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Old 06-18-2013, 11:22 PM   #1
Athenaa
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Default The Psychology of Superman

I know this has already been posted here and there in various threads, but I find it interesting that so many people are struggling with the fact that Superman a) wasn't more careful when he was fighting, b) didn't show obvious remorse whenever people died around him, and c) didn't constantly tell people to get out of the way. Additionally, I've read posts that indicate that people believe that his relationship with Lois moved too quickly and didn't make sense. Here is my response to those issues:

I find this story fascinating because it is far more realistic than other interpretations of Superman. He was raised as a human; therefore, he reacts to things in the same way a human would. For example, it doesn't occur to him that he can fly because his brain has been trained to believe that gravity holds him back just like it does for anyone else. Clark has been raised to believe that birds fly, and people don’t. He can register the idea of jumping, so he just jumps higher than everyone else, but it takes his conversation with Jor-El to push his powers beyond the limits that his mind has created.

Given this, why would anyone think that he would be able to deal with extreme stress and fear of death (when he has to face the possibility for the first time EVER) any differently than anyone else? He is a Kansas farm boy. And he is not even a typical one, but a person who has grown up without friends, without the ability to connect with others. He has never honed his skills in anything because he hasn't been allowed to do so.

How can he possibly control what is happening in his fights with Zod when he doesn't even know how to fight? How can he be thinking about the innocent bystanders nearby when he can barely see when the next punch is coming? He has never been in a fight in his life and is completely and utterly overwhelmed and in shock.

In the one moment that he has a few seconds to think, he tells some people in Smallville to get out of the way. How could anyone honestly think he would have the time or composure to warn people of anything, let alone make the decision to fight and somehow move Zod safely away buildings? He is fighting for his life and has no time to think. He is a confused, isolated person who has no idea what he is doing, but is trying desperately to do the right thing. He is BECOMING Superman in this film; that’s the whole point. He makes a lot of mistakes because he really has no idea what he is doing. He is just trying to do the right thing.

I believe that Superman prevailed for several reasons: 1) Zod was weakened and disoriented tremendously by his heightened senses, 2) Zod knew that his plan for Krypton was lost, and it affected his will to continue to fight and c) Superman’s will to save the people of Earth surpassed Zod’s desire for vengeance.

As far as his relationship with Lois, I do agree that some scenes were a bit choppy and could have had more back story, but I believe that was an editing issue. I really liked the way their relationship progressed. I don’t think it was odd that he kissed her at the end, or was holding her hand earlier in the film; she was the first person, other than his parents, who knew what he was. Even so, she accepted him and wanted to help him.

It is completely natural that he would connect with her instantly; he had been a loner and an outcast all his life, and suddenly, an intelligent, attractive woman is talking to him and showing an interest in his well-being. Of course he is going to latch on to her.

People may be angry that Superman blew it so much in Man of Steel, but that’s what makes it so great. He is not a god. He’s truly human and this is a human story. I wouldn't have wanted him to be any other way.


Last edited by Athenaa; 06-19-2013 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Psychology of Superman

^^ very good post.

But he's a KANSAS farm boy.

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Old 06-19-2013, 05:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Psychology of Superman

Oops. I knew that! (Fixed it.)

My only excuse is that it was very late when I wrote it.

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Old 06-19-2013, 05:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Psychology of Superman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Athenaa View Post
How can he possibly control what is happening in his fights with Zod when he doesn't even know how to fight? How can he be thinking about the innocent bystanders nearby when he can barely see when the next punch is coming? He has never been in a fight in his life and is completely and utterly overwhelmed and in shock.
Because the character was taught by the Kents to have a profound love and respect for human life and he would have never jeopardized the well being of innocents even in the heat of the moment.

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Old 06-19-2013, 06:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Psychology of Superman

BRAVO with this post BRAVO!!!

You got it EXACTLY right on all your points. I wish those criticizing the film would read what you wrote. Unfortunately, there are many people just hellbent on hating the film no matter what since it didn't try to mimic Reeve/Donner.

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Old 06-19-2013, 06:22 PM   #6
Athenaa
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Default Re: The Psychology of Superman

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Originally Posted by Skrilla31 View Post
Because the character was taught by the Kents to have a profound love and respect for human life and he would have never jeopardized the well being of innocents even in the heat of the moment.
I hear what you're saying, but I believe that human behavior is more complex than that. Well, technically, it's less complex; we tend to move to fight or flight when we feel fear, and I believe that's where Clark was. Typically, when someone is physically fighting someone else for the first time, emotions run high and logical thought disappears. It was well established that Clark was a good person, but he was also inexperienced and naive in a lot of ways.

There is a lot of room to have him grow and become more controlled and responsible in the future. I think it would have been unrealistic for him to be as perfect as everyone wants him to be in this movie. He is human, from a psychological standpoint, and he actually has very little experience with basic human interaction.

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Old 06-19-2013, 06:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: The Psychology of Superman

Why can't people understand this? It's as if a lot of fans can't understand context. MOS was great and opens a lot of potential. This film has left me desiring a sequel like no other film has; I see MOS is more like a prologue.

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Old 06-19-2013, 06:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: The Psychology of Superman

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Originally Posted by Athenaa View Post
There is a lot of room to have him grow and become more controlled and responsible in the future. I think it would have been unrealistic for him to be as perfect as everyone wants him to be in this movie. He is human, from a psychological standpoint, and he actually has very little experience with basic human interaction.
I don't expect him to be perfect, but for him to endanger thousands of lives like that? Superman would figure out how to keep people out of harm's way first, punch the bad guy second. He had to have known at some point during the battle that he was indirectly responsible for slaughtering thousands.

But he was mortified at the thought of having to kill Zod to protect an innocent family. The scene just doesn't ring true after having witnessed the last 40 minutes.

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