Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Trek4Ever, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Actually Smallville's Jonathan Kent was awesome, and I hated it when they killed him off for no good reason other than slavish imitation of the Donner movie. I've liked many incarnations of Jonathan, but that man Kevin Costner played in MoS was not any Jonathan Kent I recognize.
     
  2. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    And Costner's version told Clark to find his destiny no matter how long it took.
     
  3. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, OK. I only watched a total of about 10 - 15 episodes of Smallville, and it seemed like Johnathon was always making misguided decisions and from the Trailers for MoS, it seemed like they cranked that aspect up to 10
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Honestly, I don't remember the specific plot points of Smallville that well. I just remember liking John Schneider in the role. (And of course Annette O'Toole as Martha.)
     
  5. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't really see it as formulaic at all. People lose their parents all the time; it's a part of normal human experience, so it only makes sense that eventually Clark would have to go through it as well. Not to mention that in most tellings, the Kents were already up there in age when they discovered Clark, so the likelihood is even greater that it would happen before he left home.

    Plus we're talking about the first superhero here. I think there have to be allowances for certain things seeming "formulaic", since a lot of them were originated with this character.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But lots of people don't lose their parents, at least not while they're in the prime of life. In this day and age, there are plenty of people in their 30s and 40s and even 50s who still have both parents alive and well. So yes, obviously, losing parents does happen, but my point is that it doesn't always happen, that there shouldn't be an absolute requirement that every fictional character ever has to have at least one dead parent.


    In most tellings prior to 1986. Because, as I've already explained, when Superman was created, life expectancies were lower. By the time the late '80s rolled around and Superman's backstory was being rebooted, there were a lot more adults who still had both parents alive, and so that's how Superman's story was told in the comics for well over 20 years, in the 1988 animated series, in Lois and Clark, and in Superman: The Animated Series. And while Smallville did eventually kill Jonathan, it most assuredly did not depict him and Martha as being "already up there in age," but instead portrayed them as quite robust. John Schneider and Annette O'Toole were respectively 41 and 49 when the series began.

    So no, it's not "in most tellings." It's only in most older tellings. And that's my whole problem with the way productions like Superman Returns and Smallville take all their cues from Richard Donner's movie -- because they're ignoring the decades of progress the franchise has made since then.


    You're talking as though we haven't actually had over two decades of successful storytelling -- countless comics, two animated series, and one live-action series -- in which both Jonathan and Martha were alive during Clark's adult years. It has worked. It can work. It isn't even the exception to the rule any longer -- it has been the rule for most of the past quarter-century, and it's only in the past few years that the old-school approach of killing off Jonathan has begun to make a comeback. Clearly, indisputably, it is optional. It is not obligatory.
     
  7. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree with Christopher. Batman is an orphan, Spider-man is an orphan and lost his uncle Ben, Tony Stark's father died young in the cinematic version, James Bond is an orphan, Bourne has no family (that he remembers), Wolverine has no family, Captain America's family are presumably dead, Harry Potter is an orphan, the Starks lost their father and mother in GOT, Kirk's dad and Spock's mum died in ST'09.

    The whole losing a parent thing seems to have become such a cliche of late. It might have been nice to keep Jonathan around in the MOS-verse.
     
  8. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Jonathan Kent is a mentor and in following the Joseph Campbell mode a mentor normally dies, the only way a hero can be greater than their teacher is forthe teacher to die.
     
  9. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^but isn't that achieved already with Jor-El's death?
     
  10. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But in this version, Jonathan isn't really a "mentor" figure. His role is more of the father of an "exceptional" child. He doesn't really have any answers for Clark--other than to keep his powers a secret.

    What he does offer Clark is a symbol of humanity, and that part the movie did quite well. As a father, I often feel like I am stumbling along trying to find the right things to saw or the right answers to my kids questions and, in that sense, I really enjoyed this version of Jonathan Kent. What Jonathan does give Clark is an unconditional love and support--and that is really his role in this movie. I really loved the scene in the barn and at the truck, and I hope we get more flashbacks in future movies and see more of the father-son relationship.
     
  11. Set Harth

    Set Harth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Other than Victor, that is.
     
  12. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ See, I feel basically like you but would just have liked them to keep Jonathan around to continue to give Clark that support, not just via flashbacks. (@theenglish)
     
  13. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I forgot that! But not quite the Waltons, are they?!
     
  14. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Makes me wonder if the creative minds have all some sort of father issues.
     
  15. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    The real Jor-El had no contact with the grown Kal-El but his hologram did and that was of course after Jonathan's death.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, but this version of Jonathan sucks. The worst, absolute worst kind of father for an exceptional child is the kind who teaches that child to be ashamed of his exceptionalism, and forbids him to do the things he's capable of doing. I feel that the way MoS Jonathan treats Clark borders on emotional abuse, even if he didn't intend it that way.


    I couldn't agree less. Normally, Jonathan is the role model whose example of goodness and kindness shapes Superman into who he becomes. Here, he's the character whose values Clark has to reject in order to become Superman, the guy who's been relentlessly holding him back and whose fears about how Clark would be treated by the public turn out to be wholly wrong. If he's Clark's symbol of humanity, then the only reason this Superman has to identify with humanity is that his examples of Kryptonians are mostly even worse. Well, except for Jor-El, the actual hero of the movie.
     
  17. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Jor-El in Man Of Steel made the earth a target I'd hardly call him a hero, but he did help get Lois off of the Krytonian vessel, I guess that's something.
     
  18. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Because heroes can never make mistakes, especially when they have no way of knowing they're making one? Christopher is dead-on here, IMO.

    I also noticed that in Smallville, when Clark meets the Jor-El hologram, he's thoughtful enough to tell Jonathan and Matha that he met "his biological parent". But Snyder-Clark just plain tells his Martha he met his "dad", no qualifier attached, and sure enough, she winces. Boo!
     
  19. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree. In this movie Jonathan was pretty much a wuss. He didn't teach Clark to be strong and stand for what is right. He showed him that basically being a coward was the best way to live. And die.

    Jonathan's "sacrifice" was hollow, and served no purpose. I live in tornado alley, and I guarantee you that no one -- NO ONE -- would stand there and let themselves be sucked up into a bigass tornado.

    This movie wasn't very well written. Not at all.

    But thank goodness Costner wasn't directing. Then it would have been 4 hours instead of 2 1/2.

    Side note: John Schneider's character in Smallville would have taught Clark that if he needed to use his abilities he would have to be careful to not let people see him doing it, not to avoid using them at all. And he would have punched that tornado right in the face. :lol:
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Smallville's Clark actually did save Lana from a tornado in one season finale, and his secret wasn't exposed in the process. And lemme tell ya, if your version of Clark Kent is less heroic than Tom Welling's version, then you've got problems.
     

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