Plugs Movie Action Movie Man of Steel Superman Returns the Two Revivals Compared

Man of Steel Superman Returns the Two Revivals Compared

While DC comic book fans would debate a lot about whether Superman or Batman is the better character, there’s no doubt about which movies are ahead. Batman has been an integral part of cinema since Adam West’s appearance on the 1960s TV show, and subsequent appearances by film legends such as Michael Keaton, Kevin Conroy, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Will Arnett, Ben Affleck and Robert Pattinson have reinvented the Dark Knight in different ways. However, the final version of Superman on the big screen still seems to be Christopher Reeve. Reeves’ appearance in Superman: the film served as a template for the superhero genre and is still one of the most memorable comic book films of all time. While Superman II was a great sequel, the after sequels Superman III and Superman IV: the Search for Peace were disappointments that did not create a future for the man of tomorrow.

After DC’s success in relaunching the Batman franchise, there were two subsequent attempts to bring the Superman story directly to the big screen. Superman Returns from 2006 and Man of Steel from 2013 couldn’t have been more different. Superman Returns starred in the same continuity as Reeve’s original films, and starred Brandon Routh as the same upbeat hero; Man of Steel was a grounded reboot that made Henry Cavill a darker Superman within the DCEU. It is fascinating to compare and approach two completely different approaches to the same character, where they each succeed and fail.

Nostalgia for Radical Reinvention

The glaring differences between Man of Steel and Superman Returns arise from the perspectives that the directors of the films had, in which direction they wanted to take the character. Bryan Singer, director of X-Men and X2, said he wanted to direct Superman Returns because “it was the classic Richard Donner movie that was my daily inspiration for designing the x-Men universe on the big screen.”His nostalgia for the original tone and feel of Reeve’s early films is obvious. However, Zack Snyder wanted to radically reinvent the character from scratch; he said (per Forbes): “If you really analyze the comic book version of Superman, he finished, he did all the things.”Beyond the gloomy atmosphere of Snyder’s visuals, Man of Steel presents a truly miserable version of the world in which Superman is treated as a threat.

The graphics and aesthetics also reflect the differences of these two filmmakers. With its bold, eye-catching colors, the use of John Williams’ original score and exciting action scenes in which Superman saves people, Superman Returns feels like a direct continuation of the events of Superman II (although he is Superman III and Superman IV: the Search for Peace). Snyder’s dark images, excessive roughness and more powered action scenes come close to what he did with his Watchmen adaptation.

Optimism versus pessimism

At the end of each film, it is also clear that Superman Returns and Man of Steel have different intentions on how the character fits into the modern world. In Superman Returns, the Man of Steel returns to Earth after a long absence. Although he initially discovers that the world no longer wants him, while Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) wrote a book in which he deciphers him, Superman finally finds a new purpose by raising a child, saving the planet and once again competing against Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey). It showed a version of the character who could cope with difficulties and come out victorious. While Superman Returns certainly mimics the harshness of some previous movies in some matters, it offers a more complicated point of view; the shadow of the 11th Century is the first film to be released in the United States.

In comparison, Snyder does not see Superman as a particularly uplifting character. His portrayal of the Man of Steel seems to be largely inspired by the Christian religion, which is strange considering that the creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, were Jews. There are many references to the crucifixion and even a scene where Superman is talking to a priest. In the end, Superman does more harm than good, leaving Metropolis buried under the rubble after his action with General Zod (Michael Shannon). He is also conflicted about the advice he received from his two fathers when Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) warned him to keep his powers a secret, but Jor-El (Russell Crowe) claimed that he is supposedly the Savior of mankind. The film finally comes to the conclusion that every true hero is destined to be hated by a society that does not understand them, and that coexistence is not possible.

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