Yeeeeah I know it isn’t coming out for a while but I figured, what the hell? Superman is super-fine, so let’s get down to this!
Man of Steel is due out in June of 2013, so we’ve still got a bit of a wait before we get to see the delightful Henry Cavill decked out in blue and red spandex, but let’s talk a little bit about some past Superman…s… Supermen? Yeah let’s go for Supermen…
George Reeves, Superman from 1952 -1958
If we leave out the 1940s animated series, George Reeves is the original live-action Superman. Just look him up – classic barrell-chested 1950s beefcake – phwooooar in a dashing sort of way. His starred in the television series about Superman, and embodied for DC the kind of patriotic, kind-hearted sentiment that Captain America represented for Marvel, despite the fact that Superman is, well, kind of an alien. The first to fill out that sexy (and kind of creepy) blue-leotard-with-red-undercrackers-over-them combo, Reeves also guest-starred in other shows as Superman.
Reeves was one of the actors considered to have fallen victim to the Superman curse, as his career faltered after appearing in the TV show due to being so closely linked to the iconic character, and many consider his death to have been a suicide.
Christopher Reeve, Superman from 1978 – 1987
Certainly one of the best known faces of Superman, Christopher Reeve played Superman in four big screen incarnations of the character, and for me he’s THE Superman. Blue-eyed, devastatingly handsome, he had the all-American look sorted, and even as the nerdy, bespectacled Clark Kent, he was a cutie. Reeve was a successful actor after his outings as Superman, unlike his predecessor George Reeves – but the Superman curse tragically came into effect in 1995 when Reeve was paralysed from the neck down after falling from his horse. In the years following his accident, Reeve became a kind of Superman for disabled people, campaigning and funding research into methods and means of rehabilitation and possible cures for spinal injuries.
Dean Cain, Superman from 1993 to 1997
In the 1990s, we had a television series to satisfy our Superman needs, although I don’t know how satisfied you could be with this goofy-ass son of a bitch. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman focused a lot more on Lois and Clark’s relationship and their life at The Daily Planet. The show was actually quite good – not one that you’d make sure you were home to watch, but one that you wouldn’t switch over if it came on and the only other option was Ready, Steady, Cook!
Superman’s curse has sort of found it’s way into Cain’s life in that he is typecast as this cheesy incarnation of Superman and has had bits and pieces of work, but nothing of much substance since this show.
Tom Welling, Superman from 2001-2011
Now, I never really paid much attention to Smallville. It just seemed to be too damn much for me – people dying and coming back to life, characters with similar names to the ones I recognised from the films but not actually the same characters, and love interests turning into rivals – I swear all that stuff happened in just one episode. But if we take a look at the dates, we can see that Tom Welling has played Clark Kent/Superman for the longest time. With a more than passing resemblance to Christopher Reeve, Welling’s Superman was presented to us as a student at Smallville High, coming to terms with his powers and identity as Superman as well as his identity as a teenager. My brother really liked the series and who knows? One of these days I might get round to watching the show.
Brandon Routh, Superman in 2006
Mmmm, Brandon Routh. 2006 saw the release of Superman Returns, in which our hero, er, returns to earth after 5 years dossing about in space. Kevin Spacey puts in a delightful turn as Lex Luthor, Kate Bosworth is her usual dreadful self as Lois Lane and Brandon Routh is a towering hunk of man as Clark Kent/Superman. The film did well (it had Bryan Singer at the helm) but apparently the folks at Warner Bros. were underwhelmed by the box office returns, which was a big factor in the choice to reboot the franchise after just one film. Poor Brandon. I guess that Superman curse isn’t completely false – a hilarious turn in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World hasn’t been enough to keep Routh on the radar.
Henry Cavill, Superman from 2013
So, that brings us up to date with the forthcoming Man of Steel film. I for one am excited about it – the character of Superman is a classic one, and while we’ve had bundles of darkness from DC in the last few years with Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise I think that Superman has a depth that has not yet been explored – not in the films, anyway. Also, I’m not being rude or anything but looking at this picture of Henry Cavill… I kind of want to lick him. I’m just saying. But the film boasts two of my favourite stars: the glorious Amy Adams, an actress capable of portraying the most complex characters while making it look as easy as breathing, as Lois Lane; and Michael Shannon as General Zod. If you’ve never seen Michael Shannon in anything, then you need to rectify that immediately. An immense talent – maybe that’s why he’s so damn tall?
Anyhoo, live long and prosper! Wait, that’s not Superman, is it… dammit.