I’ll admit it: Zack Snyder’s non-answers about his Superman movie have me somewhere on the scale between intrigued and scared. When is so much secrecy too much secrecy?
For those who haven’t been paying attention, Snyder – currently doing the rounds promoting Sucker Punch – told MTV that he can’t say anything about Superman being an alien, whether Clark Kent or Superman is the disguise or whether there’ll be a “cosmic” influence on the film (He did, however, say that the costume will not be on a scale of George Reeves-to-Nicolas Cage, which means… something, although I couldn’t tell you what). The reason for this silence, he explained was “it’s a super-secret thing. It’s like I’m building the stealth bomber.”
And that, weirdly, is where I get interested. Maybe it’s because I want to believe in the movie that I take it as a relatively good sign. Such secrecy is because they’re taking their time to get it right, right?, I ask myself, comforting myself with the idea that not rushing something means that the result is likely to be better than NBC’s terrible Wonder Woman costume (which, seriously, people, is really, really bad. Wrong choice of materials, both in the PVC and the plastic jewelry, and too primary colored – both of which are easily fixable, should the show get picked up for a season, of course). I mean, if nothing else, Snyder’s movies normally look good, after all. Well, apart from some of those Watchmen costuming choices.
But then I get reminded of Snyder’s other movies, all of which have been… well, let’s be polite and say “strong examples of the unsatisfying nature of putting style over substance when it comes to moviemaking,” and I think that it’s very possible that the secrecy is just there because there aren’t answers to any of these questions yet, in part because they’re questions that no-one has really put a lot of thought into. The idea of a Superman movie that is pretty but emotionally empty seems particularly worrying because it seems particularly possible, considering the people involved in making it, and I’m enough of a fan of the character (and the genre) to wish more for the movie than that.
It’s possible, of course, that the secrecy is there just because it gets people talking – why, look at this very post – and all publicity is good publicity, as we all know that everyone believes for some strange reason. By refusing to release pictures eighteen months early, like The Amazing Spider-Man, or rush out costume fitting pics as press releases a la Wonder Woman, Superman suddenly stands apart from the pack, and perhaps gains a little prestige from its mystique. It also stands to gain from, to be blunt, not revealing anything and disappointing anyone in the process – How can anyone be disappointed in what they don’t know for sure?
(Of course, this is the internet, so someone somewhere will find a way.)
There is so much expectation surround the new Superman movie – Will it be enough to relaunch the franchise, will Warners get it into production in time to keep the license, whether it’ll miss with audiences the way that Superman Returns did – that claiming secrecy and keeping silent may be the best option for now. Without visuals to wow (or, perhaps, unleash an unsettling silence upon) fans, keeping quiet really might be the way to go to avoid misunderstandings and the inevitable backlash that’d occur. But it also helps stoke speculatory fires, and that’s rarely a bad thing this early in the game… as long as the end result is something to be excited by.
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