EDITORIAL: Speculative Expectations about Man of Steel.
An editorial about Man of Steel regarding the teasers and critique on a modern Superman.
Do you believe?
We have arrived to a special point in comicbookmovie-history. Marvel Studios has released Iron-Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America; all in a timelapse of 4 years, which would eventually lead into the awesomeness that is The Avengers.
On the other side we have DC Entertainment who has released The Dark Knight, Green Lantern and now the epic conclusion to the Batman saga: The Dark Knight Rises. What Christopher Nolan has done with his take on Batman was unprecedented. And now he has arguably made one of the greatest trilogies to ever hit the cinemas since the very beginning of modern films.
Whatever your feelings on Christopher Nolan, I think the most of us must admit that he is an extremely gifted man who has given us a redefinition of one of the greatest comicbook characters and also made comicbookmovies more accessible to the public. He was simply the right person at the right time, about this there is no doubt.
And as most of you, I've looked forward to The Dark Knight Rises since its official announcement. Now that I’ve seen the film I can only call it nothing short of spectacular. But there is something I think is even more spectacular than the amazing ending to a saga that began over seven years ago and that is Man of Steel.
Nolans Batman saga has had the privilege of having some of the best actors we’ve seen, independent of whatever genre we’re comparing with the likes of Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Tom Wilkinson, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The casting is simply put: incredible.
When I first heard of Man of Steel I was skeptical as the most, until I heard the extraordinary casting of Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne and Russell Crowe.
After realizing this would be a reboot I supported the choice of Henry Cavill from day one. His background in acting is a great support to this challenge we all know as Superman. The iconic Christopher Reeve will always be remembered as the original Superman, a man who truly astonished me. But certain roles will follow you for the rest of your life, and the role of Superman has certainly done so with the few who has portrayed him. It is a burden and an honor.
The Immortals is not my favorite film but Henry Cavill is no doubt a talented man. After Superman Returns people voiced their opinion that Superman should look more muscular, to have a powerful stature. Henry Cavill accepted the challenge done by Christian Bale, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans and shown that this Superman will look powerful. He is after all Superman.
Two of the actors I really went nuts over being cast is Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe. I’ve always believed Kevin Costner would fit the role as Jonathan Kent perfectly. His sense of Americana, the movies he’s been in and who is as an individual just tells me that he is Jonathan Kent. Hailed by many critics as a horrible movie, I strangely enough loved the Postman, I don’t know how to explain it but I do. Kevin Costner just has this certain feeling to him; a certain roughness but full of grace. His presence in Man of Steel will just be amazing. Costner is a perfect fit for the kind and decent farmer who became an adoptive parent who helped shape the greatest superhero of all time.
Next up is Russell Crowe. For Jor-El I had no one in mind to be honest. It’s such a hard role to fill after what the legendary Marlon Brando did with it. An actor as Crowe is no lightweight, from his roles in the epic Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind to Cinderella Man, he is just an amazing actor. And he and Cavill also look somewhat alike from what I’ve seen from footage. He will bring a larger-than-life performance; of this I have no doubt.
Jonathan Kent and Jor-El are two very different people whose impact on the man of steel would define him, and the teasers embodies that. I think in the film they will both represent the different philosophies of choice and destiny.
We do not know the reasons why Jor-El sends Kal-El to earth in this film yet but I believe it will be the same reasons as always: to save his son’s life, he sends him away from the doomed Krypton to another world, a world where he would be safe and grow up happy. Where Kal-El ends up is perhaps not designated but how fortune we are that he ended up with the Kents. Perhaps Jor-El’s hopes for his son are just to give him the life he would not have on Krypton. For Jor-El it does perhaps not matter where on earth Kal-El would land. The sense I am getting from the teasers is that Jor-El maybe knows what effects our sun will have on Kal-El, and that such power must not be misused.
From the words Jor-El narrates on the comic-con footage it would maybe seem that he knows exactly what he is doing:
"What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended?
What if a child aspired to something greater?"
The film is said to been inspired by Waid's Birthright, in that case Jor-El will be a scientist whose mission is to better society as a whole. And we’ve seen Zod so that may imply that the phantom zone is featured. I would not think it’s too far out there to say that it’s Jor-El who wants the more humane sentence of imprisonment for Zod, which eventually will come back to haunt Kal-El on earth.
