superman movie before, but at the same time respecting the canon and mythology. There are the pillars that you have to respect, and I’m not about to break them. But it is fun for me to bend them and mess with them.”
One area where Snyder and co have most clearly bent and messed with fans’ expectations was Superman’s costume. Gone was the bright red and blue spandex, to be replaced by a much more muted suit, complete with extraterrestrial detailing, that was almost armour-like in appearance. And of course, just like the design change his comic counterpart went through most recently, Superman will no longer be wearing his underpants on the outside.
“The costume was a big deal for me, and we played around for a long time. I tried like crazy to keep the red briefs on him. Everyone else said, ‘You can’t have the briefs on him.’ I looked at probably 1,500 versions of the costumes with the briefs on.”
“If you look at the costume, it’s very modern, but the relationship to the original costume is strong,
That modernization of the costume was a concern for Superman himself, young British actor Henry Cavill, but the final product – which takes him 15 – 20 minutes to put on – met with his approval.
“You come onto a project like this, and you hear about modernization and you hear about bringing things forward to today, and all you can do is hope that it’s going to look cool and different from anything you’ve seen before. And I’m pretty sure it does.”
It was this modern, down to earth approach actually that attracted Cavill to the role.
“I liked the idea of the realism immediately. Traditional Superman fans know what it’s all about, and they will hopefully love and associate with the character anyway. But the people who aren’t die-hard Superman fans still need to associate with the character, and that needs to have some realism in today’s world, certainly, in sense of a science as opposed to mythology attached to it as well.”
And science is definitely what Cavill used to prepare himself physically for the role. Those bulging biceps and abs of (pardon the pun) steel, didn’t come cheaply as he went on a strict eating and rigorous workout plan, hitting the the gym for 2 hours and consuming up to 15 000 calories per day.
“I have been put through the ringer big time. An example of the workouts we’ve been doing, it was 100 front squats of body weight. There are kettle-bell workouts. It’s very hard work.”
But Cavill should get used to it though, as he’s revealed that he’s been signed for 3 films in total. Now the big question of course is whether one of these 3 movies would involve a stint in Justice League or whether Superman will be rebooted again (which really makes no creative or financial sense), as would probably happen with Batman, since Nolan’s version of the character just wouldn’t work in a contemporary superpowers and aliens, more comic book-y setting. Snyder certainly seems convinced that his Superman has to feature.
“I don’t know how ‘Justice League’ is going to be handled. Honestly, I don’t. But ‘The Man of Steel’ exists, and Superman is in it. I don’t know how you’d move forward without acknowledging that.”
When asked explicitly whether MoS would serve as the launching pad ala Marvel’s Iron Man for DC’s new comic book movie universe though, Snyder is a bit more tight lipped, however he does give plenty of hope for it with one tantalizing tease of a statement.
“Um, how can I answer that?. I can’t really say anything to that, because that’s a big spoiler. I will say, yeah, they trust me to keep them on course.”
On course. In other words, while you probably shouldn’t expect the Flash and Supes to start engaging in foot races in this one, they certainly won’t be doing anything in the film to negate any future collaboration efforts. And Man of Steel as the launching pad makes perfect sense, particularly seeing as how in the latest version of DC’s comic universe, Superman is touted as the very first superhero on Earth who kickstarts the whole cape and mask scene.
I wouldn’t be surprised if in a post-credit sting, as has become traditional in superhero movies, we get a tease for whichever villain (Starro? Darkseid?) that Justice League would feature.