Forbes contributor Mark Hughes released an interview with Man of Steel 2 director Zack Snyder. (Superman vs. Batman? Man of Steel II? The Dark Knight Falls? Is there a real title yet?) The interview spends less time on the film Synder is currently making than it does on his influences and past works. I do believe though, there are interesting and informative nuggets regarding the production of Warner Bros next blockbuster.
Snyder speaks at length about how much Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore's Watchmen influenced him as a creator and how they formed his take on the character:
For me, that’s really what The Dark Knight Returns did […]. When I read it, I felt like — of course I knew who Batman was and I was familiar with him as a comic book hero — but it was that book that made me say, “Gosh, you know this could be an amazing film.” At the time, I was just starting my college career, but I thought, “Wow this would be a cool movie!” I wasn’t sure exactly how that would manifest itself, but you know you dream when you’re a kid and you’re in college, “God, if one day I could make a Batman movie, that would be awesome!”
I believe in the direction of a film maker that is passionate about the stories he builds. This next except really crystalizes what excites me so much about the upcoming film:
Because, the things you thought when you first read them [read, comic books], you try to recapture those feelings. I always say that about Watchmen, when I first read it I had an emotional response to it, and that’s what I always tried to get at when I made the movie. It was a certain way of feeling, and I feel like that was what I really pursued — those ideas. And I think those same opportunities exist for Batman and Superman, in the sense that they teach us about ourselves.
Something I really responded to about the Nolan/Bale Batman movies was that they used Batman to speak on ideas and constructs. The all of the movies take on fear, how we use it and how we should own it. They reflect Batman as a construct, and idea. The world is too vast for one man, but a movement – that can sweep a society. It can "Inspire the citizens of Gotham" so to speak. I thought that Watchmen and Man of Steel worked on thematic ideas. I don't read Batman with my son because Batman is a massive gothic character that has cool toys and punches bad guys in the face. (Well, not JUST because of that) I read Batman to him at two-years old because Batman as an ideal is an all ages concept that can speak to anyone. He is a role-model to strive towards and a reflection of our society. I hope the Batman/Superman movie is infused with this same stress of thematic reasonance.
As I understand it, a team-up film was not the original conception for the follow up to Man of Steel, in this interview Snyder even speaks to that:
I gotta be honest, it definitely was a thing that… after Man of Steel finished and we started talking about what would be in the next movie, I started subtly mentioning that it would be cool if he faced Batman. In the first meeting, it was like, “Maybe Batman?” Maybe at the end of the second movie, some Kryptonite gets delivered to Bruce Wayne’s house or something. Like in a cryptic way, that’s the first time we see him. But then, once you say it out loud, right? You’re in a story meeting talking about, like, who should [Superman] fight if he fought this giant alien threat Zod who was basically his equal physically, from his planet, fighting on our turf… You know, who to fight next? The problem is, once you say it out loud, then it’s kind of hard to go back, right? Once you say, “What about Batman?” then you realize, “Okay, that’s a cool idea. What else?” I mean, what do you say after that? …But I’m not gonna say at all that when I took the job to do Man of Steel that I did it in a subversive way to get to Batman. I really believe that only after contemplating who could face [Superman] did Batman come into the picture.
My initial thoughts coming out of the Man of Steel screening last year was that Batman could not exsist in Zach Snyder's world, but after casting Ben Affleck, and story teases that Batman will already be hardened I am more aligned with the idea. One of Batman's more interesting traits, is that while he plays nicely with the Justice League, he secretly keeps files on all of them with plans to exploit their weakness. Just in case he needed to defeat one, or all of them to protect the world from meta-humans that go bad. Frank Miller's Dark Knight and the Batman Beyond Bruce Wayne even keep kyrpotnite around if 'The Big Blue School Boy' gets out of line.
When asked about set photos and costume reveals, Snyder was mostly mum, but drops a nod about the costumes that I think is unintentially revealing.
The thing also that’s really fascinating for me is that, even just in the tests we’ve been doing, the costumes, right? You basically have Batman and Superman — and this is without Ben [Affleck] and Henry [Cavill] in the costumes, but just like the stand-ins, just testing to see what the costumes look like.
On set photos and press releases:
Unfortunately, I don’t even know the timeline… Because the movie takes place so far from now, it’s hard to know exactly. That all gets tied to marketing and strategies for the movie. It’s not just a free-for-all, which I’d love it to be. […] “God, I want to send this to the Internet immediately.” But I know I’m not allowed to [laughs]! I do value the sort of excitement of the way the film is [revealed]… the pieces that are released and sort of trickle out to everybody, and those reveals are exciting milestones for us.
The second half of the interview focuses on Snyder's previous polarizing work. The adaptation of Watchmen, the '300' films, as well as Sucker Punch are all discussed and insighted on by Snyder. The interviewer comes off a lot as a fan in this section of the interview, so please take it with a grain of salt. The material is still very engaging, but there are sections of it that seem like self-contratulations, back scratching, and some interviewer bias (see: You're a genius artist that no one understands like 'I' do)
I do want to leave us off with two other great grabs from Snyder that I believe speaks volumes on his excitement for this production and the heart he will be putting into his artistic direction for this property.
I really believe this — and I think it’s obvious — I believe superheroes, they’re our modern myths. They’re our mythology in the modern world, and myth is designed to tell us about ourselves.
And his uncagable positivity and engagement is really summed up here:
And you have them standing there and they’re standing in the same shot — and then we have Wonder Woman, you know, all three of them in the same shot. Even just for a test, you really have to go, “Wow, that’s crazy!” Not only is it the first time that I’m seeing them, it’s the first time they’ve ever existed together on screen in a movie. And that’s kind of a huge deal. Even just Batman and Superman standing next to each other… [I]t’s kind of epic. You do sort of sense the weight of the pop culture iconography jumping out of its skin when you’re standing there looking at the two of them and Wonder Woman. It’s crazy. But it’s fun.
The untitled sequel to Man of Steel is slated to be released on May 6, 2016.
Posted by Bob Holt