- Warner Bros.
- Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of “Avengers: Endgame,” explained what makes Superman such a difficult character to bring to the big screen.
- “The more powerful a character is, the more difficult to deal with that character on a narrative level,” Anthony said.
- “You have to find an emotional flaw or weakness in the character in order to make them vulnerable,” Joe added.
Joe and Anthony Russo know a thing or two about bringing classic comic-book characters to theaters. The brothers have directed Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: Civil War,” and this year’s “Avengers: Infinity War.” Next year, its follow-up, “Avengers: Endgame,” hits theaters.
In those movies, they have juggled over two dozen characters, some of whom are easier to develop for the big screen than others. The Russos told Business Insider last week that the more powerful a character is, the harder that becomes.
“The more powerful a character is, the more difficult to deal with that character on a narrative level,” Anthony said. “As storytellers, and the way we explore characters, we always look for vulnerabilities in characters because that’s where characters become interesting. They’re superficially interesting in their strength, but they get much more depth when you find where they don’t have that kind of strength. In general, the more powerful a character is, the more tricky that is.”
A prime example is Superman. The Russos haven’t dealt with the character since he plays for the rival team, DC Comics. But he’s one of the most powerful superheroes ever created, and also hasn’t had the best luck on the silver screen in recent years.
“He’s a very difficult character,” Joe said. “You have to find an emotional flaw or weakness in the character in order to make them vulnerable.”
Superman was most recently played by Henry Cavill in the DC Extended Universe, Warner Bros. and DC’s answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Cavill starred as the character in “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and “Justice League,” but is reportedly not returning to the role as Warner Bros. rethinks its superhero film strategy, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
While “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman” performed well at the box office, none of Cavill’s movies received glowing reviews. “Justice League” was considered a major disappointment both critically and commercially, and derailed Warner Bros.’ future DCEU plans.
Before the DCEU, Brandon Routh played Superman in 2006’s “Superman Returns,” a spiritual sequel to “Superman II.” It grossed only $391 million worldwide.