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Batman v Superman, Justice League producer doesn't think Superman is "dark"

08.18.2016

When it comes to BATMAN V SUPERMAN, two things that had passionate fans and scornful dissenters agreeing was that Ben Affleck rocked it as Batman/Bruce Wayne and that Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was…yeah. However, one character’s interpretation that still has each camp throwing tomatoes at each other is Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill). A lot of fans think this version is suitably more grounded and a far-cry from other on-screen versions, whereas dissenters think he’s just a mopey mannequin.

But one word that gets lumped in when talking about this new Supes is “darker”—as if he’s a teenager going through a goth phase. However, that’s one word BVS and JUSTICE LEAGUE producer Deborah Snyder doesn’t agree with, and something she elaborated on during an interview with Forbes:

“It’s about these journeys. I mean, Zack really loves Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey. And these characters are just so mythic, and their journeys– I always say they’re journeys are what we can relate to. Because we can’t relate to their powers, so what do you have?”
“That’s the great thing about our Superman. He is more relatable. Someone said, ‘It’s so dark,’ and I go, ‘Well, is it dark? He’s going through real problems that we go through as people every day.’ To me that’s not dark, that’s life. We’re complicated people. And we’re making him in that way more relatable. So I don’t think that’s dark, I think that’s just who we are. People are complex, we’re not strictly just the good Boy Scout trying to do good. He does want to do good, and I think all of the the things Superman represents are who he is, but he also stumbles along the way and learns from it. To me, that’s so much more interesting.”

One of the things people are wondering about JUSTICE LEAGUE is if the filmmakers will try to make the movie less serious than previous movies in the franchise. From what we saw in the Comic-Con footage, this is the case in regards to Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller), who definitely appears to bring some comic relief to the flick. However, Snyder seems to be confident in the tone of the whole franchise, and thinks Superman's emotional nature is what makes him interesting, which means they probably won't have him making quips like Iron Man anytime soon.

But that's what some people like about the character. They think this new Supes is more thoughtful, and like that he spends time contemplating his place here on Earth. Others think this just makes him look whiny. No matter what, to agree with Snyder, I think until Superman starts talking about how horrible life is and listening to nothing but Marilyn Manson that maybe “dark” isn’t the right word to describe him as a character.

We will probably get to see Cavill as Superman again in JUSTICE LEAGUE, which will star Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher and opens November 17, 2017.

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Source: Forbes

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2:09PM on 08/19/2016
You can go as dark with your story as you want, so long as Superman is a beacon of light in that dark story. These superheroes have to behave in-character, or they're just new characters wearing the same clothes. This Superman is the kind of person who would stand by and watch his own father die to protect his secret identity. Christopher Reeve's Superman's greatest regret was that there was no way to save his father despite all his powers. He would have sacrificed his identity in a second to
You can go as dark with your story as you want, so long as Superman is a beacon of light in that dark story. These superheroes have to behave in-character, or they're just new characters wearing the same clothes. This Superman is the kind of person who would stand by and watch his own father die to protect his secret identity. Christopher Reeve's Superman's greatest regret was that there was no way to save his father despite all his powers. He would have sacrificed his identity in a second to save his dad. This Superman is a bad person that inspires fear, and he isn't relatable, and that's only going to get worse now that Clark Kent is dead and his body been buried in front of everyone in Smallville, leaving no way for him to ever be a normal person again. In the comics, Clark was "missing," not confirmed dead. Clark can't climb out of his grave without exposing his identity.
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10:12PM on 08/18/2016

