Clark Kent leaves the darkness

Famed director remakes DCU superhero

Noah Cannon, Staff Writer

A brand new Superman film is set for release 2025, with MCU alumnus James Gunn writing and directing. I am over the moon ecstatic but first, let’s rewind the clocks to 2013. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is roaring after the success of its long awaited film The Avengers. The rival company, DC Comics, wants a slice of that cake of success by starting its own shared cinematic universe. That universe became what is known as the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), and it began with a film starring its most famous character, Superman, in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. However, the film received mixed reviews from critics and fans. 

Not to worry… it’ll be fixed with the sequel! Uh, oh. They hate the sequel even more. “Batman V. Superman” (2016) and “Justice League”(2017) drove fans insane, and it all goes back to Superman. 

Superman was the most popular superhero. He was the man. Since the 1930s, children and adults alike have clambered through the concrete jungles to their nearest comic book store to purchase a smashing adventure featuring the iconic character. 

Who wouldn’t want to read about an All-American, cape-wearing, do-gooder lifting cars with his bare hands and battling evil robots and villains? But lately, people have forgotten what makes Superman so special, so beloved. That is, except for James Francis Gunn. 

 Gunn had previously worked for Marvel (Gasp!) before becoming head of the recently refurbished DC Studios. For Marvel, he had written and directed the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films with a third and final installment set for release this May. Upon assuming his role as Co-CEO of DC Studios, Gunn immediately announced a soft reboot of the DC film franchise, retconning the majority of Zack Snyder’s previously established works, including Superman. 

Previously portrayed by actor Henry Cavill, Gunn revealed that this new Superman would be much younger and that the film would be the official beginning of the new DC Universe. He also said he was taking inspiration from iconic comics such as “All-Star Superman” by Grant Morrison. And, on March 15th, he announced on Twitter that he would be directing the film, in addition to writing its screenplay. “Superman: Legacy” is set to release July 11, 2025, and here is why I’m excited for this film. 

 “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the best MCU film ever made. I’ve been critical of the MCU and recent pop-culture films in other articles, but Guardians is special, and it’s all because of character. The Guardians films feel the most personal, character-driven, and emotional out of all thirty something MCU films because of how down-to-Earth and real the characters feel. These are characters who have lost their families and homes, deemed as irredeemable freaks, but Gunn expertly portrays these former criminals learning to except each other as a family, to let go from the past and to share pain, all while having epic space adventures with terrific production design, score, and makeup and costumes. 

Not to mention, the jokes are actually funny,  hit with exquisite precision and (most of the time) don’t take away the weight and tension of a scene as many modern superhero movies tend to do. These reasons are why Gunn is the best writer and director that the MCU has ever had, and why I am even more excited to have him in charge of the DC universe and its characters, whom I have loved since I can remember. 

 Superman needs James Gunn but, more importantly, Superman needs his lightness and humanity back. The reason why the majority of the DCEU didn’t work is because Superman didn’t really work. As charming and likable as Henry Cavill is, the writing seemed way too focused on making the character darker and angstier to fit a modern audience, but by doing that, they nearly destroyed the core elements of Superman. 

The dark, moody tone felt forced, holding the character back from what he could truly be for the sake of being mature. I enjoyed “Man of Steel” and liked quite a bit of it, but it was disappointing seeing Superman and his world desaturated from color, killing the villain and destroying places full of innocent people to defeat said villain. That isn’t Superman to me. 

Superman isn’t about being super or cool. Superman is about being kind, loving, and honest. He is true, blue, and pure. 

His heart is as big as the world he saves, and he would never kill someone or let someone die. To say that audiences are tired of cheesy, light-hearted adventures that teach good morals is baloney! And it feels like Gunn realizes that. 

Gunn is constantly featuring tweets and posts on social media about the character and expressing his love for Superman and his humanity. I can’t tell you how excited I am for Gunn’s new film, so I won’t try. All joking aside, Superman needs to be light, colorful, moral, and above all, loving. 

If we get a Superman film that’s as fun, deep, and well crafted as the Guardians of the Galaxy films, then DC Studios will be up, up, and away with success! My only hope is that Gunn and his team look back to Richard Donner’s famous 1978 Superman film and Christopher Reeve’s performance when making their own film. You don’t need to make things dark or modern for the sake of making money.

Superman doesn’t need to be fixed or changed. He’s Superman! And because of the great news regarding Gunn and his plans for the iconic character, I am beyond happy to declare “Superman lives!”