The Man of Steel Appears Quite Steely

Yesterday we got our first look at Henry Cavil as Superman, even though Man of Steel isn’t due to hit the theaters until 2013. Here he is — and do please click to embiggen.

My instant reaction was: Great Superman, iffy costume. But I wanted to take a full day to let it soak in before making up my mind. And after 24 hours, my take is: Great Superman, iffy costume.

Cavil really looks like old-school Supes, the hypermasculine comic book character of the ’30s and ’40s, and that’s a big plus. And his pose amid the twisted steel demonstrates the title perfectly. The darker colors are an appropriate decision, too. With Zack Snyder (300, Sucker Punch, Watchmen) directing, Christopher Reeve and primary colors just wouldn’t, well, suit.

That said, what’s with the all texture? Did Superman’s mom make his suit out of actual shark skin? Ever since X-Men and Spider-Man, Hollywood has gone overboard, trying to make live-action superheroes look like oversized action figures. Something more than ’70s Spandex would be nice — but too much really is too much.

But it’s the casting that has me really excited. Look at this list of who’s who:

The film also stars three-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams as Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane, and Oscar nominee Laurence Fishburne as her editor-in-chief, Perry White. Clark Kent’s adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent are Oscar nominee Diane Lane and Academy Award winner Kevin Coster [sic].

Lane and Coster as Ma and Pa Kent? Fantastic! That much better casting than Sally Fields as the new Aunt May in next year’s totally-unnecessary Spider-Man reboot. Amy Adams will give Lois the spunk Kate Bosworth lacked in 2006’s Superman Returns, and Fishburne as Perry White is an inspired choice.

But it gets even better. Read on:

Battling against the superhero are two other surviving Kryptonians, the villainous General Zod, played by Oscar nominee Michael Shannon, and Faora, Zod’s evil partner, played by Antje Traue. There is also Superman’s native Krypton, Lara Lor-Van, Superman’s mother, played by Julia Ormond, and Superman’s father, Jor-El, portrayed by Academy Award winner Russell Crowe.

Orman? Crowe? Sign me up! Harry Lennix — who I first got to know as Aaron in Julie Taymor’s wonderfully over-the-top production of Shakespeare’s Titus — has a role as a U.S. military man. Perhaps most encouraging, is that Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan is one of the producers.

To me, Chris Reeve will always be the movie Superman. But Man of Steel looks to have all the right pieces in place for a new and daring take on the original superhero franchise.

I can’t wait. How about you?