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Old 12-15-2011, 10:21 AM   #351
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Default Re: Superman's power level

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But saying something would be dull and then experiencing it and thinking it is dull are two different things. The popularity of Superman is why the statement defies logic. The reality is, good story telling and great visuals will make a movie interesting. So someone can go in thinking its going to be dull because of X, but when they come out its it's either going to be interesting or dull regardless of X. Being a common misconception doesn't make it true, regardless of taste being subjective.
I'm not sure it's entirely a misconception. Superman Returns was dull, largely because it had an invincible character, whose only challenge was Kryptonite, and even that wasn't enough in the end. Superman (1976) is dull by today's standards. I can enjoy it, many people can, most people can't. Superman's popularity does not somehow make him interesting.

Think of one of the most interesting modern stories with an invincible Superman: All-Star. He was dying. The moment you take away Superman's invincibility, even with Silver Age shenanigans, he becomes more interesting.

There's precedent and credence for this sort of art house thinking man's Superman that doesn't have physical challenges but philosophical ones. But that's not interesting to most people, and not successful commercially.

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Old 12-15-2011, 10:23 AM   #352
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Default Re: Superman's power level

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If these are to be mindless, childish action/effects movies, then his power level may be an issue. If they are to be movies that are actually of substance, then his power should be Silver/Bronze Age level. It's rarely about having enough power, it is about dilemmas, at least it is if the stories are of any substance.
For the movie to be successful, afaik, it has to be both. It has to have the substance and the action/effects. Having a thinking man's summer blockbuster will tank superquick, and having a mindless blockbuster will also underperform.

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Old 12-15-2011, 10:33 AM   #353
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Default Re: Superman's power level

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I'm not sure it's entirely a misconception. Superman Returns was dull, largely because it had an invincible character, whose only challenge was Kryptonite, and even that wasn't enough in the end. Superman (1976) is dull by today's standards. I can enjoy it, many people can, most people can't. Superman's popularity does not somehow make him interesting.

Think of one of the most interesting modern stories with an invincible Superman: All-Star. He was dying. The moment you take away Superman's invincibility, even with Silver Age shenanigans, he becomes more interesting.

There's precedent and credence for this sort of art house thinking man's Superman that doesn't have physical challenges but philosophical ones. But that's not interesting to most people, and not successful commercially.
Superman Returns was dull, I agree. But I don't blame that on his invincibility. I thought it was more down to the fact that Singer was rehashing a Donner story and villain - yet another Lex Luthor real estate scheme.

No matter how he tried to sugarcoat it with a Kryptonite-infested continent, evil henchmen, Metropolis being affected by New Krypton............................. the fundamental structure of the story was just dull. It was a land scheme, nothing else. And whilst Spacey was sometimes fun to watch as Luthor, him and Superman didn't actually get very much screen time together (a few mins at most?) so there was little enjoyment to be had from their interactions.

Superman has a massive rogues gallery, some who are very capable of hurting him despite his powers. SR would have been much less dull if they had introduced one of these villains with a bit of character, and a storyline with some real tension and danger. Making Superman less powerful in that film would not necessarily have made it any more exciting.

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Old 12-15-2011, 12:16 PM   #354
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Season 7 Premiere if I remember correctly. In the season 6 finale, Clark faced off against Bizarro inside a dam, and their fight caused the dam wall to crack, eventually leading to the flood. Don't think they'd ever shown Clark using his heat vision at this level before.

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I think his heat vision was more intense when he burnt down the Rao Towers.

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Old 12-15-2011, 01:21 PM   #355
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Default Re: Superman's power level

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Superman Returns was dull, I agree. But I don't blame that on his invincibility. I thought it was more down to the fact that Singer was rehashing a Donner story and villain - yet another Lex Luthor real estate scheme.

No matter how he tried to sugarcoat it with a Kryptonite-infested continent, evil henchmen, Metropolis being affected by New Krypton............................. the fundamental structure of the story was just dull. It was a land scheme, nothing else. And whilst Spacey was sometimes fun to watch as Luthor, him and Superman didn't actually get very much screen time together (a few mins at most?) so there was little enjoyment to be had from their interactions.

Superman has a massive rogues gallery, some who are very capable of hurting him despite his powers. SR would have been much less dull if they had introduced one of these villains with a bit of character, and a storyline with some real tension and danger. Making Superman less powerful in that film would not necessarily have made it any more exciting.
But Returns was dull for people who'd never seen the Donner movies as well.

It's not about the exact power level, as much as the broad question: "Is he invincible?" Which is the quote I based my original contention off of. In Superman Returns, because Superman was invincible, there wasn't much dynamic story to go with. For instance, finagling Luthor into extended or multiple conversations with Superman is a bit odd narratively if Luthor has no possible profit in their interaction, and no defense against instant defeat.

