So, let me get this straight…in Superman Returns, people complained that Superman didn’t do any kind sort of fighting or display any powers (save for that initial airplane scene). Then Man of Steel comes around with a bombastic third act and there was too much power and fighting for a Superman movie? Guess you can’t please everybody! Speaking of untold destruction and criticism, Henry Cavill recently sat down with Entertainment Weekly and answered a few questions about the role. Specifically, Henry Cavill spoke on the level of carnage witnessed in Man of Steel and what kind of repercussions and outcomes one may have been able to expect from that.
When asked if the Man of Steel is suffering from some form of survivor’s guilt, Henry Cavill replied, “I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a survivor’s guilt. I mean, that’s a different kind of thing because he’s above the threat. I think the most difficult thing for him at this stage of the story is that he has just come to terms with the fact that he is really, really quite powerful and he hasn’t found any major vulnerabilities yet, and despite this, despite the enormous power that he has, he still cannot do everything, and he really struggles with that. It’s not just a quick, ‘Okay, I get it. I can’t save everyone.’ That takes a long time to work out.” I guess Uncle Ben was right, eh? With great power comes great responsibility! Wait, that might be a different universe…
The Man of Steel continued, bringing up how fans were upset that Superman allowed that kind of unabated destruction to occur and how that then became part of the plot. “I think that may have been part of the master plan all along. When it comes to the major story stuff I can’t really speak on that, because that was above my paygrade. What I can speak of is the idea of Superman, especially when the finger is pointed at collateral damage in the first movie. I mean, we’re talking about a greenhorn.” He then added how he would respond differently, “Let’s say now, [if] Superman has the same threat again, that’s a different story. He would, of course, bring collateral damage to an absolute minimum, but in that, he’s just trying to survive because if he doesn’t, the planet’s gone. That’s the excuse I make for Superman. He’s fresh and he’s new, and it’s very easy to point out the faults in someone after they’ve done it, but put yourself in their shoes and see what happens.
Finally, Henry Cavill spoke directly about impressing fans, “I mean, it’s going to be impossible to please everyone anyway, but I think there is huge potential to provide Superman with the weakness that people crave in the future and expand upon story stuff without offending the lore of Superman. It’s a fine line to tread because we’re in a different age now, but I think we can tell a fascinating, interesting story where Superman has his weaknesses and is also doing the thing which we expect Superman to do. He’s being the ideal. It shouldn’t be easy to tell the story of Superman.”