Like the recent Batman sequel -- which has become the highest-grossing film of the year thus far -- Mr. Robinov [President of Warner Bros. Pictures] wants his next pack of superhero movies to be bathed in the same brooding tone as "The Dark Knight." Creatively, he sees exploring the evil side to characters as the key to unlocking some of Warner Bros.' DC properties. "We're going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it," he says. That goes for the company's Superman franchise as well.This is, of course, a stupid idea. And not just because we, as comic fans, know that a string of "dark" superhero movies with "brooding tone" will inevitably lose the plot and fail to realize that what works for Batman won't (and shouldn't) necessarily work for Superman - and so recreate, in movie form, the same mess of ultraviolence-for-its-own-sake crap that comicbook readers had to wade through in the early 90s. (And 'exploring evil sides'? Where, exactly, was that in Christian Bale's Batman? Now they're just making shit up.)
This, after all, is the essence of Superman:
At home on the farm, sending (and receiving) Christmas cards with his parents as snow falls gently outside the window. He's Superman, so he could write them all super-fast and fly them around, but he won't - they are, after all, just like normal folks who do things the normal way. And they share loving glances as Superman drinks something hot to keep warm - even though, of course, he doesn't need to. And while it could be coffee or tea, it's probably hot chocolate. And no Lois to complicate things with the threat of sex or competition for Superman's affection - just the immediate family, a purely nostalgic moment for a simpler time when Superman did things like write Christmas cards and drink hot chocolate to stay warm - even though, of course, he never had to.
We can deconstruct the ways in which this sort of image, and Superman himself, invoke a number of conservative ideologies about family, America and Americans, etc. The point is, though, how do you do a "dark" version of that featuring Superman's "evil side" without blowing the whole thing to hell? Not that it wouldn't be interesting to watch, I guess.