It took just one film, Man Of Steel (2013), for Henry Cavill to win me over. I was intrigued by Cavill in the initial Man Of Steel trailers. Watching the trailers I had no idea who Henry Cavill was, but he sure looked good as Superman. Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Superman/Clark Kent will more than likely never be topped. That said, Cavill’s performance of Superman in Man Of Steel is stupendous. After just one film he immediately became my second favorite actor to portray Superman. Batman v Superman (2016) and Justice League (2017) added to my love of his performances.
Cavill’s performances as the Man Of Steel have embodied Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El to perfection. On one hand he is the strongest being on Earth capable of destroying anyone and anything in sight. On the other hand the tenderness that he displays with his adopted Earth mother Martha Kent is quite touching. The struggle of being a super being capable of doing so many monumental things, but knowing when to act or not is so real in Cavill’s performance. Cavill also captured Kal-El’s duality. He was born on Krypton and then he was adopted by Earth born parents. Although he spent very little time on Krypton he is just as much a Kryptonian as he is an Earthling. One of Superman’s biggest dilemmas is what makes him so special. He is an alien that looks identical to Earthlings. Earth’s sun gives him the super abilities that allow him to protect the planet and its inhabitants. He is not human, yet he made Earth his home knowing full well that he would never truly fit in. Superman is a highly complex character. A great deal of his struggles are internal. The subtlety needed to convey so much of who Superman is takes a special actor. I feel that Henry Cavill was perfect in so many ways.
Unlike prior Supermen Cavill actually had a great deal of opportunity to face many foes his equal or greater. Christopher Reeve’s Superman did face off against General Zod, Ursa and Non in Superman 2 (1981). In Superman 3 (1983) he faced off against a bad Kryptonite version of himself. Superman 4: The Quest For Peace (1987) is such a poorly made movie that it is difficult to take his foe Nuclear Man seriously. Cavill was given even more opportunity to flex his abundant muscles. Throughout three films he battled against General Zod, Faora-Ul, Nam-Ek, a Kryptonite assisted Batman, Doomsday, The Justice League and Steppenwolf. With Cavill being the most muscular Superman to date it made sense to showcase him utilizing his super strength.
One can argue about the quality of the three DC Extended Universe films that Cavill appeared in. I enjoyed them all, but I can admit that they were far from perfect. There were a few missteps made, but overall I do not have much issue with the films. One thing that can be agreed upon by many is the quality of Cavill’s performance. His commitment and conviction are readily apparent. He took the role seriously and gave it his all. He looked great in the costume as well. When you consider that Henry Cavill has a British accent in real life that fact makes one appreciate his performance even more.
With Cavill more than likely out as Superman along with Ben Affleck out as Batman, I feel bad for those left behind. Gal Gadot is in the midst of filming the sequel to her highly successful Wonder Woman (2017) movie. Jason Momoa’s surprisingly under promoted Aquaman movie is still three months away from being released. I hope that someone at Warner Bros. has a well thought out, long term plan in place for the future of the DCEU. At this point I am not feeling all that confident about the state of the franchise. I hope that I am proven wrong. In a time when Marvel’s movies are more popular than ever. In a year where The Incredibles 2 has made over 600 million dollars domestically. Fans are saying loud and clear that they still want more superhero movies. DCEU films are struggling with lackluster fan reaction and less than stellar box office results. Will Warner Bros. push forward with a shared universe, or stick with stand alone movies? Will we as fans be subjected to a massive reboot and recasting?
If Henry Cavill is truly finished with Superman I will be disappointed. I do understand that things happen and motivations change. With just three movies he is at the forefront of the list of my favorite movie superhero performances. He joins the ranks of Michael Keaton’s Batman, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man and Chris Evans’ Captain America. Cavill’s future looks quite bright on the big screen. Whatever he decides to pursue I wish him nothing but success. In the meantime a small part of me will continue to hold onto a glimmer of hope that Cavill will return as Superman.