Super Dark

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Super Dark

MovieBob didn't want to write about Man of Steel anymore, but it went and started a worthwhile discussion, didn't it?

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MovieBob:
Upfront confession: I don't really want to write another column about "Man of Steel."

Then don't.

Seriously, man. I, for one, am getting sick of it. I saw the movie and was disappointed by it but I'm too disinterested to bother picking it apart. It's just another terrible, terrible Nolan super hero movie. So now I have to wait even longer for a good Batman and now Superman movie. Fuck that guy.

I've been sick of gritty reboots almost since Batman Begins started the trend. I liked Batman Begins, mind you, but that tone worked really well with Batman's character. But Hollywood, in typical Hollywood fashion, decided that the new formula was "Dark and Gritty = success and money." Dark and gritty is not automatically good. It's an aesthetic choice that works with some things and not with others.

RJ Dalton:
I've been sick of gritty reboots almost since Batman Begins started the trend. I liked Batman Begins, mind you, but that tone worked really well with Batman's character. But Hollywood, in typical Hollywood fashion, decided that the new formula was "Dark and Gritty = success and money." Dark and gritty is not automatically good. It's an aesthetic choice that works with some things and not with others.

It looks like history has repeated itself after the last time they misunderstood that "dark and gritty = success" back in the 90s

they never learn

undeadsuitor:
It looks like history has repeated itself after the last time they misunderstood that "dark and gritty = success" back in the 90s

they never learn

No, they never do. They've institutionalized never learning, it seems.

I don't know why people call it 'grim and gritty' when it is most certainly 'Grounded'. Its a more realistic taste, I mean batman isn't killing dudes in cold blood and neither is superman.

Similarly, I don't mind this aesthetic because...I like variety, if anything I'm getting a little sick of 'tried and true' 'bright and happy' marvel films, because only once did I ever see consequences in those movies, and even then it was short lived and no where near the depth the issue needed to be dealt with (Stark's PTSD in iron man 3, fwiw). The irony is that Marvel heroes are the 'grounded' ones with all the 'consequences' at yet the definitely play out like what DC is commonly associated with. And yeah, DC has more or less gone the Marvel route, where, despite the heroes best intentions, sometimes the fallout is negative.

Its a role-reversal, and I think most people with only a casual appreciation of super heroics won't see it.

I don't want ALL 'grounded' films, I still love the Avengers, but it won't be long before these things become paint-by-numbers outside of Origin stories (which are in-and-of themselves paint-by-numbers). Avengers 2 'spoiler' they team up to beat Thanos.

OT: I think Bob hit the nail on the head,Twice. Superman is a polarizing character, you either love him or hate him, Take his 'boy scout' or leave it. So the film already started with legions of angry nerds. Secondly, hes right in that the movie was leading up to something grandiose, and then forgets it completely and goes for the slug-fest all-out battle climatic ending. I didn't mind the ending, or the action, and hey, you might see it as 9/11 allusion, that event is going to inform Movies in general for YEARS to come, whether we like it or not, events like that inform our art whether we like it or not, on purpose or not (and its pretty easy to find other examples). So I just live with it.

I totally agree. I wasn't going to see this movie, but now I may. Honestly, it sounds as if it may have been intentional, maybe, to interrupt and/or delay any of the boy scout/cheerful/charming bits about superman, not to mention the great themes and metaphors involved with him assuming his alter ego of 'mild mannered' Clark Kent. Perhaps it was to cause us to hope for these thematic elements and deeper messages in the next movie, or I'm just being optimistic. But Batman Begins was good, and then Dark Knight hit it out of the park and won the world series. But will something similar happen this time? It's not outside the realm of possibility. After all, the teenage boys this movie was allegedly meant for will grow up. Maybe the franchise can possibly grow up with them?

This would have been a perfect time for a hopeful Superman film. The Donner film was such a success specifically BECAUSE it was released in one of the most cynical times in American history. That film was much more about society reacting to this hopeful good hero than it was about Superman himself. Being a bright light in a dark world has always been Superman's main selling point, right from his initial success in the dirty thirties, to the recession/war shocked 70s, and he could have done it again here.

But no, gotta make this 2/3 whinging, moping drama and 1/3 brainless violence and 9/11 references cause that's what every movie has to be now I guess.

Fuck this movie, I don't even like Superman, but at least I understand the character.

