Superman in full battle mode

IN A  world where the superhero movie is king, the one that started the whole phenomenon has been strangely absent.

In 1978, Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve made the world believe a man could fly and Hollywood believe that comic books were box-office gold.

Before the last son of Krypton’s first big screen outing, comic books and film had an uneasy relationship, being mostly confined to kids slots on American weekend TV.

After Donner brought the Man of Tomorrow to screens, scoring a hit commercially and critically, things died down until Tim Burton’s Batman reignited the craze.

Now you can’t move during a summer for an Avenger here or a Batman there.

So, why have we been missing Supes for so long?

In 2006, Bryan Singer attempted to work some of his X-Men magic on the Metropolis Marvel and came up short, delivering Superman Returns, a worthy entry into the Donner series, but one that completely failed to make a connection with audiences.

Following the success of the Dark Knight series, it was inevitable that the blue and red would appear again on the big screens and it is no surprise that Chris Nolan, who so ably guided Batman back to the top of the zeitgeist, is producer of

Man of Steel.

What is surprising is the choice of director.

Zack Snyder is undoubtedly a supremely talented man and his achievements with Dawn of the Dead and 300 marked him out early, but his most recent film, Sucker Punch was a relative bust.

Not exactly the kind of endorsement that gets you handed the keys to a $225 million vehicle.

Still, he knocked it out of the park with Watchmen (for fans, anyway) and has done similarly here.

Dissecting the dichotomy of the Jar El/Clark Kent character, his upbringing and his allegiances to two worlds, Snyder finally gives us a Superman who feels vunerable, yet powerful.

He is aided by a stoic and impressive performance from Henry Cavill.

The actor is green, but noble enough to don the cape.

Amy Adams’s Lois Lane is harder than the Margot Kidder incarnation, but suits the world that Snyder has created.

Diane Lane and Kevin Costner are the perfect foils as Clark’s All-American parents, imbuing their son with a sense of truth, justice and the American way.

As with all good heroes, there must be a good villain.

This is where I always found Superman lack ing. His depth of bad guys is fairly shallow and Lex Luthor is never a real enough threat for me.

With Michael Shannon’s Zod, a fellow Kryptonian, Snyder has made a great move.

Physically a match for Jar El and all sharp focus and drive, Shannon’s General is a cracker.

With Superman and Batman set to join up for The Justice League within the coming years, and Snyder reportedly on board to direct, there may be some chance that DC Comics halts the Marvel juggernaut.

But first, enjoy the return of Superman.