Last week, DC Entertainment made the announcement that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan will be "mentoring" the latest iteration of Superman on the big screen. Coupled with the fact that after the immaculate success of The Dark Knight in 2008 Warner Brothers execs publicly spoke about giving all of DC’s slated film projects a "mature" and "darker" edge, the involvement of Nolan in a new Superman movie begs the question: will it be true to the source material?
It’s important to note that no one knows what the hell "mentoring" a film means. Is Nolan going to take the movie to the Boys & Girl Club and play basketball with it? Are the credits going to read "Big Brother – Christopher Nolan"? For all we know, Nolan is going to help find a director and then never give it a second thought. The point is, all we can really do at this stage is speculate. So gladly, I’ll add some fuel to the fire.
Nolan has said more than once that his world in the new Batman films has no place for characters like Robin, let alone superpowered heroes. A lot of fans seem to be assuming that this move by DC Entertainment is an effort to begin constructing a cohesive film universe, like Marvel is doing with their big screen properties. I’m not sure if that’s the case or not, but I think it’s important to consider the new restructuring over at DC Entertainment. The purpose of the new system was to couple filmmakers with key DC creators to keep the films true to their source while being the best movie it can be.
That said, anyone that has fears of Nolan turning Superman into a character that lives in the shadows can rest easy. Firstly, I think Nolan has enough common sense to stay true to the character, whether he’s a comic book fan or not. And, if for some reason he tried to go against the grain, the structure of DC Entertainment, as its intended to do, would prevent the defacing of its character. Of course, this assumes that the promises spit out by DC/Warner Brothers isn’t a cloud of smoke to reassure fans.
What Nolan did so well in Begins and The Dark Knight is spotlight the humanity of the Bruce Wayne/Batman character. Surely, finding the humanity in Superman would make fans rejoice. But guess what? Finding humanity in Superman is exactly what Bryan Singer accomplished in Superman Returns and fanboys cried to their message board faux-friends in peril. I can understand the movie not being a commercial success considering its outrageous budget, but there was drama and humanity coupled with a lot of other perks: throwbacks to the original films, a new twist on the typical Superman/Lois relationship, and humor. There were glaring problems, but overall not a bad addition to Kal-El’s filmic history.
As I said, all we can do at this point is speculate. And my own, personal speculation is that Nolan’s "involvement" is essentially a jumpstart for the long problematic Superman movie franchise. I assume that Nolan will help get the production back on its feet (ie, not wading in an endless stationary pool of rumors), get it rolling with the right people, and then back off. Time will tell, but in the meantime, let the furious Internet debates begin.