I still feel that the big punch-out at the end wasn't Superman "forgetting" to rescue people. Zod had him on the ropes the entire time. There was never a free moment for him to rescue civies, and if he tried to take one, it probably would have ended with Zod killing even more people. By the time Superman and Zod have their big fight, hundreds of people had already died. He couldn't fix that, certainly not with Superpowered psychopath raging around. Superman had to focus on stopping Zod first and foremost.

And as far as the shocking twist (no pun intended), Superman literally had no other options, and he didn't have time to think of one. And doing that destroyed him. He wasn't stoic about it, or making an awkward joke like Iron Man or Capt. America would be, he broke down. I don't mind seeing Superman pushed to those lengths, as long as it is clearly shown that this is something that will never be okay for him. I firmly believe that will be the last time we see Superman pushed to such lengths in this series.

I think what makes it disturbing is how it's ignoring it's own violence. *spoiler* after superman destroys the *ha ha* World Engine he embraces Lois gives her a kiss and they both make quips. After all that destruction chances are they are above and around 100s of dead or dying people. They are standing in the middle of a Cormac Mcarthy nightmare, What a perfect time for a first kiss joke! Are Lois and Clark both Sociopaths or is the film confirming that summer blockbusters should never be taken seriously? Max Landis made a good point in a youtube video rant asking what was with everything going back to normal in the next scene. Guy's asking for a date to a football game? The Stadium is gone! The Team is Dead!

Usually a film ignoring actual violence as it happens isn't a big deal but seeing this type of city destruction makes it near impossible to ignore the fact that thousands are probably dead by collateral damage. Want a funny DC Marvel cross over!? Remake Avengers and instead of having the Government launch a Nuke at New York they should send in Superman.

I'm in the same boat at Bob. I don't wanna discuss it but, the more I think about the movie, the more glaring the flaws become. As I mentioned before, Man of Steel's creation stems not from the filmmakers wanting a "dark and gritty" Superman. Rather, the problem is DC Comics and Warner Brothers being too inept and clueless with the DC Universe and its cast of characters. Aside from having success with Batman, any attempts to have similar results with other characters have failed miserably and their movie track record pretty much proves itself. They've had success with the animated shows but the big wigs at WB felt that people who worked in cartoons wouldn't know how to make a proper live action movie (there's that ineptitude problem I mentioned).

However, I'd like to see a discussion on how both companies can overcome these issues and get in the right track to making proper DCU movies that aren't varying shades of Batman. One major step would be ditching the obsessive fetish towards realism and embracing the more imaginative aspects of these characters. In the Justice League (aside from the moody billionaire with a brilliant mind but major parental issues), we've got two orphaned aliens from dying planets, an amazon princess with ties to the Greek Gods, a man who is literally "the fastest man alive", a merman who rules over the seven oceans, and a guy who welds a ring that can make constructs out of light and will power. Time to give reality its walking papers, folks.

I haven't seen Man of Steel yet, but I've been thinking about how I would do a Superman trilogy. Now this isn't any better than trying to rewrite the Star Wars prequels, but I got some time to kill at work so bear with me.

Movie One: Start with Kal-El's baby pod landing in the Kent farmstead. Show scenes of Clark Kent's upbringing, but don't dwell on it too much. Eventually, Clark wanders off to find out who he is. He finds the Fortress of Solitude, finds a bunch of prerecorded messages by Jor-El telling Clark he's the sole survivor of Krypton, and that he needs to save his new home from the fate that befell Krypton. But Clark is kinda scared to see what that actually happened. So instead he goes to Metropolis, becomes mild mannered news reporter Clark Kent, and uses his superpowers to save folks from burning buildings and such. This goes on for a montage until Zod shows up and starts rambing that they need to militarize the entire planet. Superman says that that isn't happening, and the two have a big punch up outside the Fortress of Solitude until Superman punts Zod onto Venus (where the Greenhouse effect traps him.) But in the fights aftermath, Supes finally realizes he needs to see how Krypton was destroyed:


Superman realises that he needs to come up with a plan to defeat this far-off foe. But in the meantime, the movie Stinger shows that Clark Kent has been asigned to cover the Presidential Campaign of one Alexis Luthor.

Movie Two: Lex Luthor is now President. Lex wants Superman out of the picture because he's fundamentally opposed to a Magic Space Alien in Tights being the living embodiment of human behavior ("Our flaws are what make us great!" or some such nonsense). So Lex starts a dust up with someone on Superman's B-list of emenies and requests Superman sort it all out-hoping to arrange that he gets killed in the prossess. The whole movie is an allegory for the importance of overcoming ideological differences, as it ends with Superman and Lex forming a sort of detente.

