Out of the many failures of the DCEU so far, perhaps one of the most disappointing and apparent was the misuse of Superman somewhat in Man of Steel, but especially in Batman v Superman earlier this year, which depicted him less as a hero happy to save lives, and more as a brooding, vengeful, and spiteful god. With Justice League, it seems like Zack Snyder and co. are determined to correct the tone of their cinematic universe and its characters moving forward, though Henry Cavill’s Superman seems to still have a giant question mark over him for the time being.
Coming just a few days after the actor teased an all-black costume for the character in Justice League as well, mega DCEU producer, Deborah Snyder has come out in defense of the universe’s depiction of Superman this time around, saying she thinks of him less as “dark” and more as complex.
Snyder shared her thoughts on the latest onscreen iteration of the character while speaking with Forbes recently:
“Zack really loves Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey. And these characters are just so mythic, and their journeys – I always say their journeys are what we can relate to. Because we can’t relate to their powers, so what do you have? That’s the great thing about our Superman. He is more relatable. Someone said, ‘It’s so dark,’ and I go, ‘Well, is it dark? He’s going through real problems that we go through as people every day.’”
The producer continued, saying that she thinks the deconstruction of Superman in the new films has helped to make him more human, and without it, he might not be a fully dimensional character:
“So I don’t think that’s dark, I think that’s just who we are. People are complex, we’re not strictly just the good Boy Scout trying to do good. He does want to do good, and I think all of the things Superman represents are who he is, but he also stumbles along the way and learns from it. To me, that’s so much more interesting.”
I don’t think that the problem with Superman has ever been that he’s just a “boy scout,” and I think that’s a term that many people have slapped on him who don’t fully understand or forget about the defining aspects of his character, including the fact that he’s for the most part, the last of his entire race and grew up his whole life living in the shadows, having to conceal his identity and powers in the school hallways of Smallville, Kansas.
The point is that, Batman v Superman tried to do for Superman what The Dark Knight Returns did to Batman, but they’re two completely different characters and an ultra dark Batman isn’t the same as an ultra dark Superman because of their defining traits. Batman is a pessimist, Superman isn’t, he’s supposed to represent the absolute best of humanity, the grace that can come with being a savior. Instead, Batman v Superman‘s version of the character felt less like a hero, and more like a distant, judgemental god, that not only made him hard to like, but made him feel more limited than he ever has onscreen before.
In all honesty, I think that Henry Cavill has the acting chops to give an incredible performance as Superman onscreen, and I hope, that in both Justice League and the future of the DCEU, he’ll be given the chance to play the Superman that fans have grown to know and love throughout the entirety of his comic book career. I don’t entirely know what to expect from the Man of Steel in the future films, but I know that more than anything else, that’s what I want.
Justice League is set to hit theatres on November 17th, 2017.
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