The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Why The World Needs Superman

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 27, 2006 12:56PM

2006_06_superman.jpgIf you’re a regular reader of this site (thanks, Dad!), you’ll know that Chicagoist is really looking forward to Superman Returns. But more than one commenter has challenged our enthusiasm for what will surely be the definitive movie blockbuster of the summer of 2006. We understand that kind of skepticism.

After all, isn’t this really just another attempt at creating yet another big media superhero franchise (one whose last outing brought us Jon Cryer and Bizarro Fabio as villains)? And really: what does Superman have to offer us anymore? The last five years have shown us that the world is far from black and white so what is there to learn from a big blue Boy Scout? Plus, he’s not even from around here. He’s a transplant! And everyone knows that Batman’s cooler because he’s not invulnerable and blah blah blah.

Guess what? We need Superman. We need Superman more than ever.

Maybe we don’t need a Superman movie, per se. But we need what Superman represents. He represents the potential in each and every person to take their own unique gifts—whether you’ve worked your whole life to attain them or been lucky enough to have them since you first started playing underneath a yellow sun—and make the most of them. Sure, maybe your parents died in a tragic planetary explosion and certain kinds of green jewelry make you a little nauseous. But does that mean you don’t leap a tall building when necessary?

Superman is also about making the best possible choice between what you can do and what you should do. For instance, you can bulldoze an airport and put in a park, but should you? He symbolizes the might this city or this country can wield when it chooses, and how best to use it. Is it better to favor containment to end a war before it starts or to approach a battle with a “dead or alive” mentality? Sun Tzu would favor the former and frankly, you never saw Superman kill Lex Luthor and that’s a good enough answer for us.

We might wear our love for the big S on our sleeve but you’ll have a hard time convincing us that the world wouldn’t be a better place if more people asked What Would Superman Do?

For a refresher, you can catch late night screenings tonight before the movie opens wide tomorrow at AMC River East, 600 N. Michigan, the Kerasotes City North on Western (formerly the AMC City North), ICE Theatres and other theaters around the city. And if you’re taking a road trip this summer, we recommend stopping at the more-kitschy-than-classy Superman museum in Metropolis, IL (which actually predates the comic).