Superman is the most iconic character that represents truth, justice and the American way. When a new actor portrays him or when a new film/television show comes out featuring the character, you are bound to find a lot of fans that will mercilessly scrutinize every single decision the creative team has made. There have been quite a few actors who portrayed Clark Kent in live action films or on TV, and each actor and creative team have their own distinctive approach to the character to keep things fresh. From the hopeful and charming, to the dark and brooding, Superman has seen it all. So fans are bound to have their favorite interpretation of the Man of Steel, and they are brutally honest about their opinion to anyone who will listen.
So if you don't have time to listen to a Superman fan's rant about by one Superman is better than another, memes are a great way to have a good chuckle at the different opinions about the portrayals of Superman that are out there. They're right to the point, they're hilarious and they tell you all that you need to know about the actors who played the Man of Steel. Here are 20 hilarious Superman movie memes.
20 YOU'LL NEVER BE AS GOOD
Jonathan Kent didn't always give the best advice in Man of Steel, the worst of which cost him his own life, but this meme is pretty brutal too. Way to kick a guy when he's down and out. Rather than try to say something uplifting to help his son and give him hope for a better future, he kicks him in the teeth by telling him he doesn't have a chance.
Every parent should raise their kid to be the best that they can be, not bring them down. But we guess perhaps maybe Jonathan is trying to protect his son from a world of disappointment: if he knows straight off the bat that he will never be a good as Christopher Reeve, maybe that will give him the confidence to be his own man.
19 SHUT UP, BRUCE!
For those of you who didn't know, before portraying Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben Affleck actually portrayed Superman or rather he played the actor George Reeves in the fictionalized biography of the actor and the events surrounding his untimely death entitled Hollywoodland. Reeves played Superman in the 1950s television show Adventures of Superman, and Affleck had a chance to put on the red and blue suit long before Henry Cavill was cast in Man of Steel.
In the meme, Bruce/Ben Affleck tells Cavill's Superman that he is indeed the real Superman and Cavill breaks down in tears. Even Affleck is getting more praise as Superman even though he wasn't technically even playing him. Poor Cavill. He really can't seem to catch a break.
18 THE BATMAN V SUPERMAN YOU DREAMED OF
We have a theory that a lot of people will always love the first iteration of a character they saw growing up above all else. For example, if you grew up watching Sean Connery, no one will ever be James Bond for you. This obviously doesn't apply for everyone but a lot of people tend to think the first to do it will always be the best. So in terms of Batman and Superman, the two actors to portray these characters in blockbusters were Michael Keaton and Christopher Reeve.
But would these two really make a good pairing on screen together if we lived in a world where they were both in their prime at the same time? It's certainly an interesting idea but it probably wouldn't make for a very good move. The tone of their solo movies were the complete opposite so they just wouldn't fit well together.
17 GEORGE REEVES IS JEALOUS, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS CHRISTOPHER
You might know George Reeves as the actor who first played Superman on TV in Adventures of Superman, but a lot of people hadn't even heard of the '50s show because it was always overshadowed by Christopher Reeve's Superman film. As a result, Reeves has an inferiority complex in this meme. But George Reeves isn't the only Superman actor that most people neglected.
Gerard Christopher seems to be really jealous that people actually know that Reeves played Superman, but the fact remains that Christopher didn't even play Superman. He played the Man of Steel before he even got the title of Superman, at the time, he was known as Superboy. The show follows Clark Kent throughout his teenage years and aired 100 episodes from 1988 to 1992. In any case, he's right. No one remembered he played Superman.
16 IN TIME THEY WILL ACCEPT YOU
Henry Cavill really got a lot of flack for his portrayal of Clark Kent/Superman. Perhaps that will change over time (hopefully after Justice League comes out), but the initial reactions to his portrayal weren't great at all. We found this meme to be both heart-felt and funny at the same time, which made it a perfect addition to this list.
It seemed fitting that he would seek counsel from the Superman before him, and we think that that is exactly what Christopher Reeve would have said, given the opportunity to do so. We also thought that it was pretty cool that it is reminiscent of something Jor-El says to his son in Man of Steel and we found it to be perfectly fitting in this context.
15 SUPER BOOTY
We love the shot on the left of Jason Momoa sneeking up on his pal Henry Cavill at a red carpet event. He has the gleeful smile of a child about to pull a prank. Unfortunately, Cavill's super booty is no match for Supergirl star Tyler Hoechlin's rump. We're not sure if he has extra padding in his Superman suit or if that thing is all natural, but in any case he can sit on the hardest surface and still feel comfortable with that thing.
