I remember the first time watching Superman back in the 2000s. I was graciously amused by the affair of watching this icon. It was a passive viewing so I wasn’t so invested, but I was fascinated by the idea that someone could do almost anything and use their powers for something good. This was before there even was a remake of the Man of Steel. I was watching Christopher Reed at the time and his movies were fantastic.
Fast forward twenty years later, I am watching yet another version of Superman and this one has about the same values as the one I saw twenty years ago. He has all the powers and base ideas and he represents a force of good, but there are some things about him that are different. Take for example, his attire. The signature red and blue colors are gone and replaced by black and red suit that looks like an army regalia. He is tall and imposing, with sharp features and he speaks in a European voice. He is still a simple man at heart, but he’s values represent a communist upbringing which is lamented throughout the story in the film.
You can say that this makes him familiar and his ground roots are still there and I would agree. He is very much Superman as he has been in other movies. He even has an opening which looks like the opening of any Superman film, showing his upbringing and life at his farm.
What differs the most about this Superman is how he slowly turns into something he despises, something he sought to differ from the humans, which is what makes the storyline more interesting. With the past Superman there has always been a question of whether he could be bad or whether he had a conscience to harm the human beings he seeks to protect. This has always been shadowed by his morals and obligations. His character, as often said, is of someone who can never kill or seek harm upon others. As we saw in the past, this moral line has always been crossed by an external force which controls Superman to perform these actions. However, he always finds himself breaking from this spell and finding his way back. In this movie, however, this is an entirely different situation. He struggles with the world around him and embraces the nature of human beings, which seems kind-hearted at the beginning.
As he starts to learn of the atrocities being enacted on his people he starts to find his way onto a darker path. Perhaps to find answers he uses his power as a weapon to enact justice and deem what is right or wrong. He does this for some time, with good intentions, of course, but he starts to find himself on a slippery slope as time goes on. He starts to find himself in a position where he has to choose between good and evil and makes a choice not knowing anymore which is right or wrong.
I think this was a perfect exploration of the Man of Steel which brought some realism into his role. I’ve always thought there’s a very one-dimensional role that Superman plays which robs you of the complexity that you find in Batman stories. I think this one does justice to the Man of Steel and I hope Warner Bros keeps making some interesting alternative versions of the greatest hero in history.
Superman: Red Son
A wonderful take on the Man of Steel in an alternate reality. So much of what makes Superman good is maintained here. Even though there's a lot to make this good, overall it managed to give a new interesting twist to the legendary character.
- Good storytelling
- Iconic Warner Bros animation
- New modern twist
- Lacks clearly structured storyline
- Keeps the character layers too minimal