Story and Character are not the same thing

People often mistake Superman as dark because his movies have been dark. On the contrary Superman gets hate because the world is so dark that they cannot understand the idea of someone who is ultra-powerful just wanting to do what's right. The world is too dark for how light he is. It is a commentary on exactly why popular culture nowadays has such a hard time accepting the Superman character while having such an easy time accepting Batman.
People often mistake Superman as dark because his movies have been dark. On the contrary Superman gets hate because the world is so dark that they cannot understand the idea of someone who is ultra-powerful just wanting to do what's right. The world is too dark for how light he is. It is a commentary on exactly why popular culture nowadays has such a hard time accepting the Superman character while having such an easy time accepting Batman.
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11:32AM on 08/19/2016
Well put!
Well put!
8:29AM on 08/25/2016
That's an interesting thought that I don't think the movie develops past an aesthetic. I sort of wish they did. The problem is (and has been since Batman Begins) is that "dark" is being used as a specific catchall and that only goes so far in describing movies intended to be blockbusters. Those kinds of movies don't have the nuance to unpack, and ill-defined words like "dark" (at least in terms of film criticism) is about being binary (light vs dark) instead of solemnity or complexity. At least
That's an interesting thought that I don't think the movie develops past an aesthetic. I sort of wish they did. The problem is (and has been since Batman Begins) is that "dark" is being used as a specific catchall and that only goes so far in describing movies intended to be blockbusters. Those kinds of movies don't have the nuance to unpack, and ill-defined words like "dark" (at least in terms of film criticism) is about being binary (light vs dark) instead of solemnity or complexity. At least for these kinds of moviesmovies. They aren't going into that dark of territory. They are just scowling on a rollercoaster, and that kind of ruins the rollercoaster.
6:36PM on 08/18/2016

Perspective...

I agree that many of the scenes involving Superman in BvS were scenes he was either trying to understand something (Perry's dismissal of his journalistic aspirations), lament his lack of foresight (a whole courthouse blowing up amidst allegations of murder), or interview someone who was at odds with his ideals (Clark vs Bruce). Even still, those things didn't make him dark. Anybody being misinterpreted and judged as he was would not be seen dealing with these situations with a fake smile all
I agree that many of the scenes involving Superman in BvS were scenes he was either trying to understand something (Perry's dismissal of his journalistic aspirations), lament his lack of foresight (a whole courthouse blowing up amidst allegations of murder), or interview someone who was at odds with his ideals (Clark vs Bruce). Even still, those things didn't make him dark. Anybody being misinterpreted and judged as he was would not be seen dealing with these situations with a fake smile all the time. His conflict shows that he is indeed interested and concerned for the well-being of others. It might be different if he had a "Haters gonna Hate" attitude- but he doesn't. Thankfully.
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10:09PM on 08/18/2016
He was too dark in Man of Steel, I would say. He was not in BvS. The world around him is so dark, though, that I think many mistakenly attributed that to Superman again because of the previous film.
He was too dark in Man of Steel, I would say. He was not in BvS. The world around him is so dark, though, that I think many mistakenly attributed that to Superman again because of the previous film.
5:06PM on 08/18/2016
Relatability is important to many narratives but Superman is suppose to be the ultimate hero. The hero and the goodness that we strive for but can't actually attain which is why we need him to come in and save the day for us. He's suppose to be a role model to the entire human race. That means he should be physically AND emotionally equipped
Relatability is important to many narratives but Superman is suppose to be the ultimate hero. The hero and the goodness that we strive for but can't actually attain which is why we need him to come in and save the day for us. He's suppose to be a role model to the entire human race. That means he should be physically AND emotionally equipped
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10:06PM on 08/18/2016
Many successful interpretations of Superman use this approach, but not all of them. Your approach is not wrong, but it is not the only valid one.
Many successful interpretations of Superman use this approach, but not all of them. Your approach is not wrong, but it is not the only valid one.
3:18PM on 08/18/2016

