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Superman: A History and a New Hope

June 6, 2013

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a mother and father on a doomed planet called Krypton sent their one and only son, Kal-el, on a crash course to Earth in an attempt to save him from the impending doom of their homeworld. With the similar appearance of the inhabitants of Earth, young Kal-el differed in a very remarkable way from those who took him in as one of their own: powered by the rays of the sun, Kal-el (now living under the pseudonym “Clark Kent”) began to exhibit and harness powers of a super nature. Under the direction and guidance of his adopted parents, Clark learned that with great power comes great responsibility and as he grew he quickly learned just what that lesson would mean for him in his futuremanofsteelquote

Not only would Clark (soon to be known to the world as Superman) have a big responsibility in the comic book world, but he would also have one in the movie world as well. Back in 1978 another Force (not quite as powerful as 1977’s Star Wars Force) arose as Christopher Reeve took on the mantle as Superman. Over time, certain actor’s names have become synonymous with their characters: Luke Skywalker/Mark Hamill, Indiana Jones/Harrison Ford, John McClane/Bruce Willis. But the MOST iconic character/name melding has always been that of Superman/Christopher Reeve.

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As a matter of fact, when I think of Superman, it is almost always Reeve’s image that comes to mind. (It was truly a sad day when Superman fell).

The first Superman movie ushered a whole new genre of film into the industry. Not counting the Batman film of 12 years prior that served more as an extension of the television series, 1978’s Superman was the first real standalone superhero movie (big responsibility). The success of further films rested on the shoulders of Superman and tons of superhero films would follow in his footsteps. Superman paved the way for three more sequels and several well-received other superhero films (Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) along with others not so well-received (Howard the Duck, 1990’s Captain America, 1993’s The Fantastic Four) and more.superman-1978-wallpapers_17470_1152x864

Thankfully, come the late 1990’s, technology moved forward and special effects allowed us to see superheroes like never before. The ability to now take iconic scenes, images and fights directly from the pages of the comics onto the screen of the movies allowed the superhero genre to explode once again. While there were plenty of proposals for a fifth Superman film, the poor reception of Superman IV: A Quest for Peace kept studios from considering bringing the Last Son of Krypton back. Had he served his purpose and now on to “bigger and better” superheroes? Well, it would seem so as Batman, Spiderman and X-Men took over the theaters.still-of-gene-hackman-and-christopher-reeve-in-superman-iv--the-quest-for-peace

“A world without a Superman movie” -exactly what existed from 1988 all the way until 2006 when the DC Empire would strike back and search for Superman to take back the reins. Superman stayed alive in animated versions throughout that time, but it wouldn’t be until 2006 when we would see another live-action Superman on the big screen. Enter: Brandon Routh in Superman Returns. (A role that Henry Cavill auditioned for.) Aside from a few iconic poses, looks and characters, Superman Returns disappointed so many fans with its lack of action and focus on character development that was to serve as a springboard for further Superman films. Alas, Superman once again let the world down…after five major Superman movies, only two were deemed “amazing”…the first two. Would Superman ever defeat the doomsday of theatrical failure?superman-returns-morte

Enter the new hope of next week’s Man of Steel. The Return of the Kryptonian Jedi (you knew that reference was coming) is nigh. With a fantastic cast, including Henry Cavill looking better than ever, and plenty of promised action, Man of Steel excites fans and wouldbe fans alike to see a Superman film like they always imagined. A lot is riding on the cape-tails of this superhero film. Superman, once again, finds that his great power comes with great responsibility.

man_of_steel_poster_3_-625It is pretty common knowledge that DC wants to build their empire in the movie world and continue with a Justice League movie. Some would argue that it can and will be made regardless of Man of Steel‘s reception. I tend to believe that everything rides on whether or not DC’s poster boy takes them to greater heights with this film. Under the direction of visual director Zack Snyder and the guidance of the DC Godfather Christopher Nolan, it looks like Man of Steel is about to shape the comicbook movie world once again and, like mighty Atlas, carry it on his shoulders to greater heights.

In closing, this great superhero…this…alien, that shows a world full of humans what it truly means to be human by being more of one than the general populus is about to show the world what DC still has to offer in terms of a superhero movie that is not Batman.

A powerful icon in the superhero world, Man of Steel has a great responsibility to fans and skeptics alike to show that there can and will be more to come. Though not a big Superman fan myself, I am interested and excited to see this movie and see what else DC has in store in the future. Is Man of Steel the beginning of a new era for Superman? I think so. It brings in a new era and with it a new hope. That is, afterall, what the “S” symbol stands for!

Look for Man of Steel in theaters on June 14.Man-of-Steel-Fanart-Wallpaper-man-of-steel-34401241-1920-1080

Thanks for reading.

T, The Focused Filmographer

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2013 7:58 am

    Oh, yeah! Great piece on the subject at hand. This only makes me want to get to next week faster! Thanks for this, T.

    Like

    • June 8, 2013 11:29 am

      Thanks very much for reading. I am looking forward to it myself! and I’m not a big Superman fan. so this will be fun!

