Newsarama managed to ask Bryan Singer the $10K question: since Clark erased Lois’s memory of sleeping together in Superman II, does she not know how she got pregnant? Here’s Singer’s response:
NRAMA: After he gave up his powers in Superman II, Lois and Superman slept together. I’m going to assume that that’s when he got her pregnant…
NRAMA: Then he gives her the kiss, which made her forget that they even slept together. Was the pregnancy a mystery for her?
BS: I ignored that part. I just assumed she remembered sleeping with him.
So there you go. Just ignore that part! But wait—does that mean Lois knows Clark is Superman? I guess you should ignore that too.
The rest of the interview is primarily Singer stating his opinion that poor marketing is the reason for Superman Returns‘s relatively unimpressive box office numbers.
Good for Singer. I believe that answer is a big F-U to all the super fanboys who can’t get over using the first two films as a basis for this one and somehow deciding that must require every little bit of continuity to be there. Get over it already.
Now, let’s keep a civil tone here. Lord knows the fanboys are on the receiving end of the stick in every other aspect of their lives every day.
“Somehow deciding”? It’s in their blood, Sean. As for me, I actually don’t care about the plot point so much (because I didn’t care much for the movie), but was merely amused by Singer’s answer, and wrote what I thought would be a typical fanboy response—which clearly it was, judging from your ire.
I still think it was a mistake to use the earlier films as anything but an aesthetic inspiration—primarily because comic book fans have had entire Crises and Ultimate universes created for them and their obsession with continuity. And given that the “son” issue was probably the most significant plot point with any relation to the previous films, it was a bit inevitable that anyone who knows the earlier films would wonder about that. I think it was a fair question to ask, and a fair answer.
I read your comment, went to the comic book store and just came back. I now have some more perspective on this.
Fanboys are easy to bash because they are fanboys and they usually tend to love it, if only because they got some attention. Fanboys have the right to be continuity freaks because they invest so much time and money in comics. But, I am talking strictly comics.
Fanboys do not have the right to be continuity freaks over Superman films because what’s the investment there? Yes, there’s the comic book mythology and the characters, but we are talking original script movies. This isn’t like a Lord of the Rings thing where they can point directly towards the books.
That said, I am certainly not bashing you for what you wrote, just bashing fanboys over this whole film because it is just too much too take. It’s just a movie and if people don’t like what Singer did, just get one with it. It has no impact on your life. Yes, you apparently wasted $10 on a ticket and will have to cancel your pre-order of the DVD. What else has it cost them?
Finally, and for the record, it is not even worth being a continuity freak for comics either. Continuity errors are part of the genre and always will be. The publishers and writers will always mess with it because they have to. It is impossible to be consistent over such a long period of time and across generations.
I’d also argue that complaining about changes from a book to a movie is bad policy as well. Who wants a strict literal interpretation. As long as the themes – the heart of the piece – make it intact, I love seeing what a director brings to the table – what they add to the process. Otherwise, you’re just viewing dictation.
@Ed—So, by that logic, you don’t think much of Sin City then, I take it?
@Sean – Let’s remember, the issue here wasn’t the introduction of the son as a plot angle (and change from the comics), it was the discontinuity between the first two films and the second. And if some random person, who knows nothing of the comics but enjoyed the first two films, watches one of the many, many TV specials that came on about Superman prior to the release of SR and sees Singer saying this was a “sequel” to the first two films, then I’m not going to give them a hard time if they’re a little puzzled afterward. The discontinuity in SR wasn’t from comic to film, it was film to film–in this instance.
Obviously I’m ALL IN FAVOR of revamping comic stories for film adaptations. Completely. Usually it’s the only way it can be done effectively while still retaining true to the spirit of the character. Singer’s X-Men films are possibly the best example of that. The story was not really where I thought SR didn’t work (other than Luthor’s idiotic plan–and the lost crystals, as Ed pointed out).
As for the continuity issues, I think you may be missing part of the point—tracking and playing around with continuity can be fun. The original Crisis on Infinite Earths was done partially to clean up messy continuity, but the recent Infinite Crisis was done almost entirely for the fun of it (I invite Jake, my resident DC expert, to chime in here).
