MAN OF STEEL Wrap up: It’s a hit! So what next?

2013061303481 MAN OF STEEL Wrap up: Its a hit! So what next?
Well, now we know! MAN OF STEEL was the biggest June opening ever—$113 million domestically for the three-day weekend and another $12 million from Thursday’s mysterious Walmart screenings. Worldwide it’s made $197.7 million. More importantly, the CinemaScore ratings—which polls people who have actually seen the movies—stood at A-, a very high rating which indicates good word of mouth and possible repeat business. Deadline had the running totals over the weekend, and Warner Bros. execs were clicking their heels. They were dancing jigs and tearing up pieces of paper and throwing them in the air to make like confetti. They were happy.

“We are having a big day!” one told Nikki Finke. “Movie’s working!” said another. “Off to a flying start!!!” enthused one. “In North America, Superman audiences thumbed their noses at the negative reviews from film critics and gave it an ‘A-’ CinemaScore. Man Of Steel beat all expectations. Interesting note that Superman’s Saturday gross is double the next ranking Top 4 films added together. That’s really dominating the marketplace,” said the one WB exec who spoke in more than one sentence. That’s movie speak for “cackling with glee.”

That’s the good news. Now the bad news is the movie is a hit so what to do next? Where’s that JLA movie? The earliest ideas floating around may cause many problems:

“It’s more than just a franchise for us, it really opens up the door to do combinations of the DC Comics characters,” said Dan Fellman, Warner’s president of domestic distribution. “We can build them up like Marvel did and benefit from the history of DC.”

Warner is already in development on a sequel to “Man of Steel” and is expected to fast track that for release as soon as 2014, said knowledgeable people close to the studio.

In addition, it has long been developing a “Justice League” team-up movie featuring characters such as the Flash and Wonder Woman that could come out as soon as 2015.


Uh oh. “Fast track.” That means a quickie script and no lead time. Is two years enough to put together a JLA movie? Den of Geek rounds up all the JLA rumors and factoids thus far and points out that filming for a new Superman flick would have to begin ASAP. Screenwriter David S. Goyer hinted in interviews that everyone has been thinking about all of this, but then everyone was shocked that people like superhero films. Our advice to WB: don’t rush things! The next few days will doubtless see a rush of speculation on whether this saved the current WB studio regime, and we’ll see much more opining on all of this.

Let me see, what else.

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!!!!

Well, as you all know by now, writer Mark Waid viewed the film and didn’t care for it.

And as this moment was building, as Zod was out of control and Superman was (for the first time since the fishing boat 90 minutes ago) struggling to actually save innocent victims instead of casually catching them in mid-plummet, some crazy guy in front of us was muttering “Don’t do it…don’t do it…DON’T DO IT…” and then Superman REDACTED and that guy stood up and said in a very loud voice, “THAT’S IT, YOU LOST ME, I’M OUT,” and his girlfriend had to literally pull him back into his seat and keep him from walking out and that crazy guy was me. That crazy guy was me, and I barely even remember doing that, I had to be told afterward that I’d done that, that’s how caught up in betrayal I felt. And after the REDACTED, even though I stuck it out, I didn’t give a damn about the rest of the movie.


Waid spent much of the weekend being shit on by the internet for not liking the movie, but come on, it’s a free country and Waid wrote some of the best Superman stories in recent years—his BIRTHRIGHT contained many elements that seem to have influenced the finished movie. If you read the rest of Waid’s review, it’s full of insights into what makes Superman work and storytelling elements. I don’t disagree with anything he says. It’s a valid interpretation, even if I bought most of the elements that troubled him.

This movie has really polarized people! I saw MAN OF STEEL twice, the first time with the people who made the movie and they liked it generally speaking (and believe me that doesn’t always happen with the people who make movies). The next night I saw it with a crowd of comics/movie press types and they were to a person “Meh.” No one stood up and cheered. One of these press people suggested I needed to see the movie with “normal people” but the normies seem to have liked the movie a lot.