Movie Three: Darkseid at last shows up. Superman's plan for defeating him? The Justice League. Rather than have separate movies for Wonder Woman, Green Lanturn, and Flash, introduce them here to ease audiences into the interpretation of the character you are going for. Nows the time to go for the big fight-to-end-all0fights rather than blow your load in the first movie. If you are feeling especially frisky, toss Doomsday in and watch the fireworks. In any case, Superman wins gby the smallest of margins.

And that's it from in and impromptu fanfiction.

Mcoffey:

And as far as the shocking twist (no pun intended), Superman literally had no other options, and he didn't have time to think of one. And doing that destroyed him. He wasn't stoic about it, or making an awkward joke like Iron Man or Capt. America would be, he broke down. I don't mind seeing Superman pushed to those lengths, as long as it is clearly shown that this is something that will never be okay for him. I firmly believe that will be the last time we see Superman pushed to such lengths in this series.

Tony Stark's wise-cracking is mostly a defense mechanism. He hates showing signs of weakness and vulnerability to anyone (other than Pepper Potts, really), so even in the worst of times he tries to reassure himself up with his humor, results may vary whether it works or not.

...wait, are you implying that Captain America "makes awkward jokes"?? Erm...which alternate universe Captain America are YOU talking about? I mean he may say uplifting jokey stuff to lighten the mood a bit, but Tony Stark he is not.

As for the scene in question:

"Hollywood's current fixation on strip-mining geek culture"

Precisely. If you're a fan of Dragonball, it's cool whenever Goku or Vegeta scream, charge up and explode into the next level of Super Saiyan. It works as an animated feature, but when I saw it happen in Evolution?...yeah, the actors just looked ridiculous doing it. Hollywood! There's certain things that we like in one format that simply don't translate at all to the big screen!

The Dubya:

Mcoffey:

And as far as the shocking twist (no pun intended), Superman literally had no other options, and he didn't have time to think of one. And doing that destroyed him. He wasn't stoic about it, or making an awkward joke like Iron Man or Capt. America would be, he broke down. I don't mind seeing Superman pushed to those lengths, as long as it is clearly shown that this is something that will never be okay for him. I firmly believe that will be the last time we see Superman pushed to such lengths in this series.

Tony Stark's wise-cracking is mostly a defense mechanism. He hates showing signs of weakness and vulnerability to anyone (other than Pepper Potts, really), so even in the worst of times he tries to reassure himself up with his humor, results may vary whether it works or not.

...wait, are you implying that Captain America "makes awkward jokes"?? Erm...which alternate universe Captain America are YOU talking about? I mean he may say uplifting jokey stuff to lighten the mood a bit, but Tony Stark he is not.

As for the scene in question:

Capt. America very bravely and very stoically kills tons of people in his movie and Avengers. I should've thrown a "respectively" in there somewhere.

It's a flawed movie to be sure with at least one glaring plot hole that I can't rightly ignore. (Why do Zod and his men develop Superpowers?)

In terms of tone...yes it is pretty damn dark but I think it kinda had to be. A prevailing plot in many Superhero stories is that the man only becomes the hero after experiencing some level of loss. To me, the stronger the hero, the greater the loss that pushes him into that transformation needs to be.

I put it to you that "Superman" never makes an appearance in this film until the closing scene. What we see is Clark Kent learning about his powers and his history, somewhat meekly attempting to do the right thing and being forced to use his powers without taking the time to think of the consequences.

Metropolis, Smallville and even Zod are his Uncle Ben or Thomas and Martha Wayne. They're the tragic result of his inability to act and his lifetime of ignoring the responsibilities of his power.

Mcoffey:

The Dubya:

Mcoffey:

And as far as the shocking twist (no pun intended), Superman literally had no other options, and he didn't have time to think of one. And doing that destroyed him. He wasn't stoic about it, or making an awkward joke like Iron Man or Capt. America would be, he broke down. I don't mind seeing Superman pushed to those lengths, as long as it is clearly shown that this is something that will never be okay for him. I firmly believe that will be the last time we see Superman pushed to such lengths in this series.

Tony Stark's wise-cracking is mostly a defense mechanism. He hates showing signs of weakness and vulnerability to anyone (other than Pepper Potts, really), so even in the worst of times he tries to reassure himself up with his humor, results may vary whether it works or not.