Superman Returns is a Jesus Metaphor

Man of Steel is Snyder's version of the Hero's Journey. Shit, BvS actually took the movie Excalibur and deconstructed it in a way that had Superman as Arthur; not Jesus. Jesus was crucified; Superman was killed in the line of duty holding spear that he pulled from the water (Excalibur). What I find aggravating is that folks tend to try and dumb down the BvS stroryline instead of looking at it in more complex terms that correlate with current themes we are dealing with right now. Suicide Squad
Man of Steel is Snyder's version of the Hero's Journey. Shit, BvS actually took the movie Excalibur and deconstructed it in a way that had Superman as Arthur; not Jesus. Jesus was crucified; Superman was killed in the line of duty holding spear that he pulled from the water (Excalibur). What I find aggravating is that folks tend to try and dumb down the BvS stroryline instead of looking at it in more complex terms that correlate with current themes we are dealing with right now. Suicide Squad was not very complex, but BvS was crafted in a very deliberate way that I feel will be worth more views in retrospect.
I like this version version of Supes because you can see the strain of what being a savior is all about. He truly is Atlas holding the world on his back. Sorry, ranted a little.
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3:33PM on 08/18/2016
You've convinced me to rewatched Batman v Superman from the perspective of Arthurian legend. I'm intrigued to see how it pans out.
You've convinced me to rewatched Batman v Superman from the perspective of Arthurian legend. I'm intrigued to see how it pans out.
3:35PM on 08/18/2016
great point of view. Lios is the lady of the lake.
great point of view. Lios is the lady of the lake.
3:56PM on 08/18/2016
That's a super intriguing idea, however while it works well with that particular part of the movie, I don't really see it working with the rest of the movie. For example, Lois totally works as a Lady in the Lake character during the Doomsday fight, but such an interpretation doesn't really correlate with her presence throughout the rest of the movie, which makes me think that the parallels are more incidental than intentional. I will say that while I was overall disappointed in Batman v
That's a super intriguing idea, however while it works well with that particular part of the movie, I don't really see it working with the rest of the movie. For example, Lois totally works as a Lady in the Lake character during the Doomsday fight, but such an interpretation doesn't really correlate with her presence throughout the rest of the movie, which makes me think that the parallels are more incidental than intentional. I will say that while I was overall disappointed in Batman v Superman I do think that it at least tries(and sometimes succeeded) in doing some pretty cool stuff. I do think though, that when compared to Batman in that film, Superman gets the short end of the personality and character arc sticks.
4:56PM on 08/18/2016
In Man of Steel, Snyder had Superman floating in space looking like Jesus on the cross.

Jesus dying on the cross was about sacrifice and that's what Superman did in BvS.
In Man of Steel, Snyder had Superman floating in space looking like Jesus on the cross.

Jesus dying on the cross was about sacrifice and that's what Superman did in BvS.
6:39PM on 08/18/2016
Having references to other work doesn't make a movie smart. No matter what Snyder's inspiration was or what message he was trying to convey, it won't change the fact that Batman had no valid reason to want to kill Superman and no valid reason to change his mind in the end. No Knight of the Round Table ever stopped a fight because his opponent's mother had the same name as his own mother.
Having references to other work doesn't make a movie smart. No matter what Snyder's inspiration was or what message he was trying to convey, it won't change the fact that Batman had no valid reason to want to kill Superman and no valid reason to change his mind in the end. No Knight of the Round Table ever stopped a fight because his opponent's mother had the same name as his own mother.
10:04PM on 08/18/2016
JimmyArrow, it sounds like you haven't watched the Ultimate Edition yet. The original poster is right that there is more going on beneath the surface than many like to admit. Now that doesn't it isn't deeply flawed, because it is, but people either seem to defend it as a masterpiece or write it off as trash. Extreme opinions are rarely correct, though they are the only ones that seem to get attention on the Internet.
JimmyArrow, it sounds like you haven't watched the Ultimate Edition yet. The original poster is right that there is more going on beneath the surface than many like to admit. Now that doesn't it isn't deeply flawed, because it is, but people either seem to defend it as a masterpiece or write it off as trash. Extreme opinions are rarely correct, though they are the only ones that seem to get attention on the Internet.
1:21AM on 08/19/2016
And I love how you say Superman Returns is a Jesus metaphor without going into any reason why it is.
And I love how you say Superman Returns is a Jesus metaphor without going into any reason why it is.
12:57PM on 08/19/2016
Bob_Loblaw, you can find a TON of articles on Superman Returns and some really deep and thought provoking essays on BvS is you start researching. No need to go into extremes details in a comment section. Superman has always had parallels to Jesus' story. However, in BvS, Snyder is going in a little different route. Rather than paint Superman a Martyr who was sacrificed for us, Snyder is instead using some other parallels; namely the Arthur and his knights of the round table. It is not an exact
Bob_Loblaw, you can find a TON of articles on Superman Returns and some really deep and thought provoking essays on BvS is you start researching. No need to go into extremes details in a comment section. Superman has always had parallels to Jesus' story. However, in BvS, Snyder is going in a little different route. Rather than paint Superman a Martyr who was sacrificed for us, Snyder is instead using some other parallels; namely the Arthur and his knights of the round table. It is not an exact correlation. Batman is the one who will bring the rest of the knights together instead of Superman. Batman and Superman both embody similar characteristic with Lancelot and Arthur during the movie and I read a riveting piece on Reddit that pointed out tons of evidence of this (symbolism galore). Just do a little research.
+1
2:28PM on 08/18/2016

What?