And honestly, from what I’ve read, I don’t think fanboys have gone after Superman Returns too much–not for continuity or even story, anyway. Maybe for being overwraught, which was my criticism, but not for being untrue to the comics. They did pick on Luthor’s lame scheme, but even Ed will agree that was pretty bad.
But I could be wrong–I haven’t really discussed SR on any forums or with anyone, particularly not any Superfans.
Sin City is a tough call because of Frank Miller’s co-director credit. If the auteur gets behind the lens, you got to expect the end product to look very similar.
I look at this in the same way a musician covers another group’s song. If they sing note for note, and each riff remains the same, what’s the point. But if they peer into the work and plumb some new dimension, it may be worth a second listen.
On Sin City, I think Rodriguez would have benefited from sending Miller for coffee once and awhile. That film was almost too faithful and could have used some editing. I was pleased with the film – but exhausted by the end.
@Ed – I agree with you on changing up a book for the sake of making a better film. Look no further than our current fave, V for Vendetta, for an excellent example. Had they been totally true to the GN, it would have been a bogged down film. Instead, they filtered out some noise — good or bad — and added some action to produce an amazing film.
@JFCC – I can’t tell if we are saying the same thing in a different language or not, but my point about the fanboys (and anyone else for that matter) is if you are outraged about SR being a sequel to the first two films and expect solid continuity, then you need to get over it. There’s no need for it.
I don’t know that Singer said it was an absolute sequel either. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but I’m fine with it being fuzzy. As you said, “playing around with continuity can be fun.” So, was Singer not having fun?
I’m not going to get into a conversation about DC’s on-going continuity corrections and events. I don’t know enough about them to comment. I do know that they make a good amount of bank of it, so obviously they think it is profitable and there must be an awful lot of fanboys slurping it up. I think the last paragraph of my last comment above speaks to my view on continuity fairly clearly (well, at least as clear as I usually am).
As far as SR itself goes, I’m sticking with everything I have said about it. It was fun and it didn’t have be all about everything the comics stand for. I liked the fact that Luthor’s plan was stupid, foolish or lame. I already commented on all that in this blog, Ed’s or my own. Dunno which.
@Sean—Truce! I posted this entry because we’d all discussed the “Lois forgetting” issue in my earlier post and I was amused both by the fact that someone had asked it and by Singer’s knowingly dismissive response; it seems Singer, at least, shares your view on the Harry Knowles of the world.
On many occasions Singer referred to the first two films as a “vague history”; I’m more than willing to point out that a claim like that is no claim at all.
@Ed—I felt very much the same way about Sin City. Aesthetically incredible, but if you’d read the comics it was relatively uninteresting except as an artistic experiment. I suppose a true, direct, page-to-frame comic adaptation was necessary so that everyone could see what it was like…now don’t ever do it again, thank you.
I think Rodriguez was as devoted to doing a direct translation as Miller, though.
On Rodriguez, I will say, I am pumped for his portion of the Grindhouse project (with Tarentino). His flick is titled ‘Planet Terror’ and Rodriguez says it is a throwback to classic Carpenter – owing a lot to flicks like Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China and Prince of Darkness. The strange thing is Tarentino is supposedly in talks with Carpenter to score his contribution – Death Proof – which stars Carpenter mainstay Kurt Russell as a psycho Hollywood stuntman. I bet these two guys make the best Carpenter flick in decades.
On Miller, you might be onto something with Rodriguez being the driving factor for Sin City’s faithfulness. I saw some of the panel discussion held on the 300 at SDCC – with Miller in attendance – and from the early views, they say it is faithful to the book but also finds its own identity. The footage from the film is reportedly stunning. Anyway, Miller was all grins in a goofy cowboy hat (ya’ throw these wacky hats on the guy and it’s amazing how much he looks like Freddy Kreuger – or Englund to be more specific). What that shows me is that as long as these directors treat his work with respect – Miller is fine with a little nip/tuck.
I have a friend who went to the San Diego Comic Con and he raved about the 300 footage, saying it was his most anticipated movie of the next twelve months (though he later backed off that and admitted The Fountain had a slight edge).
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