In other important MoS reviews, we’d dearly love to know what soccer super duper star Cristiano Ronaldo thought:


Wrestler and major comics fan CM Punk had some thoughts:


On of my bellweather reviewers, comics industry vet Steve Bunche, somewhat to my shock, liked it and put his finger on one of the successful reinventions:

This is a different, and in my humble opinion, better Lois than we’ve seen previously, and long before the end of the film I came to like her a great deal. Gone is the catty/bitchy/sneaky/suspicious Lois who, for a supposed great journalist, often struck me as shrewish and largely unprofessional. (Plus to say nothing of obsessed, stalker-ish, and occasionally more than a little bit mentally deranged.)Thankfully, the script ditches the sexist stereotypes that made Lois one of my least-favorite characters since childhood, and replaces those hoary tropes with a capable, tough, and smart reporter who is in her own way just as brave and heroic as Superman. I look forward to seeing more of her.


Bunche’s review also includes a nice anecdote about just how global Superman is as a character:

My friend argued that any reboot of the Superman franchise simply had to begin with the umpteenth telling of his origin story for those unfamiliar with the character, to which I countered that Superman is known everywhere by everyone, a state of affairs that goes back by generations, with parents explaining it all to their little ones even before those wee ones can read or see his adventures for themselves. To prove this, I told my friend to pick any person in the diner and I would bet that they knew Superman’s origin. He scanned the eatery and settled on our waitress, a nice middle-aged woman of foreign Hispanic origin whose English was a tad problematic. When we called her over, I asked her, “You know Superman, right? Can you tell me where he comes from?” She processed my question and one could clearly see the translation circuits in her brain wrestling with the query, but then her eyes lit up with full comprehension and she responded with, “Oh, yes! Soopairmon! He come from…” She cut off her English description and mimed a rocketship falling to Earth. That was enough for me to win the bet and to prove the universality of the knowledge of Superman’s origin.


Since more people have seen the movie now, I’ll throw in my two cents about Superman’s Dark Act at the end of the movie. It was troubling but it was meant to be troubling. And more important there was this dialogue earlier in the film:

Superman to Zod: Did you kill my father?

Zod: I did. And it has haunted me ever since.


So you know, I think this will be a major subtext of the second Man of Steel movie, or should be, anyway. They should also discovered that Superman permanently lost some powers while he was going through the core of the earth, because that would be interesting. Also: BRANIAC.

Finally and most important, here’s a video of Henry Cavill all sweaty and working out that you can watch over and over. Also, Antje Traue working out. But mostly, Henry Cavill all sweaty and working out.

Comments

  1. Andy Lawler says:

    That was a great summary of how things may go forward. As well as terrific insight into some of the critical thoughts among people who actually know what they’re talking about.
    Thank you.

  2. Johnny Memeonic says:

    The scene Waid had a problem with has been a part of the Superman comic mythos since before even his famous Flash run. Why is it a problem only now?

  3. I don’t know that “the internet shat on Mark Waid” is a totally accurate portrayal of what happened this weekend. I say this as one of the world’s biggest Mark Waid fans, but I don’t think anybody involved in the fracas, including Mark Waid himself, came out looking good this weekend.

  4. The problem with a Justice League movie is that many of us (and our now adult children) came to love the animated series (Not the JLA comics); when the Green Lantern film came out, my son (then 16) wanted to know who the hell ‘that guy’ was, where was John Stewart? They’ve also got to deal with the fact that there’s a legion of Wonder Woman fans so hung up on the tv series, that even changing the amazon heroes outfit, caused drama. 0_0 And with Warner’s lean on ‘darker’ superhero films, where does that leave Flash? It seems to me that most young movie-goers (the ones with the disposable cash) want the comical Wally West…not exactly the tortured superhero type.

    I think their best bet is to shelf the JL film, in favor of a World’s Finest line of films. (They’ve got their Bats and Supes–it’s a no brainer.)

  5. It was a so-so movie. New costume was a mistake. It was just like watching Smallville. WB was stupid not to show Batman or Wonder Woman. No surprise after the end credits.

    Pa Kent came close to being a sociopath in saying Clark could have let children die to protect his secret. Is he bring raised by The Luthors?

