It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s another Superman!

An avid fan's thoughts on how "Man of Steel" stacks up against the Supermen of the past
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Not many superheroes have seen the big screen as many times as the Man of Steel. With the latest installment in the Superman saga out just last month, I took a look at how the new flick matched up to the hero's past incarnations:

The Villain

Zero: Ross Webster in "Superman III"
To be honest, I’m not well-versed in the Superman comics. But Ross Webster… who? To sum it up for you, he’s a wealthy businessman who wants to control the world. Nothing new there.

Hero: General Zod in "Man of Steel"
I was happy to see that "Man of Steel" didn’t go with the obvious choice of Lex Luthor as the major antagonist. In terms of the threat to the existence of Earth as we know it, Zod is about as fearsome as it gets. With the leaps in technology that have been made since 1980, The Zod in "Man of Steel" leaves the Zod of "Superman II" looking like a pathetic villain.

The Suit

Zero: "Superman Returns"
In the 2006 reboot “Superman Returns,” CGI was obviously not a perfected art. Not only were a lot of scenes poorly rendered, but the suit was, too. Aesthetically, it was a step above the pajamas of the Christopher Reeve’s era, but, come on, those are classic.

Hero: "Man of Steel"
At first, I wasn’t too excited about the newly designed suit and shield for "Man of Steel." (I mean, look at how well that worked out for "Superman Returns"…) But the new suit is much sleeker, and doesn’t leave Superman looking like a man parading around in a homemade costume. As for the shield, the movie touched on the idea that the "S" on Superman’s chest is really a Kryptonian symbol and not, in fact, an "S," successfully explaining a redesign that only slightly resembles the letter.

The Soundtrack

Zero: "Superman III"
Not only was the movie campy and advertised as a "comedy," but the soundtrack made it worse. Campy tunes and saving innocent people from burning buildings just don’t mesh.

Hero: "Superman: The Movie"
It’s impossible to hear the opening “Theme From Superman” and not think of the Man of Steel saving the day. Like the music from "Star Wars" or "Harry Potter," everyone recognizes this score.

The Man Himself

Zero: Brandon Routh in "Superman Returns"
It’s not that Brandon Routh was a bad actor, the role was just written poorly. Of all the portrayals of Superman in film, this one has to be the most boring. A lack of moral dilemma and no backstory make it easy to feel detached from his portrayal.

Hero: Henry Cavill in "Man of Steel"
“Imma let you finish, but Christopher Reeve was one of the best Superman actors of all time!” you yell in public. While Christopher Reeve was an iconic Clark Kent, his overall performance doesn’t reign over Henry Cavill in "Man of Steel" — and that’s largely due to writing. The Superman in "Man of Steel" is shown as an everyday human with extraordinary abilities, and lives with the constant moral dilemma of protecting his identity and saving the people he has come to identify with. (Plus, Reeve's cheesy lines just tip the scale.)

Superman is a trademark of DC Comics.

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