The Superman we’ve seen in DC’s movie universe has been...let’s say controversial at times. It’s a characterization that has been built more around the character’s power, and reactions to that power, than the ideals he champions. But after Justice League, Henry Cavill thinks its time for a Superman story that leans closer to the comics.
The Superman we meet after his resurrection in Justice League is very different to the tortured alien soul we left upon his death in Batman v Superman. Sure, there’s that whole thing where he whoops everyone’s ass in a fit of Mother-Box-induced post-resurrection rage for a little bit. But when he dons his suit and joins the League in defeating Steppenwolf, he’s quipping about truth and justice, having a laugh, and above all, remaining keenly aware of minimizing the number of civilians in harm’s way from Steppenwolf’s plans, as he flies around lifting buildings full of evacuees to safety.
It’s a far cry from his city-levelling scrap with Zod in Man of Steel. It’s...well, it’s Superman, as we’ve known and loved and read for decades in DC’s comics. And speaking to the LA Times, Henry Cavill agrees:
I’ve always enjoyed the traditional, very classic view on Superman in the comic books. I think there’s an enormous complexity to that character. I know when I was working with Joss he and I saw eye-to-eye on some of the aspects of Superman. That paragon of hope. That ideal. That wonderful feeling of, ‘Oh, good, Superman’s here!’ I have also developed a very personal and protective relationship over this character, and it was just lovely to have the opportunity to smile and feel good.
And it’s a version Cavill is willing to pick up on in future movies, even if Superman’s future in the DC movie universe isn’t solidly confirmed yet—other than that we know a Man of Steel sequel is a way off:
There’s a wonderful opportunity to tell the Superman story. Now there is a fantastic chance to show Superman in his full colors and tell a very complex, character-driven movie that is based on story and have that wonderful sensation of hope and happiness. A feel-good movie with lessons laced in there as well.
Slightly depressing as it is that the actor playing the Man of Tomorrow has to express how refreshing and good it is to smile in the role, it’s nice that Justice League used the opportunity presented by the death and rebirth of Superman to bring us a more hopeful, brighter hero.