Listen to James Gunn explain what he's looking for in his Superman

Originally published at: Listen to James Gunn explain what he's looking for in his Superman | Boing Boing

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By the nature of not working within our democratic institutions Superman can never be an EMT/firefighter.

He can’t be held responsible for his actions, thus any help he gives is just as conditional has any help you receive from Homelander.

Yes, that’s the cynical view of Superman Zach Snyder went with. It didn’t work. Superman, as a story, works best when he’s presented uncynically as someone who genuinely really just wants to help people and do the right thing. It’s corny and unrealistic, but that’s just who that character is. We have enough dark, gritty superhero stories out there right now. I wouldn’t mind going to watch a superhero movie where I can just escape from the horribleness of the real world for a couple of hours into a world where there’s someone I can trust to not be horrible.


Right. I assume you’ve seen the old George Reeves Superman TV show? Corny, silly, but earnest. There is no need for the “democratic institutions” to be able to hold him responsible for his actions - because he would never dare do something to be held responsible for.

Comics is now a balancing act between escapism and realism. We want a fantastic story, but then at other times we want to pull back into reality so we can relate to it more. Or rather - maybe we become so jaded that at a point the fantastic seems too… fantastic and we want to pull down our heroes back to the mud we inhabit.

IMO the best of the Marvel movies are the ones that haven’t taken themselves too seriously, like Guardians of the Galaxy. The grim dark of the Snyderverse, IMO, just doesn’t work, at least not for more than -A- movie. Like Batman, The Dark Knight Returns was fantastic as stand alone story. But that shouldn’t be Batman 24/7.

The Batman films work ok in the broody city of Gotham, but Superman should be the sun drenched opposite.

And for god’s sake, COLOR. Put the goddamn color back into super hero costumes.


I was going to say something about how much I like the version of Superman that Kurt Busiak created with Samaritan in Astro City, but that just made me sad that we don’t have an Astro City TV show

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I’ve caught bits and pieces of it, but not a lot, no. I did grow up on the old Saturday morning Super Friends take on the Justice League, and that was all very much in the same vein. White hat good guys, black hat bad guys. Even Batman was a more light and pure goodness version of Batman.

Totally agree about Guardians. I was so skeptical of that movie when it was announced. I had never even heard of that team from the comics, and I picked up a few issues to read before the movie came out, and I was thinking, “I don’t know about this. A sentient tree and talking raccoon? How is this going to work in the MCU?” But it just leaned into the ridiculousness of it all, and I think that’s what made it work. Superman has always been Truth, Justice, and the American Way (I would like to see that last part become more the Human Way, but whatever), and I think if they lean into that, it will work.


Lord Acton reminds us what absolute power does to most of us mortals. The thing that makes Superman Superman is that he has all that power, but chooses to do good with it, moment by moment. What a lot of cynics don’t understand about the “boy scout” hero is that maintaining that goodness in the face of a world full of evil, and not meting out wholesale slaughter and vengeance and destruction is exactly what makes Superman the greatest superhero – and a wonderful source for dramatic storytelling in the right hands.


Check This Out GIF


These days in the comics it’s officially “Truth, Tolerance, and Justice”, a change that was made when they announced that Jon Kent, Superman’s son, was coming out as bisexual.

All of which I approve of and think fits perfectly with the idea of Superman I keep between my ears


i’ve only read a little of the recent stuff, but like jon’s youthful spirit. it’d be a good take for a movie supes.

the interesting bits of superman i think are when his code of ethics run counter to the law. batman tends to paints those conflicts as “the law can’t do what’s really necessary”, and superman tends to go in the direction of the law needs to be set right.


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