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god amongst mortals; the last son of a dying planet; a boy from Smallville; a man from Metropolis; humanity’s saviour in times of its greatest crisis - Superman has held many monikers throughout his existence, but one accolade always remains: he is, and will always be, the most iconic and beloved hero of modern mythology. His various incarnations and epic actions have not only shaped a fictional multiverse of ink and film, but also our very own realities. His life, relationships with friends and foes alike, earth-shattering death and joyous resurrection have held millions around the globe in suspense - personifying the Kryptonian throughout decades of our anticipation, heartbreak and celebration. For over half a century, the creative forces and storytellers behind Superman have managed to repeatedly suspend our disbelief throughout astonishing displays of strength and an uncanny ability to overcome the most insurmountable of odds yet somehow instil a very real sense of humanity within the hero born Kal-El. This trend of casting superheroes in a much more realistic light is seemingly more evident than ever, especially when it comes to theatrical depictions. Last year, The Dark Knight Rises gave cinemagoers their most human depiction of Batman yet, forcing us all to face the physical and emotional frailties of the man behind the cowl. It would seem that this portrayal of mortality amongst the immortal present throughout Christopher Nolan’s trilogy looks set to bleed into the Man of Steel films, as the producer teams with Zack Snyder, a director who himself has a history of shaping superhero movies that thrive on real life issues and anxieties. His divisive 2009 adaptation of Alan Moore’s cult graphic novel, Watchmen, saw heroes stripped of their divine status of beacons of hope and standard-bearers of

morality, amidst the backdrop of a post-Vietnam war America staring down the barrel of nuclear conflict. In the same vein as The Dark Knight Trilogy and Watchmen, Snyder’s attempt to inject a deeper sense of reality has extended to the smallest of details: the decision to exclude Superman’s infamous and overused Achilles heel, Kryptonite, coming at an early stage. The director has cited an intention to reveal new weaknesses and flaws, moving beyond the immediate physical danger highlighted in previous Superman films and beneath the surface towards rawer, more emotional territory. As a plot device, ‘grounding’ superheroes carries more relevance than ever, as the contrast between heroes, villains and ourselves seemingly grows ever closer. At the time of Superman’s conception in 1933, the 21st century would have appeared to be an age of make-believe, where the world is no longer connected by letters and telephone wire but gadgetladen households and high speed travel. We reached the moon before The Justice League

of America made it their home, engineered scientific marvels and witnessed the tragedies of “men who just want to watch the world burn” first hand. Ultimately today’s superheroes and villains are nuanced and relatable reflections of our modern selves, our hopes and fears, failures and achievements and the difficult choices we make in facing the evolving threats of reality - threats being something Man of Steel will have no shortage of. Originally played by veteran English actor Terence Stamp, Man of Steel’s Big Bad General Zod first graced our mere mortal cinema screens with his presence in Superman: The Movie (1978) and Superman II (1980); now a far more menacing entity has emerged (though the questionable choice of facial hair remains). Portrayed by Michael Shannon, an actor whose rich history of depicting the mentally unstable surely stood him in good stead for playing the megalomaniacal general, he is a Kryptonian who’s only weakness is that of his impenetrable ego. Though Zod’s true intentions are unknown, viral trailers suggest that his arrival


will prove cataclysmic for not only Metropolis, but also Kal-El himself, his destructive reach extending beyond the battlefield and into the origins of Superman’s life upon Earth. Snyder has already assembled an interstellar cast to star alongside leading man Henry Cavill. Russell Crowe takes the role of Superman’s biological father and Krypton’s leading scientist, Jor-El, while the recently resurgent Kevin Costner and Diane Lane guide a shipwrecked Kal-El through earthbound adolescence and the revelations of his true power as Jonathan and Martha Kent. Finally, it wouldn’t be a Superman flick without an appearance from longstanding love interest Lois Lane, a role multi-Oscar nominated actress Amy Adams looks to lend newfound credibility to, while a typically rousing score from Hans Zimmer soundtracks the action. Cities will topple, the skies will part and fire will rain down from the stars, but, from the ashes of destruction, a hero will once again arise. The only question is, are we ready for him? Man of Steel is released on 14 June

A god AmongST moRTALS; ThE LAST Son of A dying pLAnET; A boy fRom SmALLviLLE; A mAn fRom mETRopoLiS; humAniTy’S SAviouR in TimES of iTS gREATEST cRiSiS


Profile for ONSCREEN Magazine

Big Screen Magazine May/June 2013  

Film magazine for WTW Cinemas - May/June 2013 edition

Big Screen Magazine May/June 2013  

Film magazine for WTW Cinemas - May/June 2013 edition