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Man of Steel: My Expectations

The other day I wrote my expectations for the new Godzilla movie. Next up are my expectations for the next Superman movie, Man of Steel, and then next week will be my expectations for Star Trek Into Darkness. I think this will be a new theme. It will be interesting to write of my expectations prior to a movie’s release and then compare that with my actual review.

I am a big Superman fan and I own all of the Donner films on DVD, the animated series, the George Reeves 50s TV show and Lois & Clark. I even liked Superman Returns. Ok, I agree it needed more action but all-in-all it wasn’t too bad. Superman saving the airplane was the best part of the movie.

I actually wanted Brandon Routh to be Superman once again. However, once I learned they had cast Henry Cavill as Superman I was happy with the choice. I think this is the first buff Superman we will be getting. No offense to the other actors playing the role but people like Christopher Reeve and the aforementioned Brandon Routh were way too skinny. I actually was happy that this movie would be a fresh start and not connected to the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.

Well, I had mixed feelings actually. I didn’t mind saying goodbye to those movie and that specific continuity. Even though I own Superman III & IV I will admit they aren’t that good. What I had mixed feelings about was having another origin movie. Sure, Superman’s origins had not been told on the big screen in over 30 years but that wasn’t the problem. We have had so many origin movies over the last few years. Batman, Green Lantern, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, 2 Spider-Man origins, Captain America and on and on. I just didn’t want to sit through another origin story!! However, from all the trailers I have seen it looks like it will actually be a very good origin story. I hope we see a lot of Superman and don’t have to wait more than half the movie before we see the man in the blue suit.

Speaking of the new Superman suit..I freaking love it!! I think it is a brilliant design. I know that there are some fans that do not like it, but I think it looks great. Best suit ever. Many complain about the colors, a very deep blue rather than the a more light sky-blue color of Reeve’s suit. The biggest complaint has been the lack of the outer-underwear from previous incarnations of the suit. However many new designs, Batman for instance, have been going in that direction and I think this design looks fine without them. I love the deep rich colors and the extra-large cape. The only thing I do not like is the yellow in the “S” on his chest, it looks dull and dirty.

My only concern was with the involvement of Christopher Nolan. Now I do not mind a more realistic take on the Man of Steel, I just don’t want them to go as dark and gritty as his Batman trilogy. Superman is a bright character. Some have complained that he is a Super Boy Scout. To some degree he is. Superman Returns depicted him as a Christ-like figure. However, from the trailer I think we will get the best of both worlds. We will see a young Clark Kent struggling with who he is, but I think we will also get a movie with a lot of action an adventure.

I am also glad we have the return of General Zod, first scene in Superman II. It would have been so easy for them to use Lex Luthor once again as the villain but I think he has been used way too often. If this movie is to be a reboot and a fresh start then I am glad they have gone a different route in this aspect. I have not really cared for the depiction of Lois Lane on film so far. Kate Bosworth was pretty good in Superman Returns. She was a cute and spunky and feisty Lois. I also liked Erica Durance as Lois in the long running TV series Smallville. I am very intrigued with Amy Adams as Lois. I think she is pretty and a fine actress and I look forward to her portrayal. For those that complain Amy Adams has strawberry blond hair in this movie may have forgotten that in the 1950s Adventure of Superman TV series Noel Neill also had red hair.

In closing I have high expectations on this movie. From what I have seen from the trailers I think we are going to get an excellent Superman movie!

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Adventures of Superman: Part II

Now for the conclusion of my review:

The other changed that occurred when the series switched to color was the episodes become more child friendly. The first two seasons were dark and serious and even more violent. This was toned down and we began to see more fun and lighthearted episodes. For example, in “Through the Time Barrier” a A nutty professor uses his time machine to send Clark, Lois, Jimmy, Perry and himself back to 50,000 B.C., along with a notorious gangster who decides he likes prehistoric times. Although the series did get a reputation for child friendly episodes that doesn’t mean they abandoned the more serious themed episodes. The season six episode ‘The Perils of Superman” where criminals wearing lead masks are trying to kill Perry white, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent is as dark as any of the episodes from the first two seasons.

