Not only is Superman flying back to the big screen, he’s doing so under the watchful eye of “The Dark Knight” filmmaker Christopher Nolan. With Nolan’s sensibilities guiding the film’s tone, you can bet that this is going to be a more mature — though not necessarily dark — “Superman” movie.
As the rights to the character’s Kryptonian origins are currently in murky legal waters, I think it’s best if the next movie dives directly into the Man of Steel’s status as an established hero. Personally, I’d love to see Superman in his late 30s, a seasoned veteran at the superhero game. That’s not to everybody’s taste, of course, so I’m keeping an open mind towards younger actors as well.
There’s no question that Superman is a difficult role to cast, but these five actors — two older, two younger and one familiar — could make you believe a man can fly.
JOHN BARROWMAN: Without a doubt, John Barrowman has the perfect look and charisma for the Man of Steel — assuming the role goes to an older actor, of course. At 42, Barrowman’s cutting it a little bit close when it comes to donning the hero’s blue and red tights, but I think it’s forgivable considering how perfectly suited he is for the character otherwise. Frankly, I think he’d be an even better Superman than Captain America, though he’d be great at both.
MATTHEW BOMER: Back when Brett Ratner was attached to direct a “Superman” film, Matthew Bomer was tapped as the Last Son of Krypton. And while Ratner’s been the target of much fanboy ire lately, he had good reason to pick Bomer — he’s got the right look and enough anonymity that he wouldn’t be distracting as Superman. If that’s something that Nolan and his eventual team are valuing, then Bomer deserves another shot.
HENRY CAVILL: Another former contender for Superman, back when McG was at the helm, was actor Henry Cavill. Several years have passed since Cavill missed out on the role — and he’s done a whole lot of growing up, as seen in his portrayal of Charles Brandon on “The Tudors,” a character that balances nobility with a willingness to get the job done. Just a few years shy of 30, perhaps now is the right time for Cavill to come back to Superman.
JON HAMM: A few months ago, Kevin Smith endorsed “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm as both Batman and Superman. I couldn’t agree more. Hamm would work equally well as either character for very different reasons, but there’s a charm and even a somewhat nerdy side to the actor that makes him perfect for Clark Kent. Of course, he’s also got the brawn to back it up as the Man of Steel. If Nolan and the powers that be are looking for a seasoned Superman, Hamm is the guy.
BRANDON ROUTH: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While “Superman Returns” clearly had its flaws, Brandon Routh was not one of them. Rebooting a series while hanging onto the same leading actor isn’t an enviable task, but in the case of Routh, it’s worth trying to figure it out. He got a raw deal in that he was asked to take over Christopher Reeve’s version of the character, but given enough of a wingspan, I think that Routh could put his own unique stamp on the Man of Steel.