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Old July 14 2013, 12:41 PM   #151
Phily B
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

Superman Returns was a great movie, apart from Bosworth as Lane, I loved it. I'm still bitterly disappointed we didn't get a sequel and got that god awful MoS instead.
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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.)


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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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Old July 14 2013, 05:00 PM   #153
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

I prefer the Kents being alive but I was raised on the 90s cartoon and then the 90s comics...
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Old July 14 2013, 06:50 PM   #154
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

Christopher wrote: View Post
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.
No, Superman's not about tragedy, but it's still a moment that forces him to grow up and take charge of his destiny in a much more dramatic way, I think.

With the other version, it feels like Clark's attitude is just "Well, guess it's time to head off to the city now, and become a superhero, or something." And then he comes back home for advice like he's just some 20 year old trying to make it on his own for the first time.

It's all just a little too cute and perfect and ideal for my taste, and makes him seem too much like a perpetual kid (never more so than on L&C). Somehow with the loss of Jonathan it feels like he becomes the mature adult we expect him to be in a much more real way.
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Old July 14 2013, 07:08 PM   #155
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

Coming from a fully functional family, I always loved that Supes had a fully functional family in Lois & Clark. That heroes have to lose their parents is a quite annoying stereotype.

You act like everyone whose parents are alive and well can't grow up.
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Old July 14 2013, 07:10 PM   #156
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

davejames wrote: View Post
With the other version, it feels like Clark's attitude is just "Well, guess it's time to head off to the city now, and become a superhero, or something." And then he comes back home for advice like he's just some 20 year old trying to make it on his own for the first time.

It's all just a little too cute and perfect and ideal for my taste, and makes him seem too much like a perpetual kid (never more so than on L&C).
I find that a rather bizarre attitude. Plenty of people grow up and lead productive adult lives while still having close relationships with their parents. Indeed, that's the whole reason Byrne made the change: because it had become far more common by the late '80s for adults to have both parents alive and well than it had been in the '40s or '50s.

Byrne asserted that Clark had gone out to travel the world and help people anonymously for years before he was outed. Mark Waid's Birthright shows more of this process, demonstrating how Clark's travels helped shape him into the hero he became. Here was someone who'd been raised in a loving, nurturing environment, going out into the greater world and discovering all the pain and injustice and cruelty and abuse that people suffered out there, and finding it unacceptable that everyone wasn't treated as well as he had been treated by the Kents and the people of Smallville -- and taking it upon himself to pay forward the goodness his parents had paid him, to live according to their example.

The really important part of the Donner origin story isn't Jonathan dying -- it's Jonathan teaching his son that he was here for a reason, that his powers needed to be directed toward a good purpose. True, his subsequent death did underline that message, because, let's face it, Clark essentially killed his father by unwisely challenging him to a race -- so there's a Spider-Man-like "With great power comes great responsibility" lesson in there. But it's the basic message itself that's the more important element. Clark going out into the world, seeing suffering and experiencing the losses that occur if he doesn't act, can teach him that lesson too. Sure, it may not seem as personal because it's not his own family dying, but that's kind of the point: that Superman transcends our instinct to value our own kind more than others, that he cares for everyone just as much as his own family.
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Old July 14 2013, 07:11 PM   #157
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

It came out during Smallville, it had an awesome trailer that it couldn't live up to, the acting was mediocre, and the plot was terrible.
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Old July 14 2013, 07:52 PM   #158
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

Christopher, I watched the Reeve series pilot just the other day. Pa has a heart attack and dies on the anniversary of the day they found Clark, as he's headed to clean up for the celebration dinner.

The acting was horrific, by the way.

I think Returns would have been better without the CGI flying closeups. Not good. Also, until yesterday I didn't know that Routh was wearing blue (-ish) contacts. I always thought his eyes were their natural brown color.
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Old July 15 2013, 07:35 AM   #159
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

Pingfah wrote: View Post
Spacey was excellent as Luther, but was a real estate scam honestly the most dastardly idea they could come up with for him?

Who the fuck would want to live on craggy island anyway? How are you supposed to build a house on that thing? It had 20ft high shards of sharp rock sticking out of the ground everywhere. It was the least attractive bit of real estate i've ever clapped eyes on.

You're nitpicking the wrong part of the plan. The part you should be concerned with is the one where Lex can't claim ownership of the land without admitting to millions of counts of murder.

There's no way that scheme doesn't end with his execution. No one would seriously pay him for the land. If he tried to charge people they'd just take it.


