In 2013 we were introduced to a new Superman… the Man of Steel. Much different to the characters previous iterations Henry Cavill’s Superman has become the staple Superman for this generation. Now within the 4 years since this new Superman first graced the big screen we have already witnessed his Birth (Man of Steel), Death (BvS) and Return (Justice League). That is some journey that this Superman has already been on in the space of 4 years! To some it has been an amazing journey and to others like myself it has been more of a bumpy ride with both highs and lows. So in this article we will be looking at the journey of Superman across these three films and the development of the character in completing one of the biggest comic book story arcs ever.
Man of steel (2013)
This is where my love for the character of Superman started back in 2013 with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. I finally had a Superman that I could relate to! This was a bold and new take on the character compared to its iconic portrayal by the legendary Christopher Reeve. While I have gone back and watched films such as Superman: The Movie and Superman II which I love by the way. I just found Henry Cavill’s Superman more interesting and most importantly most relatable. We now had a Superman that wasn’t perfect, someone that was going to make mistakes and someone that was conflicted by being the most powerful being in the world. This was a different Superhero movie and Superman altogether. We weren’t going to see scenes of this Superman saving a cat out of tree doing all of your stereotypical superhero acts from the comics. Now don’t get me wrong Christopher Reeve’s Superman made sense for that time and now I can confidently say Henry Cavill’s Superman was a much needed take for this generation. Times have changed and the character went through a much needed change with Man of Steel in my opinion.
Man of Steel focuses heavily on Superman’s relationship with humanity with both its highs and lows. Throughout this film Clark Kent struggles to find a place in the world from being bullied at a young age to moving from place to place taking on numerous jobs after failing to find a place to settle down as a adult in the beginning of the film. However this all changes when General Zod invades Earth and gives Kal-El the option to join him in turning Earth into a new Krypton. But Superman can’t bring himself to join Zod on his objective which will end up wiping out the entire human race. In the short time of being Superman Kal-El has finally realised why he was sent here. His purpose was to be that leader that Earth needed and he was there to set an example to the people who would eventually join him in the sun.
By the end of the film Clark has finally found his place in the world. Not only has he just saved the world but he now finally settled down with the love of his life Lois Lane. He found a job which allowed him to live somewhat of a normal life. The line that Lois says to Clark at the end of the film “Welcome to the Planet” isn’t just a cliche line, no this line has much greater significance in that an alien who has been struggling to find their way for 30 plus years has finally been accepted by the world and is no longer seen as an outsider.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
What’s it like to save the world and then become a huge figure of controversy being both loved and hated by those same people who’s lives you just saved? Well the answer lies here in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. While Man of Steel built on Superman’s relationship with humanity Dawn of Justice tears that down as well as Superman’s character who throughout the film is even questioning his role in the world. There is this underlying theme throughout the film about whether the world actually needs a Superman or not. Not only is he blamed for the destruction of Metropolis but behind the scenes Lex Luthor is plotting away framing Superman for horrific acts which he did not commit fuelling to the hatred of this omnipotent figure.
The treatment of Superman in this film is something that can be described as a social commentary on issues today in the world such as immigration and racism. It can even be compared to stories of the past, the most obvious being the story of Christ. Again this doubles down on the reliability of the character for me. I mean who can’t relate to Superman in this film? I for one can. Doing all you can to the best of your abilities but at the end of the day you get demonised for your efforts. Now granted I haven’t experienced anything like the type of backlash Superman experienced in this film but I couldn’t help myself from feeling sorry for the character. Lets also get one thing straight of course this Superman isn’t going to be smiling throughout this film. Would you if you felt like the whole world was against you? I mean Jonathan Kent in man of steel did warn Clark what would happened to him if people really found out who he truly was and he was right. That’s one thing that has always annoyed me the way people criticise Jonathan Kent for wanting Clark to keep his powers a secret which ultimately led to his death. Look at how they treated him in Dawn of Justice and now imagine that same reaction but this time to a Superman that was basically a teenager in Man of Steel.
The world’s reaction to Superman again has him questioning his place in the world. This is shown in scenes where he is talking to Martha where she tells him that he has the choice to be their monument or be nothing because he owes them nothing. This whole film is built up to the moment when Doomsday is created and Superman realises he is the only one who is capable of taking this monster. I think it’s powerful how with everything he’s gone through in this movie he says the line “This is my world” making the ultimate sacrifice while saving a world that contained many people who wanted to see him dead or in jail. Here is where Superman’s relationship with humanity is restored and in fact made stronger. We see the world mourning him in the streets, the people realise that Superman not only saved the world once but twice now at the cost of his own life this time. Most importantly Superman left his mark on the world with the idea of hope in which he inspired others with his sacrifice just like he did with Batman.
