Comics Reviews

Action Comics Writer Explains the Problem With Henry Cavill’s Superman


Action Comics writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson explains why he prefers Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Superman to Henry Cavill’s version of the hero.

Action Comics writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson recently explained why he’s not a fan of Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Superman, and why he prefers Christopher Reeve’s take on the Man of Steel.

“I have such a clear vision of who Superman is,” Johnson revealed during a panel at New York Comic Con 2021 attended by CBR. “And often, you know, obviously other writers have their versions in their heads too and sometimes I’ll see a version of Superman that doesn’t — when he does something that’s not what he would do, I just kind of, in my headcanon it becomes fan fiction like ‘No, this is not how this would go.'”


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The comics writer further explained what his vision of the superhero character is, noting, “I guess it’s very similar to the Christopher Reeve voice, and listening to Christopher Reeve, but, but more like hulked out physically and in the context of these big, epic scenarios but I just love that.”

“That version of Superman that he was where he just, there’s no, like when he smiles, it’s like there’s no ego in it, there’s no haughtiness, it’s just like, ‘I’m your friend, I’m going to help you,'” Johnson continued. “You know, like just like when he’s when he catches her in the helicopter and you’ve got to use that, he kind of smiles like everything’s good.”

Reeve made his debut at Clark Kent/Superman in 1978’s Superman, following a two-year search for Hollywood’s Man of Steel. He reprised the role in Superman II (1980), Superman III (1983) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. In contrast to Reeve’s Superman, Johnson suggested that Cavill’s version of Superman is too conflicted and unsure of himself to make a solid hero.

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“I don’t mean like physically or his acting or even that — but just the approach of the Man of Steel film in which he’s kind of searching for himself and you might see him make a mistake or he gets opportunities to help and he might not do it right away or he’s conflicted, you know, like they like seeing a more relatable Superman and that’s not what I like at all,” the writer concluded. “I want to see, I want [a] Superman that shows us the way and shows how we’re supposed to be, that’s the best of us always.”

Henry Cavill first appeared as Kent/Superman in 2013’s Man of Steel. He reprised the role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Justice League (2017) and Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021). The Snyder Cut of Justice League is streaming now on HBO Max.

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Source: New York Comic Con

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