How do we end Superman half-month? Well, I haven’t really done fan films lately, and the only indie production I’ve done in awhile is the Lackadaisy pilot. So tonight I’m going to watch a few Superman fanfilms and critique them.
So I typed “Superman fan film” into YouTube and it showed me a bunch of different offerings. I’m going to take the first five completed films and see if they actually capture the true spirit of Superman and his friends (if they show up). Maybe we’ll even finally have a redheaded live-action Jimmy Olsen…since apparently animation has decided to stop doing it anymore if My Adventures With Superman is any indication. If Hollywood and even DC no longer seem to care about their characters maybe the fans picked up the slack. Or not. It depends on whether or not the focus is on the “super” or the “man”. I want to come for the former and stay for the latter, since Superman’s powers now are a basic power set in superherodom. Let’s see what we got.
Superman: The Golden Child by SupermanTGC
This is the oldest one on the list, having been made in 2012. I see what they were trying to do. It’s one of those stories I’ve wondered about, where they chase off the hero only to realize they actually need that hero. Oddly enough, the only time I remember a story like that was one of the annual musical stories Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood put on, set in the world of Bubbleland. Look it up sometime. However, I don’t see Superman just leaving like that, being upset that people “turned their backs” on him. He doesn’t do it for the praise, he does it because it’s the right thing to do. This story just doesn’t really capture that essence of Superman I want to see, and that’s why it doesn’t really succeed at what it’s trying to do.
Superman Awakens (Antonis Fylladitis)
This one was also in my watch later list so I was most curious when this was first on the search list. Visually it looks pretty good. I do like the shot at the end where Superman, clearly based on either pre-crisis Earth 2 Superman or the Kingdom Come timeline, was really good…and the only time we see light. In a Superman story. It’s not the voice I would have chosen for Superman but it’s not a bad soliloquy. I’m just not sure what happened. Is Lois dead? What’s with the pile of skulls and all the dead people? If this is a story about Superman’s failure and how he reacts to it, fine. I would just like to know it. Maybe the behind the scenes video by Fylladits will explain a few things to me.
So this was intended to be metaphoric? Okay, that would make more sense then. Personally I liked what I saw in some of the previs and I wouldn’t mind seeing them do something more on that vein. Like I said, it looks cool but it’s not really what I personally am looking for in a Superman fan film. I wish there were more animated versions since I think animation catches Superman’s world and powers better than anything live-action. There’s also a video about the Unreal Engine animation if you’re curious but let’s move to the next film.
Superman Meets Batman: by Kacey Baker
Superman and Batman working together? I mean, how they meet is a bit forced and kind of silly, but that’s the only thing “parody” about this film. I’m guessing using it in the description was attempting to protect himself from DC’s lawyer force. Maybe I’m missing the joke…not counting the cut rate Joker but nice bit of subterfuge in the finale. It’s not outstanding but it is really good work.
One On One: by Jake Thomas
Did it need to be tied to Superman? Probably not. It’s really more about Clark Kent coming upon someone who just needed to know that, even for a moment, someone cared about her situation, wasn’t going to force her into a choice. Nothing was really solved but sometimes that little spark can light a better flame. Remember, Superman isn’t just a set of powers. Clark Kent, the man with those powers, cares about others and we get to see him do that in his normal identity. It’s a hook to the real story of this girl’s plight but it kind of works.
Superman Classic and Bizarro Classic: by Robb Pratt
I posted these two when they came out years ago, but they’re so good I wanted to show them again. It felt the right way to end it. The animation is good, Pratt really seems to like Superman and something on this list should acknowledge that his world and powers are still cool. Plus I like the way he made Bizarro so…bizarre sounding. Hey, if it worked for David Lynch…
And I think that’s good for this year. I have to leave something for next year and future Saturday Night Showcases and weekday quickposts. It’s nice to see that there are still people who love and understand Superman. That he’s more man than super, and that they want to show off both sides of Superman in productions that show their love of Superman. If only the people doing official work at least wanted to tell good Superman stories and understood the character and his world you’d get a better showing of the character. He’s arguably the first superhero in fiction and many aspects of his costume and powers are the tropes, iconography, and even stereotype of what a superhero is. You see a cape? Superhero. What superpower would you like to have? Odds are it’s one of Superman’s, but you can also go “off the board”. Superman is instantly recognizable and we use him as the standard for superhero, while Kryptonite is the standard for any kind of weakness.
So you’ll totally see more Superman, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and others showing up on this website, and hopefully next year I’ll be able to devote a full April to Superman. He’s my favorite superhero and certainly the hero I judge other superheroes by not only by their powers, but more importantly what he or she DOES with those powers. Superman makes better people, and if nobody can relate to that, as some of his critics complain, then this world is in real danger. That’s why we need Superman, not because of what he can do, but what he inspires in us.