One of the issues that was played down and almost non-existent in the series was the romance between Superman and Lois Lane. It was hinted at and one dream episode examined the topic, but for the most part it is generally ignored. In the first two seasons Lane and Kent actually have a more argumentative relationship. This is gone by the later seasons. In the early seasons Lois often suspects Clark as being Superman but this theme too is dropped in later episodes.

One of the last things I want to talk about is George Reeves portrayal of Superman/Clark Kent. It is one of my favorite portrayals of both Characters. As I have said on other occasions as I have grown older the Superman/Clark Kent secret identity is hard to swallow. Most actors portray each character differently giving some plausibility to the situation. The interesting thing about Reeve’s portrayal of both characters is that he doesn’t play Kent as a weak, baffoon type of character that some have played him. Reeves played Kent as a tough, smart and crafty individual. Superman/kent knows the audience is in on his secret and he plays wonderfully off that. There are times Kent is in peril but we the audience knows that he really isn’t in any trouble and that does add to the excitement of the drama. We wonder what will he do to get out of trouble and keep his identity. George Reeves really did embody Superman and while others have also played the character well, he is the yard stick I use to measure others by.

I also love the world of the 1950s. The Superman comic had him fighting exotic and equally strong and alien villains. The show has him fighting the average and everyday crooks at a time when organized crime was at its zenith. I like the more realistic criminal he faced. It grounds the show more in reality for me. The clothes, the cars and the primitive technology of the 50s and it is all part of the tone of the show that give it its charm. I know many younger people do not like older shows..even ones from the 60s let alone the 1950s…so it may be harder to convince a younger person to give the show a try. I do highly recommend it though. It is a well done show and even the special effects, though not as good as today’s standards, do fit the tone of the show and does not detract from the enjoyment whatsoever. So give Adventures of Superman a try!

Adventures of Superman: Part I.

The Adventures of Superman. Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! (“Look! Up in the sky!” “It’s a bird!” “It’s a plane!” “It’s Superman!”)… Yes, it’s Superman … strange visitor from another planet, who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men! Superman … who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way! And now, another exciting episode, in The Adventures of Superman!

Superman is by far my favorite Superhero and Adventures of Superman is still a favorite of mine. I have been working my way through the entire series on DVD and it amazes me how enjoyable it is. I will never forget the first time I saw the series. I was in a Catholic school and I was about 10 years old. One afternoon my entire class was taken to the Church basement and no reason was given. When we got there we saw a movie projector set up and chairs waiting for us. There was also popcorn! I still had no clue what we were about to see. I sat with anticipation and curiosity as the room grew dark and the projector tuned on and started to hum. Suddenly on the screen with all fanfare was the title screen for Adventures of Superman!! My head was about to pop with excitement! I was in heaven!! We saw one color episode, “The Seven Souvenirs” and one in black and white, “The Deserted Village.” I was hooked on that show and within a few years when cable TV came to town I was able to view more episodes. Ah, those were some of my most fondest memories.

Produced between 1952 to 1958. The series starred George Reeves as Clark Kent/Superman with Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen, John Hamilton as Perry White, and Robert Shayne as Inspector Henderson. Phyllis Coates played Lois Lane in the first season with Noel Neill taking over role in the second season (1953). I must admit the show is pretty formulaic, with an assorted gangsters and criminals trying to commit some crime which will drag Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen into trouble that will require Superman to rescue them. Even though it is a predictable formula it never grows old or tiresome. The scripts were creative in bringing new colorful characters to keep it interesting. The shows first two seasons were reminiscent of 40s film noir style and absent from the series was Superman’s number 1 arch nemesis, Lex Luthor.

To say that it stuck to a formula does not mean the show didn’t change. It did change over the seasons. One of the changes showed great foresight. The first two seasons were in black and white as all shows and the overwhelming vast majority of TV sets were in the 1950s. After the second season an executive got the bright idea of filming the episodes in color realizing that color TV was going to be the wave of the future and that the color episodes would be more valuable in syndication. He was right. Starting in season three until the end of its run,  Adventures of Superman were in full color…even though it would be 10 years or more until the majority of Americans could view it in color. By then color TVs were growing in popularity and availability and the majority of TV shows changed to color.

To keep this review to a digestible level I will bring you part II on Wednesday. Come on back!