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  1. #1
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    Default Does Man of Steel (2013) misunderstand Superman?

    I see a lot of people say that Zack Snyder misunderstood Superman in Man of Steel but I disagree and certainly understands superheroes better than most film makers. To be MoS was a “reconstruction” of Superman and superheroes

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    Extraordinary Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    I didn't much care for his take on Clark or the Kents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalope89 View Post
    I didn't much care for his take on Clark or the Kents.
    What is the issue with the Kent’s they were the most human take?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dboi2001 View Post
    I see a lot of people say that Zack Snyder misunderstood Superman in Man of Steel but I disagree and certainly understands superheroes better than most film makers. To be MoS was a “reconstruction” of Superman and superheroes
    It's all a point of view about a fictional character, of course. But I don't think "superheroes" is a generic category. He may understand the essence of one character but not another. There also may be a huge dichotomy between his understanding and expectations of a particular character and another several thousand people's understanding and expectations. That's where the real problem is.

    Again: fictional character. Snyder's opinion of who Superman really is could be valid. But if it doesn't synch with half the audience, if half the audience leaves the theater hating it. there's a problem.

    If we were talking about some "small" movie, oh, well. But not something on the level of Superman.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dboi2001 View Post
    What is the issue with the Kent’s they were the most human take?
    They were no more nor less human than the Smallville take or several others.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerboy View Post
    They were no more nor less human than the Smallville take or several others.
    I haven't watched Smallville but typically Pa Kent is basically a Moses figure who knows exactly what to do for Clark. In MoS he was very much a man who doesn't know how to approach this situation. But he reinforces the theme of the movie and that is Clark has a choice to who he wants to be, but he has to be mature enough to decide his fate

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    Astonishing Member Robanker's Avatar
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    Snyder just didn't have the optimism the character is known for and portrayed the Kents in a way that is essentially antithetical to them as people. More than anything, the one lesson the Kents teach Clark is that good people get involved, no matter what. Snyder's Kents argue that Clark should look out for number one and only help if he feels like it because he owes nothing to nobody.

    From right there, he misunderstood pretty much every character on screen. There's having to grow a character into who they're meant to be (which isn't accomplished because this already had a sequel in mind) and then there's just misunderstanding them. Clark gets involved and he doesn't question if he should help. That's why he's Superman. He has every reason not to help, but does and is a good person. Having him wrestle with "should I save their lives" isn't about growth anymore, it's just outright not the character.

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    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robanker View Post
    Snyder just didn't have the optimism the character is known for and portrayed the Kents in a way that is essentially antithetical to them as people. More than anything, the one lesson the Kents teach Clark is that good people get involved, no matter what. Snyder's Kents argue that Clark should look out for number one and only help if he feels like it because he owes nothing to nobody.

    From right there, he misunderstood pretty much every character on screen. There's having to grow a character into who they're meant to be (which isn't accomplished because this already had a sequel in mind) and then there's just misunderstanding them. Clark gets involved and he doesn't question if he should help. That's why he's Superman. He has every reason not to help, but does and is a good person. Having him wrestle with "should I save their lives" isn't about growth anymore, it's just outright not the character.
    I think the Kents actually do want Clark to help people. The "maybe" is really Jon himself not buying what he is saying, and struggling between his desire for Clark to do the right thing and protect his kid. And we see his actions later that he himself will jump in to help people. It's just that the execution is a little muddled. The tornado scene in particular would have played better if they got kid actor to film it instead of Cavill. And BvS offered a chance to give us some more scenes and clarification, but instead Martha says "fuck 'em all." And Jonathan shows up in the dream for his "all the horses drowned and I left my cake out in the rain and I will never have that recipe again" or whatever the hell that was.

