Supes is in crisis. Not personally, mind you, but following the lackluster affair of 2017 Justice League, Superman’s future on the big screen has been, shall we say, uncertain. Then, last week, Henry Cavill confirmed he would be donning the cape again, and Warner Bros. Discovery revealed that starting today, director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran will oversee DC Studios, a new entity within the company dedicated to producing films and series based on DC characters.
Cavill’s return as the Man of Steel provides Gunn et al. with a unique opportunity to rearrange the hero. In his previous outings, the Superman actor has been serious and moody. But in an interview with Variety of his return, Cavill said “there’s such a bright future ahead of the character. I’m thrilled to tell a story with an extremely cheerful Superman” – a quote that indicates those who are in charge of the character’s destiny on big screen know what they are doing.
Recognizing that Superman can (and, perhaps, should) being fun is just one of the many things DC’s New Overlords need to do to bring it back to life. Besides getting rid of the troubled hero seen in Steel man and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (aka Zack Snyder Era), a good Supes movie has to show him as someone who works to help people around him in his two chosen careers. Let’s see someone who does this because he enjoy not because they feel compelled to do so at great expense and expense.
Speaking of his work, in any Superman movie, Clark Kent is essential. He might not be as visually spectacular without the cape, and, yes, the mild-mannered reporter isn’t quite the draw as flying through the air while zapping people with heat vision, but Superman must have ties to humanity. Even ignoring the idea “without his experience in Smallville, he would just be a random superhero”, Clark’s work at Daily Planet often drives the story. Without it, Superman is just a one-note, steel-jawed do-gooder.
Clark Kent also brings something else: links with other characters. Yes, there is Lois Lane – intelligent, stubborn and selfless Lois Lane. But there’s also curmudgeonly editor Perry White, neophyte journalist and thrill-seeker Jimmy Olsen, part-time superscientist and superhero John Henry Irons, the Kents, Bibbo, Morgan Edge, the swagger of the Steve Lombard district, etc. Superman has the largest supporting cast in superhero comics outside of Spider-Man, and they almost never appear for more than a second in an adaptation. Giving them full character arcs in the DC Extended Universe would do wonders.
Why? Because Superman stories are rarely about Superman. When the eponymous hero is stable and confident, and dedicated to helping everyone around him, it’s almost impossible for him to have a truly personal involvement in every story. This does not mean that there is are not good stories where the Man of Steel is intimately linked to the issues in question…All-Star Superman, Death of Superman and its sequels, and “The Man Who Has Everything” come to mind, but it’s more than okay to let someone else have the emotional arc while Superman takes care of the rest.
Luckily, with Gunn in charge of DC’s creative direction, the latter should be easy to pull off. Throughout his career, Gunn has never been afraid to get weird (see: every guardians of the galaxy movie), and frankly, Superman could do with a little weirdness. The character has eight decades of truly ridiculous, imaginative canon and more than enough ridiculous details – Krypto the Super-Hound! The shrunken city of Kandor! Super ventriloquism! – to fill several films. Let Batman be the guy to keep things grounded; Superman movies should be able to soar and enrich the imagination. It’s time to let it fly.
#chance #save #Superman #Heres