I donīt think Superman was relateable at all. Quite the contrary. He was shown in such a distant light it was hard to bond with him. And not to mention all those heavy handed, on the nose Jesus-metaphors in "Man of Steel". Urgh!
I donīt think Superman was relateable at all. Quite the contrary. He was shown in such a distant light it was hard to bond with him. And not to mention all those heavy handed, on the nose Jesus-metaphors in "Man of Steel". Urgh!
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+2
1:30PM on 08/18/2016
Superman is the iconic pinnacle of everything light, good and hopeful not only in the DC universe, but comics in general. He is the original superhero. The moral high ground in every scenario.
If you don't understand that then don't adapt him.
Superman is the iconic pinnacle of everything light, good and hopeful not only in the DC universe, but comics in general. He is the original superhero. The moral high ground in every scenario.
If you don't understand that then don't adapt him.
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1:09PM on 08/18/2016
Some shit can be light, so he has a point.
Some shit can be light, so he has a point.
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12:38PM on 08/18/2016

Not just Dark, Dark Knight.

What a freakin joke. Of course this universe is Dark, it HAS to be dark to hide all the flaws in the movie. If you can't see anything, then there must not be anything wrong in the scene.
What a freakin joke. Of course this universe is Dark, it HAS to be dark to hide all the flaws in the movie. If you can't see anything, then there must not be anything wrong in the scene.
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+3
12:23PM on 08/18/2016

the people is never Happy.

Old Supes: Too campy and good, No complex character.
New Superman: Too Human,Too Dark,
Singer's Superman: too much like donner's, not enough action.
Man of steel: too much action, not funny enough



Old Supes: Too campy and good, No complex character.
New Superman: Too Human,Too Dark,
Singer's Superman: too much like donner's, not enough action.
Man of steel: too much action, not funny enough



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9:58PM on 08/18/2016
Every Superman movie has had its problems. Hollywood hasn't managed to get him quite right yet, but with his 21st century films, yeah, a lot of people contradict themselves and don't seem to know what they want from the character.
Every Superman movie has had its problems. Hollywood hasn't managed to get him quite right yet, but with his 21st century films, yeah, a lot of people contradict themselves and don't seem to know what they want from the character.
11:48AM on 08/18/2016
It's not "too dark" in the sense that it couldn't be darker. It is "too dark" in that sense that it isn't balanced by much else. She talks about human complexity, but part of what makes humans complex are the good times in addition to the bad. They are compounded and interwoven in almost a contradictory way. These DC movies are just being the same kind of shallow that big blockbusters tend to be, just centered on a different point on the emotional spectrum. Instead of simplistic fun, its
It's not "too dark" in the sense that it couldn't be darker. It is "too dark" in that sense that it isn't balanced by much else. She talks about human complexity, but part of what makes humans complex are the good times in addition to the bad. They are compounded and interwoven in almost a contradictory way. These DC movies are just being the same kind of shallow that big blockbusters tend to be, just centered on a different point on the emotional spectrum. Instead of simplistic fun, its simplistic despair. THe only scene that wasn't an Alfred sarcastic remark that felt at all complexly human was the scene where a fully clothed Clark Kent jumped into a bathtub with Lois Lane. 2 adults in an intimate relationship spontaneously and realistically going from arguing to making each other laugh. The rest of the movie was missing that feeling.
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3:26PM on 08/18/2016
You contradicted yourself. Human complexity is not simplistic fun or simplistic despair; its complex. There was nothing simple about BvS or Man of Steel. Both movies dealt with Gods attempting to destroy our world. If the subject matter is taken seriously, I don't see how anyone could be cracking jokes like the clowns at Marvel. Iron man and Captain American exchanging cutesy barbs after literally killing soldiers does not appear realistic in anyway. Captain America picks up his motorcycle and
You contradicted yourself. Human complexity is not simplistic fun or simplistic despair; its complex. There was nothing simple about BvS or Man of Steel. Both movies dealt with Gods attempting to destroy our world. If the subject matter is taken seriously, I don't see how anyone could be cracking jokes like the clowns at Marvel. Iron man and Captain American exchanging cutesy barbs after literally killing soldiers does not appear realistic in anyway. Captain America picks up his motorcycle and flings it at an oncoming envoy of soldiers who all die in the explosion. Right after that he's apologizing to Iron Man for getting on him for saying, "shit'. Now THAT is simplistic.
6:43PM on 08/18/2016
"You contradicted yourself. Human complexity is not simplistic fun or simplistic despair; its complex."

