Director Zack Snyder’s Superman movie Man of Steel, which will soon be followed by its highly-anticipated sequel Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, has its share of angst and moody visuals. The film – which featured a young, emotional Clark Kent trying to find his place in the world – focused on the son of Krypton’s struggle with being different. Yet this aspect is also contrasted with Clark’s humanity.
It’s the character’s desire to fit in, combined with the realization that he’s special, that makes him Superman. So it can be a little jarring if one of these is taken to extremes, as seems to have been the case with Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage’s failed Superman movie from the 1990s.
In a new interview with IndieWire, the movie’s screenwriter Dan Gilroy reveals the film didn’t happen because after a string of failures Warner Bros. wasn’t willing to invest in another costly project. But one wonders if it had more to do with their approach to one of America’s biggest cultural icons. In their version, Gilroy says Clark’s upbringing would have been a bit different, a bit more troubled:
“I was very much taken by Tim’s approach, which was that Kal-El was not told by Jor-El, before he got put in the little spaceship, who he was or where he came from. So poor little Kal-El, when he winds up on Earth, he has no freaking idea where he came from. His biggest fear is that he’s an alien.”
As we all know, Clark is an alien. But until the character realizes this fact, he goes on even more of an emotional spiral than we’ve seen in other incarnations:
“Our Superman was in therapy at the beginning of the film. He’s in a relationship with Lois Lane and he can’t commit. Or he was maybe in couple’s therapy. But he can’t commit because he doesn’t know who he is or what is going on with him. He’s hoping that he has some physiological condition that gives him these powers but that he’s still human. It becomes very apparent, though, early in the script, when Lex Luthor uncovers the remnants of the spacecraft, he suddenly realizes – “Oh my god, I’m an alien.” It was all about the psychological trauma of it. I loved it.”
When it comes to superheroes, Batman is usually the one known for being the king of emotional angst. It’s hard to picture what a Superman with ‘psychological trauma’ would have been like, but for what it’s worth, Gilroy seems confident in saying, “Tim would have created a Superman for the ages.”
However, there is one way comic book fans might get to see what they missed out on. Two crowdfunding campaigns to help make a documentary detailing what happened behind the scenes of the film have been successful. Producer-director Jon Schnepp hasn’t said when the documentary will actually be released, but he does promise footage and interviews with everyone from Kevin Smith to Tim Burton.
But what do you think, Screen Rant readers? Are you interested at all in hearing more about Superman Lives? Would you have watched Burton’s take on Superman?