A Love Letter to Superman Done Right

A Love Letter to Superman Done Right

Dropped off the radar for a bit there, I know.  Look, I’m not an exciting guy. If I don’t have stuff to say (about Justice League, Superman, The DCEU – important shit like that) and I try to force it, well… it turns out like this.

See what I mean?

Plus, I’ve taken a rockstar skid right into writing fiction again. Believe me, when I’m on a roll, when I’ve got my mojo back, when I’m writing like a man possessed, it is vital that I’m not disturbed. There’s been no blog for two weeks, but next year there’s plenty of fiction coming at you, and I’m very excited.

Alas, the lull comes to an end. If there’s anything to shake a blog hiatus, oh man you best believe it’s writing about superhero flicks. I managed to control myself with the two-thirds fantastic Wonder Woman, and I kept myself to a hundred words for the four-fifths (is that more than two thirds?) AMAZING Thor: Ragnarok, but I cannot and will not let the opportunity to talk about Justice League pass me by.

Spoilers to follow – let’s go.

It's Superman, in case that big photo of him in the background confused you.

The DCEU is not Good

I go pretty hard on the DCEU, like most of the world, I suppose. Wanna know why? Well, for a start, the films are shit. (Oh, don’t you dare defend them. I see you. The main problem I have arguing about the GULF in quality between the Marvel and DC flicks is the fact that half the time the DC side know their films suck but are too married to the cause to admit it.) But for a reason with a little more weight, I’m a Superman fan.

Y’know who isn’t a Superman fan? Zack Snyder, director of (fart) Batman v Superman and (less amusing fart, but doesn’t smell as bad) Man of Steel.

Since Man of Steel, it’s been clear that Zack Snyder doesn’t like Superman. It’s written all over both his films. Superman is painted as a villain in his own movie, an invader from outer space, friend or foe, what happens if he turns on us BLAH BLAH BLAH. He’s the good guy, you twit. Zack Snyder’s desperation to write the tortured anti-hero (read: why didn’t they ever pick me to direct the Batman films??) is blatant in Man of Steel, and it suffered for it.

And let’s not get into Batman v Superman (read: oh yay! I get to direct a Batman film! Let’s make Superman the villain in it!). I fear I’ll never stop.

Superman is My Hero

I’m a Superman fan. I was raised on Christopher Reeve. Give me a bright colour scheme, red pants, saving cats from trees and families from fires. Give me a hero with a moral compass pointed firmly the right way. Give me Captain America, Cyclops, Rick Grimes, Luke Skywalker or any other hero shunted and deemed uncool because of the rogue charmer that’s supposed to be on his side.

I thought I knew how Justice League was going to go. I thought Superman was gonna get brought back, mind-controlled by the baddie (I seriously can’t remember his name, and I refuse to Google it because I want to make the point that he was forgettable) and the heroes were going to have to turn him back. He’d be on the right side in the end, but he’d spend the film as the villain – as per Zack Snyder.

I would’ve put money on this. Hoo boy, I’m glad I didn’t.

The heroes brought him back because – and Jesus Christ I didn’t see this coming – Batman admitted he needed him! Batman, in this narrative, understood something that most of his fans don’t. Shoot me.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There was that brief (but necessary for the fanboys, I’ll admit) smackdown between the heroes when he first came back. He certainly looked like the baddie there, but it didn’t last long enough to worry about.

In no time he was pounding on… that lousy demon axe guy, saving a house of civilians from inevitable destruction, making genuine quips (LIKE AN ACTUAL COMIC BOOK CHARACTER), and doing it all in a costume looking considerably less miserable and washed-out than either of his previous two outings and still absolutely iconic when exposed beneath a ripped-open shirt. (I fucking love the tear-open-the-shirt-to-reveal-the-logo cliché). There’s my Superman. Even with a weird CGI jaw, that’s what my Superman looks like.

Uphill from Here?

So look, yeah… I guess I liked Justice League mainly because it treated Superman right. Aside from that, I do understand it was a bit of a mess. It was full of crucial, gaping plot-holes that don’t marry up with previous films in the series, and the CGI was the ugliest I’ve seen in a while; the film was far from perfect. But hey, Wonder Woman was great and this was a step in the right direction… for the first time, colour me excited about the future of the DCEU!

It’s a cruel twist of the knife that the film brought in just (yes, just) $93.8M on its opening weekend, and that is the lowest of any of the DCEU efforts. The content of the films is finally starting to look decent, but I can see the studio losing enthusiasm now that this major project has definitely underperformed.

I remember feeling the same with regards to Logan. Hugh Jackman’s last hurrah as the definitive Wolverine (and I fucking hate Wolverine) was the one film that was absolutely perfect. They finally got the character right, just in time to kill him off.

The next few years are going to make or break the DCEU… and I want a good Superman film out of Henry Cavill, because I do think the guy is excellent in the role. I’m owed a decent Superman film, goddammit. Henry Cavill deserves a Logan! If I could get one modern Superman film that invokes the sense of joy, optimism and (oh no, I’m going to say it) hope that’s classically synonymous with the big blue boy scout, I’d backflip on the spot.

Just one decent Superman film.

…It’s not gonna happen, is it? We’re just going to get a string of films for the rest of the Justice League, aren’t we? About characters Justice League did a pretty average job of building. A Wonder Woman sequel (which she definitely deserves) and *sigh* another trilogy of Batman films.

I’m tired of Batman films.

Is anyone else? (Oh God, stop throwing things at me!)

Funny thing…

What’s in equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious is that I know there is a five-star Superman film waiting to be made and adored by audiences of all ages across the globe – all DC would have to do is sell Superman to Marvel.

Nothing’s impossible, I suppose…

What did you think of Justice League? Let me know! Here’s Twitter and Facebook, or let me know down yonder in the comments.

Take it easy now, I’ll be back next week with my November round-up because – apparently – it’s December today.


It’s Gavin.

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