‘Superman’ Reversal Joins The Oscars In Capping A Great Week for Hollywood Sanity

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Viewers feared the worst from the recent Oscars ceremony, and for good reason.

The last few Academy Awards shows proved both blisteringly dull and brimming with far-Left politics. Even left-leaning viewers would be a tough sell for a three-plus hour show like that.

The downward ratings trend spoke volumes about the show’s woke transformation.

Except this time Team Oscar delivered a mostly old-school broadcast, one of several promising signs across the culture this week.

Host Jimmy Kimmel avoided partisan sniping in his monologue, keeping the focus on the films and the actors who brought them to life. Most of the speeches bubbled over with gratitude, not talking points, hearkening back to an earlier Hollywood era.

Jimmy Kimmel played it fairly straight at this years Oscars. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Clearly, somebody behind the scenes got the message that activist awards shows chase away more viewers than they attract. And it’s about time.

The show will never get the boffo ratings of yore, but this year’s telecast enjoyed a modest 12 percent increase in the ratings over 2022.

Superman To The Rescue

Meanwhile, we just learned that the upcoming Superman film will similarly restore something that made the iconic character matter. Superman fought for “truth, justice and the American way” for decades until “Superman Returns” nixed the classic phrase in 2006.

Suddenly, it became “truth, justice and all that stuff,” according to Frank Langella’s Perry White. D.C. Comics followed suit two years ago, nixing the motto for a more generic, and less patriotic, “truth, justice and a better tomorrow.”

Now, the upcoming Superman film reboot suggests that classic phrase will make a comeback.

James Gunn, who directed all three “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, is in charge of DCEU (DC Extended Universe). He’ll be bringing a younger Superman to screens nationwide, although we have few details regarding casting news or a release date. The press release announcing the project offered an interesting update on the saga.

“Superman: Legacy tells the story of Superman’s journey to reconcile his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing as Clark Kent of Smallville, Kansas. He is the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way [emphasis added], guided by human kindness in a world that sees kindness as old-fashioned.”

Not only does this restore a beloved phrase to the superhero, the preview’s tone suggests it will move away from the darker, more cynical Man of Steel we’ve seen with star Henry Cavill’s Superman to the Boy Scout portrayed by Christopher Reeve in four feature films.

Willow Won’t Be Back

The other encouraging news comes from, shockingly enough, Team Disney. The studio’s Disney+ streaming service just pulled the plug on “Willow” after just one season. The show, an update on the Ron Howard adventure from 1988, could have built upon the film’s cult status.

Instead, the saga leaned heavily into Identity Politics, introducing a major gay love story and a transgender performer in the show’s mythical realm. The emphasis on diversity wasn’t accidental, according to show producer Jonathan Kasdan.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 29: Guests attend Lucasfilm and Imagine Entertainment’s “Willow” Series Premiere in Los Angeles, California on November 29, 2022. The series debuts exclusively on Disney+ November 30, 2022. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney )

“If you look at the original Willow, by no fault of anyone, it’s not very diverse. And as we enter 2022, the world has changed, in the way we’re absorbing entertainment, and the faces we’re reflecting in entertainment have expanded enormously, and we hope the show can be growing as the world grows. Just as, frankly, the movie was.”

Jonathan Kasdan

The show’s ratings proved disastrous, and hopes for a second season are no more.

Diversity, on paper, should be applauded. But Hollywood often laser focuses on representation while overlooking strong storytelling and other vital factors in what draws a crowd. And we’ve seen too many recent projects that aggressively pushed diversity while stiff-arming fans who adored the properties in question, like Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” prequel series, “The Rings of Power.”

Three notable pop culture moments. Three signs that the industry might be finally embracing a phrase heard across social media for the past few years.

Get woke. Go broke.

Written by Christian Toto

Christian Toto is an award-winning film critic, journalist and founder of HollywoodInToto.com, the Right Take on Entertainment. He’s the author of “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul” and a lifelong Yankees fan. Toto lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, two sons and too many chickens.

Follow Christian on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HollywoodInToto

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