Despite the years of unparalleled dedication to the role, Henry Cavill was simply not destined to play the red-caped crusader of hope, virtue, and morality for more than a trilogy. But while this marks the shortest reign of any actor playing the superhero on screen, be it film, television, or animation, including Brandon Routh who got to appear in two Arrowverse projects and a video game after Superman Returns, ironically enough, his exit also heralded the longest-running, most vocal and controversial era in DC history.
Now, half a year after his formal exit from the world of DC, the audience looks back at the journey of the actor from the shelves of relative anonymity to rising as one of the most popular actors and controversial on-screen heroes within the span of three radically divisive films.
Also read: Henry Cavill’s ‘Dark Superman’ in Man of Steel Was Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan’s Idea: “Create a Superman who was accessible”
Henry Cavill’s Preparation For the Role of Superman
By the time 2013 came around, Marvel had made incredible progress in terms of its CBM franchise. And so, with Zack Snyder’s interconnected and epic storytelling, the audience got a chance to connect on a more immersive scale than ever before. And true to its potential magnitude, Henry Cavill’s preparation for the role was unmatched as well.
According to reports by Looper, the actor not only maintained an extensive workout and diet regimen but also trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to stay in shape. The actor enrolled in a gym that is known to exclusively train athletes, military personnel, and the ripped cast of another of Snyder’s historical epic fiction, 300. It is also reported that the gym has no forms of audio-visual or neurotic distractions, including television, mirrors, high-end machines, or even a comfortable place to sit down, making the facility resemble a vast and empty lot with bars and weights.
Also read: “A guy who spent his whole life alone”: Henry Cavill Claimed DCEU Superman’s Past Reflected His Own Traumatizing Childhood
Speaking of his time in the workout program, Cavill claimed, “I’m training two and a half hours a day, pushing my body beyond limits – its normal limits. It’s not just a physical thing but a psychological thing as well.” The actor has also remained a vocal supporter of martial arts and its ability to enhance physical and mental strength. His frequent one-on-one lessons and sessions with ten-time Jiu-Jitsu world champion, Roger Gracie, have received quite the attention of fellow athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
The Tragedy of Henry Cavill’s Kryptonian Superhero
Henry Cavill being Superman had repercussions of a kind unmatched by any other actor’s diverse roles in Hollywood. Despite the chronic attention to the part and his utmost respect for the comic book heritage of the character that he emulated in Zack Snyder’s 2013 film, Man of Steel, Cavill fell short in terms of subtlety.
Also read: With Hollywood Full of Arrogant A-Listers, The Witcher’s Henry Cavill Said Actors Who Don’t Question Their Ability are “Completely Mad”: “It keeps you disciplined”
With Zack Snyder being obstinately experimental when it comes to epic re-enactments of well-established entities, his superheroes suffered a fate worse than martyrs. The fandom that remains famously divided even 6 years down the line, and more so now than in the years prior to the HBO Max release of Justice League Snyder’s Cut in 2021, has time and again called for the return of the actor.
The momentary wish fulfillment in 2022’s Black Adam did more harm than good for the already negative reception of Warner Bros. Discovery’s slash-and-burn approach to the studio’s projects. In the aftermath, however, the fandom that has long associated its “alliances” with the DCEU SnyderVerse did find closure in the acknowledgment of the existence of the Kryptonian somewhere within DC’s Elseworlds.
Man of Steel and its subsequent DCEU films are now available for streaming on MAX.