...wait, are you implying that Captain America "makes awkward jokes"?? Erm...which alternate universe Captain America are YOU talking about? I mean he may say uplifting jokey stuff to lighten the mood a bit, but Tony Stark he is not.

As for the scene in question:

Capt. America very bravely and very stoically kills tons of people in his movie and Avengers. I should've thrown a "respectively" in there somewhere.

That's a bit of a false equivalence there. Captain America was a soldier in World War 2/fighting off an invasion army of what appeared to be automatons, and it was never a part of his character to never kill people. Sure, he often tries to find alternatives but he's not above it.

I just don't want this to set a trend. If we get a Wonder Woman movie that turns out like that NBC Pilot...*shudders* Or worse, a mopy dark Flash. Some of the happiest superheroes in the DCU more than willing to use their super speed for personal gain but never willing to put themselves over another? Can't have that, let's have 2 hours of them debating whether or not Barry is worthy of having such a gift!

Mcoffey:

Capt. America very bravely and very stoically kills tons of people in his movie and Avengers. I should've thrown a "respectively" in there somewhere.

Ehhhh even with that, I still think you're stretching. In his movie he says "I really don't want to kill anyone. I just don't like bullies." He's the one that'll jump on the grenade and take one for the team (the arguement he gets into with Tony). Sure he'll bust a few skulls when he needs to get something done, but if he can find a non-lethal route to take someone out, he usually takes it. And in The Avengers, he's the one trying to BREAK UP the fight between the two hotheads Thor and Ironman. And he's the one ensuring that the police gets the people out of harms way.

You're honestly kinda WAAAY off in terms of Caps' character...

Mcoffey:

You know, I still really didn't see the complaints. So, I think Bob's concern is that Superman isn't a 'pleasant good guy' character in this. And I think, as an origin, that works really well. He's raised as a nice kid by good parents who's constantly in fear of harming those around him. He spends his early adult life dicking around doing manly things which aren't that hard for him (putting his strength to use as subtly as he can), but, he can't stop himself from getting involved and saving people. Because it's the right thing to do. So, evil aliens show up demanding he turn himself in, and he does, still to protect people by sacrificing himself. He finally realizes that it won't work and he has to act as a protector by fighting back. At movie end, he's a lot more happier, politely reminding the military that they have literally no power over him, and integrating himself into human life by joining the Daily Planet, etc. He starts out as ashamed of what he is, and trying to hide his true nature (a good guy) and ends embracing it and becoming a hero/member of society. Doesn't that leave us exactly with the sort of Superman Bob wants?

I have a very similar opinion on Man of Steel to Moviebob's, with one tiny difference: the comparison to Dragon Ball Z. See, there's one very large difference between Goku and this version of Superman. Goku almost always tried to -defeat- rather than kill his various nemeses throughout his life. Vegeta especially (the closest parallel to General Zod). Goku soundly defeated him but let him live. (Same with Yamcha, Tien, the androids, Piccolo, Piccorro, whatever. Uub...) And gave Vegeta a chance to adapt to his new life and reform. And even made Vegeta an ally. Possibly even a friend, not least because they were (among?) the last survivors of a dead planet.

With just a little tweaking, Man of Steel could have done that too. Instead of having Superman snap Zod's neck, he could have just choked him unconscious. Then that pointless confrontation scene over the broken drone could have instead been about Superman saying to the military something like, "Don't torture this guy, don't kill this guy. If you do, you're going to have to deal with a very angry me."

--Morology!

PS: And Superman should have backed off from Lois's untimely kiss saying something like, "I'm sorry, this isn't the time. People need my help. I can hear them crying out all over the city..."

When I saw the movie I did dislike it a lot and now that I have had time to sit and think about what really bothered me, a lot of my problems really focus around the final act of the movie. I might not like some of the choices in the first two or question how they make sense in scheme of things, but they don't really bother me.

Really its about the choices (or the film makers lack of showing us) what Superman is really doing during that final battle with Zod. Show us the buildings are empty with his heat vision or hearing, have him think of another way to deal with Zod, just something to show us that he really still deep down has that kind of thought process that the first parts of the movie try to show us being instilled in him I think would have gone a long way with me at least.

I think a lot of Man of Steel's problems do come from over compensating for Superman Return's weaknesses. That's particularly true of the overly long, incredibly destructive fight at the end. Superman really did need to kick some bottom in this film, the last film didn't really have anyone he could trade punches with, which makes his last proper cinematic fight The Quest for Peace.