The moment you introduce a character who can hurt Superman, he's not invincible any more, by definition, and the dullness has an opportunity to leave. You can have multiple conversations with the foe, you can change story structures from existential crises, and more.

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Old 12-15-2011, 04:47 PM   #356
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I think his heat vision was more intense when he burnt down the Rao Towers.
Yeah, but that was after S7. I meant before S7 Ep1 they'd never had heat vision at that intensity.

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Old 12-15-2011, 11:46 PM   #357
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But Returns was dull for people who'd never seen the Donner movies as well.

It's not about the exact power level, as much as the broad question: "Is he invincible?" Which is the quote I based my original contention off of. In Superman Returns, because Superman was invincible, there wasn't much dynamic story to go with. For instance, finagling Luthor into extended or multiple conversations with Superman is a bit odd narratively if Luthor has no possible profit in their interaction, and no defense against instant defeat.

The moment you introduce a character who can hurt Superman, he's not invincible any more, by definition, and the dullness has an opportunity to leave. You can have multiple conversations with the foe, you can change story structures from existential crises, and more.
All that leads to is slugfests. Which in all the Donner movies except the first (and best) one, there are foes who are a physical match for Superman. So again, power level is not relevant. No matter how powerful Superman is or isn't, they can always bring in enemies who are able to fight him.

What having a very powerful Superman DOES set up is the conflicts that are of substance, that involve his influence on humanity and the fact that with all his power, he still cannot force his will on any situation. If Luthor wants to break the law or battle Superman, or waste his talents on crime, then Superman can stop him every time but it takes more than his powers to fix what is wrong with Lex that motivates him to waste his life fighting Superman when he could do more for humanity and himself by doing the right thing.

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Old 12-16-2011, 03:11 AM   #358
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I always liked the early Fleischer cartoon version of power, where he's clearly strong, but not invincible. Always had the perfect amount of grace vs vulnerability to me.

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Old 12-16-2011, 08:47 AM   #359
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Default Re: Superman's power level

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All that leads to is slugfests. Which in all the Donner movies except the first (and best) one, there are foes who are a physical match for Superman. So again, power level is not relevant. No matter how powerful Superman is or isn't, they can always bring in enemies who are able to fight him.

What having a very powerful Superman DOES set up is the conflicts that are of substance, that involve his influence on humanity and the fact that with all his power, he still cannot force his will on any situation. If Luthor wants to break the law or battle Superman, or waste his talents on crime, then Superman can stop him every time but it takes more than his powers to fix what is wrong with Lex that motivates him to waste his life fighting Superman when he could do more for humanity and himself by doing the right thing.
Slugfests keep a movie from being dull. This doesn't mean that the movie can't have substance as well, but if he's invincible (meaning no one is around that can physically hurt him) you have a thinking man's movie, not a summer blockbuster. Like I said, it's not about power level, it's about if he's invincible or not. If he's invincible, then there is no enemy that can fight him.

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Old 12-16-2011, 08:55 AM   #360
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Well Zod is going to be just as powerful as Kal i'd imagine. Plus he has military training and is more battle hardened. We should have some great fights.

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Old 12-16-2011, 09:01 AM   #361
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Default Re: Superman's power level

Smallville's Clark kent was way too fast, i hope he's not like that in the movie, he's not flash, he can't stop time like that, he's a bit faster than a plane, not faster than the speed of Light

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Old 12-16-2011, 09:07 AM   #362
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He only went faster than light in Donner's 1978 film. Never in Smallville or any other Superman live action as far as I know.

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Old 12-16-2011, 09:09 AM   #363
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He only went faster than light in Donner's 1978 film. Never in Smallville or any other Superman live action as far as I know.
He went fast enough to stop time, realistically speaking he was faster than time a lot of times, they just forgot that detail

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Old 12-16-2011, 12:01 PM   #364
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Superman should absolutely be able to move at light speed and break the time barrier. That's a no-brainer.

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Old 12-16-2011, 02:31 PM   #365
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^Not if you want to keep the common man's attention.

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Old 12-16-2011, 05:01 PM   #366
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He went fast enough to stop time, realistically speaking he was faster than time a lot of times, they just forgot that detail
What are you talking about? He broke the time barrier once in films. That was it.

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Old 12-16-2011, 10:14 PM   #367
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^Not if you want to keep the common man's attention.
Maggin explains this best:

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When I got an a assignment to write my first Superman story my editor cautioned me that he is the most difficult of the characters to write. He's too powerful, Julie said, and it's very difficult to set up conflicts. I took his word for it. I was writing the series for a long time before it dawned on me that coming up with Superman stories was not really difficult at all; it was just a matter of knowing how to approach the character.

Superman stories are not about power, as are most other superhero stories. Properly, every Superman story needs to start with the question of what choices a character would make, given that he has all the power in the world. I keep screaming this at the top of my lungs every chance I get, hoping someone currently writing or editing the series will hear it.

