From the first moment Christopher Nolan was reported to be executive producing (or, 'overseeing') Zack Snyder's Superman reboot Man of Steel, the rumors that the big blue Boy Scout would be 'Nolan-ized' ran rampant. Fans and critics of the director's Dark Knight Trilogy were split on whether a darker, more grounded tone was right for Superman, or simply misguided.
Now Nolan has explained that for all his pride in bringing Batman into the modern world, he's not the one directing Man of Steel; Snyder is. And while there may be similarities between their approaches, Nolan maintains that this is Snyder's film, through and through. But that doesn't mean he's not every bit as optimistic about its potential to bring something new to the character.
The direct comparisons between Nolan's darker, more contemplative and brooding version of the Batman mythos and the modern re-telling of Superman are easy to understand. Nolan's artistic vision was the most commercially successful in the realm of superhero movies, clearly showing that the world was ready for something a bit more grounded.
Since then, The Dark Knight's type of 'edginess' has been pointed to as part of Snyder's pitch for the film, with the director (known more for visual theatrics than heart-wrenching drama) calling his approach to the Last Son of Krypton as nothing if not 'serious.' With Nolan executive producing, and David S. Goyer stating that he and Nolan are trying to do for Superman what they did for Batman, Snyder's significance has been somewhat downplayed.
Speaking with The Playlist, the question arose of whether Man of Steel was written and directed along the same lines of the Dark Knight trilogy. Nolan acknowledged that the comparisons are fair - but reminded us that he's not the one in charge:
“Well, somewhat...But I wouldn’t want people to think we're doing for Superman what we did for Batman.”
“It's very much Zack’s film and I think people are going to love what he's done...I think it's really remarkable to take on that character. Superman is a completely different character than Batman. So you can't in anyway use the same template. But David Goyer had this, I thought, brilliant way to make Superman relatable and relevant for his audience. Zack has built on that and I think it's incredible what he's putting together. He's got a lot of finishing to do on that. Superman is the biggest comic book character of them all and he needs the biggest possible movie version which is what Zack's doing. It's really something.”
With Snyder recently hinting that Man of Steel could in fact usher in the arrival of the Justice League, it can't be long before Nolan's name is again brought to the forefront of discussion as to who should shepherd the DC movie universe. The cagey director repeated previous statements - mainly, that he has said goodbye to his Batman and never intended the closing of TDKR to be open-ended for the sake of sequels - but those looking for some hope to cling to, can continue:
“Well, as I’ve said, and I’ll say definitively again, I am done with the Batman films, the trilogy is completed. It ended in the manner we had envisioned...I’m producing Superman now and I’m enjoying time off and taking a break."
Is his refusal to flat-out deny that he would consider overseeing Warner Bros. and DC's endeavors a sign he may be coming around, or simply that he's tired of repeating himself? It's impossible to tell, but until the studio hires someone else for the job, we're sure rumors will persist. Fans can watch the behind-the-scenes offerings of this week's Dark Knight Rises Blu-ray in hopes of finding some indication of Nolan's plans, but we won't be holding our breath.
For now, we can't help wonder if the comparisons between the two franchises might be working in Man of Steel's favor. Being compared to the most critically-acclaimed superhero saga in modern times isn't an insult, but the questions over the tone and feel of Snyder's Superman (as directly related to Nolan's Batman) have kept doubts about Snyder's abilities largely quelled. There's still some skepticism, but having people cautiously optimistic about the mind behind SuckerPunch, 300 and Watchmen being entrusted with Superman is an accomplishment in itself.
There's reason to have hope in a movie offering a seriously threatening villain, a lead actor who apparently simply is Superman, and a director who knows how high the stakes really are. The next sign of what's to come will be seen in the new Man of Steel trailer ahead of The Hobbit, and we'll keep you updated as news arrives.
Man of Steel will be in theaters on June 14, 2013.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
Source: The Playlist