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'Man of Steel' offers a new generation its own, brooding, Superman (+video)

To each American generation, its Superman. But will audiences get what they need from another spandex-clad, costumed, immigrant superhero in this summer's 'Man of Steel'?

'Man of Steel' co-stars remember 1978 'Superman' film
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As the new Superman movie “Man of Steel” prepares to land in theaters this weekend, it’s easy to wonder if, indeed, audiences really need yet another spandex-clad, costumed superhero in a big budget summer movie.

But, as fans and pop culture pundits are quick to point out, Clark Kent and his nearly invincible alter-ego are the first, the biggest, the granddaddy of superheroes – and one that retains an enduring appeal for each generation.

The character's basic story doesn't change over time, says Brad Ricca, author of “Super Boys,” in an e-mail, “but its place in our collective cultural mindset does.”


Studios understand the need to freshen up a franchise, points out Ricca, who teaches at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. "There is a kind of dark marketing origin to these endless new versions of Superman," he acknowledges, but "the end result is that each new generation gets a new version that they can claim as theirs.”


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