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Old 07-17-2014, 09:52 PM   #176
Rodrigo90
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Th Cool Re: The Death of Superman!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axl Van Sixx View Post
I actually like Man of Steel, but I think it's partly because I'm such a big Superman fan that I'm able to overlook some of its flaws.

My reference to Superman being responsible for heavy civilian casualties wasn't so much related to any one specific act of destruction, but rather to the whole. It's explicitly stated that the Kryptonians only came to Earth after Clark sent out a signal while investigating the ship in the Arctic. That means that everything that happens after that would not have occurred if Kal had never been sent to Earth.

No, it wasn't his fault or anything he did on purpose. Regardless, the very first appearance of Superman in this world will be associated with a cataclysmic attack that destroyed much of a major city -- the city Superman will consider home -- and which would not have occurred had it not been for his presence on Earth (and the sheer number of casualties puts it on a different scale than, say, Batman being responsible for the creation of The Joker). There's something incongruous about the juxtaposition of that with the message that Superman is supposed to represent a symbol of "hope".

It's an example of how the script undercuts its own message. Similarly, there was also a lot of buildup about how Kal, as Krypton's first natural birth in centuries, is able to choose his own destiny. Then at the end of the film, after Zod says "This only ends one of two ways, Kal -- either you die or I do," Superman kills him.

In other words, Superman proves the villain right. When defenders of MOS (again, I consider myself one) address this point, they typically ask, "But what was is supposed to do? Zod was going to keep killing everyone! Superman didn't have a choice!" But I thought he did, and that was the whole point of his existence and the message the movie was trying to send us?
But that was the point of the film. Superman and everyone around him believed he would able to choose and forge any destiny he so desired.
But that's the optimism of the comics. Snyder's brutal kick in the teeth was deliberate and he stated it.
"Sometimes, we have no choice"

Up until the end of the film, Superman made his own choices and decisions with his life. But it was through a great evil that put a fork in the road and that was the point. It's not like the message of Spider-Man 3, we can always choose to do what's right. That's a fairytale belief. Because you can often be put in a place where you have no choice.
Superman can be clearly seen throughout the movie trying to forge freedom in his life, but someone out there is often trying to control him and suppress his freedom of choice. Both his father's installed him with a sense of freedom and choice to forge his destiny, Jonathan's was shaky, but that came from his human concept of worry for the son who was living a normal human life. Jor-El's lack of concern was due to his confidence on his son's invincibility and Messiah-like status he would surely gain. But if you notice, these to men are telling Clark how to live his life. They're presenting him with choice, and it's THEIR choice for him to become this bright symbol for humanity. They're telling him his destiny for him. Not one of them asks Clark what he wants to do, they tell him what he's going to do and become. Jonathan WANTED Clark to wait til the time was ready for him to become the man he is destined to be. Jor-El WANTED Kal-El to become the symbol upon meeting him in the Fortress.
So, both father's eliminated the choice of freedom in their son, in order for him to do the right thing in order to be accepted. And the only way for him to be accepted in this world, was by becoming a beacon of hope and a force for good.
Superman was constantly without freedom of choice, because he's been brought up a distorted view of destiny and choice. Jor-El's explanation was for Kal to forge a new destiny away from Krypton and be the opposite of what they were, which caused the destruction of their planet.
He had a choice to turn his back on what was pre-chosen for him by both fathers. But he couldn't, because that's not how he was raised. Every choice he made was to do the right thing...so in the end, he was always without the freedom of choice and the freedom to forge his own destiny. Because the three most influential people told him to do the right thing for humanity, because THAT was the ONLY choice for him. Zod was proved right and that was the point. Because Superman's constant decision to do the right thing, hence his lack of freedom to forge choice and destiny, was contradictory to what Jor-El told him about his son at the beginning. If Kal had real choice, he might not have been what Jor-El envisioned for his son on Earth. It was he who handed his son the suit to become thst symbol. Clark became what Jor-El wanted. Infusing the codex into him, eliminating further choice of destiny and burdening him with the decision Jor-El made 10 minutes after his birth.
He was like a machine in the end. He was programmed, like Christ, without the freedom of choice. The only freedom he possessed was to carry out the father's pre-chosen destiny for him...
If Kal-El was installed with more freedom of choice, he would of surely of tried to bring evil to good and struggle with what was best for the two groups, in order to give things a chance. But, no. Thanks to Jonathan and Jor-El, he carried out what they wanted him to carry out without more than a seconds hesitation due to his conscience - eliminate a second choice in order to do the right thing for humanity and be accepted, in order to save them (Jonathan = Acceptance, Jor-El = Saviour)
Superman didn't lose like fans claim...he'd won. He did what he was raised and influenced to do, but at a price. The death of Zod hurt him, but as the next few scenes showed, he did what he had to do and there's no point on him dwelling on it. Because he's used to the concept of there being no choice in things that he'll come across, because that's the way his life has always been when doing the right thing. If if were the opposite, more like the comics, he would be mulling over the thoughts of choice and what he could of done different, causing conflict within himself. That Superman hasn't been raised like that. He's not the Donner Superman of choosing to disobey Jor-El's orders in order to save Lois...but you never know, things might change .

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Last edited by Rodrigo90; 07-17-2014 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 07-23-2014, 04:24 AM   #177
Axl Van Sixx
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Default Re: The Death of Superman!

Thanks for the thoughtful response, Rodrigo, and I always appreciate people who defend some of the more controversial aspects of MOS. But isn't that kind of a depressing message to send that contradicts the whole focus of Superman as a symbol of "hope"? That is, poor naive Clark thinks he can be a symbol of hope, but then it turns out that brutal violence is the only solution.

I know many people will defend this as a complex interpretation of the character with shades of grey, different from the less ambiguous Superman we traditionally think of. But as a historical materialist, I can't help but see this portrayal of Superman in terms of post-9/11 America.

The whole presentation of Superman as "having no choice" but to kill Zod echoes the arguments of people like Dick Cheney (or Barack Obama, or Stephen Harper, for that matter) where they present a "ticking time bomb" scenario in which the only alternative to mass murder is to kill the person threatening to murder people. And I know the mods have told me not to bring politics into threads like this, but the fact that this is the kind of Superman produced by Hollywood in 2013 kind of echoes the apologetics for mass surveillance in The Dark Knight (Batman has to monitor the entire population of Gotham to catch the Joker, don't you see? It's for our own protection).

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