I just returned from the movie. I want to stay away from the storyline so as not to spoil anything so I guess I toss out some immediate observations.
Roller Coaster Action. Non stop.
I’m really torn with this. I’ve read close to several thousand DC comics since the 70s. And I still own all of them. At least a 1/3 of them have Superman in them in some way. I so disliked the Superman movies from the 80’s. I so dislike what DC did to Superman in the 90s. So much so that I quit collecting or reading them. I’m stuck hopelessly in the Silver Age genre of Superman and have no idea how he is portrayed by DC in the current day.
Having said that, my take on this movie is in serious conflict. My experience in CGI, my intimate understanding of the character’s history, my personal view of the franchise, and my take on the style as an artist. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I was aware of ever specific deviation from the traditional character.
But that’s what Hollywood does. Creative license and all that. Regardless, I could easily accept this as an Earth-3 or Earth-4 narrative for the character. It’s definitely not so far outside of the Superman realm that it damages the franchise. Its fresh, but I would not describe it as clean. Its far from it.
I guess you realize I’m trying as hard as I can to stay away from the specifics of story. I have a lot to say about what they did with this narrative. The freedom’s that the writers/director/producer took, the underlying social and moral topics that were touched upon.
But I will say this. If you know nothing about Superman your absolutely going to love this film. It’s gorgeous in character and appearance. If you know something about Superman you are still going to love it.
If you are like me and know way too much about Superman, you are going to love this film but with the kind of reservation we have when Hollywood takes too much creative license. Do they go too far, no I don’t think so. But the character they build here is different than you will expect. It’s more like you might expect it to happen in real life. You will have to accept some things that you don’t like, but I think most purists will find it palatable.
It’s not pristine or sanitary like the 80’s movies. But you’ll like it, I sincerely do. There’s less fantasy and more real life drama in this than you might expect from Superman. Not everything ends like a fairy tale. That’s all I say at this point.
There are things I did not like, but that’s because I’m a purist on this subject. But to share that would require a spoiler, so I’ll save it for later.
But for the art, this piece is beautiful. Patina, rust, scars, scratches, age, imperfection everywhere. On rare occasion I thought the quality of some of the action scenes looked a little rushed. But this was rare.
One thing I can say for absolute certain though, I’ve waited a lifetime to see this movie. I’m old enough to remember when, as kids, we had to imagine what it might be like for Superman to fly around a building and float in midair. The TV shows could never do it, the movies tried but never did it justice, cartoons just never cut it either. This however, there’s no sense of camera trickery to fill in the blanks. Kids today might not appreciate my perception about this, seeing as how they grew up on CGI movies. In fact I think there is something lost with CGI realization of so much fantasy imagery. But this is the first time I’ve ever felt that Superman wasn’t held up by a wire. The cape was handled beautifully and the suit was not fluorescent. What a refreshing style.
Finally, I grew up enamored with Neal Adams depictions of Superman. He was the absolute best of them all in my opinion. I had other favorite illustrators in the DC line, but Adams work was just fascinating. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the portrait of Superman here does great homage to Adams work back in the 70s and 80s. Cavill, at certain angles, looked like a shot right out of an Adams portfolio. Cavill for his part also played this role extraordinarily well. I just didn’t feel he was straining to project “SUPER” all the time, as other have and it made his portrayal very pleasant.
I definitely see a sequel in this franchise’s future.