Yet it’s never seemed like WB really knew what to do with Superman, other than knowing he was one of the company’s iconic properties and should be featured in a blockbuster movie franchise. I enjoyed Man of Steel — and continue to defend it — but many detractors felt that Zack Snyder didn’t know what makes Superman special and depicted a warped version of the character. I’ve always said that this was Clark Kent learning to be Superman and we’d get the familiar version of the Big, Blue Boy Scout in future films.
Unfortunately, Snyder and DC Films doubled down on the sullen, alienated version of the hero. Believing that the world would be fearful of an alien with abilities with which he could take over the world was a good starting point. But continuing with that, rather than developing the character and demonstrating why he’s such an iconic hero, was a huge mistake.
WB’s decision to shoehorn Batman into a Man of Steel follow-up and rush to a Justice League to compete with Marvel’s Avengers franchise undercut the opportunity to build a big-screen Superman that could ultimately have been appealing, the cornerstone of the DC cinematic universe. Instead, Cavill’s Superman became the embodiment of everything that was wrong with DC’s movies. They were dark and gloomy, rather than hopeful and optimistic.
Now, rather than try to fix Superman, WB apparently just wants to throw its hands up and try something else. (According to Deadline, the studio was looking at casting Michael B. Jordan down the road.) In the process, the studio may lose a young actor who had a chance to be a great movie Superman, who looks like the comic book character brought to life, who understands what makes him a special character and what he means as a symbol. What a waste.
Personally, I like Cavill as an actor and believe he hasn’t had a chance to show much range in his three Superman appearances. He was good in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and solid (though at times a bit stiff) in Mission: Impossible - Fallout. I think he’d make a great James Bond, young enough to play 007 in multiple films.
However, it might be hasty to say DC is completely walking away from Superman. Maybe there’s some reason for optimism, after all. Producer Dany Garcia, who’s also Cavill’s agent and an executive producer on Shazam!, tweeted the following shortly after the Cavill news was reported.