Actually, that was his point. He was calling BvS simplistic despair.
"You contradicted yourself. Human complexity is not simplistic fun or simplistic despair; its complex."

Actually, that was his point. He was calling BvS simplistic despair.
9:55PM on 08/18/2016
Come to think of it, yes, you hit the nail on the head! You have to have both.
Come to think of it, yes, you hit the nail on the head! You have to have both.
1:02PM on 08/19/2016
Jimmy Arrow, "Instead of simplistic fun [Marvel], its simplistic despair [DC]" The writer eluded to the alternative being simplistic fun. I was pointing out that anything simplistic makes no sense. I don't necessarily agree that DC is simplistic despair or simplistic anything. I find it to be very complex. The motivations of the characters is deep and requires the viewer to infer quite a bit. In other words, the script was not dumbed down for an audience. Just my opinion though.
Jimmy Arrow, "Instead of simplistic fun [Marvel], its simplistic despair [DC]" The writer eluded to the alternative being simplistic fun. I was pointing out that anything simplistic makes no sense. I don't necessarily agree that DC is simplistic despair or simplistic anything. I find it to be very complex. The motivations of the characters is deep and requires the viewer to infer quite a bit. In other words, the script was not dumbed down for an audience. Just my opinion though.
8:17AM on 08/25/2016
@gibs, I alluded to normal blockbusters being simplistic fun, and DC being simplistic despair and pretending that means complex, not that simplistic fun was literally complex. DC is just as simplistic as Marvel. They're is literally no depth. Everything, especially motivations, are all on the surface. They wear their character thesis on their foreheads. There is nothing to question, nothing to provoke thought, nothing to relate to, nothing to analyze. Its just mopey people in an
@gibs, I alluded to normal blockbusters being simplistic fun, and DC being simplistic despair and pretending that means complex, not that simplistic fun was literally complex. DC is just as simplistic as Marvel. They're is literally no depth. Everything, especially motivations, are all on the surface. They wear their character thesis on their foreheads. There is nothing to question, nothing to provoke thought, nothing to relate to, nothing to analyze. Its just mopey people in an action-adventure instead of light-hearted characters with one-liners in an action-adventure. Some of the most serious movies in cinema history have moments of levity. Saving Private Ryan: banter among the soldiers, Tom Sizemore and Matt Damon both tell funny stories from their past that make Tom Hanks laugh. It's what makes that movie complex, not a blue tint and a few sob scenes. You are confusing solemnity for drama.
+2
11:23AM on 08/18/2016
I don't know about you, but I don't want to pay for a movie to watch a superhero go through everyday problems of normal people. That's the whole point of going to see a movie, to escape from our reality.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to pay for a movie to watch a superhero go through everyday problems of normal people. That's the whole point of going to see a movie, to escape from our reality.
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11:46AM on 08/18/2016
I disagree. I think what makes The Dark Knight trilogy so good is seeing Bruce sttuggle and learn from mistakes. It's called drama
I disagree. I think what makes The Dark Knight trilogy so good is seeing Bruce sttuggle and learn from mistakes. It's called drama
12:25PM on 08/18/2016
you know in the movie he is a Alien with super powers. Too Real?
you know in the movie he is a Alien with super powers. Too Real?
2:12PM on 08/18/2016
Ok, so why not see him doing his tax return and applying for a home loan in the sequel? That should be fun.
Ok, so why not see him doing his tax return and applying for a home loan in the sequel? That should be fun.
10:16AM on 08/18/2016
Well said Deborah. That's the impression I got from Zack's take.
Well said Deborah. That's the impression I got from Zack's take.
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9:12AM on 08/18/2016

He's not dark but...

