There are few celebrities whose deaths I have actually cried over. It started with Frank Sinatra when I was 6, and then the next celebrity I actually cried over was Christopher Reeve, who died in 2004. As someone who loved Superman as a character for as long as I can remember, Reeve embodied the cape so completely, and that’s because I truly believe he understood what Superman stood for and why he was such an icon.
In an interview, Reeve talked about the world at large and why people, in general, turned to Clark Kent as their beacon of hope and guidance:
For #SupermanDay last year, we shared this clip of Christopher Reeve speaking on why Superman resonates with audiences around the world.
In 2020, his words ring truer than ever before so we would like to share it once more. pic.twitter.com/qHUZtpYcSy
— ComicBook Debate (@ComicBookDebate) June 12, 2020
What’s interesting about the interview (other than the fact that it is still relevant to us over 30 years later) is that Reeve wrote the line about the Earth, and it is an important aspect of Superman’s character. He wanted us to see the world he did, as one.
The thing that I’m most passionate about is not so much the nuclear issue as a way about looking at the world that Superman represents. In fact he says at the end of the movie (and a line that I wrote) … he says, ‘I just wish you could all see the Earth the way that I see it. Cause when you really look at it, it’s just one world.’
Christopher Reeve said this back in the ’80s. Let that sink in. The world has been torn apart by racism, sexism, all kinds of bigotry, selfishness, and control for so long that an actor talking about Superman back in the ’80s was pointing out those same divisions we’re still dealing with now, and that the world is worse off for them. (Although, it’s worth noting that “Why can’t we all just get along?” sentiments are misplaced when they’re used to silence those fighting for the more privileged among us to heal these divides.)
It’s part of the reason why I do want a good Superman movie to be made now, because I honestly think we need it. And while I didn’t hate Man of Steel, I don’t want that dark Superman crap. That’s not what he represents. He’s our figure of hope, and right now, that’s what we actually need.
It also brings up the fact that superheroes are important to us because they make us look for the best of humanity. Granted, it’s a little sad we have to look for that, but the fact remains. Heroes are there to make us look at the best parts of us and want to make them even greater. It’s why characters like Superman and Spider-Man are so ingrained in our cultural zeitgeist, because they stand for hope and determination to do the right thing.
It’s sad that it’s over 30 years later and we’re still finding guidance and hope in Reeve’s words, but he’s right. We’re all part of one world, and it would be a better place if selfish people would start acting like it, and coming together to take care of that world and each other.
(image: Warner Bros.)
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