The following description of an upcoming superhero movie has now become an official cliche: “It will be dark and serious like Nolan’s Dark Knight movies.” More than cliche, certain words like “dark,” “serious” or “gritty” – spoken in conjunction with a new superhero film, are buzzwords that elicit strong reactions from fanboys and casual moviegoers everywhere; so hearing the director of arguably the most anticipated superhero film since Dark Knight Rises utter one of them will likely cause more uproar than it should.

Check out what Zack Snyder – director of the Superman reboot Man of Steel – had to say about his film’s “serious” approach to the character of Superman:

In speaking with the LA Times about how the seminal graphic novel Watchmen (and his subsequent movie adaptation) changed the paradigm of superhero origin stories, Snyder offered the following explanation of Man of Steel‘s place within said altered paradigm:

“It’s a more serious version of Superman. It’s not like a heart attack. We took the mythology seriously. We take him as a character seriously. I believe the movie would appeal to anyone. I think that you’re going to see a Superman you’ve never seen before. We approached it as though no other films had been made. He’s the king-daddy. Honestly that’s why I wanted to do it. I’m interested in Superman because he’s the father of all superheroes. He’s this amazing ambassador for all superheroes. What was it about him that cracked the code that made pop culture embrace this other mythology? What we‘ve made as a film not only examines that but is also an amazing adventure story. It’s been an honor to work on. As a comic book fan, Superman is like the Rosetta Stone of all superheroes. I wanted to be sure the movie treated it respectfully.”

While Snyder (in this writer’s opinion) seems to be very soberly towing the sort of company line one would expect from a director, his words are still likely to be taken the wrong way by some. Specifically, I’m referring to those who hold the opinion that Superman is not a “serious” sort of character; that kind of tone (they might say) is more fitting of Batman – and (they might add) what’s up with everyone trying to copy the Nolan approach?

Well, aside from the fact that Chris Nolan has a producer credit on Man of Steel and helped shape its story, there is an argument to be made for the type of approach Snyder describes. Superman is, indeed, the “Rosetta Stone” of modern superhero mythology, and there has definitely been (forgive the term) serious question in recent years about who the character is, and what (if any) his relevance to modern times is. Man of Steel has always been facing the uphill battle of trying to answer such questions – hopefully better than Bryan Singer did with his unsubtle approach to Superman Returns (see: Lois Lane’s (Kate Bosworth) heavy-handed “Why the World (Doesn’t) Need(s) Superman” article, which bookends the film).

So, the question now becomes: Has Snyder ‘cracked the code,’ so to speak? We don’t know yet. In fact, there’s painfully little that we DO know for sure about Man of Steel, other than what the Interweb fans have speculated on, or the thematic arcs hinted at in the two Man of Steel teaser trailers. The lack of hype – and news like star Amy Adams (Lois Lane) not yet signing for a sequel – have some people understandably spooked. However, with Warner Bros. set to release their big winter tentpole soon (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), we expect the studio to finally start the marketing and promotion campaign for Superman’s next big-screen outing – at long last giving us a better sense of what Snyder has accomplished (or not).

Man of Steel will be in theaters – in post-converted 3D – on June 14, 2013.

Source: LA Times