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Superman: Man Of Steel!


lordcookie
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I think you're focusing on specifics a bit too much here, Retroguy. You're like, "Right, we're in this universe. How do things work?" whereas detractors (like me) are saying "We shouldn't be in this universe - it doesn't work".

The production co. pulled a TDK on our asses (unsurprising, given who was involved) and made Man of Steel a dark enterprise I'm not onboard with.

I'm not really focusing on specifics at all, surely you have to admit that

in a universe where Superman exists, it's entirely possible he's going to come across another people with the same powers (especially considering his origin), and maybe some are going to be evil and want to kill people for various motivations. How can that not work in that universe?

I'm just trying to understand the view point- you've said that it doesn't work, but why?

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Supermans whole shtick is that he's the best attributes of humanity combined, just like Batmans whole thing is he won't kill. He's an icon to inspire and lead humanity, his message has been "do good unto others and every man can be a superman".

A genocidal murderer is none of those things. Worse, it does nothing particularly interesting with the character (there's barely any characterisation in the movie!)It really isn't. There are always other options. Even in the most black and white, good and evil comics, such villains have been typically thrown them into other dimensions as cosmic prisons. I think Superman 2 did this.

Why is Superman a genocidal murderer in the scope of this film? Whether you think it does anything interesting or not is a different point entirely, and not one I'm arguing.

As for there always being other options, in the context of the film, there weren't any that I could see. He can't just magic a dimensional prison out of thin air.

I see your point in a way- that Superman should never be put in a position where he has to kill, that there should always be a dimensional prison style option. My point is that personally I find that a pretty boring premise that needs a lot of deus ex machina to get out of, and I'd rather see him as he was in this movie, put in a position that even with all of his great power, he still has to do things he doesn't want to, and that he knows are morally wrong, such as killing. I want something that challenges characters to their limits- not just 'Oh Superman doesn't kill, therefore we should never put him a position that he has to kill someone by default, there should always be another way'.

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I think Superman 2 did this, with Zod and co escaping the Phantom Zone and being re-imprisoned.

In Donner's original cut they get taken away by police after being depowered. In the Lester version he kills them by throwing them down a bottomless pit straight out of an 8-bit platformer.

Why is Superman a genocidal murderer in the scope of this film? Whether you think it does anything interesting or not is a different point entirely, and not one I'm arguing.

He bursts into the Kryptonian baby-chamber thing and yells "Krypton had it's chance rarrrghhhhh!!!" and then heat visions the Matrix looking thingies to pieces.

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I'm not really focusing on specifics at all, surely you have to admit that

in a universe where Superman exists, it's entirely possible he's going to come across another people with the same powers (especially considering his origin), and maybe some are going to be evil and want to kill people for various motivations. How can that not work in that universe?

I'm just trying to understand the view point- you've said that it doesn't work, but why?

I pretty much answered by saying that we shouldn't be in this universe - I agree with RubberJonny who said it perfectly. Supes is an icon. Take away the iconography and you have Apollo from The Authority.

The simple answer is the writers didn't stick to the character's principles. If you want a geeky answer as to how to approach the themes raised by supervillains & Zod:

The classic way to write the death of the villain is to have them be victims of their own hubris: they create a situation or weapon that threatens either all life or a specific group. the hero foils the plan and the villain is either destroyed by his own device, by his own machinations or by the people he was threatening.

In these scenarios, the hero prevents the plan, rather than the villain. Doctor Who uses this weekly, so is the best place to look for recent examples: the Doctor always wins, the enemy often dies, yet the Doctor never kills. It's a very neat conceit (and actually pretty analogous to life)

EDIT:

Ok, so you obviously want an answer to 'What would Superman do if he was stuck on Earth with a villain intent on killing everyone?' which I don't think is a fair premise, but here we go:

I've already said he could have covered Zod's eyes and flew them both through the roof of the train station. Then beat him bloody and nearly unconscious, threaten him with death if he returns and throw him far into space. Ok so he may well return, but the threat is dealt with for that movie.

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Why is Superman a genocidal murderer in the scope of this film? Whether you think it does anything interesting or not is a different point entirely, and not one I'm arguing.

There's enough "collateral damage" in the film to probably account for a pretty big pogrom.

As for there always being other options, in the context of the film, there weren't any that I could see. He can't just magic a dimensional prison out of thin air.

"In the context of the film" is the aspect that we're challenging of course. Krypton could have been destroyed by, for example, sucking it through a dimensional portal superweapon, and then him managing to force Zod into one created by the World Engine at the end. You've set up the ending with a Checkovs gun there, and could even add a little nod to it being the Phantom Zone for the nerds.

My point is that personally I find that a pretty boring premise that needs a lot of deus ex machina to get out of, and I'd rather see him as he was in this movie, put in a position that even with all of his great power, he still has to do things he doesn't want to, and that he knows are morally wrong, such as killing.

Basically you're just saying you don't know or care for the character though, and just want things that are "dark and mature" for the Call of Duty crowd. See Green Lantern waterboard a dude in Justice League, Coming Summer 2014, with all our gritty moral quandaries which aren't.
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Ahh ok, the whole icon thing makes sense, and I can see why people feel that way.

So Superman's never killed anyone in the comics then? Doesn't it get a bit weird with all the sudden ways he's able to save people and not kill anyone in every story?

To me, Kryptonite isn't his weakness- not wanting anyone to die is. It'd be like a superhero not being able to swim and the writers being told not to ever write any stories which involve any large bodies of water. I'm not advocating that Superman goes around killing people left, right and centre, but that he has to reach that situation eventually, surely?

Thanks for explaining it though, I now understand :)

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To me, Kryptonite isn't his weakness- not wanting anyone to die is. It'd be like a superhero not being able to swim and the writers being told not to ever write any stories which involve any large bodies of water. I'm not advocating that Superman goes around killing people left, right and centre, but that he has to reach that situation eventually, surely?

Man this is like a perfect example of how peoples media assumptions have been twisted by videogames. People are actually unable to comprehend having a hero, particularly a hero of moral superiority, who isn't a mass murderer. The concept of murder is so casual, the means of interaction so limited that mooks are disposable, deaths mean nothing, and that having any form of drama having solutions that don't involve snuffing out a life can't be entertained.

Like turn that on its head, try and imagine a mass murderer being a real world hero. Like, giving speeches about values and hope and they personally murdered a bunch of people and everyone knows it and doesn't call them out. That's fucking weird.

And that's not getting into the fact that as characters they're 70 years old, and even if it were infrequent, it'd be like a four figure murder count by now. They'd literally be one of the worlds biggest monsters, with the power to destroy buildings. That's not heroic fiction, that's the world fucking terrified of a villain and unable to hold him to account.

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Basically you're just saying you don't know or care for the character though, and just want things that are "dark and mature" for the Call of Duty crowd. See Green Lantern waterboard a dude in Justice League, Coming Summer 2014.

I'm not a comic book reader so undoubtably I don't have a huge knowledege of the character, but that doesn't mean I don't care for him- I'm not saying things have to be dark and mature for the sake of it, but merely that it just seems like a huge caveat never to put a character in that situation just because his creed is that 'he never kills someone'. Again, this is merely a person taste thing, but that doesn't mean I don't care for the character. it just seems like a bit of a get-out clause.

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So Superman's never killed anyone in the comics then? Doesn't it get a bit weird with all the sudden ways he's able to save people and not kill anyone in every story?

He's actually killed Zod in the comics. It was not a popular story, a lot of fans didn't like it at all and its since been wiped from canon. It was part of a run which included Superman being forced to make a porno with a superheroine. Maybe we we can look forward to that in Man of Steel 2: The Revenge of Russell Crowe's Ghost

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Man this is like a perfect example of how peoples media assumptions have been twisted by videogames. People are actually unable to comprehend havinga hero, particularly a hero of moral superiority, who isn't a mass murderer.

Like turn that on its head, try and imagine a murderer being a real world hero. Like, giving speeches about values and hope and they murdered someone, snuffed out their life. That's fucking weird.

And that's not getting into the fact that they're 70 years old, and even if it were infrequent, it'd be like a four figure murder count by now. They'd literally be one of the worlds biggest monsters.

What?? lol That's total rubbish, and rather a big assumption for you to make that my comprehensions have been twisted.

Some people are saying that he shouldn't have been put in that position, and that's fair enough, but if he was, there's a huge different between someone murdering someone in cold blood and someone having to kill someone to prevent the deaths of other innocent people at their hands.

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I'm not a comic book reader so undoubtably I don't have a huge knowledege of the character, but that doesn't mean I don't care for him- I'm not saying things have to be dark and mature for the sake of it, but merely that it just seems like a huge caveat never to put a character in that situation just because his creed is that 'he never kills someone'. Again, this is merely a person taste thing, but that doesn't mean I don't care for the character. it just seems like a bit of a get-out clause.

Both me and RJ answered this though: I challenged your conception of him as a character, and I've also challenged your conception of how he could have got out of that specific scenario with very little effort(and RJ's idea of using the World Engine is even better). Give me time and I could write an even better one; it's not that hard.

Some people are saying that he shouldn't have been put in that position, and that's fair enough, but if he was, there's a huge different between someone murdering someone in cold blood and someone having to kill someone to prevent the deaths of other innocent people at their hands.

He's basically a god. He can work his way out of ANY scenario he finds himself in like that. As I wrote above, it's not even that difficult.

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Like, the idea that all possible stories must be entertained as something that can be explored within a single character is just fucking dumb. There's obviously not going to be a movie of Clark Kent just doing filing, or Superman dropping dead offscreen and people talking about it for 90 minutes.

Not that you couldn't do something interesting with those stories, but man-punching-other-man stories tend to have more limited narrative arcs and rules than literary fiction, especially when we're making blockbuster films of them.

So the idea that "no this explicitly one-solution contrived scenario that invalidates the character concept" must happen or be accounted for or that's "too limiting" to tell stories with when we're eliminating huge swathes of stuff just by virtue of being a genre piece just doesn't hold true.

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Both me and RJ answered this though: I challenged your conception of him as a character, and I've also challenged your conception of how he could have got out of that specific scenario with very little effort(and RJ's idea of using the World Engine is even better). Give me time and I could write an even better one; it's not that hard.

He's basically a god. He can work his way out of ANY scenario he finds himself in like that. As I wrote above, it's not even that difficult.

You've answered it, but not in a way to come close to make me change my way of thinking, but I can see why you have that opinion :) I just find it interesting that because his ethos is never to kill, that he can never, ever be put in that position where he might have to. I'd find it more interesting to explore the situation that if he did have to kill someone to prevent the deaths of more innocents, what happens to his shining beacon status? Can such a beacon ever really exist? That doesn't mean I'm a fan of only dark and 'gritty' stories, it just means that I find that premise somewhat unrealistic. Life doesn't always go the way you want it to.

But what happens when he comes up against another god? One bent on killing? I admit, if Superman was the most powerful being in the universe, I could easily see how he'd never have to kill, when he's clearly not unique in that, what happens when he comes up against a similarly powerful being who is going to murder more innocents?

But, I can see the viewpoint of both you and RubberJohnny :) I'm not saying either of you are wrong in any sense, I just didn't realise that about Superman before, and find it quite an interesting aspect.

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Answered that too: see my 'hubris' argument in spoilers, above. There's no scenario you've posited that hasn't been covered in fiction before, hundreds of thousands of times, not just in comics but in every media available.

And as I said in the hubris argument, to see a bloke come up against world-ending gods week-in, week-out and win without murdering them, just watch Doctor Who.

(By the way, I don't think anyone's saying Superman never does something that leads to a villain's death, but there's a huge cognitive gap between a villain falling in a fight and:

Superman snapping their neck when he has other options

)

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Well part of the problem here is he hasn't even had time to build up that ethos in this interpretation. In this version he's puts on the suit and then a day later he's killed a dude. So you don't really have the drama of having someone having to make a difficult decision on whether to break a longstanding personal rule.

David Goyer is pretty tone deaf to this kind of stuff. You have The Dark Knight which has the Joker trying to force Batman to break his own code and destroy his psyche, conveniently forgetting that in the last film he murdered Liam Neeson with the power of semantics.

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And as I said in the hubris argument, to see a bloke come up against world-ending gods week-in, week-out and win without murdering them, just watch Doctor Who.

Yeah, but I kinda hate the end of a lot of Doctor Who episodes, as so many of them have a 'get out of jail free' card that hasn't been adequately explained and just comes into being seconds before the end of the show.

Well part of the problem here is he hasn't even had time to build up that ethos in this interpretation. In this version he's puts on the suit and then a day later he's killed a dude. So you don't really have the drama of having someone having to make a difficult decision on whether to break a longstanding personal rule.

David Goyer is pretty tone deaf to this kind of stuff. You have The Dark Knight which has the Joker trying to force Batman to break his own code and destroy his psyche, conveniently forgetting that in the last film he murdered Liam Neeson with the power of semantics.

Yeah, I've been thinking about it and

although I'm saying Superman shouldn't be killing people all over the place, maybe him encountering this situation in the first film in the reboot was a bit too soon. I'd still like to see it though, as I still think it's going to cheapen a lot of stories if he keeps managing to a. save everyone and b. not kill anyone, but perhaps it was too much too soon, especially without explaining the whole icon thing fully

But thanks for the input though, I do now see your point of view- especially since that didn't really come across in the Reeve films either. I can see why people who've read the comics and know more of the character would be upset by the ending, even though it's not the viewpoint I'd take.

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It's my nephew's birthday today so I nipped down to Hamley's to pick him up some Superman Lego (££££ btw, fucksake) and the woman serving just completly spoiled the ending of the film for me while bagging the stuff up. Unreal.

Superman wins.

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Superman would be fucked if he lived in Westeros, we all know what happens to the honourable hero there.

http://youtu.be/NN30YMzja6Y

in the film ghost dad does say "You can save them all". There are a number of ways Clarke could have saved a good many lives in that film and in essence fails spectacularly to do so. Clarke has always had the aspect of a god scared of squashing an ant, for example:

http://youtu.be/XwU0QkcrNVQ

Yet here, in this film, the aspirational god that would inspire all of humanity falls to the level of the common dross, killing without thought or consequence, much like modern American foreign policy no?

This was perhaps a modern superman but, it was not the Superman

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(By the way, I don't think anyone's saying Superman never does something that leads to a villain's death, but there's a huge cognitive gap between a villain falling in a fight and:

Superman snapping their neck when he has other options

)

Exactly.

As a comparison, the Zod fight in this movie really reminded me of the Doomsday battle in The Death of Superman, in terms of the scale of the destruction and the way that the enemy's rampage can only be stopped by its death. But there's a big difference between "Superman and a mindless-monster-that-exists-only-to-destroy fight each other until they both keel over and die simultaneously" and

"the man with the symbol for 'hope' on his chest snaps the neck of a man who could potentially be reasoned with or defeated in another way".

Not that The Death of Superman is at all a good story against which others should be judged, but it's a comparison that came to mind when I watched this film.

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he picks up the Kents truck as a toddler...

In a different "universe"/set of films though...

I love the first two Christopher Reed movies,

Reeve :P

The summer of meh continues.

I thought the exact same thing! Still no film that is an "amazingOMG!" film this year yet.
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To be fair to Superman in Man of Steel, he was just starting out so essentially "finding his feet", therefore it's possible that the events of this film (his apparent distaste for killing anyone despite being a part of widespread destruction that almost definitely killed people) causes him to align these morality traits more towards what has already been demonstrated in the previous films and comics.

What I'm saying is that Superman isn't essentially of superior morality just because of his "race" (if he was, Zod and his cohorts would also be the exact same), he learns this just like everyone on Earth has to. He just has physical superiority because of his extra-terrestrial origins.

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Reading about Pacific Rim and this quote leapt out and made me think of this film.

One of the decisions I took early on is with the exception of a few set pieces, I took the decision that I wanted to have the cities evacuated during the fights so that the scale of the fights would always be Kaiju versus robot and not the have people say, "What’s going to happen to the people running on the ground?" That was one of the early, early decisions, and that allows you to concentrate on the creature and the fight, so you are not thinking about the school bus that is half a block away or the horde of 300 people that you don't really know that are about to be crushed. It becomes an incredibly beautiful sandbox to let these huge things go at.

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Insisting that Superman is a sacrosanct icon of fluffy loveliness who must never be put in uncomfortable and morally challenging situations is silly, and the kind of nonsense that leads to the death of narrative drama.

Goyer is a hack but there's nothing really wrong with the resolution to Superman's conflict with Zod, the only issue I would take is with any idiots in the cinema who whoop and holler when it happened because it's pretty obvious that it's not a "fuck yeah so badass, maaaaan" moment but rather a personally devastating one which clearly causes Clark a metric fuckload of anguish, and will likely shape how he approaches life from here on.

This thread needs way less whining about Zod's fate and "b-b-but comic Superman and Batman always find a *ridiculously fucking idiotic and contrived* way to get out of such predicaments", more "goddamn, Faora is awesome and should get her own movie" talk.

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