Hi, I’m Sam. We’ve never met, but I’ve written a few articles about you and I’ve talked about you on a couple of podcasts, and we’ll actually be meeting soon enough. June 15th, I believe. Anyway, the reason I’m writing you now, with less than a week until your premiere in the U.S. is I need to lay all the cards on the table and ask one favor of you: Please. Don’t. Suck!
I’m not saying you have to be fine art or change the course of superhero movies forever and ever, all I’m asking is that you don’t suck. You might think this is just hyperbole on my part, but I assure you that even if you do fair to middling at the box office and with critics, it will be better for all of us in the long run. Not to put anymore pressure on you, because I know you’re probably feeling enough already, but there’s a lot riding on you and as a DC reader, it’s really important, and necessary, that you do well.
You, Man of Steel, are the key to everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. It’s been made very clear that if you don’t perform well at the box office (based on whatever arbitrary number Warner Bros. sets up), then the whole DC Cinematic Universe could be in trouble. And while I would love nothing more than for you to sit back, stretch your legs, and let your cape waft about in the breeze, the fact of the matter is the hopes and dreams of DC fans everywhere are riding on you being good enough to justify the existence of the next batch of DC movies. Granted, that is really unfair of us to shoulder such a burden on you, but this appears to be the line in the sand that’s been drawn.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m really excited to see you. More than I thought I’d be for a Superman movie. Of the trinity, I lean more towards Batman and Wonder Woman. Not that I don’t respect you, it’s just that I got into comics via Batman: The Animated Series. Your series came along later and then Justice League followed, but when I started reading the books, I gravitated more towards the hero who’d sparked my interest from the beginning. But I’ll admit the cartoons gave you some great episodes and some killer scenes. And without you, I wouldn’t have The Fourth World, so I definitely owe you for that. Looking back at the movies, Superman and Superman II are fine, but I just don’t have the die hard love for them that others do, and I avoided watching the other two because I’ve heard they’re…how do I phrase this?…not good. There was also Superman Returns…yup, there was definitely that movie. Sorry, it just left a bit of sour taste in my mouth. Not that Brandon Routh wasn’t good. I actually would’ve liked him more if the script had been better and Superman wasn’t reduced to an emo-Jesus stalker. And Smallville was okay…I just need you to be a good movie! Let’s face it, it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses for Superman-related media, so we need a win and we need it badly.
Not that this is a competition or anything…actually, strike that, there is a bit of competition since Marvel owns the box office right now and there’s no end in sight for them considering the plethora of characters at their disposal. Who’d of thunk Guardians of the Galaxy would be a movie we’re looking forward to, right? DC movies…well, it’s been a bit thin considering The Dark Knight Trilogy was a thing in and of itself and started long before the Marvel/Disney conglomerate happened and Green Lantern seems to be the red-headed step-child at Warner Bros. I think we’re all secretely hoping for a Dallas-style reboot where Patrick Duffy tells us it was all a dream. My point is that DC character based movies aren’t exactly flooding the market right now, nor have some of the movies outside of Batman worked on any level with audiences. Like I said, DC needs a win.
Again, it’s really unfair that we’re laying this all on you, but you’re the unfortunate victim of bad timing coming out after The Avengers. We’re now living in a world where summer blockbusters are making over one billion dollars within the first month of their release. Not that The Dark Knight Rises didn’t hit that mark, but it wasn’t the immediate success that was The Avengers. And now that Warner Bros. wants to put a superhero team movie out faster than you can say All Along the Watchtower, you’ve been saddled with the task of rebooting a franchise, revitalizing a character, and reimagining the DC Universe on film. It’s not going to be easy, I know, but at least you have some help. Your co-writers and producers, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, basically reinvented Batman for the next generation and your director, Zack Snyder, is at his best when he’s filming material adapted from other works. You’re also laying the groundwork for the rest of the DC Universe with the inclusion of LexCorp in the first full trailer and confirmation that a WayneTech satellite will be destroyed by General Zod at some point. Whatever else gets added is just gravy in my book. It helps that they all seem genuinely excited and invested in your success.
Your cast is also jam-packed with amazing actors! Even if he doesn’t end up in the “traditional” Clark Kent persona, Henry Cavill looks like Superman and the emotional journey you’re setting up for him is one that Cavill can handle. Amy Adams is a stellar actress and I think she’s already proven in previous film roles that she’s got the chops to play Lois Lane. Michael Shannon…dude is scary as hell, so General Zod’s covered. Nice choice. Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Russell Crowe, Christopher Meloni, all of these actors are amazing in their own right and I have no doubt they’re bringing their A-game to the film.
Obviously canon is important when it comes to superhero movies and you have 75 years worth of stories to work with. Strictly adhering to canon, however, is an impossible task and you’ve already shown you’re willing to take some risks. Kryptonians are genetically engineered but Kal-El is birthed naturally, which may be why Zod is so keen to scour the universe in search of him. And it seems kryptonite won’t be a major plot device possibly because Krypton doesn’t explode. I’ll admit, if that turns out to be true, that’s pretty ballsy. You’re walking a fine line between pleasing the fans and forging your own universe. Canon is extremely important to us geeks, so how that canon is adapted can make or break a movie (see The Dark Knight Rises, Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness).
What’s really important is staying true to the characters because superhero movies can derail quickly, and a lot of that boils down to story and character development. Even the best actors can’t always elevate crappy writing. It also doesn’t matter how awesome your trailers look (By the way, your trailers are AWESOME! The last one in particular is epic!) because special effects can’t tell the story for you. Without the proper elements in place to make us believe in the character’s journey, we end up with a jumbled mess of set pieces, crummy dialogue, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
I’m not saying you won’t be a good movie. I’ve already purchased my tickets. I’m primed and ready to sit back and take it all in. Everything you’ve done, up to this point, gives me hope that you’ll be amazing. But I’ve been burned before by effective ad campaigns and misleading trailers, so I say unto you, Man of Steel, with the utmost respect and as much optimism as I can muster…Please. Don’t. Suck.
P.S. Seriously, that last trailer was fucking awesome!