Why I Love Superman

supermanOne evening last month I took part to the GS twitter feed to answer some questions in a Q & A organised by @VMLoves aka Virgin Media as part of their #MovieSOS campaign. They fired a lot of questions to me to get my thoughts on superhero films. It wasn’t until I was proof reading the latest edition of the GS Magazine that I was reminded of an article written by Luke Halsall on his love of al things Superman. A lot of the things Luke talked about echoed my own feelings on how much I loved superhero films, Superman the Movie in particular so I thought I would share Luke’s article.

Over to you Luke. For many people, the big blue Boy Scout known as Superman has lost his appeal and relevance in the modern age. He is a character that they could no longer relate to. He was too good, too nice and too powerful. I had a wee wobble in my teenage years but overall I have loved reading and seeing the Man of Steel and find it sad that a character that is meant to be the paragon of virtue and goodness has lost favour in the public eye. This year saw the theatrical release of the latest film adaptation, The Man of Steel. The film is due to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray this month and I think Superman is as relevant as ever. I believe that the film manages to show how much we still need that big old S. When I was growing up I had a Superman costume. I bet many people did. There was nothing better for me than to run around in that costume pretending I was him. I remember my first experience of the 1978 film, Superman. It was a school holiday and it was on the BBC, sometime around noon. As soon as it started I was mesmerised by the huge structures that I would come to know as Krypton. Unfortunately I never saw it all because it was Christmas or something like that and it was time to go somewhere. But those fleeting moments of Krypton dying have always stayed with me until I finally saw the amazing Donner film in its entirety. Even those few short scenes on Krypton gave me so much hope. Jor-El would do anything to save his child. He believed in him. Superman showed me how much you can rely on the others around you in your time of need. The rest of my childhood I spent watching the series Lois and Clark (or The New Adventures Of Superman as it was branded in the UK). I loved this program and it shaped my view of Superman for a long time. At this stage though I was beginning to develop a love for Marvel and it was not until I became older, and started to see how amazing the DC characters were, with their strong moral core, that I would return to them. In fact I would now happily state I am a DC boy through and through. I think for me the special thing about Superman is that he is always there for us, not just in fiction but in reality too. When Superman was first created in the 1930s, the populace was going through a worldwide depression. The world was on the brink of World War and economic meltdown. Two Jewish New Yorkers, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created The Man of Steel, a man that was for the every American. Superman always fought for the people and showed us what we could do. Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent, had a good job that the people could relate to. He wasn’t a rich billionaire like Bruce Wayne. Like the majority of the population, Clark had to work for a living. As Superman, he showed the world what they could do with their full potential, embodying the “American Dream”. Superman was a character that personified hope. As Batman struggled through the gritty Gotham city, embodying everything bad about the world after the Wall Street crash, with The Dark Knight being the only shining light in the city, Superman was different. Metropolis and The Man of Steel showed what we could do if we all worked together and fought to be the best we could, understanding that yes we were going through a difficult time but things could be better. He symbolised hope. When Superman made his first major appearance on the big screen in Richard Donner’s seminal work, the world was again in a mess. Once again the worldwide economy was suffering and Britain was struggling through The Winter of Discontent. We needed that spark of hope that everything could be ok. Yes, Superman The Movie was just a film but at the forefront it had a character who never judged or blamed his fellow man. He believed in working hard and fighting for what he believed in, making sure that he was the best person he could be. In this post 9/11 world, we seem to constantly be on the brink of terror. We are suffering through recession after recession and could be about to face Nuclear War. Is it not fitting that The Man of Steel returns once more to give us that hope that everything will be all right: that we need to start trying to help, rather than blame each other? The Man of Steel makes me believe again, it makes me feel like we can do everything that we need to do. The Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan, seems to have hit the nail on the head. Superman has a strong moral stance that he believes in, that he will fight for, that he would die for. He is here to give the people of earth something to strive towards. One day we could all be Supermen. For me Christopher Reeve will always be Superman. To be honest I think if you watch his films he is so good in the role you sometimes wonder whether he has actually fallen out of the sky and has these incredible gifts. The man was born to play Superman but just as importantly he was born to play Clark Kent. He is the only actor to date that really makes me feel they are two different people. Reeve embodies everything about the character – confident Superman and bumbling Clark Kent. I think this is something we all can relate to. There is always a time in our lives when we don’t feel comfortable in our skin. Superman has to keep this pretence up for the whole of his life. Superman is the hero I can believe in. He is an analogue of Jesus and is like a myth or a fable: the great man that will come down from the heavens and be that salvation. It might sound corny but I still like to believe. I still like to cling to hope. The S symbol does exactly that. Luke Halsall Reporter: Luke Halsall/Barry Nugent(introduction)

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