This is Our Superman: The DCEU’s Bold Choice
April 6th, 2016 | by Ryan Mayer
The DC Extended Universe was born with the release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. ComiConverse contributor, Ryan Mayer, discusses why Henry Cavill’s Superman is our Superman.
Superman has become a worldwide icon, possibly the most recognizable comic book character in history. He is also known as the boy scout of Superheroes. This all powerful alien is portrayed as an all good hero who rarely makes mistakes. Some label him as boring for this aspect of his character.
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His boy scout status was etched in stone when the initial series of Superman movies were released starting in 1978 with Superman. Christopher Reeve took on the portrayal of the man of steel and blew people away. He became the definitive Superman and drove home the idea that Superman was perfect and always knew what to do.
Now fast forward to 2006 when Superman Returns was released. Director Bryan Singer adopted the tone of the previous Superman movies. This film was in many ways a continuation of the storyline of the originals. Superman left earth for many years and returned to find a different world. This Superman was the same boy scout from the 1970s; however, fans disliked that it was the same old Superman and now found him boring. Fans wanted something new and different and they did not know it yet but he was right around the corner.
The newest Superman was unveiled to the world in 2013. In Man of Steel Superman started out as Clark Kent, a man trying to find his way in this world knowing he was an alien and feeling alone. This interpretation is one that fans should celebrate. The newest iteration of Superman shows a struggling, flawed hero who has problems and doubts. In the movie he deals with not knowing if the world will accept him. He is then thrust into being a hero when General Zod, an evil Kryptonian, arrives demanding the Earth give up Kal-El or there will be consequences. Kal-El as Clark Kent presents himself to Zod and battles Zod for the safety of the world. While fighting there is a powerful scene where Zod is interrogating Martha Kent. In this scene Superman comes flying from off camera furious at Zod. In this scene, infused with fury, Superman is only focused on Zod and trying to stop him. In the end Superman must kill Zod to prevent the evil general from causing further death and destruction. Man of Steel was meant to introduce you to a more elemental version of Superman, one with no experience at being a hero, still trying to find his way.
Now enter Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This movie continues the story from Man of Steel. It also continues the development of this Superman character. In this movie Superman continues to have doubts about whether he will be accepted by the world. In the end he learns that he is a hero and he makes the ultimate sacrifice and saves the planet. With his death and (assumed) subsequent return in a future movie, he will evolve. Superman died when the world hated him; they didn’t accept him and even feared him. However, when he returns he will be coming back to a world that loves him, and allies who are forming a team in his honor. He will be different than the Superman we know now.
I think this is the brilliance of Zack Snyder’s Superman. We, the audience, are not presented with a perfect Superman from the get go. We get one who is learning, one who will grow with each passing movie and develop into a perfect Superman. As Zack Snyder once said “He will save a cat out of the tree but break a branch. Someone will come along and say ‘Why would you break that branch.’” Superman finally learns that this is his world and he is willing to defend it whatever the stakes or the outcome. As he says to Lois before flying off to do final battle with Doomsday, “This is my world, you are my world.” The idea that eventually we can look back and map out the development of this Superman will make us even more attached to the character than we ever could have been if he started out perfect.
Ryan Mayer is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @RMayer94