Variety updates fans on the next Superman flick.
Now that The Dark Knight has set a new standard for comic book movies, attention is turning to DC's other heavyweight cape.

Ever since the release of Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, a pseudo-sequel to the Richard Donner-helmed 1978 Superman, fans have been split over whether the franchise should stay the course or change direction (in more ways than one). Christopher Nolan proved with The Dark Knight that a fresh perspective on an aged icon is potentially lucrative, while Louis Leterrier & Edward Norton demonstrated with The Incredible Hulk that it's acceptable to ignore the previous entry in a series and start over.

Warner Bros. have for some time been debating what to do with the Big Red S, agreeing with fans that Returns was unsatisfying. Now, according to Variety’s ANNE THOMPSON, Superman has top priority as the studio seeks "the right direction," whether that includes or excludes Singer. Despite assurances from the director and from current Kryptonian Brandon Routh that a story for the proposed 2010 follow-up progresses, there have been no scribes working on the Man of Steel script since screenwriting duo Dan Harris & Michael Dougherty bolted last year. Insiders told Thompson that the Warner suits want to figure things out, including the pros and cons of a franchise reboot.

"I’m not sure why Warner Bros is hesitating. Comic Book movies are hot right now, and they need to strike before the [inevitable] downward turn hits," posted Slashfilm's PETER SCIRETTA, noting that fans want a new Superman movie, just not a Superman Returns sequel. "It seems to me like the best thing to do is to hire a new director...someone young who will have a new take on the classic superhero. Hire Jonathan Nolan to write a script. Try to recapture the magic of The Dark Knight. After all, what would Superman look like in the Nolanverse?"

While Singer has promised that he would go Wrath of Khan (leaner, more action) for The Man of Steel, comic superstars Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman) and Mark Waid (Superman: Birthright) recently told MTV's Movie Blog that the director's vision failed.

"The idea was to make an American Christ figure, but what they centered on was his weakness," Morrison said. "They had too many scenes where he's being kicked to the floor, and that's not Superman. Superman would get up and fight."

Admitting that he wanted Superman Returns to work, Waid focused on one big reason why it did not. "If you're making the movie in a vacuum, and there will be no other Superman movies ever again, go ahead and give him a son. But otherwise, that's a staggeringly awful idea. What are you going to do next? Either the kid has to be a part of his life, or get superpowers, which no one wants to see."

The pair agreed that a complete reboot is the best solution.

In fact, Morrison has discussed it with the studio. "I told them, it's not that bad. Just treat Superman Returns as the Ang Lee Hulk."

DANNY GRAYDON's complete article at Telegraph.co.uk is recommended reading for anyone interested in a European view of political influence on the recent superhero movies.
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