ARE ICONIC PORTRAYALS GOOD FOR STORYTELLING?

I love superhero movies like I love breathing: they are integral to my life. I love watching people with strange powers flit across the screen, displaying their abilities and using them for the greater good of mankind, as they also struggle to fit in with the same mankind. I also love their villains, albeit cartoonish, because they need a challenge to their supposed superiority.

One of these heroes is Superman: THE superhero. almost every young boy out there dreamt of being a superhero just like him, as he stood tall and strong in stature and his ideals.

Now, I wasn’t born in the 70’s or the 80’s, so the only portrayals I knew was that of Tim Daly in the Adventures of Superman, Dean Cain in Lois & Clark, Tom Welling in Smallville and Henry Cavill in Man of Steel. I single out Brandon Routh in Superman Returns because, as I’ve been told, he was meant to mirror Christoper Reeves’ version, which many regard as the template of what Superman should be like.

Agreed, he was great in it, and I understand why people look up to his portrayal. But it got me thinking: should all actors portray Superman just like him? Really, should they?

A bit further down the rabbit hole and I got myself wondering why so many performances have to mirror previous reincarnations of the same character. Is it homage to the actor? Respect to the fans, who grew up watching that portrayal? I mean, if this new one is close to the source material, then should it really matter if it’s just like its predecessor?

I feel as though a story is often hampered by its begrudging decision to pay homage to a certain characterization. There, I’ve said it.

I liked Man of Steel, I really did, but I couldn’t understand why people would say things like “He’s too serious, Superman shouldn’t kill, That’s not who I knew as Superman.” Justifiable as their concerns were(after all, they were long time fans before), I chose to look at it from the story’s point of view. What other choice did he have to end General Zod’s newfound mission to wipe out Earth? Also, should he have gotten permits to ram through the buildings before or after?

It may seem like I’m droning on, but I believe that a portrayal of a long existing character should be as unique as the actor. No two performances can be the same, and they shouldn’t be. For as long as they are faithful to the source material (if applicable), the story is told well and is engaging enough, then what does it matter if it doesn’t look like the one you grew up with?

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