Ever since Man of Steel was announced, following the success of Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ Dark Knight trilogy, the comparisons have been drawn, and expectations established. But not without cause. Director Zack Snyder has called the film “edgy,” and the words ‘realistic’ and ‘grounded’ have been thrown around like so many speeding bullets. But now, Superman (Henry Cavill) himself is putting fears to rest.
Even though Man of Steel will no doubt be serious (or as serious as any modern superhero film), Cavill is explaining that as realistic as the movie may try to be, it’s a far cry from ‘dark.’
Christopher Nolan has maintained that he may be executive producing Man of Steel, but that the film is Zack Snyder’s above anyone else’s. Even David S. Goyer has explained that making Superman as dark a figure as Batman would have been much easier than trying to ground his character in something audiences could relate to.
Who better to ask about the mood, or so-called “serious” approach being taken by Snyder in this version of the ‘Man of Steel’s origin story than the man in the tights – er, Kryptonian armor – himself? Speaking with Empire Magazine (courtesy of CBM) Henry Cavill addressed the rumors that Man of Steel would be anywhere near as ‘dark’ as Nolan’s Batman films, in about as direct a manner as one could imagine:
“It’s not a dark movie by any means. Past representations of the character have been quite light… This is a more realistic view of the character, while still maintaining the very unrealistic, or potentially unrealistic features of an alien with superpowers.”
“There is more action in Man of Steel than any of the Dark Knight Films”
Given Superman’s extraterrestrial origins and superpowers we’d certainly hope that there would be more high-flying action, but Cavill is wise to confirm that Man of Steel is an adventure movie, after all. And more importantly, that previous Superman movies were always a bit “light” – that is, removed from reality by a healthy amount.
That’s the problem that Goyer is trying to solve with his script, approaching Man of Steel not as fantasy, but “as if it were real.” But as Cavill points out, the film will always center around a superhuman. In that sense, it’s likely in the film’s best interest to let the superpowers generate their own spectacle, and focus on humanizing ‘Clark’ when he’s not, you know, exchanging punches with Kryptonian soldiers.
Over on his own website, comic book writer and outspoken movie fan Mark Millar decided to weigh in on Zack Snyder’s new take on Superman. Following the release of even more photos of Henry Cavill in costume, there’s a good chance that many skeptics will start coming around on the idea of the relatively-unknown actor being saddled with the pressure of playing Superman; Millar is one of them.
Even though Millar didn’t feel that the comic book character was successfully cast in the cases of either Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) or Tom Welling (Smallville), Cavill is a different story:
“It’s hard to put a finger on it, but sometimes it just feels right. Curt Swan and Alex Ross have captured Superman better than any other artist. Cary Bates, Elliot Maggin, Mark Waid, Gerry Conway and Alan Moore have nailed it more than any other writer. There have been some brilliant creators on Superman over the years telling wonderful stories, but my radar is attuned and I can spot an impersonation.”
“…But I completely buy Cavill in this role. That instinctive gut feeling that I’m looking at a pic of Superman… I don’t even mind the costume. Losing the trunks was pointless, throws the balance of the design off and looks truly, truly HORRIBLE in the comics. But the muted colours work really well, those dark blues and reds really making the pics look very rich and regal. I love how this is looking. Cavill was a great choice, but then Snyder has a great eye. Cracking team behind this so I have high hopes.”
Millar certainly isn’t alone on that front (or in taking issue with the changes to DC’s New 52), as Warner Bros. is waiting to see if Snyder and Cavill can deliver a hit with audiences before moving forward on plans for a Justice League film. Millar has previously claimed that screenwriter Will Beall (Gangster Squad) has already prepared a script for the team-up movie that is “dark and mature,” so perhaps his approval of Cavill stretches beyond a single film.
For now we’ll have to just wait and see, but these new updates should hopefully put some fears to rest, particularly among those who feel that Man of Steel won’t be action-packed or light-hearted at times; though, it probably won’t. How about you: any change in opinion, either way?
Man of Steel hits theaters June 14th, 2013. Pick up Empire‘s March issue on newsstands this Thursday.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.