The Best Superman Film (kind of): Man of Steel

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I agree.

To me, & to many, the 1978 Superman film has the most rewatchability, despite the terrible actor Kidder is & Reeve was. I value the potential for repeated viewings, but it isn’t the only criterion that makes for a good movie.

To the point, Man of Steel is easily the best film of the franchise, at least to my eye.

I like that Cavill‘s Superman is green when it comes to big moral choices. We know that morality is not innate–religion wouldn’t lecture incessantly if it were–but it came too easily to Reeve’s Superman (& the Supes of the comics). It’s this inhumanness, apart from his strength, that makes Lex Luthor’s fear of ‘the alien’ reasonable.

When you have the ability, it’s easy to decide to catch falling person or thing & save the day. The Man of Steel, though, depicts a Superman that, if the franchise is done well, will describe for us the wisdom that comes from experience, independent of natural talents, & that regret–perhaps shame–can be a powerful motivator.

For the traditional Superman, the big question mark for me is his eternal goodness. Lately, I’m happy to see that moral compass shake, both in the comics & the Man of Steel film. I do not care how he’s ‘always been’ depicted; why would I want more of the same? Is not the mindless repetition of tradition that which is pablum for the mind?

I’ve wondered about Superman’s childhood, about the potential for resentment in allowing yourself to be bullied at the behest of your ‘merely human’ father. Sure, it can & does lead to self-restraint… sometimes. It can also lead to being wound so tightly it leads to a school shooting (or a ‘super’ version of same).

Is it extreme to speak of Supes like that? Of course. Just remember that Big Blue has been traditionally written at one extreme side of the moral spectrum; no one but the most ardent fanboy/girl can stand to be so damn bored. That’s what Bryan Singer gave us. Thankfully, this is not that.

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