Tonight I’m doing something I never do. I’m going to a midnight movie premier, for Man of Steel. I’m no night owl, so this ought to be an adventure. But Superman has always been important to me.
It seems ridiculous, having such devotion to a fictional superhero. But to be honest, the Man of Steel came into my life at a time when I really needed a superhero, even if he was from a world of make-believe.
It started in 1978, the first time I was hospitalized with a mystery disease that robbed me of a lot of blood and strength. Back then, Crohn’s Disease was still a rare thing, and the doctors were feeling their way around in the dark when it came to treatment. I spent six weeks in a hospital bed, and the TV was my only solace. That’s when I discovered the Superman series from the 1950s. I got lost in the images of the man in red, white and yellow, outrunning trains and speeding bullets.
When I got out of the hospital that December, Superman: The Movie had just come out, and we went to see it. I was hooked. I identified with the hero’s feelings of being a misfit, trying to fit in somewhere. I’ve since watched that movie thousands of times.
Right after my third six-week hospital stay, Superman II came out. I saw it opening day. I saw all the Superman films that followed. Some were pretty terrible, but I didn’t care. By then, I was hooked.
We’re often taught that it’s silly to spend too much time buried in fantasy. But if the fantasy gets you through difficult times, I say so be it.
This new movie is supposed to be a radical departure from the Superman stories we’ve grown familiar with. It’s supposed to be darker, edgier. Sounds like a fun couple of hours to me.
The Man of Steel has always been there in my time of need. Seeing his latest movie at midnight is the least I could do to return the favor.