I’m one of those people who loathed the recent Superman movie so badly I walked out. The only other movie I’ve ever walked out of? Mortal Kombat 2. This week I saw a piece where director Zack Snyder was saying “If you really know Superman canon, then you know that I didn’t change him.” Few things in fandom ever get me so riled that I blog about it, this is one. It might even be the first for this blog.
I have been a Superman fan since I was about 6 years old, which was circa 1978. I was sick often, so whenever we were picking up medicine for me at Roy’s Pharmacy, I browsed the comic books. My favorite heroes? Spider-man, Superman and Batman. I was allowed to pick up one comic book each visit. When I started to have an allowance, I picked up more comics, and when my new neighbour turned out to own a comic book chain? Well, it went way beyond loving John Byrne’s Man of Steel and let’s just say that, among other things, I have an Iron Man #1 in my collection still today. In adulthood, I’ve read comic news as much as I’ve read CNN and every other news outlet (which is a lot). I’ve binged at times on Comixology. Add to that having read golden age, silver age, and ‘crappy, wtf are you doing splitting him into a Red and Blue energy being” age, I consider myself while not an expert, reasonably well versed on the subject of Superman.
The first thing that is burned into my brain from the Superman movie of Zack Snyder’s that screamed to me he didn’t understand the character, that moment where I said “WTF is this?” is when he’s heading north and steals some clothes off a clothesline. If you’re not a boy-scout (or girl-scout) personality type, you might not think anything of it, but I am… and you know who else is? Superman. It’s his entire core of being. It’s the deep sense of respecting people and their property and space. It ties to his belief system of justice and equality. There are plenty classic Superman comics where this is played against him, like on a world where if a thief steals something when a shop owner isn’t looking it’s legal and Superman struggles with the notion because he witnesses such a theft.
You see, if you’re a boy-scout personality type, you “can’t” just take them. The clothes Clark takes weren’t in the garbage, they weren’t donated to him, and they were not traded for. He would have had to do some good deed for the person (even if the person didn’t know about it) to offset the ‘evil’ of taking the clothes. It’s like an OCD touched my left side, need to touch my right side, type of thing. In the movie, Clark just takes them. He doesn’t even think twice about it. Ah… no.
Petty? I don’t think so, because the rest of the movie just amplifies this lack of understanding of the character. You could arguably reinvent Spiderman with a “killed someone, regrets it, and thus, with great power comes great responsibility,” but not Superman. His moral core is what makes him Superman. Otherwise, he’s just Hyperion or some other super powered arrogant jerk.
While I’m certain in a million years, Zack Snyder will never see this, I needed to say it for me. It really disappoints me to see what’s happening with Superman, how it’s being all “Fantastic Four’ed”, but that’s Hollywood. Yes, Brandon Routh was a bit stiff in Superman Returns, but he still had some ‘Superman’ to him. This Bizarro Dark-Superman version we’re getting served? It’s just a shame. And it’s beyond arrogant I think to claim that he didn’t change anything.
There, now I can calm down and get back to writing my next book.