Justice League (2017)
While I enjoyed Superman in Justice League I can’t help myself from pointing out the major issues I had with the character as a whole in this film. I’m not even going to talk about the whole CGI debacle with Henry Cavill’s moustache. This is more to do with the change in character of Superman once he returns in the film. Superman comes back and all of a sudden he is saying lines such as “I’m a big fan of justice” and “Is this guy still bothering you?”. While I loved a lot of what he done in the third act it just didn’t make sense to me. Superman’s character done a 180° turn from Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice. This change in the character is fine in my opinion but it didn’t seem natural, it all felt forced. I would argue that the studio was responding to the criticisms surrounding this Superman as one that wasn’t hopeful enough and didn’t smile at all. I’m fine with them wanting to take the character in this direction but it felt rushed to me and in the process we missed out on probably the most crucial part of this character’s development. I feel like we were missing a scene of Clark having a vision talking to Jor-El or Jonathan Kent where they were telling him how the world needs him now more than ever.
With that being said Justice League as a whole was a film that was riddled with issues that not only affected Superman but all of the members of the Justice League. I guess what Justice League solidified for me was my issue with killing Superman in the first place. At the time I still felt it was too early to kill him in his second movie and I 100% stand by that now. The death of Superman should have happened in the third Superman film or at least at the end of the first Justice League movie and. Part of me feels like they knew they made a mistake with his death because of the way they handled his return in Justice League. They didn’t even show the world’s reaction to Superman’s return which was a huge disappointment for me. The relationship between Superman and the public has been one of the most interesting aspects of this character but it was completely ignored in Justice League. When he actually returns, there’s no crowd of people cheering him on or anything. It’s just sad to see how we started off so well in Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice the character’s arc isn’t done justice (pun intended) in the end with Justice League.
So where does this leave us now with Superman? Well Justice League ends with Clark Kent running down the street revealing the iconic ‘S’ just like Christopher Reeve’s Superman. Is the Superman from Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice gone now? Will the next Superman film see a return to the more classic image of the character? In my opinion I’ll be happy either way all I ask from the future creators is that they treat the character with the respect and care that it deserves.
Let me know what you think down below
Last week rumours were reignited about Disney potentially buying key assets from 21st Century Fox in what would be a historic deal. Now these rumours were nothing new to us comic book fans as we have been hearing about a potential deal between the two companies for years but last week it seemed obvious that some type of deal had been struck between the two companies. One week later and the deal is finally confirmed, Disney has acquired 21st Century Fox in a monumental deal worth $52.4 billion. This means that the Fantastic Four and X-men are finally going back to Marvel… This is crazy! We will actually see them in the MCU interacting with the other Marvel characters.
Now there is a lot to this deal but here is a break down of what the deal means for us as comic book fans:
- Fox will get Disney’s branding power behind some of its biggest entertainment properties, most notably Marvel’s X-Men and Fantastic Four character rosters.
- Disney gets to complete its two major geek culture franchises, by adding the X-Men and Fantastic Four properties to its Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as gaining possession of the original theatrical versions of Star Wars, before the digitally remastered versions of were put out by George Lucas.
- Disney will also gain a much larger library of titles and wider distribution network, thereby strengthening the company’s position as it moves to launch a streaming service to complete with Netflix in 2019.
Personally it will take a long time for this deal to sink in with me, honestly I’m both worried and excited at the same time if that makes sense. The Fantastic Four will definitely benefit from this deal. In my opinion the Fantastic Four going back to Marvel was always going to be main way for this franchise to survive. On the other hand you have the X-Men who in my opinion have been doing fine at Fox (apart from X-Men: Apocalypse). Some of my recent favourite comic book films have come from Fox such as Deadpool, Logan, Days of Future Past and First Class. I just worry that under Disney now will we be allowed to have these types of storylines and mature content with this new audience? A major part of me doesn’t like this deal from the business side because I’m just against companies building monopolies and buying out competition. As a comic book fan I believe this deal could hurt the quality of content in the future I mean who are Marvel really competition with now considering Justice League’s box office performance? I just think good competition drives quality content. Personally I was hoping for the type of deal Sony struck with Marvel over Spider-man which is more of a partnership but this is totally different.
Either way the comic book fan in me can’t help but be excited about the endless possibilities that this deal could bring regardless. I mean the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is something fans have been waiting for years. Maybe this deal came too late could you imagine if this deal was struck earlier and we had the X-Men and Fantastic Four in films such as Captain America: Civil war and the upcoming Infinity War film? I guess its better late than never right. Now we will be able to see our favourite comic book storylines play out on the big screen with all the characters available at the studio’s disposal.
Let me know what you think of this deal below?
Are you excited to finally see the X-Men and Fantastic Four in the MCU?
