Ready or Not, the World Needs ‘Man of Steel’

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Raise your hand if you ever wished you could fly. Now raise your hand if you remember wishing you could fly before you first heard of Superman. That’s what I thought. There are very few people who haven’t at least heard the moniker of the world’s first superhero. The Man of Steel makes his expectantly triumphant return to the silver screen on June 14th. Millions of fans eagerly anticipate the day they will be reminded why there’s nothing wrong with believing a man can fly.

Recently, more news and interviews have been circulating about the movie and the filmmaker’s vision for re-inventing Superman in the cinema. The origin story has not been told since 1978 and a new era of storytellers rose to the challenge of making this unbelievable story relevant and believable for a new generation. However, some of the news and interviews have led to less than favorable opinions about the direction that the film is taking. Granted these opinions are considered in the minority but considering the reach that some of these outlets have, it is a very vocal minority.

While I do not agree with the opinions expressed by some of these sites, I have been able to see an ironic and poignant example of life imitating art. From what we’ve been hearing about the story for Man of Steel, it sounds like Kal-El from Krypton will at least at first be treated as what he truly is, an alien from another world. Does this surprise anyone? Could you imagine what it would be like if an alien that resembled a human but possessed immeasurable superpowers was discovered someday living among us? It’s not a stretch of the imagination that the reaction of the world would be swift and significant. Our military would certainly be involved and our government would want nothing more than to figure out the aliens’ intentions as quickly as possible. Isn’t this type of response a lot of what we’ve seen in the trailers and promotional materials for the film?

It finally dawned on me. These negative reactions to the news that the filmmaker’s have attempted to make Superman real are a lot like the reactions that would exist if he did exist. We would question why he is here. We would be afraid of him. These reactions question why this movie exists. They question why Superman is relevant. They question why Superman needs to be “real.” I have no doubt these questions will be answered on June 14th. In the meantime, I will attempt to silence the cynics.

Superman is not just any superhero. He is THE superhero. In the universe created by Marvel and DC Comics, there has never been a more powerful representation personified. But this is not what makes him important. This is not what makes him relevant. Everyone can picture the S shield blazoned upon his chest. We can all see him catch a falling helicopter out of the sky with one hand. We can see his eyes shoot a blinding red light that can liquefy metal. Again, this is not what makes him important or relevant. It’s much simpler than that.

Superman is Clark Kent. He was raised to be a man and a human being. He is a man who has a family. He has a father who taught him what it takes to be a good person and a good man. He has a mother that taught him how to show compassion and love. He struggled with being different. He was often scared about how the outside world would accept who he really was. Despite his struggles and fears he always put the needs of others before himself. He cares for all human beings despite not being one of them.

Superman is Kal-El. He was born on another world. He is not a human being. His birth parents died before he could know them. His parents sent him to Earth to save his life in the hopes that he would be raised to help the people make the world a better place. He learned about his heritage and abilities from his birth father but only from a distance. He has the power to change the world for the better or the worse. Despite all of his power, he is an orphan.

Superman is us. He has experienced loss. Despite being nearly invincible, he has experienced pain. He knows what it’s like to feel different. He knows what it takes to be a good person. He has made mistakes. He has let his parents down; he has made his parents proud. He has loved someone with all of his heart and his heart has been broken. He does whatever he can to help as many people as possible but he knows it will never be enough. He tries to see the good in everyone even though some will always hate him. Superman may not exist but many of the experiences and things he’s gone through are very real.

Skeptics and cynics will never be silenced. We will always question what we don’t understand. Believing in something that is not real is difficult for even the people who have the most open of minds. However, a group of people have set out on a nearly impossible task. They have tried to make the unbelievable, believable again. We will soon find out if they succeeded. I hope and believe that they have.

As children, our imaginations have no limits. We close our eyes and believe we can fly. We see ourselves leap over a tall building in a single bound. We see ourselves run faster than a speeding bullet. We see a world where we can save the day. We see a chance to save people from dying. We see the best that we could be. We see Superman.

On June 14th, we will see him again.

 

by Josh Costella

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Gothamite Rob Ó Conchúir

    This is why I love this website.

  • http://gravatar.com/kerrer kerrer

    That is beautiful Josh. Really great work.

  • pud333

    One of my earliest memories is when I was very young, putting on one of my mom’s scarves and running around the house, pretending to fly. Superman has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

    I think a lot of the griping from the haters are from people who really did not like what Nolan did to Batman. For some, comic book characters are all about colourful tights and beating the bad guy. For these people, stepping outside traditional superhero boundaries isn’t for them. They wanted Batman to do acrobatics, to have the batmobile be a rehash of the Burton batmobile, etc. It’s those people who latch onto words like “realistic” when descriptions come out of what Man of Steel will be like, and they jump the gun and hate all over it. Because they see another potential 10 years of Superman movies that they will hate. And they don’t understand what “realistic” actually means, often confusing that with “real.”

    That said, I believe if they are willing to give it a chance, MoS will blow their socks off. I can’t wait to see this film. I know it will be good. I just hope it makes enough to satisfy WB execs so we can see Superman and the rest of the Justice League beats the snot out of Darkseid.

    • http://none AT3374

      100 % agree

  • http://gravatar.com/bobbywoodhogan bobbywoodhogan

    Wonderful Jsh, couldn’t agree more. Man of Steel is going to be amazing!

  • Dean245

    Amazing, nice work my friend

  • Stock

    Couldn’t agree more. What you’ve described here in the character of both Clark and Superman is exactly how Superman fit so perfectly as an allegory for Jesus Christ. He is, essentially, a Savior from another world, sent by his Father to live among us, to show people the light. To prove there is goodness in the souls of humanity.

    At least, this is where film-makers of the past have put him. Never mind that he was created by two young Jewish kids. It is a hopeful image, the exact opposite of the Batman, who deals in the dirt and grime of criminal scum and has carried those scars all his life.

    But here we are in the 21 Century. Kids are cynical and jaded by the time they reach 6th grade. They’ve already seen it all. So a Superman for this world has to be seen as a threat in order for him to remain relevant. The military comes with cannons aimed at the S, and dark judgement is placed upon him. For us older fans, you have to understand, its kind of a disappointment. Who is Superman? He’s a Kansas farm-boy, an American Moses. He’s the guy that makes us long to be better people. I would hope that our first response to him wouldn’t be to try to crucify him.

    I have to admit, though, Josh, you’ve made me want to find out if that’s the way they play it.

  • http://www.johnbierly.com John Bierly

    I had the honor of knowing the first two sentences of this article before Josh posted it. I have never heard it expressed that way since my little eyes first saw Christoher Reeve in 1978, and Josh, I’ll tell you again as I told you last night that I’ve never heard anyone say it better. It’s the absolute truth.

    This movie will rule for all the reasons you said and lots of other reasons we won’t be able to comprehend until June 14. I think some people are afraid it’s going to be too serious. What I see, however, is simply a Clark who has always wanted to use his gifts for good but didn’t know how. And when Jonathan says that monumental “Maybe” in the trailer, it’s because he knows that no matter how much his little boy wants to save the world, that goodness will always be met by those who want to chop him up and dissect him in a lab for it.

    When I see Superman in cuffs being taken away by soldiers, I don’t see weakness. I see even more strength. He’s respectful of these men who are doing their jobs, when the Zods of this universe would simple melt them all with a blink.

    For me, the key to the trailer is that final line. When he asks if we think the world is ready, he’s not whining or wondering or moping like the indecisive excuse for a Man of Steel we’ve seen all too often in recent comics. It’s a challenge. And after reading this, Josh, I’m ready more than ever to accept that challenge.

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