It was odd to see the news about Zack Snyder getting the Superman gig when I popped open my laptop in Brownsville at the hotel. I think i09 had a pretty solid set of recommendations for the movie. And, of course, the rumors are now bouncing around about General Zod of Superman 2 fame named the villain for the movie.
I am as much a fan of Superman 2 as you're likely to find, but its an odd choice from a comic fan's perspective. Zod has traditionally been a minor villain in the comics (and the movie Zod is more like villain Jax-Ur in many ways than the oddly-hatted Zod). From a movie-making perspective, it makes more sense. Zod can demonstrate and play out all those bad impulses that fans can say they think Superman would be unable to stop himself from demonstrating as some sort of totalitarian alien/ diety on Earth. And, of course, Superman standing up against Zod doesn't just logically make sense, but it should define what Superman does and why.
It's that whole "equal opposites" thing you wind up getting in a lot of action movies.
Signal Corps regular Horus Kemwer sent me a link to the start of a web discussion about the philosophical issues surrounding Superman, and while I am no student of philosophy, I'd suggest that if Zack Snyder would like for his movie to carry the weight of The Dark Knight, starting with the problems inherent in a superbeing (not necessarily Superman himself. After all, we've got a cadre of superbeings to choose from out of the comics for a "compare and contrast" session for the movie) and what the morality and responsibility of that superbeing might be... and, of course, explosions.
But, to that point, Nolan's second Batman film was quite literally about the boundaries and limits of retaining one's morals in a city seemingly gone mad, from Batman to doomed Harvey Dent to the boatloads of people with the ultimate "would you rather" scenario put in front of them. And I think you can use Superman to explore issues of power (something Americans don't think about wielding, but which we do flaunt across the planet like titans every day) in order to tell a compelling story and imbue the myth of the alien-christ-immigrant with relevancy and impact beyond a popcorn flick.
Can Zack Snyder do this? It depends how closely he chooses to work with Chris Nolan and Nolan's team, I think.
And I know I've said this before, but...
I am still not sure we'll seee Snyder take this through to completion. Prior to Superman Returns, flashy directors like McG and Brett Ratner known for their ability to put together neat action sequences and exciting car chases both wound up dropping off Superman after signing up to do the movie. Tim Burton tried to do another "outsider" movie and walked away.
It would be great to get another Superman movie in front of the lens, but at some point directors as successful and well-intentioned as Snyder have been on Superman before, and they couldn't quite find the hook. It doesn't matter what anyone says: do not believe its happening until you see the first publicity stills.