      Like

  2. June 6, 2013 8:59 am

    I saw that first Superman at the theater when I was 7 and while I recall liking it, it certainly didn’t cause me to start pretending I was SuperMan or collecting his comics and toys.

    Supe has always bothered me by how much of a goody two shoes he is usually portrayed as.

    Man of Steel actually has me intrigued as it looks to be a bit darker and a less one dimensional interpretation.

    I just hope I have not already seen the best parts in the numerous trailers being released.

    Like

    • June 8, 2013 11:31 am

      Supe always bothered me because he was so easily duped all of the time. and because Earth always ended up being the stomping ground for fallen kryptonite that was supposedly so super rare.

      that just got annoying over time to me. I also found it funny that the original reason Lex Luthor hated Superman was because of an accident caused by Supes that made Lex go bald. hahaha

      I have hope for Man of Steel however and believe that it shall not disappoint!

      Like

  3. June 6, 2013 10:09 am

    Love that batman quote, cant wait for a movie with the two of them in 😀

    Like

    • June 8, 2013 11:32 am

      that would def be a fun film.

      Like

  4. June 6, 2013 10:29 am

    Mighty good write up! I’m am really pumped for this flick. I sooo hope it delivers. It would be a shame not to have a good Superman franchise in this age of the comic book film!

    Like

    • June 8, 2013 11:33 am

      Thanks Keith! I really hope it delivers too. because if it doesn’t…oh man!

      Like

  5. June 6, 2013 11:05 am

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Yet another SUPER post on my favorite superhero!
    Special thanks to Terrence for taking part on the Man Of Steel Countdown post. I love this post and especially his closing statement…
    Is Man of Steel the beginning of a new era for Superman? I think so. It brings in a new era and with it a new hope. That is, afterall, what the “S” symbol stands for!

    Like

  6. Chris permalink
    June 6, 2013 11:23 am

    I hope this movie will make believe a man can fly.

    Like

    • June 8, 2013 11:34 am

      I hope this movie will make many Superman fans happy

      Like

      • June 10, 2013 7:20 am

        No need to hope – I BELIEVE it will.

        Like

  7. June 6, 2013 1:23 pm

    Superb write up T! I’m really hyped for Man of Steel after initially not being too fussed. I really hope this is a hit though, I think Supes deserves a decent showing on the big screen.

    Like

    • June 8, 2013 11:36 am

      Thanks Terry! I enjoyed writing it up.

      Supes does deserve a good showing, it’s been too long

      Like

  8. Ted S. permalink
    June 6, 2013 2:13 pm

    Good stuff T.! Like most people I’m pretty excited for the film but I’m going to keep my expectations low because of Zack Snyder, I was huge fan of him when I first saw his remake of Dawn of the Dead but he hasn’t done anything good since (that includes 300, I’m one of the few people who didn’t care for the movie.)

    I’m still intrigued about Tim Burton’s version with Nic Cage as Superman, I remember I was so excited to see that version when it’s announced back in the late 90s. Maybe it’s a good thing the project got cancelled because I don’t see Nic Cage as Supe/Clark Kent.

    Like

    • June 8, 2013 11:41 am

      Hey Ted! I actually wasn’t all that thrilled with 300 either. ha. But I can appreciate Snyder’s love for visuals.

      back then, I don’t think I would’ve minded a Nic Cage Superman, but nowadays…

      Thanks for chiming in Ted.

      Like

    • June 13, 2013 6:33 pm

      Nic Cage as Superman sounds terrible in any era. Glad that never happened.

      Like

  9. June 7, 2013 11:19 pm

    Great post, Terrence. I think one of the most remarkable things about the Christopher Reeve/Superman iconic status is that unlike Ford/IJ, Hamill/Skywalker, etc., the character existed before him, and even had an equally prominent and — until then — iconic portrayal on television with George Reeves. It’s hard to picture anybody else as Indiana Jones because nobody else was Indiana Jones before, but it’s hard to picture anybody else as Superman because Christopher Reeve was just that good of a fit.

    Like

    • June 8, 2013 11:46 am

      Hey Morgan. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

      You make a very excellent point about Reeve/Superman. I suppose maybe one day Andrew Garfield, Daniel Craig or Christian Bale will be that way for future generations.

      for me, I think I have to include Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Heath Ledger as the Joker.

      Like

      • June 8, 2013 1:21 pm

        I don’t think Garfield, Craig, or even Bale will be that way… Bale might be closest, but the other two are already “beaten” in their categories. Maguire was pretty close to the comic book image of Peter Parker, and I don’t think there’s anybody even 50 years on who doesn’t think of Connery first with James Bond.

        Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, I’m in perfect agreement with, and though I haven’t actually seen Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes films, I think you’re right about that as well. So much of the current image is taken from that portrayal, from the deerstalker hat to “Elementary, my dear Watson”. Ledger… I’m going to say no. He was a very good Joker, but he’s still not that “Off the page” portrayal.

        Like

    • June 10, 2013 7:25 am

      Why is it so hard for people to let go of Chris Reeve as Superman? His last great Superman film was in 1981 for God’s sake, over 30 years ago. And the precedent for other people playing the role has/had already been set, with other film and television appearances. If Bond, Doctor Who and every other major character in cinema can have alternative iterations down the years, then why not Superman? Comparison’s between them all are one thing, but nobody seems willing or able to give Superman’s new adventures much of a chance.