Also do we detect a jab at the DCEU? It seems as though this meme is also trying to tell us that DC's efforts on television are far superior to those in at the movies. The shows are certainly a lot more lighthearted, but does that make them better? You be the judge.
14 KEANU'S THEORY
Keanu's stupid expression taken from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure perfectly complements the text in this meme, but it asks an interesting question, one that we touched on earlier in this list: are we as consumers biased in our love of a particular iteration of a character, because we grew up watching that version and we have a sentimental attachment to it? Is it possible to divorce oneself from those sweet childhood memories and look at the media text objectively.
What if Christopher Reeve actually didn't make very good Superman movies? Most people would agree that Superman III and Superman IV: A Quest for Peace were horrible cash-grabs that most people would like to forget, but could it be that the first two movies weren't that great either?
We have always had an issue with this: no one has ever been fully content with a Superman film since Christopher Reeve. When Superman Returns came out in 2006, Brandon Routh and the film as a whole were criticized because people found that they were trying to recapture the spark of Christopher Reeve's Superman. The film was not original enough because it was trying too much to pay homage to Reeve.
Conversely, Henry Cavill received the opposite criticism. Critics said he was nothing like Reeve and that is why the series hasn't received the best reviews. Alright Cavill, it seems as though in order for you to please the critics, you'll have to act like Reeve's Superman, but not too much. There's a fine line there, but we're not sure how he can do a good job in their eyes given the tough task he's been handed.
12 THE UNDERWEAR
According to this meme, it only took 35 years for Superman to learn that you're supposed to wear your underwear on the inside of your pants. This is true on film, but if we include Superman's TV appearances, then he started wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants in the early '50s when George Reeves played him.
That means it has taken Superman over 60 years in mainstream media to realize something four-year olds know. Granted, it's not his fault since that's how a lot of superhero characters were drawn at the time. The red underwear added a pop of color to his costume. But the fact remains that Superman is to this day often portrayed with underwear in comics and in mainstream media.
11 HAVE COMPASSION!
A lot of people were shocked that Superman actually resorted to killing General Zod at the end of Man of Steel. They couldn't believe Superman would break that law. As a result, they blamed Henry Cavill. They said his Superman was too dark and twisted and it didn't reflect the comic books in the slightest. Did they forget what Christopher Reeve's Superman did?
He, along with Lois Lane, did a lot more damage to Zod and his cronies in Superman II and managed to smile about it afterwards. Meanwhile, Cavill's Superman was incredibly tortured by his decision to kill Zod, but it was the only option he saw fit at that point or he would have murdered countless more innocent people. We would have preferred if he took out Zod a little sooner, but who are we to complain? It's not like we could have stopped Zod ourselves.
10 CAVILL V REEVE
This meme depicts an argument between Henry Cavill and Christopher Reeve, each trying to point out how they are the better Superman. Based on their arguments, we would definitely declare Reeve the winner since he didn't pull any punches. The most gripping part of this meme is were Reeve tells Cavill, "I'll always be the real Superman. You're just another guy in a costume" and "Everyone will forget about you in a week." Ouch. Who would have thought he could be so ruthless about it.
The meme makes a few great points, including the ridiculousness of Reeve's Superman wearing his underwear on the outside of his costume and the fact that fans always have a special spot in their heart for the original actor to play an iconic role.
9 REEVE SHOULD SMILE MORE
This meme gets a kick out of the fact that a lot of Superman fans found that Henry Cavill's portrayal of the character in Man of Steel lacked the happy-go-lucky, good-natured charm of Christopher Reeve. This opinion was only reinforced when Batman v Superman came out and Cavill's facial expression is predominantly a scowl.
Since Christopher Reeve is normally considered to have the opposite personality, the person who created this meme scoured the Internet in search of a picture of him frowning to make it look that he was always in a foul mood in his movies, while Cavill always had a smile on his face. The one time Reeve frowned and the Internet used it against him! It really is a very clever meme.
8 JUST CAUSE YOU CAN DO IT
Let this be a lesson to anyone in Hollywood. You may have all the means in the world to do whatever you want on film, but that doesn't mean you should. For anyone who has no idea why there is a picture of Nicolas Cage's stoned in a shiny Superman costume, we highly recommend you watch The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened? which tells the story of the ill-fated Tim Burton Superman project that went through years of pre-production and was ultimately shelved.
The concepts for the film were extremely bizarre, as the script included an epic battle with a giant spider. Although, who knows? The film might have turned out to be very interesting, but can you really picture Nicolas Cage as Superman?
