Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amy Adams lands "Lois Lane" as Zack Snyder's star continues to descend in Hollywood

I don't know much about actress Amy Adams.  I haven't seen much of her work, but as I understand it, she's one of those "gets nominated for Oscars" kind of actresses, already at the age of 36.

I have seen her in The Fighter, part of Enchanted (which was kind of cute, by the way), Talladega Nights, and an episode of Smallville.  She's kind of wee, which should help make actor Henry Cavill appear to be a bit taller.

Look, I like Superman Returns.  It strays wildly from the comics, but it at least understood the character of Superman fairly well as a strange visitor from another world wanting to be a part of the world he protects.  A sequel could have been a lot of fun.  But I never got behind the casting of the very-young Kate Bosworth (she was only 23 when the movie arrived).  Bosworth might have been fine had the movie been starting Superman from scratch, but with at least 6 years of shared history between the characters, casting an up and coming ingĂ©nue ended up hurting the movie and Bosworth's career more than was necessary.  And, I'm afraid, too often it seemed like Bosworth felt more like babysitter to the child playing her son and less like a mother, which I was never sure if that was the actor or the script...

If you look at the kind of character Lois is supposed to be, her status as an ace reporter, able to make demands of Perry White, etc... before Superman shows up, I've always felt Lois should have a few years on our Man of Steel.  She's a person who has seen it all, she's been disappointed so many times that its less important that Superman can bend steel and fly that wows her, as that he's actually serious about this "I'm an honest guy" business when he could be out exploiting anyone he likes.  A younger person can appreciate that, but to have one's well-earned cynicism repealed?  That's something different.

By the way, part of what Superman sees in Lois is supposed to be that she's a driven, accomplished person who may be jaded and cynical but who still follows a functioning moral compass (and closet belief in social justice).  That's something you can play younger, but it always seemed that Superman would appreciate Lois' habitual fearlessness (all of this is deeply complicated by the diversion in the 1950 and 60's as Lois gains her own title which often features marriage-mad plots, but that's a matter for another day).

Anyhow, in the abstract, Adams seems like a good choice.  Throw some black dye in her hair, put her in a smart suit, get her a digital recorder and a memo pad, and she could be our misspelling Pulitzer-winner.


It seems that Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch came in at #2 behind the debut of the second Diary of a Wimpy Kid flick.  Notable as Snyder if the currently-named director lined up for the upcoming Superman film.

The movie pulled in about $19 million its opening weekend and had about an $82 million budget.  I would expect that it will do well overseas (our international friends only expect plot out of local movies, not from American explosion-fests).

Further, Snyder's movie is tracking at 20% critic rating at, with a 10% rating with Top Critics and just 62% with the audience (and the RT audiences tend to skew pretty highly with anything that's genre porn in the first week or so).

As far along as the Superman movie might be, I can only wonder if DCE and WB are currently looking at the showing on Suckerpunch and having second thoughts about their choice to revitalize Superman during what seems like a curious upswing in the Man of Steel's pop-culture cache.

Back in 2002 or so, WB very publicly gave Brett Ratner Superman to develop, and after Red Dragon had one good week and then one of the most infamous second weeks in box office history, they took Superman away again.  A George Miller directed Justice League was cast and in the works when WB pulled the plug realizing Miller was about to make a terrible movie (it sounds like the usual "oh, dark and gritty is awesome" hoo-hah), and was, I think, about the JLA turning on itself.  Which makes a great origin story... (sigh)

Leading up to the release of Suckerpunch, preview screenings had gone so poorly, rumors were beginning to trickle that Snyder might be pulled off Superman (and that the Superman script was just plain bad).  Now, with an opening just $3 million better than the Owls of Ga'Hoole and $35 million less than Watchmen on only about 600 fewer theaters, man (or, about $9000 less per screen).  Surely somebody other than me at WB is running the numbers...

Frankly, if it tanks, that's fine with me.  Snyder's 300 and Watchmen both showed a lack of an ability to tell a story.  He's never helmed a movie that wasn't written down, page by page for him until Suckerpunch.  As excited as I am about Amy Adams as Lois (in the abstract), I just don't see what he's going to be able to do with the movie that won't be a trainwreck.  The man seems to believe "directing" is the same things as production design, and he couldn't look at still images on a page of Watchmen and understand the emotional beats of the characters expect in a ham-fisted, seventh grade book report sort of delivery.

So, we'll see.  The biggest problem is that the WB has until end of year 2012 to release a Superman movie or rights revert to the Siegels (or something).  The important thing is that WB HAS to have a Superman movie by 12/31/2012, and for whatever reason, WB decided to put its faith in Snyder.

I tell you what, Hollywood, I can't tell you how to make sure something is going to work, but at almost no cost, I am willing to tell you when you're about to screw up a Superman movie.  That is likely about to happen.

But, sigh, who knows?  Superman could be where Snyder surprises me by turning it around and making a movie I don't think plays like an emotionally stunted high schooler aping better stuff he once read and sort of remembers.


Simon MacDonald said...

I'm deeply concerned about the next Superman movie. Casting seems to be movie ahead with big names signing up but there is no guarantee they'll actually be around by the time filming starts. With the rush to get a film out before the end of 2012 this is going to be a bit of a mess. They won't have the time to put together a good script and do the proper post production on the special effects.

Dumping Synder from the film may be a good move but whoever comes on better be ready to go from day one. Maybe Jon Favreau can come on board and have the actors ad lib their way through the movie like Iron Man 1?

Anonymous said...

Well, considering the number of directors that have been hired and then relieved...who do you want in the chair now?

Regardless of who gets hired, the last few Superman movies sucked because they never reached for any epicness. They were boring. Especially Superman Returns. If you are going to make a Superman movie, let him throw a super-punch once in a while, preferably in Darkseid's face. There, I will pay $10 for that Hollywood, please take note.


J.S. said...

I agree with NTT. The early Superman movies with Christopher Reeves were good (well, some were good), but they sort of set the tone for this sort of scaled down version of Superman where he dealt with very worldly problems and fought earthly people (well, you had the Phantom Zone crew, but they all were aliens who looked like Superman and had his same abilities, so that wasn't too far outside the box, either).
In this age of nearly flawless CG effects, it's time to take the gloves off and swing for the fence if they're going to make another Superman movie. They shouldn't sacrifice story, but I think we all would like to see Braniac, Darkseid, Doomsday, Metallo, etc. If lex is going to make another appearance at this point, he needs to have some cool hardware and an awesome supersuit to back him up.
They need to go a little over the top with Superman, but still write an interesting script.

The League said...

hey, I agree! Its time!

I DO think Darkseid is someone you roll out slowly as a villain, which was how it happened in the comics, later in the cartoon and even now in Smallville (he's made, I think, three shadowy appearances over 17 episodes or so). So I'd wait until they are sure theyc an do a sequel or two before going crazy with that guy, but...

yeah! Armored Lex! Doomsday! And especially Brainiac!

As per directors... its hard to say. I can understand the knee-jerk reaction to go with Snyder, but, man... learn to direct actors.

Simon MacDonald said...

It would be so awesome to see Superman be able to cut loose and really punch someone again. I vote for Brainiac!

The League said...

yeah, he's my choice, too. The general public only vaguely knows of Brainiac from SuperFriends, etc... so it would be kind of cool to see the movies make a point of what a creepy, crazy threat he can be as a villain. And, yes, I would shrink cities.

Simon MacDonald said...

Yeah, he'd have to shrink the hell out of Kandor.