Pretty self-explanatory blog title, huh? Man of Steel just looks so great it is hard not to get excited. The trailer — which I now get to watch every morning on my way to work as it is playing over and over in a very impressive subway ad at New York’s Columbus Circle station — looks epic. I actually didn’t know what the angle of this particular Superman installment was until a few weeks ago when I struck up a conversation with someone who was staring at a MOS poster beside me on the subway platform. He informed me that one of the movie’s subplots revolves around the idea that Krypton, the famous red planet that blew up as baby Superman flew away in a Marlon-Brando-made-capsule, didn’t actually blow up. Whoa. I really hope that is true and this guy wasn’t pulling one over on me cause it sounds like a really fun twist.
The Brando character is now played by Russell Crowe, Superman’s Earthling father is now played by Kevin Costner, General Zod, the bad guy who appeared last in 1980’s Superman II, is now played by Michael Shannon (of “Boardwalk Empire” fame), and Lois Lane is now played by Amy Adams (love her). All that and I haven’t even mentioned that the red-boot-wearing-defender-of-the innocent himself is played by the delicious Henry Cavill, known to some for his role on Showtime’s “The Tudors,” but who remains a complete unknown to most. This is the role that can either make or break one’s career and for Henry’s sake — and the audience’s — I hope this catapults him to stardom. The role sure did for the late, great Christopher Reeve, but not so much for his successor, Brandon Routh, whose Superman Returns returned less than positive reviews.
I love thinking back on all the great moments from Superman movie history. I really did love all of them and am hard pressed to pick a favorite. The original was so sweet and simple. Superman’s alter ego Clark Kent struggled through the awkwardness of being a teenager by outrunning trains and picking up tractors which, through a 1978 technology lens, looks kinda silly. But we quickly fell in love with Clark’s innocence and Superman’s forehead curl. I also loved and still pine for Lois Lane’s penthouse apartment that Superman flew in and out of. Half of it was outdoors!
Then came the second installment, Superman II which featured three criminals from the planet Krypton who, after being imprisoned in a glass “phantom zone,” landed on Earth and wreaked havoc, equipped with the same powers of Superman. Being stuck in that glass “phantom zone” is literally my worst nightmare.
Next came Superman III, starring Richard Pryor. So random, right? In the film, Pryor is hired to produce Kryptonite (which has the power to kill Superman) but is unsure of the final ingredient. I always thought it was so funny that of all the elements and substances in the world, he chose tar to complete the concoction, after staring at a cigarette box. The altered Kryptonite didn’t have the desired affect, but it did manage to make Superman into a bit of a dirtbag. I remember a scene where he just about propositions a prostitute. A little out of character for both Superman and Reeve.
Then came Superman IV: Quest for Peace. OK, I’ll admit it. It’s my favorite for many reasons, one of which is that it stars Mariel Hemingway. In this installment, Superman has to do battle with Nuclear Man (yes, Nuclear Man is his credited name) who has such a strong resemblance to my cousin Tim that I call him that to this day. Nuclear Man was played by a man named Mark Pillow who, according to a quick look up on IMDB, used to be a Chipendale’s dancer in LA. God, I love the internet.
I saw Superman Returns in the theater but never again so I am having trouble remembering anything about it other than Kevin Spacey’s bald head. Which reminds me, I have yet to mention how much I love watching Gene Hackman as Lex Luther in the 1st, 2nd and 4th installments. Remember his lair in the original? It was an abandoned subway station that featured a pool and secret entrance. Very bad guy. Very cool.
Here’s hoping the new movie lives up to its name. Tell us which of the original four installments of the Superman franchise is your favorite.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace