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  #2491  
Old 01-11-2019, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Rascally Badger View Post
For me, Man of Steel's one big sin is how it handles Pa Kent. I get what Snyder was trying to do there, but that is one sour note in what should be the heart of the movie.
My memory is a little fuzzy about the specifics, but why does Pa Kent let himself die from a tornado instead of letting Clark save him? How old is Clark in that part of the movie? Because I remember him being out of high school at that point, and if that's true then just... why.
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  #2492  
Old 01-11-2019, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by YangusKhan View Post
My memory is a little fuzzy about the specifics, but why does Pa Kent let himself die from a tornado instead of letting Clark save him?
He doesn't want the world to know that his son is actually a literal alien with terrifying superpowers.

(This and basically everything else about Pa Kent was pretty sensible to me.)
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  #2493  
Old 01-11-2019, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by estragon View Post
He doesn't want the world to know that his son is actually a literal alien with terrifying superpowers.

(This and basically everything else about Pa Kent was pretty sensible to me.)
It makes sense, but it is counter to everything the character in nearly every other incarnation stands for. Pa Kent's hesitant, anguished talk with Clark after saving the bus works, because you get that he is primarily scared for his child. But having his final lesson to Clark be that it is more important that he protect himself and his secret than it is to help people doesn't work. It is part why the movie gets accused of presenting a cynical, distrustful Superman; because the lessons he learned from his father was that nothing is more important than protecting himself from discovery.

I see how that scene is supposed to read. That it is supposed to be part of how Clark learns the self-sacrifice that is part of his character as Superman, giving himself to protect other people. There it is Pa Kent giving his life to protect his son. But what is he protecting him from? From having his secret maybe discovered by a handful of people hiding under an overpass from a tornado who may or may not be able to say what they saw, or if they even saw it? The sacrifice is so unequal it is ridiculous. The lesson portrayed is that the secret of Clark's origin is literally more important than the lives of the people he loves most.
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  #2494  
Old 01-11-2019, 07:34 PM
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Pa Kent’s fear of Clark losing his secret identity is the closest thing we’ll ever get to a Superman: Secret Identity film, and it’s a very good thing.
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  #2495  
Old 01-11-2019, 07:43 PM
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Hmmm, I really do need to read that. I love Busiek.
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  #2496  
Old 01-11-2019, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Rascally Badger View Post
I see how that scene is supposed to read. That it is supposed to be part of how Clark learns the self-sacrifice that is part of his character as Superman, giving himself to protect other people. There it is Pa Kent giving his life to protect his son. But what is he protecting him from? From having his secret maybe discovered by a handful of people hiding under an overpass from a tornado who may or may not be able to say what they saw, or if they even saw it? The sacrifice is so unequal it is ridiculous. The lesson portrayed is that the secret of Clark's origin is literally more important than the lives of the people he loves most.
Yeah, this. I feel like I wouldn't be as critical of this crucial part of the movie and Clark's origin story if the specific details were changed. Make the situation much more drastic and just, bigger. Like, there's a TV crew recording the incident in question and a huge crowd of people involved.
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  #2497  
Old 01-11-2019, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by estragon View Post
a movie probably should actually be about something instead of primarily functioning as a self-recursive advertisement advertisement for the intellectual property of a movie studio
Man of Steel was an advertisement for the US military more than DC comics.
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  #2498  
Old 01-11-2019, 08:00 PM
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Troop Worship is definitely an aspect of the movie, although that's true of most any American blockbuster that features the U.S. Military.
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  #2499  
Old 01-12-2019, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by estragon View Post
He doesn't want the world to know that his son is actually a literal alien with terrifying superpowers.

(This and basically everything else about Pa Kent was pretty sensible to me.)
It makes sense for those characters, but I don't think it's a good angle for a Superman movie. This is the legacy of John Byrne's Man of Steel, the "Marvel-fication" of Superman. The Marvel heroes stood out for having feet of clay, their vulnerabilities and insecurities make them more relateable characters. Superman is the proto-superhero, and works best as an ideal. I love the angle of the Richard Donner movies, Clark Kent's cheery optimism is a fish-out-of-water in the cruel, cynical "modern" world of the late 70s.

As a character arc, "Superman sacrifices all to fit into our world" isn't nearly as interesting as "Superman stands in contrast to our real yet flawed world as an example to live up to". Pining down all the how's any why's of his character is like pointing out that Santa's sleigh would be too heavy to fly; technically correct but missing what makes the character magical.
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  #2500  
Old 01-12-2019, 12:18 PM
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Yeah, like I said, I totally understand that and why people wouldn't want this.

