“Sayyyyy Jim…That’s a bad outFIT ! WOOOOOO !”

3

June 25, 2013 by bellabettina79

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.

3 thoughts on ““Sayyyyy Jim…That’s a bad outFIT ! WOOOOOO !”

  1. I haven’t sen the new movie yet, but I get where you’re coming from. I liked the portrayal of Superman that Christopher Reeve brought to the screen. He set the bar for anything that would follow.

    I think the most real portrayal overall was the series Smallville. In that series we were able to watch young Kal-El grow into the man he was destined to be, complete with the growing pains of merging his heritage with his adopted home’s values, made possible in large part by the loving guidance of Jonathon and Martha Kent. It made him more of a man with a true purpose and less of a cartoon. In 10 seasons, we got to see not only how he became the iconic Man of Steel, but how his friends, and even his enemies shaped that growth and maturing.

    It was also a nod to the Christopher Reeve portrayal in that Reeve was a crucial character in the series, although only briefly, and Terrence Stamp was the voice of Jor-El in the Fortress.

    • I had a feeling you’d be discussing Smallville :). Good to hear it was a nice tribute to Superman!

      • jschwan6 says:

        It definitely was! I have all 10 seasons on DVD, and still watch them from time to time. Their take on the mythos differed in some ways from what I remember from the comic books. A few characters that never existed in any other telling of the story, like Chloe Sullivan, Tess Mercer, Dr. Emil, and Lionel Luthor, but they also brought in other DC characters like the Green Arrow, the Flash (although he wasn’t called that, he was called Impulse), and even one iconic two-parter where they brought in Hawkman, the Sandman, Stargirl, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, and a few other older comic book heroes.

        And the villains! of course, Lex Luthor, Doomsday, Darkseid, Bizarro, Metallo, Brainiac (the Brain InterActive Construct) and of course, that lovable General Zod (without Ursa and Non), who first shows up as MAJOR Zod. And the usual plot devices, like the Phantom Zone, the Fortress of Solitude, and adopting the crystals from the Reeve-era Superman films, Kara Zor-el (Kal-el’s cousin), Jor-el and Lara, Kal-el’s parents.

        They brought Lois in a lot earlier than in other tellings of the story, and Lana Lang goes off in a completely new direction in this telling, as a superhero in her own right.

        I’ll eventually see the Man of Steel, but I won’t be expecting much except for some good special effects. I don’t like the direction movies are going with the heroes, basically tearing them down, and making them so flawed and conflicted that they can’t really be classified as a “hero” anymore. But then again, maybe that is what is intended, to beat people down, and convince them that things are bad, and getting worse, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

        To that I cry “Bullshit!” The human spirit should soar, not be locked down in chains of despair, gloom, fatalism, lack, poverty, and hopelessness. It makes me wonder whether Darkseid is real…..

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