      Personally, i’m over the fanboy orgasms for Reeve as Superman, because it’s exactly that kind of crap that led to Superman Returns being mired in undercooked mediocrity. It’s time for a new Superman, and I (for one) cannot wait.

      Like

      • June 10, 2013 2:53 pm

        I think you’re greatly misinterpreting peoples’ appreciation for Christopher Reeve. It’s “He did a really good job”, not “Nobody else can ever do it.”

        People would have accepted a different Superman in a good film. Superman Returns was not that film. And Brandon Routh wasn’t the problem — the “fanboys” (and if you have to cast the entire movie audience as “fanboys”, you’ve failed at making a convincing argument) weren’t objecting to him. His extremely vague resemblance to Reeve was not even slightly the problem with the movie.

        The problem with that movie was partly the kid angle, but mostly that it more-or-less directly copied the first film. That’s a plot issue, not an actor issue. And yes, I think we’re all ready for a new Superman. All of us want the new one to be great. But it has the same problem. It’s about Superman vs. General Zod… so the second post-80s Superman movie is directly aping the second Superman movie. It runs the exact same risk of being repetitive.

        Like

  10. June 8, 2013 10:09 am

    I like that Batman quote you chose. Is that from Kingdom Come?
    I think a Justice League movie will flop if it ever gets made (which I highly doubt).

    Like

    • June 8, 2013 11:27 am

      Thanks Ian. the Batman quote is one of my faves too. It is from Superman/Batman#3.

      I have little interest at the moment in Justice League movie

      Like

  11. Trevor permalink
    June 9, 2013 10:25 am

    I think the saving grace of Man of Steel is going to be the changes to Supes backstory. But even that is going to be very dangerous because the lore has been established for 75 years. You can’t really just drastically change that.

    We won’t see a JLA movie for awhile. If Man of Steel is successful then we MAY see a JLA movie in a few years. But the problem with a JLA movie is that the average person has never heard of half of the team. Theres Supes, Batman, Wonder Woman. Those are the ones everyone knows. Then you dive into Green Lantern (who’s movie was terrible) and then Aquaman who even the members of the JLA hate. It won’t happen.

    The Avengers had a team of more well known characters at least that people could relate to with their solo movies (except for the Hulk. Lets get a Hulk movie with Mark Ruffalo already!).

    I don’t know. I’ll go watch this either in the theater or when its on DVD but DC I think is going to have a hard time catching up to Marvel in the movie arena.

    P.S.: Batman has beaten Superman. Thus, Batman > Superman. Remember that. Supes may be a god but Batman beat his ass anyways just to be sure.

    Like

    • June 10, 2013 7:28 am

      As much as I hate to admit it, but you are correct with your assessment of the JLA and the wider community’s view of them. Ask any kid on the street who The Martian Manhunter is and they’ll look at you crosseyed. Green Lantern hasn’t the broad appeal (look at the film, for God’s sake, and see how badly WB stuffed that up!) and nobody seems willing to take Wonder Woman on and give the girls somebody to look up to (if any character needs to be done right, it’s Wonder Woman) while Flash is a character just screaming for a bog-screen epic with today’s visual effects. I mean, seriously Warner Brothers? You’re just gonna let The Flash wither on the vine?

      I hope Man Of Steel trounces all comers this year, and sets the path clear for the inevitable Worlds Finest or micro-Justice League film.

      Like

      • Trevor permalink
        June 10, 2013 10:28 am

        Green Lantern could have been great if they just made the big baddie of the movie Sinestro instead of Paralax. Paralax is too complex of a villain to start a story with along with suddenly adding in the yellow power rings.

        Wonder Woman needs to be done. Like yesterday. I hope that if Man of Steel takes off then DC/WB will make a Wonder Woman film and it’ll be glorious.

        Like

  12. June 10, 2013 7:18 am

    I don’t understand the hate for Aquaman, I really don’t. His potential to be such a cool character is enormous….. I think he’s being handled well in the New 52 comics, though.

    Nice thoughts on Superman, Terrence. Comprehensive and well thought out. I’m hanging for a decent JLA movie, but they need to set up the individual characters first (and have Plastic Man as part of the team, which would be awesome!) before diving into the full team adventure.

    Like

    • June 11, 2013 5:12 pm

      Thanks Rodney! it was a lot of fun putting this piece together.

      I like Aquaman, btw! 🙂

      Like

  13. Kal-El permalink
    June 13, 2013 8:01 am

    Very well done, Pete aka Terrence. Being a huge Superman fan, I don’t feel as if I could’ve written it any better myself. This is definitely one of my all time favorite posts of yours. Now I pray that the film is just as good. I’ve tried to not get excited for the movie to try and tame my expectations but it has refused to be ignored. A lot is ridding on this film. Hopefully Nolan and Snyder steered it to greatness.

    Like

    • June 17, 2013 6:13 pm

      Thanks Kal. appreciate you reading and the kind words.

      Like

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