Henry Cavill Is A Real-Life Superhero In A Movie Streaming On Netflix

Henry Cavill stars as an Iraq War veteran in Sand Castle.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

henry cavill

Henry Cavill became a household name for his work as Superman in DC Comics adaptations. But some of his best performances come by way of roles in smaller movies that may have slipped by mainstream audiences. The most prominent was his portrayal of Captain Syverson, a veteran Special Forces operative, who gradually becomes aware of his irrelevance after the Iraq War in Sand Castle, currently streaming on Netflix.

Sand Castle is directed by Fernando Coimbra from a script by Chris Roessner. The plot is inspired by Roessner’s personal experience as a soldier in the Iraq War. Along with Henry Cavill, the film stars Nicholas Hoult, Logan Marshall-Green, Tommy Flanagan, Glen Powell, Beau Knapp, and Neil Brown Jr. The story follows the aftermath of 9/11 and explores the perspective of Private Matt Ocre (Hoult).

As a young recruit, Orce senses that his service isn’t worthy of any accolades. Afraid of what another decade overseas may do to his mental state, he attempts to injure himself as a means of being sent home with an honorable discharge. But he fails and is later introduced to Syverson (Henry Cavill), a battle-weary career man who is now stuck leading humanitarian efforts.

henry cavill

As Syverson, Henry Cavill can embody the anxieties that Ocre has been dealing with. Since the 39-year-old usually portrays characters who take on their duties with bravery, it’s interesting to see him as the antithesis. Syverson’s optimism is non-existent. But while he knows his work won’t receive any acclaim, he knows that it is important.

For fans who didn’t enjoy Henry Cavill’s brooding performance as Clark Kent, this portrayal works brilliantly in Sand Castle. While several attempts have been made to recapture R. Lee Ermey’s iconic role in Full Metal Jacket, the British star adds a refreshing twist to a sergeant welcoming recruits. He doesn’t offer inspirational speeches and seems haunted by his own experience.

Henry Cavill also embodies a disturbing complexity in Sand Castle that’s absent in his blockbuster roles. Despite being British, most of his roles are often symbols of the American spirit – from superheroes to super spies. But Syverson shows the dark side of democracy as he condemns the civilians through racist rants which showcase the dark side of American culture, Collider reports.

Following its quiet release on Netflix in April 2017, Sand Castle received mixed reviews from critics who described the film as a respectable depiction of wretched conflict that none of its participants wanted. The Henry Cavill movie currently holds a 47 percent approval rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. It also scored 45 out of 100, based on seven Metacritic reviews.

While it’s often said that Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise are character actors trapped in the bodies of movie stars, Henry Cavill has not been given the chance to demonstrate that he’s more than a blockbuster poster boy. Now that he won’t be reprising his role as Superman in the DC Universe, that trend may change soon. 

Henry Cavill’s next project is the spy thriller Argylle. Directed by Matthew Vaughn from a script by Jason Fuchs, the cast also features Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, John Cena, Dua Lipa, Ariana DeBose, Rob Delaney, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, and Samuel L. Jackson.