    The move is not a reconstruction because it doesn't just straight up present Superman with all his convictions and sense of fun in a crowd pleasing, triumphant movie which the character desperately needed. It is confused in that it has Jor-El say Clark will lift up mankind and they will join him in the sun, but ends on a down note where Clark has to kill the villain in a traumatic manner after Kryptonian 9/11 and follows up with Batman of all people plotting to murder him in front of an audience that includes children. I guess Jor-El should have said "that will be five movies from now after you unwittingly bring down cosmic horror on them a few times."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robanker View Post
    Snyder just didn't have the optimism the character is known for and portrayed the Kents in a way that is essentially antithetical to them as people. More than anything, the one lesson the Kents teach Clark is that good people get involved, no matter what. Snyder's Kents argue that Clark should look out for number one and only help if he feels like it because he owes nothing to nobody.
    Not optimistic? What do you call the ending then? And they never tell Clark to only look out for himself, quite the opposite. Throughout the movie Pa Kent tells Clark he is going to change the world. And yeah Superman should only help people if he wants to. Clark should not be a slave to the earth. All Martha was saying is that he isn’t indebted to the earth and it should be his choice which is he wants to be a hero. It’s a great theme. We just expect Superman to do the right thing just because but what if he doesn’t want to be a hero? In the end Clark does choose to be a hero because of him and himself alone

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    I think the Kents actually do want Clark to help people. The "maybe" is really Jon himself not buying what he is saying, and struggling between his desire for Clark to do the right thing and protect his kid. And we see his actions later that he himself will jump in to help people. It's just that the execution is a little muddled. The tornado scene in particular would have played better if they got kid actor to film it instead of Cavill. And BvS offered a chance to give us some more scenes and clarification, but instead Martha says "fuck 'em all." And Jonathan shows up in the dream for his "all the horses drowned and I left my cake out in the rain and I will never have that recipe again" or whatever the hell that was.

    The move is not a reconstruction because it doesn't just straight up present Superman with all his convictions and sense of fun in a crowd pleasing, triumphant movie which the character desperately needed. It is confused in that it has Jor-El say Clark will lift up mankind and they will join him in the sun, but ends on a down note where Clark has to kill the villain in a traumatic manner after Kryptonian 9/11 and follows up with Batman of all people plotting to murder him in front of an audience that includes children. I guess Jor-El should have said "that will be five movies from now after you unwittingly bring down cosmic horror on them a few times."
    Martha never said fuck em. All she was telling Clark was it is his choice and nobody should influence him. The reconstruction is that we take Superman for granted that he is a hero because he chooses to be. And that is the theme of MoS. The ending to MoS is incredibly optimistic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dboi2001 View Post
    I see a lot of people say that Zack Snyder misunderstood Superman in Man of Steel but I disagree and certainly understands superheroes better than most film makers. To be MoS was a “reconstruction” of Superman and superheroes
    I don't know if it's take was "wrong" as superheroes are always getting reimagined. And for the most part Snyder's Superman checked most of the regular boxes. Doesn't mean it was one i was particularly fond of, and yeah the reluctant hero angle was a big part of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dboi2001 View Post
    I haven't watched Smallville but typically Pa Kent is basically a Moses figure who knows exactly what to do for Clark. In MoS he was very much a man who doesn't know how to approach this situation. But he reinforces the theme of the movie and that is Clark has a choice to who he wants to be, but he has to be mature enough to decide his fate
    Of the ones I've seen, the oldest 1940s serials are pretty much irrelevant because we see the Kents for maybe one scene.

    In the 1950s show, we only see the Kents in the first episode. We don't see Pa say anything in particular. Ma simply encourages him to use the great gifts he has been given to help the world.

    In the Donner movie, Pa doesn't know what to tell him but does know he should keep his powers a secret and definitely not show off.

    In Lois and Clark, the Kents probably get the closest to being sage-like advisors although, from what I've seen, they mostly guide him to make his own choices and he realizes that's what they did.

    In Smallville, they are good parents but they have their flaws.

    They all have one thing in common: a fear of Clark being discovered and taken away.

