It’s a lot easier to play an iconic character if you’re the first person to do it, which is one of the many reasons why Sean Connery’s James Bond, Christopher Reeve’s Superman, Michael Keaton’s Batman and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man are regularly held up as the best iterations of their respective characters; because they had a blank slate that anyone else to embody the role in the future doesn’t get.
A quick glance at the internet would make it abundantly clear that Henry Cavill’s Kal-El has a huge number of supporters, many of whom remain furious that Warner Bros. and DC Films are moving forward on two new Superman projects, neither of which feature the shared universe’s canonical Kryptonian.
On the other side of the coin, a lot of detractors feel Zack Snyder’s Superman was too cold, distant and emotionless. During a recent appearance at New York Comic-Con via CBR, Action Comics writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson explained why he has his issues with Cavill’s spin on the comic book favorite.
“I have such a clear vision of who Superman is. And often, you know, obviously other writers have their versions in their heads too and sometimes I’ll see a version of Superman that doesn’t, when he does something that’s not what he would do, I just kind of, in my headcanon it becomes fan fiction like ‘No, this is not how this would go’. I guess it’s very similar to the Christopher Reeve voice, and listening to Christopher Reeve, but, but more like hulked out physically and in the context of these big, epic scenarios but I just love that. That version of Superman that he was where he just, there’s no, like when he smiles, it’s like there’s no ego in it, there’s no haughtiness, it’s just like, ‘I’m your friend, I’m going to help you’.
You know, like just like when he’s when he catches her in the helicopter and you’ve got to use that, he kind of smiles like everything’s good. I don’t mean like physically or his acting or even that, but just the approach of the Man of Steel film in which he’s kind of searching for himself and you might see him make a mistake or he gets opportunities to help and he might not do it right away or he’s conflicted, you know, like they like seeing a more relatable Superman and that’s not what I like at all. I want to see, I want a Superman that shows us the way and shows how we’re supposed to be, that’s the best of us always.”
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It’s been almost four and a half years since Cavill suited up as Superman, and yet a lot of folks will never give up on the idea of an eventual comeback, despite dozens of rumors claiming he was signed for this, that or the other having been dispelled since then.