Maybe Jor-El will send some sort of device to review different planets and finding earth and the Kents worthy of his scion. But then maybe he knows and wants Kal-El to rule the earth. This we cannot know for sure until the film comes out, of course, but I think it will be the former than the latter.
As mentioned earlier, Jor-El and Jonathan Kent both narrated their own teasers.
Both teasers contain inspirational words:
"You’ll give the people an ideal to strive towards.
They will race behind you.
They will stumble, they will fall.
But in time, they will join you in the sun.
In time you will help them accomplish wonders."
"You're not just anyone.
One day you're going to have to make a choice.
You have to decide what kind of a man you want to grow up to be.
Whoever that man is, good character or bad, he is going to change the world."
by Jonathan Kent.
I think both are great but I prefer Jor-El’s. While Jor-El talks about destiny, Jonathan talks about choices. Now, we can assume that Jonathan tells this to a young Clark. Maybe Clark has done something bad or something he shouldn’t have, so as the patient father that Jonathan is, he explains to kid that no matter what, Clark is going to have a definitive impact on this world. His wording seems to be about responsibility. And those are not harsh words of an angry father but easy words of an understanding father. He explains it so rudimentary to Clark that he is a special child who is destined for greater things, but what kind of greater things will eventually be his own choice. There’s an underlying sense of trust in his words.
I’ve been completely psyched about these teasers but I've noticed some of people arguing that this is too dark, or too bleak, too hopeless and too modern. And I could not disagree more.
Sure, we all know Superman is a definitive contrast to Batman. Batman relies on fear and the dark while Superman is the epitome of hope and light. Though they have very different philosophies, both are tributes to what an individual can accomplish.
I've read a lot of people claim that Superman must be portrayed almost as light as he did 34 years ago. I can somewhat understand that but even though this is a modern Superman, I believe we will get that. I think that in the film we will see world that’s more darkened but Kal-El will be a beacon in this darkness. It won’t be gritty, it will be more realistic; grit and realism is two very different things, mind you. It will be more up to date, more modern but the essence of who these characters are will stay exactly the same.
Superman won’t be a darker character at all. I think his journey to become what the world needs will be filled with challenges but that he will still walk a righteous path.
After what I've seen in the teasers, he is on a boat, hitchhiking even. I think this film will be a deep and exciting film about finding your place in this world and aspire to something greater. And I believe Snyder and co will do it perfectly. The world has changed since 1978 but the core of Superman has not and never will. And that's what makes him great. After all, he is like a god amongst mortals but Superman is also the most human of us all. He shows us all what we can be no matter what way of life you’re from.
The original Superman film is in itself a classic that forever changed the film-industry and gave way to comicbookmovies, and Superman then was defined by that certain era. Sure, the Superman we see in that film had some questions and wonders but not enough to really entice us. I want to see a Superman who truly wonders about his place in this world, who has questions, how he found that astonishing purpose, how his adoptive parents made the most powerful being in the world value life, justice and goodness for the sake of goodness.
Most people who don't follow Superman comics look at Superman as this untouchable superhero who's dull and a mega boyscout. Superman has always been looked upon as this character that sits above all superheroes, which is true. He is also one of the oldest superheroes. How fortunate for him that old is not synonymous with boring and outdated. In a world where people kill each other every single day, where massacres happens and terrorists bomb buildings, we need someone who can show us the way and make us believe in something better. And that’s what Superman is.
The teasers and comic-con footage does not come off as Snyder at all, which I think is a good thing. It seems more mature, from the little kid with the cape to the butterfly. They are beautiful; calm, graceful and distinct. They have certainly stirred my appetite. Unfortunately we won’t probably see an official trailer sometime soon but when it arrives it will be amazing, just as the footage we’ve all seen by now.
My expectations for this film are greater than The Dark Knight Rises, they are greater than what Joss Whedons The Avengers. I expect to see Superman fight, I expect to see the humanity of Superman. I simply cant wait to see the new suit in action, to see the Kents, Perry White and Lois Lane. This film has such a magnificent cast, a great director, an amazing producer and a great composer. And lastly it has the true heir to the vacant throne left by the iconic Christopher Reeve.
It's just such a bold project, trying to rejuvenate such a character and if it succeeds we might see a DC Universe that will come together. Nolan's time with Batman is now done. It's finally time for the king to lead the way once more.
Many are convinced that Superman is a lost cause. He doesn't have what it takes to be relevant as the other superheroes. What do you think?
I once believed a man could fly. And by what I've seen so far, I'm ready to believe again.
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