Can Superman Save The DCEU, Or Is It Too Little Too Late?


Despite his death at the end of Batman V Superman, the Man of Steel is set to return in Justice League. Speculation abounds about how Superman will come back to life and whether he’ll be hero, or possibly a villain (as hinted at in BvS). Whatever the circumstances of Superman’s resurrection, DC has a chance to turn the page on the character and show a new side of him here.

The Superman from the comics is an inspirational figure. As such, he should be to the DCEU what Captain America is to the MCU. Someone who gives us hope in the darkness that things will get better. Justice League will deal with Darkseid and as such, we should expect things to become very dark in the movie. But when Superman returns, it should be as a figure who gives us hope.

His death at the hands of Doomsday must show Superman that he can and should be better than he was before. This could be done in the afterlife, with a guide showing the hero his mistakes. That guide could come in the form of his father, either Jor-El or Jonathan Kent (or both), or it could be another DC character. The Spectre would be a good choice, for instance.

After returning from the dead, Superman needs to be a more relaxed figure. He’s conquered death of all things, he should be allowed to smile. His resurrection should also give him a newfound respect for life and a belief that everything will be okay in the end. Or in other words, no more slamming terrorists through stone walls at super-speed.

Henry Cavill is certainly capable of playing that version of Superman. Anyone who’s seen The Man From U.N.C.L.E. can attest to Cavill’s charm, wit, and presence onscreen. A more relaxed, optimistic Superman would also make his interactions with other characters far more interesting. No one wants to see Superman and Batman grunting and frowning at each other. What’s always made the interactions between them great has been their vastly different world views.

The DCEU definitely stumbled out the gate, but they seem to be making some positive moves. Wonder Woman looks extremely promising, with a bright color palette for Diana against the darkness of WWI, and Johns and Affleck working together on The Batman could easily prove to be the best depiction of the Dark Knight yet.

Superman has always been the moral center of the DC Universe though, and the DCEU needs to make him that once more. They have their chance, now they just need to step up to the challenge.