Everyone I know of who has taken over the character - other than myself and Cary Bates - started his or her run with an attempt to "de-power" or otherwise neutralize some aspect of the character in order to make him more manageable. The notion was that setting up conflicts for a character who can juggle planets is somehow more difficult to do than for one who can merely change the course of mighty rivers and bend steel in his bare hands. This is nonsense.

Superman stories need to be morality tales. At the center of each one is not a big fight scene, but an ethical decision - all dressed up in primary colors and lots of action.

I really wish more people understood this.

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Old 12-17-2011, 05:10 AM   #368
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I always find it funny that people say that Superman's invincibility makes him a boring character. These same people will often defend Batman being able to take on Darkseid.

As for the general public not being able to connect with the character, try and explain the popularity of Dragonball Z, where the main character Goku is an expy of Superman and his ridiculous ever-growing strength is actually part of the series' attraction.

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Old 12-17-2011, 07:51 AM   #369
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I always find it funny that people say that Superman's invincibility makes him a boring character. These same people will often defend Batman being able to take on Darkseid.

As for the general public not being able to connect with the character, try and explain the popularity of Dragonball Z, where the main character Goku is an expy of Superman and his ridiculous ever-growing strength is actually part of the series' attraction.
True that. I always got a chuckle while Goku or whatever villain stood there and screamed while they powered up.
I can picture Superman tapping his foot and looking at his watch if he ever faced them.

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Old 12-17-2011, 08:23 AM   #370
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Default Re: Superman's power level

This has been mentioned before. One of the ways to physically challenge Supes without depowering him is to make the world around him obey the laws of physics. He’s the exception to those laws – everything else has to play by the “rules.” So if the Golden Gate Bridge tips over in an earthquake, Supes can’t just pick it up by one end and pop it back in place. He’s forced to perform smaller scale rescues. It’s more complicated, it’s messy – and maybe not everyone can be saved.

The 777 scene in SR was a nice illustration of this. Having caught the falling plane, Supes could – of course – stop it on a dime. But the suspense was based on whether he could safely decelerate it in time. Excitement and accurate physics aren’t mutually exclusive.

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Old 12-17-2011, 08:26 AM   #371
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Superman should absolutely be able to move at light speed and break the time barrier. That's a no-brainer.
You got that right.

As you approach the speed of light, time passes more quickly in the outside frame. Depending on the exact speed and duration of the voyage, hours, days, years or centuries might elapse – problematic if Supes expects to return to a home that is at all familiar.

And even if it were possible, there’s no advantage to going faster than light. At lightspeed, the Universe contracts to zero length. So you can literally get anywhere in no time. In other words, you can’t get to somewhere faster by going faster.

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Old 12-17-2011, 09:35 AM   #372
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Just my preference, but I think a strength level of around 100,000 tonnes and a top speed of around 50/75,000 mph is plenty powerful and fast enough.

An Aircraft Carrier is around 100,000 tonnes, and when you consider that a bullet travels at roughly 1,500 mph ( depending on the type of weapon and caliber) then 75,000 mph is plenty fast enough for him to fly/move.
I really don't want to see him be able to travel at lightspeed or move planets.

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Old 12-17-2011, 10:25 AM   #373
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This has been mentioned before. One of the ways to physically challenge Supes without depowering him is to make the world around him obey the laws of physics. He’s the exception to those laws – everything else has to play by the “rules.” So if the Golden Gate Bridge tips over in an earthquake, Supes can’t just pick it up by one end and pop it back in place. He’s forced to perform smaller scale rescues. It’s more complicated, it’s messy – and maybe not everyone can be saved.

The 777 scene in SR was a nice illustration of this. Having caught the falling plane, Supes could – of course – stop it on a dime. But the suspense was based on whether he could safely decelerate it in time. Excitement and accurate physics aren’t mutually exclusive.
Excellent point. And this is precisely why the plane scene is fascinating to watch but the lifting of the land mass is just goofy. The lack of realism.

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Old 12-17-2011, 03:44 PM   #374
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You got that right.

As you approach the speed of light, time passes more quickly in the outside frame. Depending on the exact speed and duration of the voyage, hours, days, years or centuries might elapse – problematic if Supes expects to return to a home that is at all familiar.

And even if it were possible, there’s no advantage to going faster than light. At lightspeed, the Universe contracts to zero length. So you can literally get anywhere in no time. In other words, you can’t get to somewhere faster by going faster.


This is mythology, fantasy. Not physics class. Superman should be able to do both of those whenever he wants or needs to.

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Old 12-17-2011, 04:29 PM   #375
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He made a valid point, Superman's travelling speed can be just as ludicrous as him holding a building by it's top or a plane by it's wing. Technically there isn't a "Time Barrier" as time isn't a separate piece of the universe, its just another dimension. Travelling faster than light causes a reversal through time since all energy for spatial travel is just borrowed from time travel.

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