7 LEX LUTHOR
Before Jesse Eisenberg was cast as Lex Luthor, a fan favorite for the role was Bryan Cranston. For many, he seemed like the perfect actor for the job. He has just completed his work on Breaking Bad where he played the chemistry teacher turned drug lord Walter White. The rumor mill made many believe that he would definitely be cast, so when Eisenberg was chosen for the role it came as quite a shock to a lot of Superman fans.
People were rightfully worried that this was a terribly casting decision. When his debut as the character in Batman v Superman came to theatres, their worst fears came true. He was a terrible fit for the role. Unlike all the actors who played Lex before him, Eisenberg's performance was completely out there and was in no way what you would come to expect from Lex.
6 HIPSTER REEVE
Christopher Reeve is the original hipster, long before Pitchfork was founded and decided that it dictated the latest hipstery trend. To be fair, the meme is entirely correct, Superman was the first time a superhero became a huge blockbuster movie. This was a decade before Tim Burton's Batman and way before superheroes became the bread and butter of the entertainment industry in the last 10 years.
Superman came out in 1978, and it took the film industry decades to catch up to that initial spark of brilliance. Reeve was indeed a superhero before it was cool to be one, and he wore his costume with pride. It is hard to say where the comic book industry would it not have been for that revolutionary film, but it certainly had a huge impact that is still felt to this day.
5 REBIRTH OF A LEGEND
For anyone who grew up watching Superman or reading the comic books, this meme rings particularly true. Superman isn't just a hero; he's a legend. And it is important for those to take on the difficult task of rebooting Superman to not take the challenge lightly. This isn't like if you were to screw up another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Sure, people will complain about it and say it was bad, but with Superman it's an entirely different level of fandom you're dealing with. The challenge comes from the fact that no one wants to see the same thing twice, but they also don't want to see something so out-there that it is no longer relevant to the source material. It's a difficult job to navigate but we wish all those to go down that path well.
4 JOIN YOU IN THE GYM
A lot has been said about Henry Cavill's ridiculous body transformation when he took on the role of Superman. He literally looks like comic book art. We would normally argue that the art is so unrealistic that no actor could ever achieve that level of fitness but we were proven wrong. Although Tyler Hoechlin is certainly in good shape, he comes nothing close to Henry Cavill.
If you compare Hoechlin to any regular guy, you would acknowledge that he definitely has a solid enough physique to play Superman, but Henry Cavill blows him out of the water. He looks like he could give up acting and start competing in bodybuilding competitions. Sure, Cavill's Superman suit has more defined muscle lines than Hoechlin's but he doesn't even need them!
3 THE FACES OF SUPERMAN
We absolutely love this meme. It plays off the criticism of Henry Cavill's Superman that he's too dark and brooding to play the character and it pits him against Tyler Hoechlin's take on the character. The meme looks at three aspects of Superman's personality: his heroism, his charm and his humor and displays how each actor portrays that aspect.
First we have heroism and both actors do a fine job of looking tough. Next, we have charm. Hoechlin proves a soft smile while the exact same image of stern-faced Cavill is used, albeit slightly zoomed in. Finally we have humor. Hoechlin shows off his comedic chops while Cavill glares once again in the exact same image. That is what we would call great emotional range.
Did you know Ben Affleck's Batman is a huge fan of Drake's "Hotline Bling"? There have been countless memes of Drake in the music video for this song where he rejects one image but he approves of another. In this meme, Drake's face is replaced by Batfleck's. Batfleck coldly rejects Tyler Hoechlin's Superman while he warmly approves of Cavill's.
The reality is that Batfleck needs Cavill for his Justice League so it makes sense that he would approve of him far more than he would Hoechlin. He's kind of stuck with the guy so that could be why he disses Hoechlin. Does that mean he also approves of the creative decisions made with the character? Maybe not. In any case, it would be really funny to see the "Hotline Bling" video with Ben Affleck's Batman head on Drake's body.
1 WE COULD ALWAYS GO BACK TO THIS
This meme is a fair warning to people who love to argue about who is the better Superman. You may have it all figured out as to why your pick is the best Superman out there. Everyone else is wrong and you ignore all their arguments because you know you are right. Well everyone is entitled to their opinion.
However, we can probably all agree that both Henry Cavill and Tyler Hoechlin made way better Supermans than Nicolas Cage ever could. Although we've never seen him in character, we've seen him in enough movies to know that his acting style most likely wouldn't suit the man of steel. We may all disagree about who the best Superman is, but at least we can agree that Cage and Tim Burton's project would have been completely bonkers (although we all would have watched it anyways).
Which of these memes is the funniest to you? Let us know in the comments!