As I watch Superman speed through the air, cape a flutter amidst epic music, one thought sticks out in my mind more than my sense of excitement, more than my feeling of awe. I thought to myself, “Damn you, Dark Knight.”
Ever since the financial success of that specific Christopher Nolan film almost every comic-book movie has been given a moody edge. Look at the initial Amazing Spider-Man preview with its glimpse of Peter Parker looking all emo, hood over his head, sitting in the back of the class, giving me horrible flashbacks of Simple Plan music.
I shook my head involuntarily. No one wants to be reminded of Simple Plan.
It’s not that I don’t think the new Superman movie is going to be good. I think it’s going to be gosh darn epic. And for the record I actually really did enjoy the Spider-Man movie.
It’s just that superhero films are now saturated by the same dark tone especially visually, where even scenes in the daylight have unnatural dull lighting. In an environment where each one of these films are trying to be more and more “realistic,” I’m asking for something that doesn’t take itself so seriously, that lavishes a little in the absurdness of the genre while staying true to the things we love about it.
And Superman just seemed like the right fit for good old campiness with a long history of bizarre stories and weird mythology. It’s a dude flying around with a cape. Sometimes he even flies around with a dog named Krypto who likes using a cape too. Did I mention he hides his secret identity using glasses and also allergic to different colored rocks?
Superman: Returns failed partly because it wouldn’t give wholly into the campiness and had Superman spying on Lois Lane with his x-ray vision (not cool, dude). This movie looks like it won’t make Superman a brooding creeper but suffering an existential crisis that is a little more acceptable for me and possibly Nietzsche.
But as I eye the dark, brooding Henry Cavill, really feeling for him as he questions the purpose of his life like I’m currently questioning the purpose of my own, as I wait for him to punch through a CGI spaceship that only big Hollywood budgets could offer, I’m still a little bit disappointed inside.
Because after this trailer there’s no way I can see him give the classic Superman wink and smile throughout this “serious” movie. The one Superman gave in the last pages of Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” to the readers as if both of you were sharing a secret. Like he’s saying to you, “This is all make believe, but ain’t it a blast anyway.”