Zack Snyder's Man of Steel

Zack Snyder's Man of Steel

Superman reboot hops the grit train

What do you get when you cross America's most iconic superhero with one of the most stylistically adventurous directors in recent memory? You get a revamped Superman logo that looks like it's been dragged up from the gutters of Gotham, is what you get.

Zack Snyder is the latest filmmaker to try his hand at making the man in the red cape relevant again. His star-studded Man of Steel reboot is currently going through post-production and is looking at a release date sometime in 2013. Taking the lead as Clark Kent himself will be Henry Cavill, who I haven't heard of either. His acting resume includes such gems as Red Riding Hood and a straight-to-video Hellraiser sequel, so it seems like Snyder is giving the square-jawed fellow his first big break. Whether that'll pay off or not remains to be seen; luckily, we've also got the talents of Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, and Laurence Fishburne to look forward to.

Despite the strong cast, I remain skeptical as to the merits of a "gritty" Superman film, especially one with Snyder at the helm. Just by looking at the new logo, I can tell he's trying to catch the same wave as Christopher Nolan's dark, action-packed Batman series. He's abandoning the light and campy Superman heritage for something more in line with the zeitgeist. And he's precisely the wrong person to do it. The thing with Snyder is that even when he's adapting one of the darkest graphic novels ever written, he still manages to render it as a bloated, cartoonish mess. If you failed to make Watchmen dark on screen, there's no way in hell you're going to deliver a neo-noir Superman. Snyder's far too in love with his own flourishes to touch on the gritty core of any book, let alone America's original comic book sensation. 

People will still see Man of Steel because Snyder gets attention for being flashy and taking risks that don't quite pay off artistically. And it's going to be an awkward, tonally-muddled mess of a film. You can't take a man who wears his underwear over his leggings and drop him into America's seedy underbelly. You've either got to embrace the camp, stretch it until it wears thin to its most human moments, or leave the franchise well enough alone. Unfortunately, Zack Snyder can't resist the temptation of recreating the original superhero in his own image, so we'll be stuck with another thoroughly mediocre comic book film before long.