When word hit that Zack Snyder would be directing a Christopher Nolan produced, David Goyer written version of “Superman,” many a geek heart rejoiced. Images of super slo-mo action, desaturated color palettes, and snappy and powerful one-liners filled our heads. All was good in the Geekosphere.
Then, alas, came word that the script for the film was “a mess.” The oddly named “Vulture” dropped the bomb that Snyder had been hired because the studio wanted a director capable of putting together a hacky “rush job” so Warner Brothers could keep the rights to the Man of Steel. Director Darren Aronofsky, fresh off the buzz of his upcoming film “The Black Swan” passed on the project because it was in such disarray and reeked of a studio cash grab…. Great Ceasar’s ghost, what’s going on here?
If you haven’t been reading Big Hollywood, or living on Planet Earth, you might not know that Hollywood has a leftist bent to it. You also may not know that the Hollywood press is just as corrupt, self-serving and leftist as their cousins in the mainstream media. The reports of “Superman’s” death are greatly exaggerated. This is nasty spin, aimed to take down two of Hollywood’s new school power players while boosting up a critical darling who has little appeal outside the coastal critics community. It also has a lot to do with politics and ideology.
One has to feel for Darren Aronofsky. I like his films to a certain degree, but don’t think that he is a ground-breaking visionary the way that many film students, mainstream critics, and hipsters claim him to be. “Requiem for a Dream” is not some seminal milestone in the history of film. I do think he is capable and incredibly talented. He has been attached to several high profile projects, and it seems that whenever a film is hunting for a director, his name pops up. He was attached to “Batman” before Nolan and has long been rumored to be the man behind the camera for the “Robocop” reboot. Yet, instead of those films, he continues to do well received, smaller, art house projects like “The Wrestler” and “Black Swan.”
Toiling in the indie world may be emotionally and creatively satisfying, but it doesn’t satisfy a thing called your wallet. Reports indicate that he didn’t take a salary in order to get “Black Swan” made. If you are his agent or manager, you’ve got to be dying. IFP spirit awards, cocktail parties, and glowing reviews from the Village Voice don’t help pay off your Mercedes SUV. Simply put, Aronofsky needs to prove that he can handle a blockbuster. He needs the paycheck that goes along with that task.
So, when word breaks that he lost the job to Zack Snyder, his people have to go into full-fledged damage control mode. Especially when the follow up scuttlebutt is that he’ll be directing the much lower profile “Wolverine 2.” Much like the New York Times parroting Nancy Pelosi’s talking points, entertainment industry reporters and moles are all too happy to run wild with spin from a friendly source like Aronofsky’s people. Think about it. Only one person benefits from this story, and it ain’t Clark Kent.
On top of that, the entertainment press loves to attack both Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder. You can also toss Matthew Vaughn, Edgar Wright, and Sam Raimi onto that list. Just look at all the stories about “Inception” before it came out. All the prognosticating that the film was a huge “risk.” That it was stupid to make a smart film as a blockbuster. “Watchmen” was panned before they even started shooting it. And somehow “Kick Ass” is this monumental failure despite raking in over $100 million at the box office and DVD, despite having a production budget under $25 million.
These guys have all proven that they have little need for the traditional studio system. They are studios onto themselves, using complex financing mechanisms and tough as nails producing partners to bring their films to the screen. They have also managed to do what the studios have tried to do for decades and failed; to merge inventive and quality filmmaking with the “blockbuster.” Not since the heyday of the 1980s, when Zemeckis, Spielberg, Cameron and Reitman were cranking out tent pole films, have we seen so many big-budget action films that also deliver the goods on character and story. The list of directors above have brought us that rare thing, a “dumb” movie that wasn’t stupid.
And that, my friends, pisses off the mid-level executives at the studios. Their bread and butter is delivering notes and dictating the creative direction of genre films. Guys like Nolan and Snyder don’t seem to take these folks too seriously. On top of that, they’ve played their cards right and managed to financially insulate themselves from their influence. Think about it. How much fun must it be to give Brett Ratner, McG, or Paul WS Anderson notes? Nolan and Snyder take away their power, influence, and sheer joy of existence. These mid-level types are EXACTLY the same people who “leak” intel to the trades, blogs, and gossip rags. They are tight with the entertainment industry beat reporters. Christopher Nolan could care less what Nikki Finke thinks. Not so for a development person. So, it should come as no surprise that this cabal of entertainment reporters and business school grads who fancy themselves filmmakers would conspire to tarnish the reps of the only guys in the industry who “get it.”
Because the other people clearly don’t.
One should also consider what is meant by “the script is a mess.” If, hypothetically, the story didn’t fit into left-wing ideology, would that be considered “a mess” to the low-level development people and Sundance types? Let’s just throw it out there that perhaps, perhaps, the directors of “The Dark Knight” and “300” have cooked up something that will truly resonate with middle America. Something that is true to the original comic.
What if Superman travels the world as a reporter, then returns to Metropolis doubting his caped escapades? He realizes that since he can’t be everywhere at once, people have stopped trying to be self-reliant, believing that the messianic Superman will save them, rather than working to save themselves.
Enter General Zod.
Instead of waging war, Zod promises everyone that he, unlike the America-centric Superman, will be the world’s superhero. He will protect and provide for all, and all he wants in return is for you to surrender your free will and “kneel before Zod.”
Superman, knowing of Zod’s evil, launches unpopular attempts to warn the world and battle Zod. Being evenly matched, Superman must turn to an unlikely ally. The only man who has dedicated his life’s work to killing a Kryptonian: Lex Luthor.
In the end, Superman and Luthor wage a final battle against Zod before the United States, the last nation to submit, surrenders its freedom.
To a leftist, that movie isn’t a “mess,” it’s a full blown disaster.
And it’s exactly the kind of film we can expect from Nolan and Snyder.