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Features Film Ranked

Ranked | Superman Franchise

My name is Oli and I am addicted to superhero films. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s Marvel or DC. Good or absolute garbage. If there’s a superhero in there I am going to watch it. I even still have fond memories of the Matt Salinger Captain America movie from the 1990s. Fake plastic ears and all. Why am I telling you all of this when I’m meant to be talking about Superman? Well, it’s so that when I tell you that Superman is my absolute favorite superhero of them all, you know that I’ve done my research.

Superman seems to be a bit of a difficult character to bring to life. There’s no shortage of well documented, high-profile near misses in the history of The Last Son of Krypton. We’ve nearly had Tim Burton directing Nic Cage in a strange plastic suit for Superman Lives. Or McG making Kevin Smith write about Superman fighting giant robot spiders. With Superman it seems like the films that never made it to the screen ended up being far more interesting than those that did.

It seems like in recent years Hollywood has really struggled to know what to do with Superman. One of the things that I think that I like most about the character is that he’s always striving to do the right thing. He’s not a human but he acts the most human of everyone. In contrast, recent films seem to just like to focus on Supes being able to punch really good.

I remember reading an interview with Mark Millar (Superman: Red Son, Kick-Ass, Kingsmen) in Empire magazine back in 2008 about his idea for a Superman trilogy and it’s really stuck with me. Millar talked about a sprawling, epic trilogy that starts on Krypton and ends with Kal-El as the last man alive, and as the sun turns yellow, he loses his powers and dies. Something like that will never get made. Warner Brothers would never (permanently) kill off one of their flagship characters but it would be such a bold move. Mark Millar has been patchy at best of late, but this felt like a take on the character that could really work. It’s not about punching things really hard, but it’s about what it’s like to be the Man of Steel.

What are you going to be looking at?

There have been quite a few incarnations of The Man of Steel on both the big screen and the small screen. Some great and some not so good. I’m going to focus on Superman’s big screen outings for this feature. Although I might well swoop into the world of TV series and direct to DVD animated features in the future.

I’m going to look at all of the Superman films that have hit our cinemas since the Richard Donner movie from 1978, right through to the more recent DCEU team-up movies.

Just a heads up that you should turn back now if you’re not completely up to date with Superman and his adventures. There will be some spoilers for everything, up to and including Justice League. You have been warned!

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