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Old July 14 2013, 04:45 PM   #152
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

davejames wrote: View Post
Yeah but the death of Jor-El is such an abstract thing to him, and something he doesn't even remember. I think we still need to see him feel the loss of his adoptive father Jonathan as well-- someone he actually knew and loved, and who instilled the values that he carries forward as Superman.
But why does he have to lose that person at all? Superman isn't about tragedy, he's about optimism. He's about family. He's not a grim, embittered loner like Batman, he's someone who, despite his origins as an outsider, feels like he's a full member of his family, his community, his nation, his adoptive species and planet. It's that sense of belonging that makes him so motivated a protector. He lost the world and family he was born to, and he cherishes his new world and family too much to risk letting anything happen to them. It's about the contrast between death (Krypton/House of El) and life (Earth/Kent family), not just death and death.

I think that death carries a lot more weight, and is a lot more important for the character's growth.
It carries weight, sure, but if it's the only tool you ever pull out of the kit, it becomes cliched and lazy. There have got to be more ways to motivate characters than just killing the people they care about.

It's a defining moment that I thought was kind of missing from L&C and TAS, where he still had this perfect, happy little family to go back to all the time.
Whereas I felt -- as John Byrne evidently felt -- that Clark/Superman is more defined when Ma and Pa are part of his adult life. That way he has confidantes, people he can reveal his true self to, and that lets us get to know him better than when he's going through life deceiving everyone around him. Sure, you could have that with just Martha, but it's not quite the same. Jonathan is traditionally Clark's main role model, the one whose example he strives to follow. It's useful if he can have actual conversations with that influential figure, because it lets the writers dramatize what would otherwise be an internal monologue.

(Well, as long as it's not Costner Jonathan, who pretty much spent his life -- and finally threw away his life -- trying to talk Clark out of his instinct to help people.)

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
The first source that I know of that had only Pa Kent die was the George Reeves TV series...I think that a lot of things in the Donner film were informed by that source, so it got repeated there.
I didn't know that. I thought the pilot asserted that Clark lost both his parents before he came to Metropolis, but maybe I'm confusing it with the comics.

As portrayed in both origin films, though, there is a certain symmetry to it...Clark loses his Earth father only to discover his Kryptonian father.
Yeah, that's another trope the Donner movie introduced that I feel has been too often repeated -- Jor-El surviving as some sort of AI or personality imprint and being an ongoing part of his son's life. Granted, Jor-El was the best part of Man of Steel, certainly more heroic than Superman was, but that's part of the problem. He's gone from being too much of an active influence in Superman's life to being the dominant character in the film.
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