I think we did get glimpses of a more traditional, lighter Superman from Cavill once he dons the suit. It's just lost in the destruction.

I think the problem is actually the Donner films, which have ingrained this idea into the general public's minds that Superman is some perfect, all powerful, completely noble boy scout, when that's something that was starting to wane quite a bit at the time and was all but completely abandoned a little less than a decade later. Supes hasn't been like that for a long time, about 2 and a half decades in fact, around the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and that includes the animated series. Sure, Supes hasn't gone full on dark like Batman (people also tend to forget that Batman and a lot of other DC superheroes were pretty much the same way for most of their existence up until that point too) but he hasn't been much more morally upstanding than the average person for a while, and he has been occasionally willing to kill when there's no other option, though he does everything possible to avoid it, like he did in MOS. I also think there is a LOT of nostalgia filters thrown in, since if the Donner films had been released today instead of in 1978 they would be critically panned by both professional reviewers and audience alike, even with modern special effects and production values, something that the lukewarm reception Superman Returns got proves, since it was emulating those films. If you don't believe me, go and find and read some of the 1930-80 Superman comics and tell me that the "truth, justice, and the American way!" and absolute invincibility of Superman back then wasn't incredibly corny and mindnumbingly boring.

All of the complains I've seen about MOS have all basically boiled down to "it's not like the Donner films" when it doesn't have to be and really in this day and age it wouldn't work if it was. I also notice that I don't see people whining about the fact that Batman went from a campy, happy-go-lucky boyscout to a dark, brooding, avenger of the night, quite the opposite, he's praised for it, and he's not the only one. However, somehow Superman being anything but the most perfect being on the face of the Earth is somehow a problem.

Diddy_Mao:
It's a flawed movie to be sure with at least one glaring plot hole that I can't rightly ignore. (Why do Zod and his men develop Superpowers?)

Same reason Superman has them- Earth's yellow sun, which apparently supercharges Kryptonian muscles. Under a Red Sun, Superman would only have the strength of an ordinary human. I wonder if he'd be more powerful under a white or a blue sun, but as far as I know the powers that be never explored that.

You know, as someone who isn't all that fond of Superman, I got exactly what I wanted out of the movie--the Man of Steel being made principally of iron. Scene where someone punches Supes and you can practically hear their fist break? Check. People getting hit by objects that are not traditionally being swung like baseball bats (like a train engine)? Check. Superman headbutting a giant gravity laser? Okay, that wasn't on the list, but it was freaking hilarious.

What I didn't expect, and ended up liking the movie more as a result, was the idea of Superman not being able to use his powers because of how the world would react, and bam, it was there. The idea that his father, an extremely moral man, would suggest to him that yes, it might have been better if he'd let the school bus full of kids drown was incredible to see. Parallel this to Spiderman's recent ingraining of "With great power comes great responsibility", where the answer would have been yes no matter what, here stands Supes with the complex dilemma that just because he can save them all, doesn't mean there won't be enormous repercussions for the act, and that perhaps he shouldn't.

Of course, all of this reached its zenith at the scene with his father and the tornado. Here's Superman about to lose his father, not to a supervillain, but to something he can easily rescue him from, and yet, for the safety of those around him and himself, let alone for the world at large, he doesn't. He listens to his father, and it costs him one of the most important things in his life. That kind of sacrifice was something I wasn't expecting, but there it was. A difficult choice that defined the rest of his life.

Could have done with the instantaneous ass-grab immediately after he broke Zod's neck, though. Here we have this primal rage after a choice you could see he never wanted to make again, this great moment of impotence for the man most capable...and then, not six seconds later, Lois gives him a hug and boom. Superman is cradling her ass. Really could have done without that.

immortalfrieza:
-snip-

It wasn't just the Donner films. Have you ever seen Superman The Animated Series? Justice league? Justice league unlimited? Young Justice? The Donner films didn't start the Big Blue Boyscout idea, and it certainly didn't end it. Hell, the entire "big blue boyscout" person is the sole thing that sets him apart from the million other flying bricks in the DCU. There's a reason its called the "stock super power".

Personally, I don't see the reason behind the "we've already had light hearted super hero movies, lets have something different" when we've also had "realistic" super hero movies, they were called the dark knight trilogy, and half of them sucked.

