Regular readers may recall my extremely negative reaction to a statement from a Warner Bros. film executive this past August. In a nutshell, Warner Picture Group president Jeff Robinov was so pleased with The Dark Knight's success, he (insanely) believed that forthcoming DC adaptations should be "bathed in the same brooding tone" as the Batman movie.
"I don't know, I don't think the character necessarily has to be darker, I think he is kind of dark in a sense, emotional dark, in Superman Returns, and the movie as a whole was slightly dark, they could have had more prowess in it I suppose, and I think that's one thing that can be done in the sequel, so I don't know how much darker you want to make it necessarily. You make the stakes higher, you make the villain darker, I think that's a way to do it. But I don't think Superman himself needs to be darker. He definitely has to struggle, how does Superman be a part of the world? And does he have to make sacrifices to be a part of that world? To fit in and what purpose does he really play in the world? Those are all kind of dark places to explore. But, I don't think Superman should ever be dark and brooding, that's not his nature."
Absolutely right. Although I've never gotten the impression that Routh is some kind of lifelong Superman fan, he obviously understands enough about the character to know a gratuitously darker Superman isn't the way to go. Strangely, this shouldn't be something you'd pick up only after portraying the character in a movie...it's something most people who've ever been exposed to the character seem to understand.
That is, unless they're film executives of the company that actually owns the character of Superman!