Will Batman Strategy Work For Superman?
Warner Bros. successfully revived its Batman franchise with the Dark Knight trilogy (Batman Begins/The Dark Knight/The Dark Knight Rises). This weekend will reveal whether it will able to revive its Superman franchise with what several critics contend is an equally dark Man of Steel. The film's screenwriter, David S. Goyer, who also co-wrote the three Batman films, told today's (Thursday) Los Angeles Times that he thought that if we're going to reinvent [Superman] ... we have to act as if the other movies don't exist. Goyer said that he would have been paralyzed if he had taken into consideration the expectations of the studio and its stockholders for the film. You have to take chances. You have to let the story lead you into logical directions and follow through and say, does that make sense for this story? If we had tried to write a blockbuster, we would have been screwed. Meanwhile, analysts are predicting that the film will have no difficulty achieving blockbuster status. Dave Karger, who has the title of chief correspondent for the online movie ticket seller Fandango, told NBC's Today show, I think a $100 million opening for 'Man of Steel' is not out of the question at all. Initial reviews have been mixed. New York Magazine critic David Edelstein wrote that the film offers lots of noise and clutter -- but never the simple charm of the original comic by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster or the faintly self-abashed handsomeness of Christopher Reeve. The movie isn't dead on arrival ... but it's pleasure-free. Justin Craig of FoxNews.com had a harsher verdict, writing that the filmmakers have managed to become Superman's very own kryptonite, stripping the iconic character of his greatest assets: wit, charm, and most importantly, hope; rendering Man of Steel this blockbuster season's biggest disappointment. But Kirsten Acuna of businessinsider.com said that she enjoyed it a lot. Although it's not perfect, she observed, it's definitely entertaining and should hit the projected $100 million number opening weekend. And Richard Corliss writes in Times magazine: The action is plentiful and thumping; Marvel-size thrills await you and the generations of kids who still believe in Superman. ... [But] the movie finds its true, lofty footing not when it displays Kal-El's extraordinary powers but when it dramatizes Clark Kent's roiling humanity. The super part of Man of Steel is just O.K.; but the man part is super. [A summary of major newspaper reviews of Man of Steel will appear here on Friday.]