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The Fallout From DC’s Superman Rumors

Please No. Please No. Please No!

As the creator and writer of a blog called Jimmy’s Daily Planet, this rumored breaking news today courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter has the potential to be sad in many ways.

While we await public reaction (or explanation) from Henry Cavill in the coming days, Mr. Cavill has said many times in past interviews–even quite recently–that he is was very keen on a ‘Man of Steel’ sequel with a more positive/Christopher Reeve/comic book feel. This rumored decision to part ways with the studio seems like it was (or would have been) strongarmed by DC because of bad movie planning and poor execution in the midst of trying to hit the reset button in the middle of its burgeoning–and not awesomely received–film universe.

It also seems like the bullish move by the power brokers of the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) to unnecessarily mirror Marvel’s cinematic playbook by growing too quickly too fast came back around with a painfully bruising left hook.

And potentially losing its Superman is a major–and foreseeable–consequence of that decision years ago.

Broadly speaking, DC Comics superheroes are better than Marvel. The actors in DC property films are better than the actors in the Marvel films. The writing has not been perfect for all of its recent films, but by-and-large DC screenplays are far superior to Marvel films.

Marvel will never create anything close to Richard Donner’s ‘Superman’ or Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy.

If DC’s cinematic planners would have just been patient and grown its extended universe slowly through gradual individual introductions of superheroes with interweaving storylines, then everything would be fine today.

They’d be able to handle moving faster than a speeding bullet at your local movie theater.

The Cinematic Fortress of Duopoly

Christopher Reeve is Superman. Christopher is Clark Kent. Christopher Reeve is Kal-El.

The portrayal, reaction and legacy of actor Christopher Reeve as all the above in Richard Donner’s 1978 cinematic classic and superhero benchmark ‘Superman’ changed the way we see the iconic character who believes in truth, justice and the American way. It’s nearly–if not completely impossible–to envision anybody surpassing Mr. Reeve in this acting role.

Flash forward to today and British actor Henry Cavill is giving the role a nice go. Reportedly, he wants to portray the man in steel more akin to Christopher Reeve in a ‘Man of Steel’ sequel.

Speaking of these two cinematic supermen on screen together…

Superman’s story is a hopeful one.

A Sequel With a Capital ‘S’?

In the superhero-saturated era in which DC and Marvel are actively competing over cinematic world domination–no hyperbole–there are certain characters that resonate far beyond the walls of dark movie theaters, as well as reviews on Rotten Tomatoes before opening weekend. There are some superheroes that represent something bigger and something profound.

Thankfully, a real person who portrays one of these fictional superheroes understands this critically powerful reality during a recent interview whilst promoting Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

The rumor mill will continue to run as to whether there will be or when the world will see a direct ‘Man of Steel’ sequel. Having said that, Henry Cavill speaking publicly in support of a follow-up film with Clark Kent disposition is great news.

This 2013 film starring Henry Cavill as the title character had a Christopher Reeve-esque final scene accompanied by an exhilarating Hans Zimmer composition. It’s my belief that a ‘Man of Steel’ sequel in the spirit to the one envisioned by Mr. Cavill in the video above is precisely what is needed–and what has been expected–for several generations of Superman fans.

Coupled with the success of ‘Wonder Woman,’ a ‘Man of Steel’ sequel would genuinely help redefine what uplifting superhero movies can and should be in the modern era.

He’s Just Starting to Fly

(Man of Steel -- Movie Homepage)

(Man of Steel — Official Movie Website)

“There’s plenty of time for individual Superman sequels. He’s a tough character to tell. People like the darker vigilante. I think it speaks to the human psyche more easily rather than the god-like being that we can’t really understand. Once we have a more expansive universe we can delve more into the character of Superman and hopefully tell more stories”

–Henry Cavill (Superman)

This is a nice early birthday present from Henry Cavill. At least future separate movies for the greatest superhero ever created are part of the DC Comics master plan.

Thank goodness.

Following the origin story of Man of Steel (set in a natural environment with gritty roots), it seemed plausible that it would mirror the remarkable Dark Knight trilogy. Even though executive producer Christopher Nolan insisted it was Zack Snyder’s movie and that it would not be the same template as Batman, the tone and build-up was undoubtedly similar. Opportunity for another legendary standalone DC Comics trilogy was there for the taking. Instead, it was declared that the “sequel” would be Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The enormous universe would be greatly expanded from its many clever clues sprinkled throughout Man of Steel.

The quote above, in the very least, allows a deep breath to be taken by fans who are still wary of seeing a new Batman so soon after Christian Bale’s defining and iconic portrayal (ie– Ben Affleck) and believe that Superman could have seen Dark Knight-like success in its story arc, excellent writing, casting and character development with an isolated trilogy. Plans to weave Superman-centric sequels amongst The Justice League and other solo movies will hopefully succeed in elevating (no pun intended) the Last Son of Krypton to a level not seen since Christopher Reeve. The world wants to see Clark Kent at The Daily Planet, as well as the romantic chemistry between Clark/Superman and Lois Lane.

The time is now to capitalize on superheroes in popular culture, but Nolan and Co. proved that patience and the highest cinematic quality in writing, casting, acting, directing and consequential musical scoring is of paramount importance. There are many profound reasons why men in capes have sustained as important figures in our societies for decades upon decades and the greatest favor a filmmaker can do for these characters is to take them seriously and discover what makes them tick, why they’re eternally relevant and why they’re needed today.

Why put superheroes on the silver screen in the modern era? What’s the reason?

Fortunately, this new Superman is rooted in hope.