Christopher Nolan Says David Goyer Knows How to Tell SUPERMAN Story in a Modern Context

     June 3, 2010

In the new issue of Empire Magazine [via Nolan Fans], Christopher Nolan, who is “godfather-ing” the next Superman movie, said that David Goyer had figured out a way to address the character of Superman in a modern context.  Said Nolan:

It was the first time I’ve been able to conceive of how you’d address Superman in a modern context I thought it was a really exciting idea. What you have to remember about Batman and Superman is that what makes them the best superhero characters there are, the most beloved after all this time, is the essence of who they were when they were created, when they were first developed. You can’t move too far away from that.

Setting aside the point that Batman and Superman are the “best” superhero characters, I believe Nolan is right that you can’t forget the context of when a superhero was created.  In the case of Superman, it’s an immigrant story (the parents of creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were immigrants).  For my thoughts on what Goyer could do with The Man of Steel, hit the jump.

Peter over at /Film says that Superman is “almost too corny for the post-9/11 era”.  I would argue that on the contrary, it adds an interesting idea to Superman, which is how can a man who can save space shuttles and stop natural disasters deal with global politics and hatred ingrained by both culture and history.  Even if you asked, “Why wouldn’t someone with Superman’s powers stop the terrorists?” I think the larger question is “What good are superpowers when you can’t stop the situations that create and foster terrorism?”  It’s a painful question Americans had to face when we saw that our country, “The Last Superpower”, was unable to stop a couple dozen guys in a cave from committing the greatest attack on American soil in our country’s history.  The question is how do you raise that issue and still make a fun action movie?  I think it’s possible because that’s what The Dark Knight did.  The Joker is a terrorist except terror is his end-goal (which makes him so, well, terrifying).

I don’t know if that’s what Goyer’s planning to do, but I hope that he’s found a way to integrate real-world issues while making a movie that—unlike Batman Begins and The Dark Knight—isn’t ashamed that its from a comic book.

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  • Kevin Van Natter

    i like that in the Alex Ross painting Superman is preparing to blow the cops and firemen just like every other American douche bag after 9/11. Oh they're such heroes.

  • Ljiljana23

    Frankly, the last thing I want to see is another Superman movie. He is outdated and whether he is in modern context or not, I don't think he has any place in today's world without some major changes that comics fans will cry foul about as usual leaving us other fans of these sorts of movies with the same sort of boring clap trap that has been recycled for years now. Put him on a shelf and let the character take a time out.

  • Corin Prendiville

    So Superman is going to be a washed up cheesy version of The Dark Knight? great…

    Besides I'm pretty sure 9/11 was caused by more than 12 guys in a cave… it was more like a few hundred thousand with power over hundreds of millions. Besides, everybody knows in this day and age that your ability doesn't rest on the shoulders of how many heads you have but how much money you have.

  • Washington_2528

    You know….all they have to do is pit Superman against somebody physically imposing. That's why the second one was so good. Zod was actually a threat. Luther's played out. We want to Superman pick up a car and smash it over Darkseid's head or something. Anything. Bizarro. Parasite. Brainiac. He w]has some heavy hitters in his rogue's gallery. I have no clue why the powers that be fail to realize this.

  • Qaz

    I have to agree. I have no desire to see another film, Goyer or not. Sorry to all the fanboys, but Superman should just stay on television where he belongs.

  • InfiniteMonkey

    I wanna see Superman get his ass kicked around the Solar System and then…wait for it…He gets his ass kicked again and then kicks ass back.

    A pussy Superman with a bloody snot-nosed secret shitty child is not allowed and bloody hell! Have him kick major ass or something. Don't treat him like a bloody pussy-cat!

  • Swedishskinjer

    I absolutely depise Goyer both as a director and a writer (I'm guessing that he was responsible for some of the cheesier lines in TDK), so I'll believe his capabilities when I see some samples of his writing for Superman.

  • AJF

    Wow, you are an a**hole.. please assume room temperature and stop wasting space

  • The Train!

    i'm sad to see so much disrespect for the man of steel. i know it's a matter of taste but i think everyone here is just wrong about superman. of course, people usually disagree with my tastes, but i think what counts most is staying true to the character of superman. the conflicts with superman are fundamentally internal–he can't possibly protect everyone all the time from every threat, and he can't compromise. even if the plot takes him throughout the universe (untapped plot lines from the comic books abound), the most interesting superman stories are those where supes must confront the terrors that he cannot defeat because they require him to be somebody that he is not. as for the claim that superman just doesn't fit into modern times, i would ask why he doesn't. is it because he believes in virtue? i think superman essentially faces the problems all of us face–how to do what is right? to me that's a timeless question.

  • Sgb
  • edcedc8

    superman isn't about 'splosions.
    go watch a mikey bay flick.

  • InfiniteMonkey

    Kinda makes you wonder what super powers are for huh?

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  • Arthur M J Lerma

    I agree that Superman Returns struggled because of a less imposing bad guy. Bring on Doomsday or something huge like that. Go to space. Introduce some crazy storylines from the comics and somehow try to maintain the heart at the same time. Either way I do want to see more Superman.

  • Grifothewisp

    Brian Azzarello's “For Tomorrow” played with some very real world politics, however briefly, and Mark Waid's Birthright was an excellent coming of age story set in the real world. Proof that Superman isn't dead or irrelevant in the modern era. I have high hopes for this project.

  • Luis Escobar

    I absolutely agree with The Train, Superman is not played out and can be very relevant. There have been plenty of modern compelling stories about Superman written in the last few years in the comics. The ones already mentioned are only a few.

    There is nothing wrong with the character, it's all about how good the writer is who writes him. Many people think that because Superman is virtuous and has a moral code that it makes him simple and therefore boring. On the contrary, it give him a great foundation for complicated deep stories. Whether he's fighting a weakling or a super powered villain is irrelevant. If you write a story were Superman has to make some sort of moral choice which he can't take back once he makes it, it will make for a great story. For example a choice between two goods (save a million people or save Lois, but he can't cop out and use powers he doesn't have like time travel or find a way to save them both. This was basically what they did in DARK KNIGHT to great effect) or a choice between two evils (thrust the world into world peace by force, by using his powers, establish a moral law he enforces, thereby becoming a dictator and enslaving humanity or allow humanity to slowly kill itself with it's selfishness and greed. In the DARK KNIGHT they also used the choice of two evils with the people on the boats deciding to press the button or not). The more moral a character is, the more interesting the story. Especially because the world is so full of grays.

  • cj sherry

    they should just do the doomsday series. there's at least 4 movies their including steel and boy wonder. first one is when doomsday appears and a battle happens in the second one have superman beat to death (not dead) enters steel, boy, and android super dude. third story proceeds with those three and fighting the good cause and doomsday. fourth superman returns with a new look, suit, and beats doomsday to hell the end and we don't see him until another studio has nothing better to do but remake it…

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  • Superhero Fan

    I am an avid fan of Superheroes and cant agree more with what Matt Goldberg has said. For all you other critics that obvious non superhero fans, leave this one alone, no one is going to twist your arm to go see the movie, the truth known you will probably go rent the DVD when it is available just to satisfy your curiosity.

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