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Michael Shannon Won't Say "Kneel Before Zod" In 'Man Of Steel' & Why Franchise Traditions Aren't Always A Good Thing

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 6, 2012 at 5:27PM

Superman brings with it a lot of baggage. With a cinematic history, and of course, an even longer one in the pages of the comics, certain segments of fans are expecting Zack Snyder's upcoming "Man Of Steel" to at least pay tribute to its predecessors in some fashion. Portions of various fanboy quarters thrive on this kind of stuff, like a reference to "Superman II" is an entry to a secret club. But of course, with next summer's blockbuster being shephereded by Christopher Nolan and penned by David Goyer, it seems they are wisely avoiding going down that path.
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Superman Michael Shannon

Superman brings with it a lot of baggage. With a cinematic history, and of course, an even longer one in the pages of the comics, certain segments of fans are expecting Zack Snyder's upcoming "Man Of Steel" to at least pay tribute to its predecessors in some fashion. Portions of various fanboy quarters thrive on this kind of stuff, like a reference to "Superman II" is an entry to a secret club. But of course, with next summer's blockbuster being shephereded by Christopher Nolan and penned by David Goyer, it seems they are wisely avoiding going down that path.

Michael Shannon recently sat down with the very energetic Carrie Keagan of VH1's "Big Morning Buzz Live" (see below) and when asked if he would say the famous phrase "Kneel before Zod," the already uncomfortable actor replied, “I guess I shouldn’t say, but… Well, I don’t say that in the movie.” And you what? Great, we've been there, done that, let's do something new.

Over the past year, we've seen a few movies bend overselves to wink and nod at a fragment of the audience, usually to the picture's detriment. Remember the "untold story" from of "The Amazing Spider-Man"? What's remarkable is how it pretty much retold the exact same origin story we've seen all over again. And then there's last weekend's "Wreck-It Ralph," which found geeks gushing at all the nostalgic videogame characters and little references to gaming ("Contra" code!) to the point that they overlooked the movie's generic, princess story arc that Disney has rehashed a thousand times.

And then there's this weekend's "Skyfall." I'm in the minority who didn't much care for it, and without getting too far into spoilers, the film's adherence to the various tropes of what the Bond movie has to feature -- a girl, a gadget, an exotic location -- coupled with the acknowledgement of its 50 years of age, leads to a movie that sags under the weight of having to fit into the framework of a "Bond movie." I long for the time when the Bond producers give a writer/director free rein with character -- it would be amazing to see what Bond could be become if each movie didn't have a set of criteria it needed to checklist each time out.

But the problem is, studios believe audiences want the familiar, not the adventurous or different. But as Nolan proved with his Batman films, taking a different approach and tone, and creating a unique narrative, that is still respectful of its source material and origins, can do wonders. Let's hope that line of dialogue not being included is just one of the many things Snyder, Nolan, Goyer and co. have jettisoned to create a Superman movie that is truly new and fresh. 

This article is related to: Michael Shannon, Man Of Steel


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