A big part of my perspective is: I don't care about Superman or any of its characters, so none of that matters to me, personally. It's fine if it matters to you or anyone else, of course. He's an iconic character and people who are not me have strong feelings about him.

(I can enjoy good Superman stories by authors I like though. I liked the character in Kirby's Jimmy Olsen and in Morrison's JLA and All-Star Superman. And I really should read Busiek's take sometime in Secret Identity...)
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  #2501  
Old 01-12-2019, 12:30 PM
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I get what you’re putting down excitemike, and I can’t blame you for it. But I really resent that perspective sometimes. There’s this bizarre expectation that Superman be fully formed from the womb as the perfect superhero, and that’s just not really realistic or interesting. MoS tries to show a story of how Superman would develop into that paragon of morality, but people are either impatient that it takes time to get there, or that he’s not already that from minute one.
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  #2502  
Old 01-12-2019, 01:01 PM
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I'm not really trying to argue my point, as much talking out loud; but "fully formed from the womb" reminds me of the Christ/Jewish Messiah/Baby Moses parallels. He is a "virgin birth", hatched from a little space pod to guide us. That may be why I find stories of Clark's journey to be uninspiring, because it's a character arc that chases it's own tail. The Jonathan Kent of Zak Snyder's film chooses to let himself die to protect his son from the world. Clark's powers are a secret that must be guarded closely, his morality is check against the sins of the flawed human world.

In Donner's film, he dies naturally from a heart attack. Clark learns the limit of his powers are the limits of the natural world itself. When Lois dies, his grief is so great that he is able to transcend those limits and turn back time itself. Clark's morality, his strict code about what he can and cannot do, are rules laid out by Jor-El. His compassion comes from the Kent's, and it's what makes him human and have love for the world.
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  #2503  
Old 01-12-2019, 01:06 PM
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In short, I'd rather see Superman performing miracles rather than punch dudes, like, really hard.
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  #2504  
Old 01-12-2019, 02:59 PM
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Frankly, I find the tale of a humble son of two elderly mid-western farmers trying to become a paragon of virtue more inspiring than that of an omnipotent alien doing no wrong, but to each his own.
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  #2505  
Old 01-12-2019, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Positronic Brain View Post
Frankly, I find the tale of a humble son of two elderly mid-western farmers trying to become a paragon of virtue more inspiring than that of an omnipotent alien doing no wrong, but to each his own.
An excellent description of why Man of Steel was so great.
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  #2506  
Old 01-12-2019, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by estragon View Post
An excellent description of why Man of Steel was so great.
Disclaimer: I too liked Man of Steel. And I really liked Byrne's take on Superman - I'm sure both of those are related.

However, I liked Man of Steel in spite of Snyder and Goyer - the base story and the symbology of Superman are so strong that not even Snyder himself was able to wreck it completely in just one movie. Pa' Kent's death has always annoyed me, and it's the most evident flaw in the movie (although I will admit they gave us a very strong and smart Lois Lane, which was the part I was afraid they would fumble).

Batman V Superman proved that Snyder is the wrong director for these franchises, in part because he is too cynical for these characters and in part because he's a hack.
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  #2507  
Old 01-12-2019, 03:49 PM
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The "Not My Superman" blowback against Man of Steel is a good example of what's holding superhero blockbusters back. People complain of the tendentious flaws of cape flicks - formulaic, flashy but not stylish, thematically timid - but these are just things that it's common knowledge are problems with the genre, while the movies that try to be anything more risk getting specific gripes. The only way to get that ten-figure box office take is by making the movie everyone expects, and everyone's expectations are low.
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  #2508  
Old 01-12-2019, 04:18 PM
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I'm just a lowbrow who wants Superman to be good and save people.
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  #2509  
Old 01-12-2019, 05:08 PM
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A Superman who goes to the southern hemisphere and breaks an imperialist's climate-change machine is being good and saving people, even if nobody in New York knows he's doing it.
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  #2510  
Old 01-12-2019, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
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A Superman who goes to the southern hemisphere and breaks an imperialist's climate-change machine is being good and saving people, even if nobody in New York knows he's doing it.
School bus, oil rig.
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  #2511  
Old 01-12-2019, 05:56 PM
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David Goyer and Zach Snyder didn't have to construct a scenario where Superman just happens to have to let tens of thousands of people die... and also directly cause many more by fighting Zod in a densely populated area. And then doing that again. But don't worry, he'll be damned if he's going to let those four people die at the end. He'll kill Zod if he has too, but be real upset about it. Even though it was never established that he's against killing.
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  #2512  
Old 01-12-2019, 06:10 PM
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The authors intentionally created a scenario in which the character saves the world first and then saves what's left of the city, yes.
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  #2513  
Old 01-12-2019, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Positronic Brain View Post
Disclaimer: I too liked Man of Steel. And I really liked Byrne's take on Superman - I'm sure both of those are related.

However, I liked Man of Steel in spite of Snyder and Goyer - the base story and the symbology of Superman are so strong that not even Snyder himself was able to wreck it completely in just one movie. Pa' Kent's death has always annoyed me, and it's the most evident flaw in the movie (although I will admit they gave us a very strong and smart Lois Lane, which was the part I was afraid they would fumble).
This is generally how I feel about Man of Steel, though I am more generally more charitable toward Snyder as a director.

The Superman doesn't save anybody takes have always been baffling to me coming from a movie where Superman spends most of his time saving people.
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  #2514  
Old 01-12-2019, 06:27 PM
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He saves people in the macro, and he saves people plenty of times on the micro scale, including all the times he saves people in Smallville, as well as the family huddling in fear from Zod’s eye beams. He does more than enough feats of heroism and valor in the film. MoS just doesn’t lampshade it by having him strike up heroic poses for the benefit of the audience afterwards, or have the camera pan over an adulating crowd to as shorthand telling us how we should be feeling.
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  #2515  
Old 01-12-2019, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bongo View Post
The "Not My Superman" blowback against Man of Steel is a good example of what's holding superhero blockbusters back. People complain of the tendentious flaws of cape flicks - formulaic, flashy but not stylish, thematically timid - but these are just things that it's common knowledge are problems with the genre, while the movies that try to be anything more risk getting specific gripes. The only way to get that ten-figure box office take is by making the movie everyone expects, and everyone's expectations are low.
I agree, and I'm all in for risk taking with stablished mythologies. As good as the Marvel movies are, for example, few of them deviate from a safe standard.

That said, there's only so much you can deviate from the baseline before you start wondering if you're watching a movie about a recognized character or an "original-character-do-not-steal" fanfic painted over with an Official License. Spider-verse's Gen X Peter is a good example of a good deviation from the standard canon and a risk that pays off, while I am still baffled at Snyder thinking it was a good idea to let Batman use guns in BvS - I can't recognize the character in that film as a Batman, but rather as. Punisher with a funny mask.

(I'm still not sure why Batman killing bothers me a lot in BvS but not that much in the Burton films - I think Burton does so much stuff right that he has more good faith to burn than Snyder)
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  #2516  
Old 01-12-2019, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
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The authors intentionally created a scenario in which the character saves the world first and then saves what's left of the city, yes.
Ok. I don't like this story, and I think it was done badly besides.
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  #2517  
Old 01-12-2019, 07:46 PM
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I mean, certainly they decided it's a key element of the story that Clark would feel alienated from the world by his powers. The Kents were aware of the world-changing significance of his existence and tried to prepare him for that as best they could. It's an origin story, which means it's Superman coming to a world that doesn't already have Superman.
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  #2518  
Old 01-12-2019, 08:23 PM
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I'm OK with Superman causing tons of collateral damage and killing Zod. He's green, he hasn't formed his moral code yet, and these failures surely will help him steel his resolve and become the hero he's destined to be.

Undortunately this is my headcanon and the movie doesn't do anything to prove or disprove it. The ending is sloppy, and it's the best example of the myth doing the heavy lifting the director and the screenwriter should be doing. People less forgiving than me (or who are not as familiar with the myth) can (correctly) interpret the movie as starring a man who doesn't care that much for collateral damage.

Funny thing is that the opening of BvS looked like it was going to elaborate on the ending of MoS and the collateral damage, but that thread was quickly discarded in favor of Sock 'Em Rock' Em Bat-Robots.
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  #2519  
Old 01-12-2019, 08:47 PM
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Yeah, Dawn of Justice started as the Man of Steel Part 2 that the ending cried out for, but it swerved rapidly into something far dumber.
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  #2520  
Old 01-12-2019, 10:40 PM
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We've had this conversation before.

The movie itself follows Zod's death with a joke about how hot Superman is. Whatever your opinion is on Superman killing people or collateral damage, the movie really doesn't think much either way.
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