Tag Archives: Last Son of Krypton

Culture War Correspondence: Superman and Superheroes

GORDON: Up there! In the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…! It’s…!

It’s a cheesy rehash of the same joke we closed out on last time!

EVAN: How dare you, sir.

GORDON: Citizens, today our topic of discussion is Superman, and to a lesser extent, superheroes in general- though you could hardly go wrong to kick off a discussion on the subject by starting with the Big Blue Boy Scout.

Who, for the record, I despise. Continue reading

Superman: The Man of Steel Re-Cast

Some time ago, I submitted a brief post recasting the Batman universe. Today, I will be doing the same for the Last Son of Krypton, a challenge greater than that of the Dark Knight first because it will be pretty much impossible to find a better Lex than Kevin Spacey…

…And second because of how much I hate and despise Superman.

Now I know that’s gonna be shocking news. After all, who could find anything but love and appreciation for an inherently powerful, indestructible being serving the US government and acting without any accountability? What could possibly go wrong?

But my issue with Big Blue is neither here nor there. Presented below, for your thoughts, consideration, and potential outrage are my picks for the cast of the perfect Superman series.

Kent Clark/Superman:

Actor: John Hamm

Why We Want Him: Because in addition to being the spitting image of Superman, Hamm is probably best known for his role as Don Draper, 1960s businessman. While I can’t say that I see Superman downing enough whiskey to kill a bull elephant, I can see Hamm’s immersion in a world with an antiquated sense of morality (and uncomfortable suits) as being a huge bonus in playing Clark Kent.

Cons: Weird as it may seem- Hamm is only 6′ tall- a full four inches shorter than Clark Kent’s reported height. While I like the idea of a slightly older superman, the simple truth of the matter is Hamm may be relegated to the speaking roles while a stunt double or two takes on any action scenes.

Lex Luthor:

Actor: Jason Isaacs

Why We Want Him: I’ve seen Isaacs play some pretty despicable characters (The Patriot), but also nail some complexly heroic ones as well (Brotherhood). Ideally, Lex is meant to be tragic hero- someone who could’ve or should’ve been a great leader of men were it not for his obsession with defeating Superman. If there’s anyone who can do this, it’s Isaac’s (also, did you know he played Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter? I just found that out).

Cons: He’s not Kevin Spacey.

Lois Lane

Actress: Jennifer Morrison

Why We Want Her: It’s tough to respect an investigative journalist who can’t recognize Superman as the guy who works the next cubicle down from her simply because he’s wearing glasses. This being (in my experience) pretty much the extent of what Lois does in any Superman book, filling her shoes is a job that pretty much anyone can do- the question is, who can do it best? I submit Jennifer Morrison (House, How I Met Your Mother). She’s played intelligent characters, and we’re banking on that offsetting Lois’s apparent ineptitude.

Cons: As I said, L.L., having the same basic role as Princess Peach, could be played well by pretty much anyone- John Hamm included.

General Zod:

Actor: Viggo Mortenson

Why We Want Him: Because we (or at least, I) have yet to see him deliver on being a truly evil character (SPOILER ALERT: he’s a good guy in Eastern Promises).

Cons: I can’t say for certain that I can see Mortenson pulling off the self-assured, swaggering crypto-Fascist character that Zod has.

Bizarro Superman:

Actor: Benecio Del Toro

Why We Want Him: You might think that the anti-Superman would still be best played by John Hamm. I disagree, and submit instead Benecio Del Toro, who (and I mean no disrespect to him, I really like his work) looks more or less how you’d expect Hamm to look if you took a shovel to his head for a while.

Cons: Del Toro is slightly taller than Hamm, and like Hamm, may be beyond doing some heavy-duty action scenes at this point (but hey, 45 is the new 38).

Pa Kent:

Actor: Rutger Hauer

Why We Want Him: Because the man improvised the “Tears in the Rain” monologue in Bladerunner. That’s right- this guy right here made up on the spot one of the most iconic and moving speeches in film history.

