man of steel

Being a Superman fan sometimes feels like being a Cubs fan. Everyone fawns over “complex” antiheroes or sympathetic villains. Many consider the Big Blue to be “boring.” But I made peace with the Batman/Wolverine/Iron Man fans, and let my love for Superman become a sort of guilty pleasure. Yet Man of Steel still proudly sits in my top 10 most anticipated movies of 2013. I think of us Superman fans as a silent majority, and we still want a movie that does right by the hero.

I hope director Zack Snyder (with the guidance of producer Christopher Nolan), will give us the franchise we’ve been waiting for since Christopher Reeve stepped out of the role. The movie seems to have started out with the right foot with its casting: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane. All these actors have proven ability and strong screen presences. Let’s take a look at what other Superman movies and series have failed to deliver in the past. Here is what I hope they will (and won’t) do with Man of Steel:

Don’t overdo the origin

I would have preferred no origin story at all. Everyone knows it already by heart, and there are only so many ways you can tell the same thing over and over again. But, judging by the trailers, this film will have its own take on Superman’s beginnings. But please don’t dedicate too much time to it. Just five minutes, tops, and then move on to the good stuff.

Use the villain well

A hero is only as exciting as the threat he is fighting, and General Zod is a classic bad guy. So give Superman and Zod a big showdown. Have the Man of Steel use all his powers for at least fifteen minutes non-stop. Both are Kryptonians – they can laser, punch, fly, blow, and x-ray the heavens out of each other in an epic showdown. Make the movie worth the money we pay for it, and use the FX to make our adrenaline levels skyrocket.

Make Lois Lane likeable

Lois is something of a wild card. Some writers make her a witch, others make her too bland. Some make her into someone who’s only able to work at The Daily Planet because of her pretty face. I hope that this movie has her at least be the kind of woman Superman could respect, whether or not they play the classic “love triangle for two.” I want her to have faith on him, to write Superman stories because she is the best at talking about what he is. And she should treat Clark Kent with the courtesy of a coworker – stories that have her belittling him makes both of them look bad.

Give Clark Kent his own life

There should be details about Superman’s life as a human. We should see Clark Kent enjoying some simple pleasures – taking a cup of coffee, shopping for groceries, having small talk with the cashier. Some people think that Superman’s secret identity is silly and outdated. It would be good to show why he has it. Demonstrate why he bothers so much to maintain this persona, and why he isn’t the hero 24/7. We want to care for him as a person, too.

Have a self-contained ending, but one that leaves us wanting more

Joss Whedon used a very nerdy line and a scary image in the credits of The Avengers to tease its sequel. I want something like that from Man of Steel. He has an impressive gallery of rogues, so it’s all a matter of picking the right one for next the movie. I wouldn’t mind some hints of Lex Luthor, but a real threat is important. Doomsday or Brainiac would be good picks.

In the end, all I want is to wear my Superman t-shirt with pride as I’m coming out of the movie theater. Please great Rao, make it so.

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