Because I have no life, I ponder and wonder like Louis and Clark… Lois and Clark… wait….
Did they do that on purpose? Am I just figuring this all out?
I NEED ANSWERS!
As I recover from that realization, I’m going to do my best to ask you wonderful people the question that looms over the eventual Superman sequel that we are just calling Man of Steel 2.
While polarizing, Man of Steel created what we now know as the DC Extended Universe, that’s just fact, and with there being constant shifts in the plans for their movies, you have to wonder where the studio or their respective directors and writers, plan to go with Henry Cavill’s Superman. I’ve made old lists about what kind of villains Superman should face in the future, but then you have to ask yourself whether or not you want them to come to Earth (again) or for Superman to take it cosmic.
Alien invasions are kind of the go-to events for superhero movies and I understand why. When you have god-like beings that could take down any enemy they face with ease, you need something otherworldly for them to combat, but it’s when we get to see our heroes off of their home turf that could present genuine challenges for them thus creating a more magnetic plot. If we’re talking about Superman, it’s obvious that his ties to other worlds and aliens are always connected, so why not see a story that puts Superman off Earth? No hero in comics has been fully limited to things on Earth and for an alien to be in alien territory only makes sense. I see his journey being like the Hulk’s in Planet Hulk which would pit him against enemies that are used to taking on beings with otherworldly powers, gifts, and unique abilities which is why the question behind this article was posed in the first place.
Superman is still a young hero in the DCEU with tons to learn, and like the humans he lives among on a daily basis, Clark slash Superman clashes with the question of “what else is out there?”. My question to the question then becomes, “why shouldn’t he find out?”. The obvious choices of foes for Superman are some of his best, characters such as Brainiac, Mongul, Bizarro Superman, and even more grey area characters like Lobo and Shazam’s main villain Black Adam are all possibilities, but as far as characters he could venture out to find or be captured by, I’m going with Mongul and Brainiac. The reasons those are my two picks are simple, they aren’t afraid of what Superman can do, and they are more than capable of taking him down and negating his physical strengths which would require Superman to think outside of the box like his enemy turned co-worker Batman.
Rather than the bloated, city destroying fights we’ve gotten from Superman (and Wonder Woman as of late), I think it’s time we figure out how to limit the scale of the action by giving us more stakes in the battles from the start. Show us how Clark learns to limit destruction by fighting smartly like a Spartan would during combat. He should know how to use his opponents strength against them along with tactically using his own abilities in the process.
The highlights of all Superman films, animated and live-action, are when Superman uses that reporter brain of his get out of problems while still being able to use his powers when needed, both being signs of a truly great hero. The same philosophy should be seen with him if he stays on earth as well. I’ve always wanted Superman to take on villains that can just be thorns in the side kind of like how we see Harvey Dent for Batman which is why I like Metallo, a cyborg created by Lex Luthor as a bodyguard against the man of steel. Superhero films should be fun and Metallo could be that villain that doesn’t want to take over the world or destroy everyone. I think of him as a smaller scale Ultron who could have the quippy, sarcastic lines, and unapologetic killing streak when needed which allows audiences to gravitate towards him while still realizing he shouldn’t be messed with even if you’re Superman.
When it comes to answering the question about whether or not Superman’s sequel should be on another planet or remain on Earth is really more about discovering what can challenge Superman’s psyche and the level of fun that can be had within the main storyline. Superman is super strong, we already know that, but he is a hero who only knows what he’s discovered on Earth, and sending him cosmic could add to his understanding about job at hand when being a hero as well as realizing that he isn’t the most powerful being in the universe like everyone thought. Superman needs to be ready and learn more about his enemies, his allies, and himself which is what the cosmic settings could do for the character.
While I hate the phrase “cinematic universe”, it’s obvious that DC and Marvel kind of warrant shared stories to a degree, and that’s why Superman going outside of Earth works too. You have heroes like the Green Lanterns out there basically as galactic cops Supes could run into or hint at without it feeling like a reach. The image I see for a Green Lantern cameo is simple, but oh so chill inducing:
Far away from Earth, flying swiftly past stars and meteorites of former planets, Clark is majestic like a falcon soaring. He is warmed by the peace and silence space brings.
Superman halts his flying with ease, taking in the pure vastness of space. For a moment, Clark doesn’t feel the burdens of being a God Earth knows him as. For a moment, he doesn’t question if he’s the most powerful being, he is just…being. He is free from earthly tethers no one understands, even just for a moment. As he gazes into the spacial vastness ahead of him… GREEN STREAKS of light zoom by Clark’s vision and out just as quickly.
He gives the classic Superman smirk we all know and love and continues flying into the blackness of space with no real destination.
Anyway, that’s where I see the cosmic Superman story going, and quickly becoming. Don’t even get me started on the Martian Manhunter portion of the idea that I’ve had in my brain for five years. That shit gets intense.
Should Superman go cosmic or stay on Earth? I don’t think it matters as much as what Superman’s next chapter is in his maturity as a hero of Earth and space. He’s transcendent across galaxies and there is so much that can pose a threat to him, but at the end of the day, it’s not about him, it’s about the innocent, and Clark’s human side that will always be the cog that moves his emotions and ideologies that put saving others first.
Categories: FILM ESSAYS