it's superman, and you ain't gonna like it
Ain't It Cool News reports on a reported draft version of the screenplay for the new Superman movie (apparently to be helmed by Rush Hour director Brett Ratner), and the news isn't good. Apparently the film kicks off with a fight between Supes and an equally super-powered baddie (think the three Kryptonian villains from Superman 2 rolled into one character) in which the pair employ Matrix-style martial arts moves. (That's just the beginning; the AICN article provides a lenghthy synopsis of what seems a L4m3 story.)
Look... I think JJ Abrams could well be the right guy for the job. I think he might have a great Superman script in him. The moments that are good are so good they make you woozy. This is the Superman that lives right alongside Santa Claus and Bugs Bunny and Luke Skywalker in the inner lives of American children from the last few generations, the simple force of good wrapped in red and blue. If there was an entire film of this stuff, Iíd be weeping right now, telling you how we were in for this amazing love letter, this beautiful reintroduction to this classic character.
But of course thatís not what it is. No, Warner Bros. wants to recreate things that donít need to be recreated. They want to distance themselves from whatís come before.
The burning question is....why?
Reality check: One of the central character traits of Superman is that he doesn't need martial arts moves. Indeed. throughout the excellent 1978 version of Superman, he never used his fists at all--which, of course, is why the super-fracas in the sequel was especially thrilling. But Superman's strength and invulnerability would absolutely preclude the need for fancy kung-fu. Admittedly, that can make Supes a fairly boring character if not written with imagination. One of the great things about the first two Richard Donner Superman films was the way Superman came up with clever ways to use his powers to solve the problem at hand, be it subbing in for a missing engine on Air Force One to tossing General Zod into the Coke sign in Times Square.