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Superman: Reeve Vs Cavill

Updated on June 25, 2020

Superman: Reeve Vs. Cavill

Superman is considered to be one of the most admired superheroes of all time. But among the fans of Superman, there has always been a debate as to which actor justified the persona of the character better. Well, my choice narrows down to two of them; Christopher Reeve & Henry Cavill.

In one online survey conducted by a well-known comic website, Henry Cavill’s Superman got 62% votes over 38% of Christopher Reeve out 5,600 votes cast. But that does not reflect my opinion about the two. Let's see who wins here. We have a poll at the end of the article in which you can take part & let us know who is your favorite.

Superman is considered to be the God of all Superheroes; regardless of their franchises. He is the one to define the kind of image, the powers, the wisdom & the facade a superhero must possess. Ever since its origin in a comic book, the character was an instant hit among its audience; & so several attempts have been made to portray the character on-screen which not only keeps up with the expectations of its audience but also justifies the magnitude of the character itself; whether it be a TV Series, Animated Series or even a movie. However, a series of Superman also ran on Radio from 1940 till 1951.

For the on-screen lead role, the chain started from Kirk Alyn who played Superman in two serials in the 1940s followed by George Reeves (Not related to Christopher Reeve) in 1952. But the first colored & more advanced version, premiered in 1978, simply named “Superman”, was played by Christopher Reeve. In 2013 Henry Cavill appeared as Superman in the movie named “Man of Steel”. In between Reeve & Cavill, several other actors made their attempts to be just as successful; but failed. Here is the list of all the live-action actors who played Superman:

  • Kirk Alyn (1948-1950)
  • George Reeves (1951-1958)
  • Christopher Reeve (1978-1987)
  • John Haymes Newton (1988)
  • Gerard Christopher (1989-1991)
  • Dean Cain (1993-1997)
  • Tom Welling (2001-2011)
  • Brandon Routh (2006)
  • Henry Cavill (2013- As of Now)

From a viewer's point of view, & this might sound a little stupid, but I believe one needs a certain type of face cut & physique to play Superman. A well gelled Hair, blue eyeballs, edgy face cut & a muscular body is what a perfect Superman is all about. Both my favorites possess these qualities.

So I was about the age of 5 or 6 years when my dad brought me these VHS cassettes of Superman (1978) & Superman II (1980) played by Christopher Reeve, Directed by Alexander & Ilya Salkind. When I first saw the movies I was instantly in love with the character. So much so, that I used to tie a Red Scarf (a dupatta in Pakistani Culture) of my mom around my neck & play Superman with my elder brother; which would usually end up me hurting myself because I thought once you have that Red Cape around your neck you can actually fly. The funniest thing is I try to hold my tears of pain because as you know Superman is strong & doesn’t feel pain. I didn’t have red underwear back then otherwise God knows I might have an embarrassing childhood picture of me wearing it over my blue pair of pants. So that is how deep those movies are engraved on my mind.

It was recently that I realized that both the movies were shot & released years before even I was born. It was because the cinematography & the technology used were so modern, or allow me to say; so ahead of its time that it made me believe that the movies were just released (in the late 1980s or early 1990s).

It was also recently that I happen to watch the other two sequels of Superman played by Reeve named Superman III (1983) & Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) & I must say I was disappointed. I think the other two sequels were overdone. Although Christopher Reeve was only 35 years of age when he played Superman IV but I don’t know what made him look older than that on-screen. Also, the plot, the screenplay & the story was just so boring that I slept during both the movies which is so not me when it comes to watching movies. Thankfully I watched Henry Cavill’s “The Man Of Steel” before these two parts or else there would be no “Man Of Steel” for me.

Oh by the way there was one more Superman of 2006, Brandon Routh in Superman Returns that I happen to watch. But we can skip that. And rightly so!

So it’s time to talk about my next favorite Superman & that is Henry Cavill. Honestly, when the news first came to me about this new Superman movie “Man of Steel” & my friends told me that a new guy is playing the superhero I was not very hopeful or you can say excited about it. Only because in my mind Christopher Reeve was so well imprinted as a Superman that I thought no one could ever fill his shoes. But I must say Cavill has made me confused & surprised at the same time.

His entire personality is equally suitable for Superman as Reeve’s; some might disagree. Although I think that the backing of a strong franchise & modern CGI technology favors Henry Cavill but one cannot ignore his acting abilities. After watching other movies of Cavill like “Man from U.N.C.L.E” & “Mission Impossible: Fallout” I realized how well he has molded his acting skills for a character like Superman. So I must say that Henry Cavill is the reason that I have not lost my confidence & interest in Superman; yet. “Batman Vs Superman” & “Justice League” are just as good as “Man of Steel”. But Superman fans like me want to see more of Cavill wearing the Red Cape.

One more thing I like about Henry Cavill is that he got rid of that red underwear.

So the conclusion is, for me Reeve being my childhood Superman & Cavill being the modern & sophisticated version of that are equally good & as they say in the movie “The ‘Amazing’ can only be created by facing fear, risk, and failure during the process”. So let’s see what comes next!


You can also take part in the poll below to let us know who is your favorite Superman? Christopher Reeve or Henry Cavill? If your answer is "None of the Above" you can also comment with your choice.

Superman: Christopher Reeve Vs. Henry Cavill

Who is your favorite Superman?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Owais Naseem

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