    Clark was very weak willed to save Pa Kent. He just had to run over and open a car door and he couldn’t do that. I lost respect for him in that scene.

    Russell Crowe was excellent as Jor-El. Henry Cavill has potential but he needs a better script.

    WB needs to learn from the Marvel movies.

  6. Steely Dan says:

    I saw it twice and loved it. Liked it better the second time in fact (and I say this as someone who unabashedly loved “Superman Returns”). Both viewings were with “normal” audiences and both ended with loud, sustained applause (which struck me as odd since no one who made the film was there, but I guess the audience just wanted to register their approval).

    If they move forward with a “Justice League” film then I hope WB/Christopher Nolan will reconsider their decision to not tie the “Dark Knight” films into this continuity. Those films were very tonally similar to “Man of Steel” and it seems short-sighted to throw all that audience affection and equity away by not linking them (and starting Batman over yet again).

    Just my two cents.

  7. That Kirby reference is spot-on — didn’t see that at all. There was a lot of that kind of visual punning going on.

    I was shocked by how much of the basic Action #1 core was upset (this is like the public domain version that so many people seem to want free of tight editorial reign), but I found myself really liking it. I think, selfishly, because here was a Superman thing that I felt on thin ice with as an audience member. It was definitely an interpretation, which was gutsy. and definitely divisive. I really liked the flashbacks with Jonathan, which I think do make sense. I wrote a longer review thing here if anyone is interested.
    http://brad-ricca.com/?p=2680

  8. Synsidar says:

    I sympathize with Waid’s reaction to Zod’s death. The comics Superman is, if nothing else, a man of principle. Why shouldn’t killing Zod be seen as a gross violation of Superman’s principles?

    SRS

  9. Yikes Heidi, that Bunche quote is filled with some pretty awful gendered terms – catty? bitchy? shewy? I’m sorry he doesn’t seem to have read comics in this century and isn’t familiar with a modern Lois Lane and thus has a low opinon of the character but that language doesn’t really position him as anyone to comment on a female character.

  10. BDuty6 says:

    Not to start anything here, but I find it mildly amusing and ironic that you posted a video of Henry Cavill working out with the clear implication that you did so because “He’s sooooo HAWT!”
    If I really wanted to be a jerk I could point to all of the MANY articles talking about misogyny in comics and how women shouldn’t be treated like pieces of meat. If I wanted to I could ask why its ok for you to post a video of Cavill “all sweaty and working out”, realizing that it might be seen as offensive or demeaning to your male readers.
    Personally, I don’t care. But I’m pointing it out more as a warning to help you avoid hypocrisy in the future. Because despite the inevitable comments arguing how wrong I am for saying all of this, it is really hypocritical.

  11. BDuty6, it’s always funny when men are objectified!

    BTW, more surprised people haven’t spoken up about THIS IS THE END and its giant schwinging schlongs.

  12. Torsten Adair says:

    Here’s my rationalization:

    Clark isn’t Superman until he discovers that Transformers troped buried in the ice.
    Aside from the dead spaceship in the barn, he doesn’t know his heritage.

    So he hasn’t had time to train, had time to consider being a hero, to think about his ethics, about right and wrong. He’s not Batman, traveling the world to learn skills to be a better crimefighter. He’s someone trying to hide his abilities while figuring out who he is.

    Instead, he’s had his ass handed to him by someone who was GENETICALLY ENGINEERED to be a warrior, he doesn’t have much time to think, and after some pleading, does the most expedient thing.

    My only complaint about the movie:
    the shaky camerawork. Lord knows how bad it was in the 3-D version…

    My money is on Lex Luthor appearing in the next movie. Perhaps there is a contrast between Clark’s upbringing, and Lex’s. What happened to Zod’s body? Might there be a Bizarro plot, as Lex tries to clone Superman? Perhaps grab one of the Demon-With-A-Glass-Hand blood cells…

    Oh, and might we see a Man of Steel digital comic?

  13. I thought I caught a cameo of Wonder Woman in the film.

    Like, didn’t she just whiz by in her invisible plane during the big battle sequence?

    Not many of you must have caught it.

