June 25, 2013 by liebestropfchen
So, let’s be real for a moment. I miss Christopher Reeve.
When I was growing up, Reeve was Superman. I don’t just mean he played Superman in the movies…he epitomized the character and became synonymous with strength. Long before the humbling irony that the Man of Steel would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his days, Christopher Reeve meshed Clark Kent and Kal-El into the most lovable and caring superhero that would give every last breath to save Americans from dark villains and from themselves (that was the point of Superman IV, right?).
I saw “Man of Steel” tonight, and despite my expectations that this film would be far better than the Brandon Routh remake (which I actually thought was quite good), I walked away feeling like the Superman I loved in my youth has morphed into somewhat of a disappointing hero.
Maybe that was the point. Perhaps I’m supposed to feel our superhero is nothing more than a young man squelching his superpowers until he has no choice but to use them in a defensive manner against General Zod. But that expectation alone stirs up even more unsettling thoughts in my head. When did Superman go from an offensive force of good, snatching up the burglars from the side of buildings before they reach the biggest loot, to a purely defensive wuss, obliterating an entire portion of Metropolis and endangering the lives of oodles of bystanders to prevent Zod’s near fully-baked plan to take over Earth?
My boyfriend attributes this change in Superman to the shift in what our society desires in our superheroes. In the 70’s and 80’s we wanted Clark Kent to push his thick glasses up his nose and say, “Well golly, Miss Lane!” while Superman would fly to and fro, rescuing cats from trees and immediately fighting for good. Today, he says, we want the “dark hero”, struggling to balance the human condition with his superpowers and erring on the side of caution.
I say we need less dark and more of the colorful red cape!
The new Superman lacked confidence in himself and his ability to serve the public. The Metropolites didn’t seem to connect with him or his purpose until the very end of the movie…and even then, it was lukewarm at best. Remember in “Superman II” when Zod, Ursa, and Non beat the crap out of Superman, and the people on the streets thought he was dead? Knowing full well the three flying yahoos cloaked in black had just thrown the Man of Steel around like a bean bag, those civilians surged toward the villains like New Yorkers on 9/11, screaming “Come on! Let’s GET ‘EM!!” It makes me laugh, but it also makes me feel warm and fuzzy…they loved Superman so much, they were willing to open up a can of whoop-ass on Zod, Ursa, and that creepy looking mute who gave me nightmares as a kid.
I suppose I will eventually warm up to the new Emo Superman. But another thing we lose with the “dark hero” is the silly humor and classy one-liners in the Christopher Reeve “Superman” series. By the time the writers reached the fourth movie, the humor was really pretty awful, I admit. Nonetheless, the quips made for feel-good film fun.
Oh, and Superman movie without the theme song?
That, in itself, leaves me feeling disappointed.