, Port Arthur, Texas

June 14, 2013

It's a bird — it's a plane — it's...

Summer blockbuster has fans in a frenzy

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

NEDERLAND — Today, Superman returns.

No, not the much-maligned 2006 film that landed Kate Bosworth a Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actress. “Man of Steel” — directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill as the emblematic man in tights — promises a grittier take on “truth, justice and the American way” that has Southeast Texas comic book aficionados buzzing.

Some, like Nicki Michalski, are hopeful but guarded.

“The last attempt was a major disappointment, and we are concerned that we will be let down again,” said Michalski, assistant professor of communications at Lamar University in Beaumont and self-proclaimed pop culture junkie. “However, this looks like it will be interesting at the very least.”

Snyder appears to have given the eponymous Man of Steel a complete psychological makeover, something that Michalski called “a two-edged sword.”

“We want him to be stalwart and upstanding,” she said. “If they make him too dark, the fans will probably reject it. Darkness is the territory of Batman.”

This hasn’t dissuaded Noah Perryman, a lifelong comic book fan who has single-handedly cultivated the extensive graphic novel section at the Marion & Ed Hughes Public Library, 2712 Nederland Avenue, where he has worked for the past eight years. It took only two words to convince him of the film’s credibility: Christopher Nolan. Nolan, behind blockbusters such as the recent “Batman” reboot and the mind-bending “Inception,” produced “Man of Steel.”

“Look at his track record,” said Perryman, 26. “If he says this is good, it is.”

After the first teaser trailer for the movie premiered, Perryman was unenthused. After seeing several more trailers, he says, his outlook shifted — especially since the trailers barely scratch the film’s surface.

“All the trailers that they're showing is not even half of the good stuff,” Perryman said. “We think we've seen all the great stuff already in the trailers, but I've heard otherwise.”

Even though Dickinson Theater at Central Mall offered a special 7 p.m. showing of the film on Thursday, Perryman still opted for the midnight premiere.

“That's when you get to be with the die-hard fans just like you that are willing to wait until exactly midnight,” he said. “That's some serious dedication.”

For those unwilling to sacrifice sleep — like Molli Hall — the Marion & Ed Hughes Library is hosting a celebration today at 2 p.m. The event begins with a photo booth for pictures and superhero-themed crafts, concluding with the extended version of the 1978 “Superman” starring Christopher Reeve. At 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, the library will screen “Superman Returns.”

“We're trying to show the different creations of Superman in movies throughout the years,” said Hall, a library assistant. “These kids are going to know Superman like this, whereas Christopher Reeve — he's my Superman.”

Hall said that it is Superman’s “Everyman” quality that keeps patrons flocking to theaters and comic book stands.

“He wasn't big and green like the Hulk, he wasn't a god like Thor,” she said. “He could have been anybody.”


Twitter: @ErinnPA