    ~

    Coat

  14. I prefer the hard-as-nails Lois Lane.

  15. Otistfirefly says:

    @bduty6

    Save your breath. People on occasion (myself included) have pointed out the Beat’s unbelievable hypocrisy on her double-standard of objectification. She either ignores it or if you’re lucky responds with a lame “joke” to your totally valid point. God forbid YOU posted a pic or video of, say, Scarlett working out in prepping for the Black Widow, all sweaty and nearly naked, and added a line that said “ooh look! BOOBIES!! U can watch bounce over and over!!” She would be first in line to label you a sexist misogynist that has the intellectual capacity and self-control of a 13-year-old. Imagine if you responded to her criticism by saying “objectifying women is always fun!”???? Wow! She and the other members of the Perpetual Looking to Be a Victim Because of my Gender Club would be all over you!

    It’s a shame. She seems really cool, outside of the flaming hypocrisy…

  16. Lois was perfect. So was Perry White. Which is a problem. When everyone is already great, why does anyone need Superman to inspire them? It’d be like Batman showing up in Gotham when there was next to no crime and a great police force. All the good characters were flawless and all the evil characters were full on evil.

    The point of the film seemed to be he had one father who was afraid and one who was filled with hope. We never got a chance to see if Pa was right about people rejecting him because he was different because the villains all showed up before that happened. Seemed like an important question to answer. Jor-El thought Kal could “save them all” but he couldn’t. At all. Fear Vs. Hope is an interesting debate but it never plays out.

    And yes Superman made the same choice he made at the end in a comic. The same creator also had him appeared in a porno. So there’s always that for the next film.

    Superman is someone to aspire to be. This Superman wasn’t. He had a life delayed for 33 years by his father’s fear, solves a problem he was the cause of and in the end he made a grim realistic choice. Superman’s better than that. When there isn’t an option, he makes one. If Superman isn’t the standard for superheroes then there isn’t a standard.

    The movie was made by people with the best of intentions but ended up hollow and cynical.

  17. Irwin Schwab says:

    “The movie was made by people with the best of intentions”

    Nope.

  18. As someone who has not been as bowled over by Nolan’s Dark Knight films, I have to say that, have heard some concerns about the film, I was very pleasantly surprised and thought it was terrific. The destruction at the end (which had to involve a lot of innocent deaths) was a bit over the top, but hey, I think the filmmakers, while engaging in a bit of one-upmanship with other films, were trying to get across that this is SUPERMAN and it had to be EPIC.

    I agree that the climactic scene will be a learning/defining moment for Superman, an act committed when no other option existed when innocent lives were at stake. At the end, for someone like Superman, it is the easy thing to do, but he probably realized he crossed the line and will have to live with that the rest of his life and perhaps try to atone for it.

    Audiences wanted a Superman who was less of a boy scout and more flawed and imperfect. They got him.

  19. Man of Steel was a brilliant film and it rightly deserves its success at the Box Office. Ive been a Superman fan since the age of Three or Four as the Character has always meant something to me something that’s always transcended critical reception and invokes a Truth a Spiritual Truth within us all. My favourite moments in the Movie were the reflective scenes such as When Kal /Clark is floating under the water and the Humpback Whale approaches him so beautiful. It was so Spiritual but I almost expected to see Arthur Curry /Aquaman swimming nearby watching him, would be good if that was explained in the new Justice League Movie. Also I loved the Christ analogy Such as when Supermans in the Church and Christ stands behind him in the Stained Glass very metaphoric. I thought Henry Cavill was a great choice for Superman he is so earnest and I feel has the Heart and Soul in understanding who Superman is and what he means. Was so glad Henry Cavill got his dream in playing Superman he seems a very kind guy. Loved the Action sequences very exsiting it gave me a bit of a headache but there you go it was tense a battle of gods. So glad a sequels coming with Batman in it, I love the Marvel films but I love DC so would love to see a Justice League Movie. 10/10 for Man of Steel.

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  1. […] it is awesome when Zod goes down to the kick-ass black suit and goes inflation-era Kirby (thanks to The Beat for pointing this out), but because this is a movie about Superman’s ‘creators’ […]

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