Why Superman needs a reboot
After the critical failure in 2006 to continue the story of Superman as originally portrayed by the late Christopher Reeve, it is perhaps time for a genuine reboot of the franchise.
Such a move would certainly not be unprecedented. For example, the decision to reboot Spiderman - spurred by the reboot of Batman - came as a surprise to many, considering how recent the last Spiderman movie was.
However, it makes sense in the light of the Marvel universe it seems they are trying to make through the movies lately. So I think we can expect that the new Spiderman will not be a lone superhero, but rather involved in the same tapestry as Ironman and Thor.
There is also a seeming trend to darken superhero movies, and to darken Superman, we really do need to see him completely reborn.
Perhaps this is the beginning of a similar vein to what Marvel is doing. Is a JLA movie far away?
The darkness of the upcoming movie is all but assured by the decision to bring on Christopher Nolan (the director of Dark Knight) to direct this new movie currently titled "The Man of Steel," and planned for a 2012 release.
Does the need for some darkness in these stories really explain all the rebooting? I don't think so.
What really does it is our love of origin stories. Especially within the superhero genre, audiences seem to love seeing the creation of a hero. We like the feeling of being in on the beginning of something.
This is also why modern writers and directors of super hero movies are careful to leave some origin for another movie. Take a look at the more popular contemporary superhero movie franchises: Batman, Spiderman, Ironman.
Yes, they're darker, more human, but these movies differ greatly from the older franchises in another essential way: The origin story spans more than one movie.
The previous Batman franchise, for example, saw Bruce Wayne truly come into the Batman persona in a single movie, and the further movies just saw him kicking ass or introducing friends.
The new Batman has still not solidified after two movies are finished. His origin story is ongoing, and with each movie audiences are still seeing more of Wayne's troubling transition. Really, we still don't know what kind of Batman this Batman is going to be.
Still, we can expect the new Superman franchise to be similar in scope. The released details describe a world-weary Kent who finally comes to Metropolis after traveling the world in search of himself.
When he finds Lex Luthor in control of Metropolis, he settles into the role of Superman. His attempt to take Lex out is interrupted by Braniac, who becomes the true villain of this first movie.
I would have liked it if they'd tied this new movie into the mythology developed by the WB series, "Smallville," but it doesn't seem from the released information that they have specifically done this.
The studio has also released the casting of the principal actor: Henry Cavill. Another clue that the studio is looking for something a bit darker than Reeves, as Cavill is known for more serious roles.