But back to the original point, I think that Superman Returns was way too nostalgic. It had some great ideas which should have moved the character forward, but which ultimately didn't.
Christopher wrote: View Post
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.
I agree. The thing is, Superman's life as Clark Kent , mind-mannered reporter is a lie. Superman's life as Superman is also a lie. Take away his family and you have a situation where is is literally lying to everyone all the time.

That really isn't good for the character.
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Old July 15 2013, 03:51 PM   #160
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

^Well, except in the Silver Age comics, where many Superman and spinoff stories revolved around Superman deliberately concocting elaborate lies, pranks, and hoaxes to teach his friends some theoretically salutary lesson. That version of Superman positively enjoyed lying and tricking people.
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Old July 16 2013, 12:13 AM   #161
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

I used to be very big on the Byrne version of things, but I've come to see its flaws. Something that I thought SR got right, completely against Byrne's take on things, was the idea of Superman thinking of himself as an alien. I'd never liked how that idea was portrayed in the Silver/Bronze Age comics, but I've come to think that Byrne went too far to the opposite extreme, to the point of being overly simplistic in making Clark such a perfect, idyllic individual.

For example, Byrne seemed to think that if Superman hadn't played football in high school, he couldn't have been psychologically normal...but lots of kids don't play football in high school, and Clark abstaining from sports could be seen as a character-building experience. Superman may wish he were a normal person, but he never could or should be one, IMO. Being Superman should be an awesome responsibility and a heavy burden, and I'm glad that MoS also went with this take on the character.
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Old July 16 2013, 12:33 AM   #162
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
I used to be very big on the Byrne version of things, but I've come to see its flaws. Something that I thought SR got right, completely against Byrne's take on things, was the idea of Superman thinking of himself as an alien. I'd never liked how that idea was portrayed in the Silver/Bronze Age comics, but I've come to think that Byrne went too far to the opposite extreme, to the point of being overly simplistic in making Clark such a perfect, idyllic individual.
Agreed. I thought MOS struck a nice balance with a Clark who feels like an outsider, but doesn't really see himself as "alien" either. He's conflicted about what he is, which is exactly what you would expect from someone growing up with all these crazy ass powers.

The Byrne Clark always seemed a little too perfect and happy and well-adjusted to me.
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Old July 16 2013, 03:54 AM   #163
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
I used to be very big on the Byrne version of things, but I've come to see its flaws. Something that I thought SR got right, completely against Byrne's take on things, was the idea of Superman thinking of himself as an alien. I'd never liked how that idea was portrayed in the Silver/Bronze Age comics, but I've come to think that Byrne went too far to the opposite extreme, to the point of being overly simplistic in making Clark such a perfect, idyllic individual.

For example, Byrne seemed to think that if Superman hadn't played football in high school, he couldn't have been psychologically normal...but lots of kids don't play football in high school, and Clark abstaining from sports could be seen as a character-building experience. Superman may wish he were a normal person, but he never could or should be one, IMO. Being Superman should be an awesome responsibility and a heavy burden, and I'm glad that MoS also went with this take on the character.
Superman playing football sort of makes him look like a giant asshole.

Whenever if he loses it's because he intentionally threw the game. If he wins then the other team never had a chance. Either way, it isn't a contest. It's just a question of how much power he's willing to show off.

Last edited by hyzmarca; July 16 2013 at 03:01 PM.
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Old July 16 2013, 03:57 AM   #164
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

hyzmarca wrote: View Post
Superman playing football sort of makes him look like a giant asshole.

Whenever if he loses its because he intentionally threw the game. If he wins then the other team never had a chance. Either way, it isn't a context. It's just a question of how much power he's willing to show off.
Also if Clark uses too much of his strength and collides into someone, he might accidentally break another player's neck.
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Old July 16 2013, 05:13 AM   #165
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Re: Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

Mr Light wrote: View Post
I prefer the Kents being alive but I was raised on the 90s cartoon and then the 90s comics...
Well, I was raised on seventies comics when his parents were dead. Byrne's decision to bring back Superman's parents was one of the best things about his reboot. I agree that having his parents alive really shows the humanity of the character.

Even back in the seventies and early eighties, the Superboy books did a great job of showing this relationship. There was one arc in Action Comics when Pa Kent came back to life and got to see his boy as Superman. It may be trite by today's standards but it was and still is one of my favorite Superman stories.

I think the reboot made a serious mistake by taking Superman's parents away. For a moment I was hoping that they would come back when we found out that they had actually been killed by the 5D villain (not going to try to spell his name, although it is arguable they were actually killed by Mxy based on the epilogue to Morrison's arc).

Some of the best moments in the new 52 Superman have been the flashbacks to the Kents. I loved the story when Supes travels back in time to meet his dad again.
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