Friday, February 13, 2009

Faster than a Speeding Racer

Aint It Cool News has begun circulating a rumor that the Wachowski Brothers (iD&Di: .78/.79) may direct a trilogy relaunching Superman.

Were this rumor told to us a year ago, we'd have responded with skepticism. The effect The Matrix had on superhero films has hardly been a positive one: while we've a great deal of respect and affection for Bryan Singer's (iD&Di: .43) X-Men films, we felt they were held back by the unexpected success of The Matrix. It is not too controversial a suggestion, we think, to wonder if the costume choices made in the first X-Men were somewhat inspired by The Matrix.

The Matrix has had a similar effect on superhero films that Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns had on comics in the late eighties. There is something of an expectation now that genre films should be dark. The success of last summer's The Dark Knight most likely did not help this situation.

For this reason, a year ago we'd have been wary of the Wachowskis approaching the Man of Steel. But a great deal can happen in a year. For instance, last summer we saw Speed Racer.

There is no need to reiterate our appreciation for this film; indeed, those interested have only to review our review.

It isn't the quality of Speed Racer that brings us comfort, nor is it merely the idea that the Wachowskis are able to find support for their films following Speed Racer's underwhelming performance.

What seems apropos is the tone of Speed Racer. This isn't to say that it would make a good tone for a Superman film: nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, the lesson is that the Wachowskis are not merely capable of, but in fact proficient at, faithfully adopting a project they are adapting.

Even those who have failed to recognize the brilliance of Speed Racer - and we are through mincing words: this is indeed a failure of the critics, not the movie - cannot deny that the tone of the movie was a fantastic representation of the original.

While The Matrix was dark and technocratic, Speed Racer was bright and flashy. It was, as we've remarked before, a perfect merger between live action and animation.

Filmmakers with the versatility to work with properties as divergent as The Matrix and Speed Racer, in our humble opinion, would be well suited to revisit Superman.

In essence, the Wachowskis may be capable of crafting a Superman franchise that truly captures the tone of the character.

We just hope this doesn't suck, like The Matrix: Reloaded.


Sam said...

I'm personally way way way more interested in seeing them take on Plastic Man, which is the other property they seem to be pursuing.

I wonder if they would be taking more of a Jack Cole approach or a Kyle Baker approach...

Erin Snyder said...

Plastic Man is a character I love in his own stories but hate in the DC Universe. As far as I know, he's the first repentant superhero, and the early comics I've seen are awesome.

But on the Justice League, he devolves to comic relief. So, I guess I'm hoping the movie kicks ass, but I'm also hoping he doesn't end up getting put on the roster for the JLA movie (assuming it ever actually gets off the ground).