Thread: "Joyless" ?
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Old 10-20-2013, 06:28 AM   #15
Clark Kent > Superman
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: South West, UK
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Default Re: "Joyless" ?

To me, the film was joyless for a few reasons:

1. They added to aspects of the origin to make it even more tragic... to the point where they went over the top. There is enough tragedy in finding out your parents and your entire race are gone and you are the only one left. There is so much to be explored there already. And there is enough tragedy in your father dying when your a young man, without making it directly because of you and something you could have stopped from happening.

It just seemed like overkill.

2. The only reactions we got of 'the public' to Superman was Jenny's line of 'he saved us', which just felt kind of limp. How hard would it have been to have hired a bunch of extras and have more people around coming out of the rubble than just Perry, Jenny and Lombard? To have shots of groups of people all slowly realising they are safe now, pointing as Superman, smiling etc. To be able to actually see evidence of the amount of lives he'd just saved.

But no. All we see is a wasteland of buildings (and probably bodies) and 3 people he's managed to save.

3. The neck snap - because ending a film with a heroes soul crushing defeat is joyless. Forcing a hero to take another mans life in such a violent way is not in any way joyful.

Now, you can LIKE the ending as much as you want. But I don't get how anyone can argue with that.

Originally Posted by Human Torch View Post
My problem with the film being "joyless",is less about the amount of humor,(which,lets be honest,there wasn't all that much of.) but more about the lack of exhilaration at being Superman. Supes is one of the more positive, uplifting characters, and for the most part he's rendered ineffectual and somber.

Originally Posted by smallville fan View Post
I really don't like how Superman is now suddenly obligated to be happy-go-lucky and funny just because the Donner films said so. In my opinion, they held the character back from reaching the sort of potential I wanted to see, and is probably the reason to why many prefer Batman to Superman.
Who said anything about Superman being happy-go-lucky?

I don't like happy go lucky Supes either. I like Superman to have issues, but BEING Superman is what ultimately means he bests those issues. That's where the joy and feeling of triumph comes in.

Originally Posted by smallville fan View Post
I personally believe Superman can be interpreted to be even a more tragic, angsty and somber character(as seen in some episodes of Smallville) than Batman, except he chose rise above all that tragedy and make things better and hopeful about it rather than go deep and vengeful about it like Batman.

Except that I didn't feel the movies expressed that. They showed a tragic, depressed and lost character - and by the end, he didn't seem like someone who had risen above it all by embracing who he was... he seemed like someone who was now EVEN more scarred and troubled by the events of the film.

Which left me feeling joyless.

Originally Posted by smallville fan View Post
In my perception of how a Superman origin should go(which MOS nailed btw) it should carry the theme of sacrifice(as emphasized in the Krypton sequence as Jor-El had to betray his people to save his son and sacrifice his life to save Kal-El, the Tornado scene where Jonathan Kent told his son not to save his life just to sacrifice his life for protecting his secret and in many instances in Smallville, the show). For anybody, knowing that your loved ones will always sacrifice their lives and die for you because of what you will bring to the world(even though you are practically a god) and that "the world will always need you" would weigh anybody down.
I don't think sacrifice should be a main theme of a Superman origin film.

Jor-el and Lara sending their child off into space is not a sacrifice... it's them saving his life. Johnathon Kent and Martha Kent raising Clark... should not be a sacrifice - they finally have the child they always wanted. Clark deciding to come out of hiding and be a hero - should not be a sacrifice. It should be Clark finally feeling free to be who he's always been.

Now, later stories where Superman has been around a while, would much better suit a theme of sacrifice. You can explore how much of a toll what he sees on a daily basis takes on him. You can explore how much of his personal life he has to give up in order to continue being Superman. You can see what effects it has on his relationship with Lois etc.

But IMO, the origin should be a story filled with hope.

Superman isn't the kind of character you should walk out of the movie feeling sorry for because they've had to go through so much.

He's the kind of character that you should massively respect for having been through so much.

There's a fine line, and it's all about how the film handles it's ending.

Originally Posted by Llama_Shepherd View Post
All-Star Superman is widely considered as one of the best "cape" comic books ever written, the story revolves around Superman coming to terms with his own mortality, whether humanity will be safe without him, as well as trying to prevent his own demise.

The story is still joyful. Because it's a celebration of the character.

Batman can also be interpreted as a joyful character. Despite battling insane foes and risking his life, he knows how cool it is to be Batman and Bruce Wayne. He's the world's most eligible bachelor and has multiple women on his arms, he's a billionaire, he drives sports cars, he has a flying car, the coolest gadgets in the world:
"They say you're cool, like James Bond"
"James Bond? Oh no, I'm much cooler than he is".

Just because something can be done in a story does not mean it should be defined by it.

The story sure is one of sacrifice, and of hope. But being Superman should not be a sacrifice for Clark. Clark wants to be Superman, he wants to be saving people, that is who he is (not in a "who is the real man sense"). Clark should find joy in being Superman, and the film did not express that.

The thing is though, that's not what the film presented us (in regards to being an alien) with at all. Clark was angsty when he was lost, and lacked identity, but the first scene of him after he finds out who he is, he's the happiest we see him in the film, he's beaming to his mother and we see he considers himself a child of both worlds.

Y'all need some more comics up in here.
Agree with everything you said.

Originally Posted by smallville fan View Post
1) What I meant was the general tone of the Donner films. I like to see happy stuff from time to time with Superman, but it shouldn't be "unrealistically happy" to the point where it feels like a Superfriends cartoon. That's the general impression I felt those silly critics wanted.
Well I think your impression is a bit presumptuous and dismissive, as I don't think that's what those 'silly critics' where saying at all.

Superman: "I can only tell you what I believe, Diana. humankind has to be allowed to climb to its own destiny. We can't carry them there."
Flash: "But that's what she's saying. What's the point? Why should they need us at all?"
Superman: "To catch them if they fall."

Last edited by hopefuldreamer; 10-20-2013 at 06:40 AM.
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