Since I love heroes who have a bit of darkness within them and have to challenge themselves (in meaningful ways) to overcome their darkness and character flaws to be the heroic figures they are, I always was Team Batman in these debates. I’ll spare you my list of comparisons between the two and focus on my reasons for not liking Superman…for the sake of brevity 😉 and then will get into why Man of Steel proved me so very, very wrong.
- I felt like he was a hero not for internally based reasons, but simply because he happened to be an alien with powers that our environment (aka the sun) gave him. Therefore HE was not exceptional because he had chosen to be but rather, he was exceptional because our environment made him so.
- I felt like his unconditional goodness and respect for life was a weakness that prevented him from being able to make truly tough decisions in the face of extreme evil.
- I felt like (following on #2) his main enemy was weaksauce. While other heroes fight psychopaths and cold blooded killers who have no respect for anything or any life, Superman’s main battles always seemed to be against Lex Luther– a multimillionaire who’s corrupt. A hero who saves the world from white collar crime…how…. scary.
Man of Steel blew my expectations out of the water, shot down all of my reasons for disliking Superman, and actually has made me a (::gasp::) fan of Superman! This film is structured similarly to Batman Begins in the sense that it doesn’t flow in chronological order from the time Kal (aka Clark) is an infant to the time he becomes Superman– we find out a lot about his childhood from insightful flashbacks that infuse this character with much more depth than I’ve ever seen before.
In terms of casting, Henry Cavill perfectly embodies Superman, Russell Crowe kicks ass as his Kryptonian father, Amy Adams shines as Lois Lane, and Michael Shannon brings a whole new level of one track mind to the screen that is memorizing to watch. And for all of you SVU fans out there, Christopher Meloni (our beloved Detective Elliot Stabler) is on the big screen playing military personnel!