Thanks to a rumor started by El Mayimbe and furthered by Jon Schnepp, there is excitement afoot in the blogosphere that George Miller may be courted to direct the next solo Man of Steel sequel. Some of this is understandable, since Miller gave us Mad Max: Fury Road, which has been hailed from most corners as being for nerds in 2015 what The Passion of the Christ was for religious fundamentalists in 2004.
But the skills to make one kind of good movie don’t always translate to another kind. Let’s think about this.
First of all, what is it you liked about Mad Max: Fury Road? Most of the time, I hear two major arguments. The first is that the stunts were nearly all practical, and expertly choreographed. The second is that Furiosa, whom one might have expected to merely be a “love interest,” was a strong feminist character and the true hero of the story.
How do either of those apply to Man of Steel? Lois Lane, while inherently “Superman’s girlfriend,” has always been a strong feminist character in her time, superior to most of her male colleagues (save Clark, who has an unfair advantage), yet by no means perfect, and that rare breed of onscreen woman who is allowed to be both bossy and desirable. Margot Kidder, Amy Adams and even Kate Bosworth were memorable in the role – certainly more so than any Batman movie female lead not named “Catwoman.” But if you think WB would somehow let Miller bump her up to main protagonist over Superman, I’d say you’re smoking Kryptonite. And she doesn’t need Miller to make her a memorable romantic foil.
As for practical effects – in a movie about a guy who flies and uses heat vision and smashes buildings? A character whose cape alone was actually CGI in most of his previous movie? Not gonna happen either. Miller’s no slouch with CG – he did the Happy Feet movies, after all. But I’m betting those aren’t the ones you’d want a Superman movie to emulate either.
And if you think Zack Snyder messes with canon – here is your reminder that Miller cast Hugh Keays-Byrne as Martian Manhunter, and was going to direct a Justice League movie in which Batman engaged in casual, unapologetic neck-snapping of villains.
Miller is a wonderful director of material he creates for himself. No question. But as a for-hire director on a Henry Cavill Super-flick? Color me unsold.