Man of Steel

Arguably the most recognizable figure in popular culture, transcending generations and outliving his creators – one of (maybe) 3 fictional characters from the realm of comic books whom proudly parade as household names across the world.

In comics, the series ‘Superman:- The Man of Steel’  was designed to “reboot the Superman mythos”,  with a slightly jaded DC deciding to give Superman an updated ‘look and feel’ in a bold and impressive grasp for new readers… sound familiar? The series won ‘fan favourite’ awards and reinvigorated the tone of the character, freeing the creators to push him in new directions.  The title, “The Man of Steel”,  has now been applied to the forthcoming movie, in which we see a Superman without his red pants – very much confirming the relevance of the new 52 designs – and their future influence on multiple platforms for story.

So, with a character as big and bold and beloved as Superman – someone so ‘American’ (though he’s obviously not American as he’s an alien from another world)… are American fans still irritated by the Englishman cast to play him? Or are they over it?   Actor Henry Cavill is from the isle of Jersey (a Great British island of the coast of Normandy) and – as is widely reported already, Cavill is part of a Great British invasion cleaning up in Hollywood currently, with Tom Hiddleston (from London) as Loki, Andrew Garfield (whom was born in Los Angeles, to an English mother from Essex and an American father from California and moved to England when he was three years old) plays Spidey, Christian Bale (from Wales), Rhys Ifans (Wales)… the list goes on, in front – AND  behind the camera and with an ever increasing British presence in Superhero movies – follows an ever increasing interest from the Great British, mainstream media.

British Comedian David Mitchell writes for the Guardian and asks (rather ungratefully) “Are American superhero roles worthy of British actors?” and maybe such a question in a national newspaper shows cunning as – comic book fanboys are known for being quite vocal and possessive online… seeking out stories no matter where they appear, driving up the traffic and engaging with the content.

On the flip side, Robert Downey Jr plays (in addition to Tony Stark) Sherlock Holmes, a quintessentially English figure in popular culture – and while there’s been little fuss made over it,  it does rather beg the question… Will a smouldering and burley Yank end up playing the most English of all ‘heroes’ 007 himself, James Bond? Which (by the way) would quite literally be the end of the world, as I’d like to think…  that’s scheduled to happen right after Hell freezes over.

A summary of this week’s ramblings would be… I love the symmetry with which Superman appears to be coming back to the big screen… a subtle, timely and reflective nod to previous AND current attempts to recover, reanimate and recondition the rightfully, respected, regal rogue.

But, does it matter to Americans who plays Supes?… should it matter?

Next week from Across The Pond  – An evening with Dave Gibbons at London’s Cartoon Museum.  Dave is set to present, explain and describe his work on Doctor Who from the late 70s/early 80s.

Danny Champion
Danny Champion

Danny Champion is a freelance writer and artist. Follow CandyAppleFox on Twitter.

Articles: 104


  1. I read the Burt Reynolds autobiography. In it he said he was approached by the Brocolli’s in the early 70’s about playing James Bond. I love Burt Reynolds. He is one of my all time favourites… but I could never see him playing Bond.

    I don’t have a problem with Henry Cavill playing Superman in the new movie. Although I would rather seen Tom Welling have the chance to play Superman on the big screen.

  2. I think Superman fans (correct me if I’m wrong) would very much see it as ‘Smallville the movie’ if Tom was cast… I think they’d fail to see it as a valid notch on Supes Movie belt. Plus, with such a fresh vibe occurring on the DC print pages currently, it might feel a bit like a step backwards?!

    PS:- Bond HAS to be played by a Brit, ideally an Englishman, although – I’d say Connery (a Scotsman) is still the favourite, with Daniel Craig, for me anyway – a close second.

  3. I would like to see Smallville: The Movie. You wouldn’t need to do origin of the character. That’s been done for the TV show. Unfortunately you couldn’t do it now because the show was on the air for 10 years. The perfect opportunity would’ve been when Superman Returns came out. Smallville was in Season 6 and 7. The show could’ve wrapped things up and converted to a big screen version. Smallville has a loyal fanbase, but a big screen version would’ve been popular. Definately more popular than Superman Returns.

  4. Agree, I think, Smallville The Movie – would’ve done better than Superman Returns… as you say, the Smallville fans would’ve supported it in theatres, probably going to see it more than once. Superman Returns was too much a ‘love letter’ to the old movies and didn’t stand alone. Man of Steel:- has the perfect opportunity to do just that – and will probably draw more attention to the new DC stories on printed page. If they can get this movie right (and massively improve on Green Lantern for the sequel), the only real hurdle remaining (that I can see anyway) before a Justice League movie – is un up to date Flash. But with the Avengers and the big push from Marvel this year, will people be burnt out by it all? and need a break? Or will it open the door for more of the same?

  5. I don’t think people will be burned out by Superhero movies. They do well. Some aren’t as big (for example the upcoming Ghost Rider movie) but other ones will be huge. I don’t think Man of Steel will do the same business as The Dark Knight, but it will succeed.

    People will keep seeing the Superhero movies, because in all honesty what is coming out to theatres that’s any good?

    There doesn’t seem to be any good ol’ fashioned action movies. There are lots of thrillers and conspiracy films, but not to many with just “kick-ass” action and an accessible story.

  6. I agree that Superhero movies will always do well, My point was more like… with the Avengers, Superman, Batman, Thor, Cap, Lantern, Judge Dredd, Ghost Rider, Conan, Kick Ass… etc recently/almost in theatres some of which start shooting sequels soon… If a Flash movie was announced for example… Comic book guys (myself included) would be all… “sweet!”… and ‘normal’ people would be all… “really?!…”. The timing has to be right I think, to keep it interesting for the normal folk.

    Inception – Sequel or no sequel?

  7. I don’t think non comic book fans really care about what superhero will be in the movie, as long as theres an accessible story, and good old fashioned ass whoopin’.

    As for Inception, no sequel.

  8. Right but… I’m saying – will non-comic book fans have the energy for any new Superhero movies (outside of what we know is coming – or is out already) this year and next.
    I think we will reach a point when Comic Book movies are no longer ‘trendy’ (sadly)… and Hollywood will find a new scapegoat. Just sayin.

    Inception – Prequel?, the act of Inception was supposed to be the toughest task for an extractor… maybe a story about the first Extraction?

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