LadyRhian:

Diddy_Mao:
It's a flawed movie to be sure with at least one glaring plot hole that I can't rightly ignore. (Why do Zod and his men develop Superpowers?)

Same reason Superman has them- Earth's yellow sun, which apparently supercharges Kryptonian muscles. Under a Red Sun, Superman would only have the strength of an ordinary human. I wonder if he'd be more powerful under a white or a blue sun, but as far as I know the powers that be never explored that.

That's usually been the explanation in the various incarnations of the character, and if they had left it at that I'd have been perfectly fine. The problem is that Man Of Steel went to great lengths to explain that Clark gets superpowers from our Sun because he grew up on this planet and his Kryptonian physiology developed over the 20+ years absorbing the radiation.

Zod and company had only been on Earth for a few hours at best.

undeadsuitor:
Snip

The Donner films didn't end the "Big Blue Boyscout" thing of Superman, Crisis on Infinite Earths did. After the retooling of the DC universe, Superman became significantly less powerful, significantly more flawed, and significantly more morally ambigious, though considering how ridiculously overpowered and painfully "token good guy" he was before then that's not saying he wasn't still a powerful and morally upright hero.

I have seen all those series, and in them Superman isn't anywhere close to the "Big Blue Boyscout" he is portrayed as in the Donner films or the way he's viewed by the public. In fact, they sometimes go out of their way to point out that Superman ISN'T perfect. The Donner films popularized the boyscout idea, something that was on the way out at the time and created a public perception that that's how he's always supposed to be, whether it was actually any good or not. Usually when how a character is portrayed becomes popular like this creates a great image that benefits all portrayals of the character, but the Donner films have done nothing more than drag down all portrayals of Superman since by putting in this immovable characterization of Superman into the public consciousness that nobody wants to be deviated even slightly from, even if it would make him to do so.

Ask yourself this, would Batman still be so popular if he stuck to his campy image? Would Mark Hamili have made such an iconic Joker if the character was still constrained to that harmless corny clown he used to be? I HIGHLY doubt it.

immortalfrieza:

undeadsuitor:
Snip

The Donner films didn't end the "Big Blue Boyscout" thing of Superman, Crisis on Infinite Earths did. After the retooling of the DC universe, Superman became significantly less powerful, significantly more flawed, and significantly more morally ambigious, though considering how ridiculously overpowered and painfully "token good guy" he was before then that's not saying he wasn't still a powerful and morally upright hero.

I have seen all those series, and in them Superman isn't anywhere close to the "Big Blue Boyscout" he is portrayed as in the Donner films or the way he's viewed by the public. In fact, they sometimes go out of their way to point out that Superman ISN'T perfect. The Donner films popularized the boyscout idea, something that was on the way out at the time and created a public perception that that's how he's always supposed to be, whether it was actually any good or not. Usually when how a character is portrayed becomes popular like this creates a great image that benefits all portrayals of the character, but the Donner films have done nothing more than drag down all portrayals of Superman since by putting in this immovable characterization of Superman into the public consciousness that nobody wants to be deviated even slightly from, even if it would make him to do so.

Ask yourself this, would Batman still be so popular if he stuck to his campy image? Would Mark Hamili have made such an iconic Joker if the character was still constrained to that harmless corny clown he used to be? I HIGHLY doubt it.

fine fine, sure, every hero needs to be weak, every hero needs to be super-flawed, and every hero needs to be morally ambiguous now

I mean, it worked for batman right?

See, thats the thing though, you complain that the Donner films have ruined Superman by creating an image that needs to be maintained against the (subjectively worse) comics, but haven't the Nolan movies done the same thing to batman? You said it yourself "but the Donner Nolan films have done nothing more than drag down all portrayals of Superman Batman since by putting in this immovable characterization of superman Batman into the public consciousness that nobody wants to be deviated even slightly from,"

Also, the Mark Hamill Joker was pretty damn campy compared to Ledger.

If anybody likes this movie please read or watch (as an animated movie) superman vs the elites. There is no more a perfect encapsulation of why superman must be the way he is then this. I watched it as the movie and it floored me. It was the first time I understood superman as a real character and judging from the reviews a lot of superman buffs seem to agree. The thing is that this arc showed not only his weakness but his strength. It's the biggest reason any argument of superman can beat usually fails. Superman can't kill. And he shouldn't his superiority makes that impossible to progress as a character. It also makes him stronger. It makes him a symbol and ideal that man can hope for. Superman is a super man because he represents the idealism of what we can be as a people. That's who superman is. That's why dark superman is only good as a alternative plot device. Superman is only super so long as he embodies what we believe is right. Honestly even though things are the way they are I have too much faith in the human spirit to believe such an embodiment is so shallow. Please please those who watched this show watch superman vs the elites and understand who he really is.

