by Mary Anne Butler, Reporter
The earliest superhero I remember becoming emotionally attached to was Christopher Reeve as Superman during the flight sequence with Lois in Richard Donner’s ’78 film. There was something about him, his innocence and strength, that made my very young self completely enthralled with that red cape and curl of power.
Hollywood loves their franchises, their reboots, and their skewing of the lore we as fans surround our figures with. Changing back stories? Do it the right way with nods to the past and you might possibly avoid “BETRAYING THE STORY” lobbyists like JJ did with his Trek ’09 and Mathew Vaughn’s X Men: First Class…..and ok, to a lesser extent Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man (but I STILL stand by my position that The Lizard is NOT a strong enough villain to feature as the ‘big bad’). Do it poorly….and you end up with a Ghost Rider, a Green Lantern, two very different Punishers, Superman Returns…..and don’t get me started on Nolan Batman. Just, don’t.
This is why when it was announced several years ago Zack Snyder was taking the reigns of a Superman reboot I was leery. I’ll admit I was hoping for a big screen chance for Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum from Smallville, as I totally bought into him as the alien raised on a farm by Annette O’Toole (who played Lana Lang in Superman III, always found this amusing). But then the casting of Synder’s lead Henry Cavill who I knew of primarily from The Tudors. And the villain (Michael Shannon as Zod), Jor El (Russell Crowe), Antje Traue as Faora (who is pretty much the equivalent of Ursa from the ’78 Superman).
Then Tarsem Singh (director of the AMAZING visual treat The Fall) did a feature called Immortals, casting Cavill as his hero Thesus opposite a mad king Hyperion played by Mickey Rourke. As soon as this movie made the preview rounds, I said then and there I would form my expectations around Man of Steel around how well Henry carried the lead in a leather kilt. Lucky for me, I really enjoyed the film, and so have REALLY HIGH HOPES for how well he breaks the sound barrier.
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures has been doing a bang up job of not releasing TOO much from the set, just enough to whet the appetite of us crazy internet watchers who are DYING to know more about Synder’s vision. There are several “on set” photos, mostly of Cavill in the new designed suit (with a belt and sans Curl-Of-Power) and a few of Jor El in his (you have to admit) bad ass looking armor making him look more like a Kryptonian solider rather than a scientist, possibly playing into the Krypton-Kandor war/battle/bottle shrinking thing. Almost NOTHING of Shannon outside of a few candids with him in some sort of robe, and fuzzy possibly-Antje-in-all-black on set along with the encased in glass suit accredited to the character.
Then I come across the “official” action figures today. At first, I couldn’t decide if the Zod figure was just a variant of the Superman figure, but with a different chest symbol. That FACE though, so very reminiscent of the Nelson Van Alden we’ve become so intrigued by on Boardwalk Empire. The simple black design echos Terrance Stamp’s classic costume, minus the sashes and silver accents. The shots I’ve seen of Jor El thus far have sort-of-kind-of given us detail, shoulder paldrins and some sort of Ironman-esq leg armor that I’m hoping makes sense within the story of the film. But this figure? That’s kind of bad ass. Maybe not the color scheme, but the idea that a SCIENTIST would have need of such a getup tells me small somethings about the possible direction of the patriarch of the House of El.
I’ve listened to too many (mostly male) comments about “how dare they” change Supe’s suit at all, not to mention even considering altering the white robes normally associated with his daddy. But C’MON guys! If you’re all “True fans since blah blah blah” then which S EMBLEM is the “real one”? There is always wiggle room for this kind of stuff, especially in film. Hopefully, it won’t be dreadful. DC can’t keep disappointing everyone after this travesty with the New 52 completely changing key elements of what makes some of their most popular characters….popular.
Well as long as hope remains, I’m waiting impatiently for June 14th.