    With M o S, it's just how it's presented. Jonathan unsure whether Clark should have let some kids drown got a gasp of shock from the audience when I saw the movie in the theater and I don't mean a gasp of shock in a good way. And Martha saying he didn't owe the world anything which is technically true but far from using your unique gifts to help people. It comes across as if Clark goes out and helps people not because of his parents but in spite of them. In the theater, people were groaning and shaking their heads.

    It can still work. Clearly, Superman can have parents that are not perfect and still develop his same ideals since he goes out and saves people regardless of what his father tells him. Lots of comic stories have played with things like "What if Superman landed in Russia?" or in Germany in the early 20th century. This is more just "What if he didn't have ideal foster parents?" Even that isn't fair because the only difference between his Kents and Donner's is that it's a vastly more realistic world and his father knows how people will react to him.

    M o S is very much a Superman for our time with ridiculous ethnic bigotry masquerading as a concern for illegal immigration. A living atomic bomb is not going to be welcomed with open arms.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dboi2001 View Post
    Not optimistic? What do you call the ending then? And they never tell Clark to only look out for himself, quite the opposite. Throughout the movie Pa Kent tells Clark he is going to change the world. And yeah Superman should only help people if he wants to. Clark should not be a slave to the earth. All Martha was saying is that he isn’t indebted to the earth and it should be his choice which is he wants to be a hero. It’s a great theme. We just expect Superman to do the right thing just because but what if he doesn’t want to be a hero? In the end Clark does choose to be a hero because of him and himself alone
    I call the ending a jump from a disaster scene to Superman apparently being popular with no real exploration of how he got to that.

    The thing is that nurture seems to have little to do with this version of Superman. He helps people because it's intrinsic to his nature to the point it almost wouldn't matter where and when he landed.
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    Alan Moore's Miracleman was a reconstruction of Captain Marvel and superheroes. Moore may or may not have understood Captain Marvel as a concept. And the comic he produced, while a masterpiece, is not something i would want to see as a basis for a Shazam! movie

    Mark Waid understands Superman pretty well in my opinion. Irredeemable is a thought provoking examination of superhero tropes and Superman in particular. I don't think Irredeemable is something to base a Superman movie off of.

    Mark Millar did a series based on Superman: the Animated Series that showed he understood Superman. He did Superman: Red Son that was Superman turned into the villain of the story while still being Superman.

    Zack Snyder's film is an attempt at trying for a Miracleman, Irredeemable or a Red Son without ever nailing down what makes Superman work and what makes him a hero.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dboi2001 View Post
    Martha never said fuck em. All she was telling Clark was it is his choice and nobody should influence him. The reconstruction is that we take Superman for granted that he is a hero because he chooses to be. And that is the theme of MoS. The ending to MoS is incredibly optimistic
    A battle that destroyed a city and caused countless deaths followed by a brief scene with a satellite.

    Then we get the next movie that skips almost entirely over how Superman went from this figure people would be terrified of to the world's greatest hero. Batman's reaction is probably realistic in that he associates all the death and destruction with Superman.

    In fairness, a lot of his popularity is that people are acting like he's a god who will solve all their problems and another group hates him because only their own mythical god is the real god.

    Edit: I think Snyder did some of the things he was trying to do fairly well.

    When you look back at the Donner movie, "Close Encounters" was only a year earlier. In fact, Superman was being filmed while CE was in the theaters. And he was basically a comic book character being done on a massive budget but still a comic book character with what that usually was at the time.

    But, by the present, Snyder realized that, if you're going for realism, Superman's existence is going to change everything. As Jonathan said, it's going to change our view of ourselves and our place in the universe, our view of religion, everything.

    In many ways, M o S had visions of being much more than just a good superhero movie. It is probable that it wasn't what people wanted from Superman though.
    Last edited by Powerboy; 09-20-2020 at 08:38 PM.
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