One of my biggest problems I have with the movie (though there are many others), is the death of Pa Kent. Looking back in analysis, it ends up defining this version of Superman's worldview (and dour disposition) throughout the film. Letting your father die - when you know you can save him - just to protect your secret identity, that's some pretty dark shit right there. Again, it fits with the character as he's portrayed in this movie, but it's not necessary. It just gives him something in common with Spider-man and Batman, making this portrayal really unoriginal.

The thing is, in every Superman story I've read, Pa Kent is alive and well. I'm not that well-versed in Superman lore, so I'm sure there are some storylines that have him dead, too, but it's not common. I think it's only in this version because again, it makes the character darker, and that's what Snyder/Nolan/Goyer were going for. Plus, it was in the Donner movie. Which was the biggest problem with Superman Returns, being Singer trying to stick slavishly to what Donner did before him.

Impossibilium:
One of my biggest problems I have with the movie (though there are many others), is the death of Pa Kent. Looking back in analysis, it ends up defining this version of Superman's worldview (and dour disposition) throughout the film. Letting your father die - when you know you can save him - just to protect your secret identity, that's some pretty dark shit right there. Again, it fits with the character as he's portrayed in this movie, but it's not necessary. It just gives him something in common with Spider-man and Batman, making this portrayal really unoriginal.

The thing is, in every Superman story I've read, Pa Kent is alive and well. I'm not that well-versed in Superman lore, so I'm sure there are some storylines that have him dead, too, but it's not common. I think it's only in this version because again, it makes the character darker, and that's what Snyder/Nolan/Goyer were going for. Plus, it was in the Donner movie. Which was the biggest problem with Superman Returns, being Singer trying to stick slavishly to what Donner did before him.

I had a problem with the death of Pa Kent as well. It seems that they did that just to follow off the Donner tradition and it's not just Man of Steel that did it. Smallville, All-Star Superman, Superman: Doomsday and post-2006 pre-New 52 Superman all killed Pa Kent. It bothers me as a man that his father is just so disposable, especially when the previous thirty years of Superman comics proved that Superman's parents and particularly his father can play an active and productive role in his life. In this version particularly, the death of Pa Kent was so stupid and so unnecessary. It seemed they only wrote it in because modern day Jonathan Kent would have been one more extra character they'd have to worry about writing poorly. Not that they did a particularly good job with the flashbacks. Kevin Costner was well cast but Pa Kent was basically there to die stupidly and to console Clark whenever he angsted about having powers and being 'different'.

This article actually made me realize something - the last two fight scenes were pretty cool (best live action anime fights ever) but I would've preferred a movie that had more of that meditative flashback stuff, especially if they could've reached some kind of more tangible point.

Hell, I even got the idea from another one of Bob's thoughts on the subject that the idea of "Superman" could've been a result of compromising between the ideals of his two dads - hide your powers + save everyone = superhero with secret identity, which even kind of works, but they movie never goes in that direction either.

Gatx:
This article actually made me realize something - the last two fight scenes were pretty cool (best live action anime fights ever) but I would've preferred a movie that had more of that meditative flashback stuff, especially if they could've reached some kind of more tangible point.

Yeah, you're kind of right, excluding the highly stupid reason Pa Kent died (though the death itself was surprisingly tasteful) it all really amounted to nothing to Superman but an ingrown hindrance to being Super :( You'd think he's do it to stop stuff like this from happening to anyone elses dad or something.

The problem is characterization. Superman is not about guilt - it is about hope. The character of superman is kind of pointless if he starts to look like batman or spiderman or captain america.

The Donner film captures that because he does not show what a man with superpowers would do. He shows us what only superman would do (like rescuing the kitten). Anyone would kill Zod in that circumstance - but what superman would do?

The problem of the film is not that superman kills - is that the ending is so shallow that fails to answer that question properly.

It would be extremely cool to see superman trying to save people during the fight. As someone was saying before: making sure that the building was empty and things like that. Also, there is a lot of disconnection with the destruction and the kissing and jokes.

Superman can kill, can suffer and can go through dark times - if the writers do not lose sight of what make the character ticks.

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