It was the first time I’ve been able to conceive of how you’d address Superman in a modern context I thought it was a really exciting idea. What you have to remember about Batman and Superman is that what makes them the best superhero characters there are, the most beloved after all this time, is the essence of who they were when they were created, when they were first developed. You can’t move too far away from that.
If he is the one doing the “conceiving,” it seems like “writer” is a more apt term than “godfather” for Nolan.
It looks like I haven't been giving the guy enough credit. The above quote describes perfectly what Nolan did with Batman. Before Batman Begins, the association with the campy television adaptation starring Mayor Adam West still lingered in people's minds. As anyone familiar with the comics knows, Batman is not a campy narrative.
His quote allays a major fear of mine concerning how a new Superman film would be handled. Because of the success of Nolan's darker, realistic take on Batman, I was concerned that his involvement would mean that Superman would get the same treatment. Batman definitely benefited from the gritty departure from its previous campy installments, Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. But, as I've said before in a previous post,Superman doesn't brood.
As far as taking the characters back to "the essence of who they were when they were created," I don't know if that is necessarily where they want to go either; Batman originally killed people and Superman's character was kind of a dick when he was first created. However, they're on the right track in terms of trying to convey they essence of the character. What Superman became after his creation was a sort of manifestation of a savior that people were looking for in the years after the Great Depression; Superman battled Nazis, poor working conditions, and organized crime, among other things. There is no way to avoid soundng corny while saying this, so just bear with me: Superman's character is a reflection of the hope that real people feel when faced with adversity. There I said it. Is it wrong to feel dirty after saying something positive? If Christopher Nolan can capture that aspect of Superman's character and modernize it somehow (Superman vs The Nazis might be a tough sell), then I have high hopes for The Man of Steel.