Of the holy trinity of superheroes, I’ve always preferred Spider-Man and Batman. Spidey you could always relate to, Batman was dark and gritty. Superman always stood apart. I respected that he was the ‘first’ superhero and everything, but he never quite hooked the imagination like the other two. Maybe it was their weaknesses, their frailties that makes them more interesting. Bats may have near-limitless wealth and access to infinite resources, but he is still just a man. A man who can be beaten and broken. Spider-Man puts on the mask and can do the most amazing things, but once he takes it off he’s still the gawky teen with the mixed-up love life. Supes is a near-omnipotent superbeing from another planet. He’s honest and true. He’s essentially the perfect person. It’s hard to relate, sympathise, heck, be interested in a character like that. Or at least, that’s what I thought…
Here’s my review of Superman Returns taken from my MySpace blog just after I saw it -
“For the first time in what feels like AGES, I ventured to the local cinema and caught a moofie. It was Superman Returns, a film I’ve been stupidly excited aboot since, like, christmas or something. My review – It was good. Really good. But not great.
The set pieces were FANTASTIC, the plane rescue and saving of Metropolis were superbly done. Brandon Routh is eerily reminiscent of Christopher Reeve, playing Clark with warmth and Superman with strength and dignity. Kevin Spacey is brilliant as Lex Luthor, his performance the perfect level of ham and genuine menace. On the downside, it was a little long, there’s a plot spoiler point really irks my fanboy sensibilities, and the ending was a bit ‘fneh’.
In my personal superhero movie ranking, Superman Returns would come behind Spider-Man/Spider-Man 2, and Batman Begins, but far ahead of the likes of The Hulk and Daredevil.
So, go see it, I say! Even if it’s just to play ‘spot the Christ allegory’…”
Since then it’s festered in my brain and taken a massive swan dive in my estimation. It was this film’s assassination of Superman’s character that made me realise how much I really thought of him. By inadvertently making him a whiny crybaby and, worst of all, a liar, they took everything that was special about the Man Of Steel and ruined it. I don’t think they did it deliberately. They just saw that every other superhero movie was angsty and wanted it for Superman. But he doesn’t swing that way. He doesn’t brood. He doesn’t complain. He stands strong.
I haven’t read a lot of Superman comics, I admit. The ones I’ve sampled over the years have been fairly dull. He is a hard character to write for. Recently, though, I’ve taken to downloading comics on my iPad using the DC app, the Marvel app, and the Comics by Comixology app. I’d go so far to say that the iPad’s killer app may be comics. Anyway, one of the titles I’ve downloaded is All Star Superman. Without wanting to give too much away, Supes rescues a ship that’s flying into the sun but in doing so he poisons himself, and the rest of the series has him coming to terms with his own death. It’s hard to describe each issue. It’s almost like a series of vignettes. It fades in with Superman dealing with whatever is the big bad of that month’s issue and leaves the dying arc on the periphery. For me, it nails Superman’s character perfectly. Needless to say, I love it.
I will leave you with one page from issue ten. I think it is the single best page of any Superman comic I have ever read. Enjoy.