Cons: What about “Improvised ‘Tears in the Rain'” did you not understand?

Ma Kent:

Actress: Jessica Lange

Why We Want Her: Because I’ve seen this woman do some incredibly moving scenes and play her insanely layered and complex characters to the hilt.

Cons: She’s terrifying. AHS fans know what I’m talking about.

Jor-El:

Why We Want Him: Because Rickman, in addition to being just generally awesome, has that strange accent (something entirely beyond British) that’s almost alien. Even if Jor-El is only going to have a few moments of screen time, you want to make ’em count for something- who better for the job than Rickman?

Cons: There’s a strong chance that the accent might be too much- but hey, he could always do that flamboyant American one that fooled John McClane.

Jimmy Olsen:

Actor: Rupert Grint

Why We Want Him: Because of the three ginger comic-relief go-to-guys ( the others being Seth Green and Fran Kranz), Grint is the only one young enough to actually pass for the Daily Planet’s whipping boy.

Cons: Not sure if he could do an American accent.

Why Superman’s Briefs Matter

The Hobbit is due to touch down in theatres next month [yes, I watched the Grey Cup last night], and with it will come a new, full trailer for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel With all of that happening, I’m going to touch on . . . hm, maybe not the best choice of words. . . I’m going to write a little about the new suit we’ll be seeing in the 2013 summer flick.

On the right is what Henry Cavill is expected to look like as the Last Son of Krypton. Many fans have [as usual] expressed great displeasure in the loss of Supes’ signature undies, as can be read in the aptly titled “‘Man of Steel’: Is Superman’s new suit made of fanboy Kryptonite?

What’s probably unknown to most of them, however, is that director Zack Snyder fought to keep the supehero’s look traditional. In an interview with the New York Post he said:

“The costume was a big deal for me, and we played around for a long time. I tried like crazy to keep the red briefs on him. Everyone else said, ‘You can’t have the briefs on him.’ I looked at probably 1,500 versions of the costumes with the briefs on.”

Ultimately the studio [as usual] had their way, and the iconic red briefs were done away with. There are a few reasons why I think they should’ve stayed, though, and they have nothing to do with the iconic depictions of the character.

The first reason, if you look up, is staring you right in the face. It’s- well, it’s distracting to say the least, and was actually a problem when suiting up Brandon Routh for the 2006 Superman Returns. From what I can tell, costume designer Louise Mingenbach had her hands fu- sorry . . . had a lot to deal with when it came to the suit. The film’s IMDB page tells us:

According to an article in the 12 September 2005 issue of Newsweek, the biggest question concerning Superman’s costume involved the size and shape of the bulge in the front of his tights. Costume designer Louise Mingenbach finally decided on a bulge that wasn’t too big. “Ten-year-olds will be seeing this movie,” she explained.

A less reputable source [The Sun], told second-hand via KillerMovies reports that a source had this to say about the film:

“It’s a major issue for the studio. Brandon is extremely well endowed and they don’t want it up on the big screen. We may be forced to erase his package with digital effects.”

The current costume design is definitely not doing them any favours in that department, and if anything calls even more attention to Superman’s unmentionables.

My second point has to do directly with design. As archaic and old-fashioned as the red shorts over tights are, they were great in breaking up the blue of the rest of the costume. Although the golden belt buckle attempts to do that in Cavill’s costume, it ultimately fails, and in fact draws added attention to my first point.

To bring up something I mentioned in passing in my post about the immensely talented Kris Anka, there are ways of omitting the briefs while still maintaining a good balance:


In the above design Superman’s midsection is broken up by  the two red lines and the golden buckle, which form an incomplete belt. This, along with the darker blue of the costume’s sides does wonders in not making it feel like the character is simply wearing a full set of blue tights and a cape.

I suppose we’ll have to wait until next summer to really determine whether or not the new suit works. Until then, these are my thoughts

If you want to keep reading about this particular topic, io9 wrote a great article called “The War on Superman’s Underpants.”