Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Man Of Steel Vs. Superman Returns



That's right, you read correctly. I'm doing a comparison between two films with the same subject matter. A subject I consider myself an expert on. The Man of Steel, The Last Son of Krypton, Kal-El...Clark Kent. Without a doubt the impact Superman, the character has had on the world is vast and yet, its been almost four decades since there has been a completely credible and relevant piece of Superman cinema for our viewing pleasure. Yes you could argue that Smallville sated our hunger for a relevant hero from across a multitude of galaxies, but he was never called Superman, we did not see Clark Kent take flight until the final few minutes of the final episode. It took 218 episodes before we saw him in the suit that we all recognize from his conception in the late 1930's. In my opinion it was a suitable ending to the series that was labelled "Dawson's Creek with powers", especially since towards the end we saw a slew of DC favorites pop up.

Returning to my main point, I remember going to see Superman Returns in the cinema in 2006 with such excitement. I was excited by the prospect that Bryan Singer had opted out of X-Men 3 to director this film because he was such a fan of Richard Donner's work with Christopher Reeves and Gene Hackman. Being a child who grew up with Superman the film as a kind of moral compass, I was speechless. At this point you should understand that Bryan Singer had done no wrong in my eyes. The Usual Suspects, and the first two X-Men films were treated with such respect and excellent writing that I couldn't see a problem.

Now we get to the morning after, I had seen the film, Brandon Routh in my opinion was a different type of Superman. Yes, he was more emotional and vulnerable than previous Supermen we've seen in other iterations of the comic characters. A lot of people saw this as a negative but at the time I thought the film and the performances were a shining dedication to Christopher Reeves and what he gave to the world in his portrayal of The Man of Steel. After mulling it over for a long time and several viewings later I had come to realize that yes there were flaws with this film. Brandon Routh, though he was a great Clark Kent, was not the right fit for Superman. There was no presence, there was no feeling that when this guy lets loose cities crumble. As my girlfriend put perfectly,"he was always Clark Kent, there was never a shift in the dynamic". As I write this I realize how true those words are. I still stand by my opinion, it is a thoroughly enjoyable film, but it is not the film Superman deserves.

So close.....

Now I bring to your attention something that I hold close to my heart. I honestly don't know why I let myself get hurt like this. I mean I imagine this is the feeling people felt as the fourth Indiana Jones film was first announced to the fans. I'm excited but honestly, I'm mainly worried. Zack Snyder has proven that he can do what everyone thought for a long time was impossible, make a comic come to life through the cinema screen in a genuine way. It's not just because of '300' and 'Watchmen', it's mainly because of 'Legend of the Guardians:The Owls of Ga'Hoole'. Watch that film and you'll see a different side to Zack Snyder, a side that proves he can give us not just intense brawls but also real heartfelt moments. It is this combination of visual beauty and genuine emotion that only a man, who has brought such a difficult piece of fiction like 'Watchmen' to the big screen, can achieve. Add to this the dedication that Henry Cavill has brought to the dual roles of Clark Kent/Kal-El that has given me hope again. Then you add Christopher Nolan, Christopher Nolan!?!! to the equation, a man who can bring different dimensions to any project he is a part of. I mean try this, forget that it's Superman for a minute, just picture this, a God among men trying to protect a world that equally loves and despises him. Imagine the psychological implications, imagine the mise en scene of a collaboration between Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan. 
Just maybe...

I hope this helped anyone who knows me understand why I feel the way I do about this film, and I hope this was enjoyable to the people who bother to read this. Cheers. Bring on 2013 and The Man of Steel.