If you know me, you know that I am not a junkie for superhero movies.
There have been a few surprises (think Batman), but otherwise we have about 10 years of forgettable material.
The new Man of Steel trailer is now out and I can’t help but think this may shift some planets for the superhero genre.
Time will tell but watch it for yourself. Not the typical cheese sauce.
Previously I posted a Guardian article which chronicles the way Superman has adapted to changing times. The author says that this Superman may be darker than we remember, but Superman has always adapted to his environment.
After the second world war broke out, he changed his slogan from fighting for “truth and justice” to fighting for “truth, justice and the American way”. That continued during the 1950s, when he became a symbol of muscular American patriotism which could do no wrong.
But as the nation grappled with the turmoil of the 1970s and embraced a more diverse culture, Christopher Reeve gave Superman more human qualities. In Richard Donner’s 1978 film version of the comic book saga, self-sacrifice suddenly became part of Superman’s appeal.
That continued through to the 2006 movie starring Brandon Routh when, with an evangelical Christian in the White House and much talk of the war on terror being a conflict with Islam, Superman was depicted almost as a Christ-like figure. Even as recently as this year, the latest DC Comics story had Superman pack in his newspaper job to start a blog.
“Superman changes with remarkable rapidity and yet manages to paradoxically project an idea of unchanging virtue,” said Professor Benjamin Saunders of the University of Oregon, author of an academic study of superheroes called Do The Gods Wear Capes?
Hannah and I watched a documentary on James Bond and the same theme was present. During the excess years the gadgets of Bond were over the top. Now in the last movie with the recession, his only gift was a gun and a locator. He used to be fighting the Russians, and now he is fighting terrorists.
Bond adapts with the times like Superman.
Harris appropriately closes his article with this reflection.
In the end, perhaps it does not matter how Snyder directs Man of Steel in 2013. He can take Superman in a darker direction, he can bring out a movie more suited to the arthouse cinemas than the multiplexes. He can make him represent the ominous and confusing world of 2013. But in the end the more he changes the more Superman stays the same.
For Superman is not just some sort of unique being flying high above us. In the projection of our desires, hopes and fears, Superman is us.