For huge Superman fans like myself the return of the Man of Steel was one of the most anticipated moments in this year’s Justice League film. Looking back at the comic book history of the character with the death and return of Superman fans were expecting to see him return in a black suit. This was also heavily teased by Henry Cavill on Instagram who shortly after the release of Dawn of Justice posted what looked to be a close up of a black Superman suit with the hashtag #Superman. One year later to the fans dismay there was no black suit to be seen when Superman eventually returned in Justice League. Shortly after the release of the film a lot of information started to leak about storylines that were changed/scrapped. One of those leaks which I was particularly interested in was the claims of there not being a black suit in the script at all from the start. Now granted a lot of this information at the time came from a Reddit user so we have to take it with a grain of salt. However just yesterday it was confirmed by Fabian Wagner (Director of photography for Justice League) that there was scenes of Superman shot with the black suit which were eventually cut.
Fabian Wagner told Inverse in a interview:
Wagner on the black suit: “There were [scenes shot],” Wagner said. “It’s a cool looking costume. Sadly, we didn’t see that either in the final cut.”
Wagner on scenes that were cut in general: “Zack takes his time with telling the stories, and I’ve always liked that about his movies. There are a few scenes that I was very much looking forward to seeing which unfortunately got cut.”
For some this new information will further frustrate fans who were already calling for a Zack Snyder cut of this film to be released in the future. Personally as a huge Superman fan although I would have loved to have seen the black suit these are just small issues to me. A huge part of me has just accepted what we were given and it is what it is. Maybe the use of the black suit and the beard would have allowed the studio to avoid the whole moustache fiasco. At the end of the day I’m just a fan and I have no idea of what type of pressure and stress comes with the making of a project of this size.
All I ask from Warner Bros. is in the future to learn from their mistakes and just let their selected director finish their vision of the project.
Let me know what you think of these recent developments below.
Did you want to see Superman return in the black suit? Were you let down?
A couple of months ago it was first reported that Disney and 21st Century Fox were in talks for the rights of properties such as the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Since then the rumours seemed to have died down until today. CNBC is now reporting that talks between the two companies are back on and it looks like a deal could be ‘announced as early as next week’. With the deal worth a reportedly $60 billion one has to think that talks have been going on for sometime now. If the deal was to go through it would mean that the television and movie assets from 21st Century Fox will move to Disney. Here at ‘Comic Book Talk’ we are obviously going to be focusing on the comic book side of this deal. What does this mean for the X-Men? Fantastic Four? New Mutants? and shows such as the Gifted?
Surely this will mean we will see the likes of the X-Men and Fantastic Four in the MCU and one day in a Avengers film. As for the TV side of the assets I do hope that shows such as the Gifted are left untouched and kept separate. In my opinion while it would be amazing to finally see the Fantastic Four and X-Men alongside the Avengers what impact would this deal have on the business? Personally I just worry about the building of monopolies and buying up competition in general when it comes to any industry. Will this deal kill competition in the comic book genre and most importantly impact the creativity of these potential projects?
One major worry comic book fans seem to have with this pending deal is how will the mature storylines and characters of the X-Men/Deadpool be impacted? While Marvel has shown with their Netflix series they are capable of producing this type of content with shows such as The Punisher and DareDevil. With my recent favourite comic book films being Days of Future’s Past, Logan, First Class and Deadpool its hard for me to these type of films under the Disney umbrella. One part of me feels that the X-Men franchise doesn’t need this deal. On the other hand the Fantastic Four franchise definitely needs Marvel right now.
Last week I remember the Russo brothers talking about how the 4th Avengers film will be the end of the cinematic universe as we know it. Also you had Kevin Feige claiming they already know the next 30 films they are going to make. I cannot help but think that this pending deal definitely has something to do with their upcoming schedule because of how calculated they are at Marvel. I wont be surprised if we see the X-Men and Fantastic Four share the big screen with the Avengers and potentially with their own rebooted series during Phase four of the MCU which is set to date from 2019-2028.
Let me know what you think of the possibility of this deal below?
Will this kill the comic book movie industry or make it better?
Batman Ninja is a Japanese anime made in collaboration with Warner Bros. Japan and DC Entertainment. The project is directed by Jumpei Mizusaki, written by Kazuki Nakashima and animated by Kamikaze Douga. Now we have we have seen the Batman go up against the Joker a million times but not like this. Ninja Batman looks to be a fresh take on the two characters never ending grudge as it is set in the middle ages of Japan. I know it sounds crazy right? Believe me after just watching the trailer it looks crazy too (in a good way) Only the Joker could think of a plot like this. Batman Ninja is focused on a Batman who is stripped down to the bone as he no longer has his gadgets to rely on such as the Batmobile or Batwing. This will force Batman to channel inner abilities to once again again overcome the Joker. I did get a lot of flashbacks to Batman Begins while watching this trailer especially with the fighting and training montages. Most importantly this isn’t just Batman and the Joker by themselves. Batman Ninja will include familiar characters from the Batman universe such as Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Alfred, Nightwing (I think I saw Robin too not 100% sure on that). Having not watched an anime in years I personally can’t wait to see this, plus its Batman going against the Joker you just know its going to be great.
Batman Ninja is set to be released in Japanese theatres sometime in 2018. We can also expect a home release for the rest of the world shortly after.
Let me know what you thought of the trailer below