Next week sees the much anticipated release of Man of Steel, the Superman reboot which, alongside Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, is trying to put DC Comics back on the Hollywood hotspot. More than competing with Iron Man 3 at the box office though, 21st Century Superman Henry Cavill also has something of a more personal battle ahead of him, competing with 20th Century Superman Christopher Reeve. An actor who to many film viewers is Superman. From his first appearance as the last son of Krypton in 1978, Christopher Reeve became a household name with connotations of strength and heroism. In later life the 6 ft 4 star was confined to a wheelchair, but was still known for his smile, charm, and enthusiasm for life. Despite his unfortunate death at the age of 52 back in 2004, the names of Christopher Reeve and Superman are still so intertwined that many have difficulty separating the two. Here are just five reasons that show why Henry Cavill will have a hard time hitting the benchmark left by Reeve.
5. TypecastingDC and Warner Bros. made four Batman films in the 1980s and 90s, featuring not only three different actors playing the Caped Crusader, but two different directors showcasing their various takes on Gotham City; Tim Burton's was unsurprisingly dark and gothic, while Joel Schumacher increasingly took his inspiration from the camp 1960s TV series. The four Superman films on the other hand, despite having three different directors (as well as disputes between Richards Donner and Lester), shared a fairly consistent vision. You also have to go back to 1951 for a cinematic appearance that wasn't played by either Reeve or Brandon Routh, who took the lead role in the swing and a miss sequel, Superman Returns. This also fits in nicely with the fact that despite appearing in films such as Remains of the Day and John Carpenter's Village of the Damned, Christopher Reeve's non-Superman appearances aren't the most well known. As an actor Reeve chose his roles carefully and only went for those he considered he was right for. Despite Superman bringing him offers of other action films, he would later write in his autobiography that "I found most of the scripts of that genre poorly constructed, and I felt the starring roles could easily be played by anyone with a strong physique." In fact he turned down a number of lead roles in films that are now considered cult classics, including The Running Man, Pretty Woman, and Lethal Weapon. Not really a term that every actor is pleased to be associated with, typecasting is one that here is nonetheless accurate, but which is still low down on the list of reasons that to many people, Superman is Christopher Reeve.