The Man of Steel

Posted: November 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

One thing I didn’t anticipate writing about here was superhero movies.  I am undeniably a comic book nerd and more importantly I am a Superman nerd.  My love affair with this story dates back to my youth, when I first saw Christopher Reeve’s take on Superman.  Without going into the finer points about Reeve’s man of steel being an extremely important father figure to me, I will simply say that to this day I believe he is A) solely responsible for the modern superhero movie B) solely responsible for making us believe that a man could fly and C) the single best actor to ever play a superhero.  It’s important to note that I said ‘hero’ as I do believe that Heath Ledger completely annihilated any benchmark previously set by anyone in any of these movies.  No matter how fond I am of Norton’s Hulk and Downy Jr’s Ironman, I still stand firm in my belief, which I share with Richard Donner, director of the first Superman, that, a superhero MUST be portrayed by an unknown if the character will obtain COMPLETE believability.  This is also why i staunchly advocated for Brandon Routh as the torch-bearer after Reeve’s death.  And the fact that he looked identical to Reeve and aced the mannerisms probably better than anyone ever would be able to.  As Reeve and Routh both knew, playing superman is small potatoes.  Playing Clark Kent is where the role comes to life.  Superman become believable not through the cape and external underwear, but through his portrayal of our frailest personality traits.  Extremes and polar opposites make this character great.  Not the relatively generic storylines and completely overwhelming array of powers.   Now, where was I going with all of this?

Wait.  First lets pay appropriate homage.

Okay.  Forward now.  The things that I find to be critical to the value of the Superman movies are as follows;

  • Not dumbing down the costume to make it more realistic
  • Lex Luthor (Hackman was flawless, Spacey was flawless at playing Hackman playing Luthor
  • John Williams score.  Do I really even need to explain this?
  • Reeve and Routh being completely unknown actors
  • Appropriate use and reuse of Marlon Brando as Jor El
  • Delicate and respectful use of the origin story
  • Lois Lane

Now things get weird.  I figured that at some point this franchise would be handed over to someone who has proven skilled in the ways of cramming DC heroes into the real world.  I braced for it and I have become okay with the notion.  I AM NOT OKAY YET with the idea of Routh being replaced.  But hearing that they are already rebooting Batman, I suppose I should just let go of all of my desires regarding this whole comic book movie thing and let everything fall into place by the hands of producers and directors and such.  (This doesn’t change the fact that within the next ten years, my brother and my best friend and I will drop the script for The Death of Superman in the hands of Christopher Nolan and say “here. we’ve done it.”)

I’ve watched the trailer for this about twenty times now.  I am very fond of the song.  If my ear serves me correctly, it is the bit of music that plays after Gandalf falls in Fellowship of the Ring.  It is a passionate sample, fit for stirring emotions and an early attachment to the character.  This is nothing new for the franchise.  The first teaser trailer for Superman Returns was one of the most brilliant ever, using Brando’s voice to weave Routh right into the story as it ends after Superman 2.  And i’ll post a trailer for the earlier Superman also, as it seems relevent to this article.  Here are the three trailers, using a trailer for Superman 2 instead of the first, because quite frankly, previews sucked in 1978 and they were pretty much shot as one film anyways.

I’ve let go of my elitism as I’ve grown older perhaps.  I find myself being less worried about having my childhood heroes obliterated at the hands of people that just don’t get it.  Either way, there are several things that I look forward to and some that I am concerned about in regards to this film.  I think that Crowe and Costner will do a fine job as Jor El and John Kent.  I also think that the overall atmosphere of the film,the mood and the textures will all be beautifully crafted.  Cavill is a relatively unknown actor.  This is tradition in this franchise and I think a good move, though Routh still would’ve been better.  I have no doubts about Cavill’s ability to play Superman.  Here is where my concerns begin though.  Can Cavill play a complete nerd?  Can he access and portray the weakest elements of man as perceived by an alien bent on saving us?  I don’t know.  Further concerns include;

  • Diane Lane as Martha Kent (mostly because I still think she’s really hot.  This feels unwholsome on so many levels)
  • Laurence Fishburne playing Perry White (Gary Cooper pioneered this and made it an extremely important role that I have difficulty imagining Fishburne in)
  • General Zod (Terrence Stamp is the ONLY Zod that I feel comfortable kneeling before)

In fact, if I had to assemble a personal top five of comic cinema villains it would look like this; Ledger’s Joker, Hackman’s Luthor, Hardy’s Bane, Stamp’s Zod and Neeson’s Al Ghul.  Regardless of all of this, I look forward to this installment in the franchise and will continue to hold my breath in hopes that Snyder and Nolan do as well with this movie as they have done in the past.

  1. James Taylor says:

    I love the incredibly visual style of Snyder. Almost every one of his films is framed and colored perfectly. From a sense of design I think this movie is going to rock. He gets this weird backlash about not getting a good story across, but really I haven’t seen too many other modern films that get a great story across. He was born to do this movie, so I am confident there. Plus, I feel like the movie studios have listened to the money and seen what a success Avengers was and won’t let another Green Lantern happen. It will be good. We’ll have to see if he can recapture the presence of Reeve.

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