Why has Superman’s return been such a guarded secret in the upcoming Justice League movie? My guess is that it’s because he’s not going to be the hero we all knew from the first few movies. Here’s why:
Henry Cavill’s version of Superman has been a bit of a difficult to completely get on board with. Let me make it perfectly clear, I do not think that Cavill is the problem. It’s more to do with the way the character has been written and the fact that he’s a bit boring, to begin with. He’s just too perfect and too good, and the writers haven’t devised a way to make him more appealing to modern audiences.
I know it’s going to sound like I’m saying, “Marvel’s better than DC”, yet what Marvel managed to do with Chris Evans’ Captain America, who, let’s face it, is basically Marvel’s Superman, is that they made him relatable and captivating. We all love his Captain America, despite the fact that fundamentally, the character is rather boring and constantly referred to as “SHIELD’s boy scout”.
One thing they could do with Cavill’s Superman to make him more interesting is having him turn evil, at least for a while, and I think they’re going to do exactly that with him in Justice League. There have already been a few story arcs from the comics in which the ‘Man of Steel’ turns evil, or is less ‘good’ than usual.
There’s Red Son’s Superman, which takes place in an alternate reality where his pod crash landed in Russian instead of the US. There was Cyborg Superman in the Death of Superman story arc, who was a more brutal and violent version of the character. The Superman in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns is not evil per se, but he’s pretty uncompromising and has one heck of a fight with Batman. Then there’s the Injustice game’s version of Superman, who is basically a villain, driven mad by the death of Lois Lane at the hands of the Joker. There was even Evil Superman in the movie, Superman III.
So it has been done before, and the rumours that Superman’s dark costume will be making an appearance has led many to speculate that Justice League’s version of the Man of Steel might not be the hero we remember from the previous movies. And personally, I think that this would make Cavill’s Superman a far more interesting screen presence.
One thing that we could point to as evidence of Superman becoming evil in the DCEU is Bruce Wayne’s dream sequence in Batman v Superman, in which an angry looking Superman has Batman tied up in an underground cell. He ruthlessly murders Batman’s fellow captives in that scene with his laser eyes. If that’s not evil, then I don’t know what is. Could that scene be a vision of what’s to come? Possibly, and what’s more interesting is that it was easily Henry Cavill’s most impactful scene as Superman since he took on the role, and it turned out to be a bloody dream!
What it does insinuate is that Lois Lane might die in one of DC’s future films, which would send Clark Kent over the edge and make him go on an unrelenting killing spree. This is a story arc that we’ve seen before, as I mentioned above, in the Injustice video game.
Cavill ticks all the right boxes. He has the looks, the voice, the body, and he even nails the character’s naivety. Yet, the one thing he hasn’t had up until now is a good script to work with. Superman has been poorly represented so far in the DCEU, and giving Cavill the opportunity to do something more challenging with the role will help audiences to become more invested in his portrayal of DC’s, and the world’s, most iconic superhero, as well as giving Cavill a chance to flex his acting muscles, as opposed to his real, very big, muscles.
Justice League is out in UK cinemas on November 17th. Do you think Superman will be evil? Let us know in the comments below.