My issue with BVS is that is I think it's fine to have a Superman question who he is and the affect his actions have on the rest of the world. But his arc in the movie should have shown him becoming confident in being Superman... So that we have a fully formed Superman that doesn't question himself at the end. I don't think the movie earns his death. They should have given us more time to see a Superman at the top of his game... Shown how important he is and then follow the Death of Superman
My issue with BVS is that is I think it's fine to have a Superman question who he is and the affect his actions have on the rest of the world. But his arc in the movie should have shown him becoming confident in being Superman... So that we have a fully formed Superman that doesn't question himself at the end. I don't think the movie earns his death. They should have given us more time to see a Superman at the top of his game... Shown how important he is and then follow the Death of Superman storyline in a later movie. I think the movie is good overall... But that is my problem with it.
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9:26AM on 08/18/2016
"I don't think the movie earns his death" - bingo... If you want the audience to feel it, the way we should have, flesh him out more and make him SUPERMAN! My guess is when he returns from the grave he will more like the "Superman" we know and expect
"I don't think the movie earns his death" - bingo... If you want the audience to feel it, the way we should have, flesh him out more and make him SUPERMAN! My guess is when he returns from the grave he will more like the "Superman" we know and expect
9:52PM on 08/18/2016
Probably, Kev. They are getting there, but they sure chose a bizarre order for things.
Probably, Kev. They are getting there, but they sure chose a bizarre order for things.
-1
9:01AM on 08/18/2016

Wrong

She's completely wrong about the character. Superman is vanilla. He's bland. I mean that as fundamental to his character. He's essentially all powerful so he never actually struggles to defeat his enemies. His perspective is also bland because he's forced into a moral high ground by his powers. If he wants to consider himself good he can never misuse his powers. If he does, it's for comedic effect or with destructive consequences ( a la Christopher Reeves). His journey is coming to terms with
She's completely wrong about the character. Superman is vanilla. He's bland. I mean that as fundamental to his character. He's essentially all powerful so he never actually struggles to defeat his enemies. His perspective is also bland because he's forced into a moral high ground by his powers. If he wants to consider himself good he can never misuse his powers. If he does, it's for comedic effect or with destructive consequences ( a la Christopher Reeves). His journey is coming to terms with the significance of his powers and still managing to enjoy life despite that.

Also, as far as Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor, he wasn't nearly as bad as people say he was. The core of the character was there and used effectively. They nay sayers are all just upset that they didn't get the crust cut off their favorite sandwich.
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9:50PM on 08/18/2016
Bland and vanilla is not interesting, though. Superman has struggled with his place in this world before, as these films have depicted. The approach is fine, the scripts just haven't been strong enough to make this approach work as well as it should.
Bland and vanilla is not interesting, though. Superman has struggled with his place in this world before, as these films have depicted. The approach is fine, the scripts just haven't been strong enough to make this approach work as well as it should.
8:46AM on 08/18/2016
I don't think Cavill's Superman is too dark, and I'm of the opinion Man of Steel is probably the best Superman film we've had so far but I wouldn't say I'm massively keen on Cavill in the role. For want of a better word, he's maybe a bit surly as Kent and Kal El. It's not a deal-breaker for me, but I do think with a different actor in the role we could have much better future Superman movies. I don't see that happening for some time yet, and I'm still enjoying these films, but there's some room
I don't think Cavill's Superman is too dark, and I'm of the opinion Man of Steel is probably the best Superman film we've had so far but I wouldn't say I'm massively keen on Cavill in the role. For want of a better word, he's maybe a bit surly as Kent and Kal El. It's not a deal-breaker for me, but I do think with a different actor in the role we could have much better future Superman movies. I don't see that happening for some time yet, and I'm still enjoying these films, but there's some room for improvement with Superman's portrayal before we have any sort of definitive on-screen version.
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