Is Superman Irrelevant To Modern Audiences?

Discussion in 'Man of Steel' started by gugumugats, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. gugumugats

    gugumugats SKIDOOOOOSH!!

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    I've been seeing in some of these threads and in other threads that doubt Superman as a character that can successfully carry a movie franchise.

    I know MoS hasn't come out yet and it has the potential to either fail/succeed, but I don't think it'll come down to "Superman is irrelevant to modern audiences" or "Superman is a dull character" or "Superman needs Batman in a WF film so that people would watch him in a movie."

    A lot of people seem to forget that Smallville was a 10 season show and at least the first season has shown everybody that Clark Kent/Superman can still be '"relevant" given Smallville's popularity at the time. I loved the first 2 seasons of Smallville and sporadically watched a few episodes here and there afterwards.

    There's also the Twilight-ized Superman in Earth One. I actually didn't like this story very much as a DC fan, but a lot of my friends that read the copy off my coffee table thought it was very good and that Clark is relatable, the one thing that most fans say to discredit Superman/Clark as character. In addition, the GN seems to have been commercially succesful enough to warrant a sequel and to also be one of the GN that are exclusive to the Kindle Fire.

    So why the Superman doubting/hate?
     
  2. A.Stabelli

    A.Stabelli One Man Reign of Terror.

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    Because people love to diss Superman. Because of what he stands for. People like angsty characters like the X-Men, and the Punisher. But I love Superman. He is the greatest superhero and always will be.
     
  3. superman2090

    superman2090 Registered

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    Most of the time, much to the dismay of we who love Superman, people say that Superman is too powerful to be relevant. I just got done reading a blog that I thought had a unique position on Superman's powers. Not saying I agree with everything in the article, but I thought it would be fun to post a snippet here with a link to give credit of course.

    "Superman had no useful powers. People always say Batman had no powers and Superman did. But it’s actually the reverse. Think about it: when would you ever need super strength? Are you really picking up a car anytime soon? No, of course not. Heat vision? What for? I have a microwave. X-ray vision? I can see the most beautiful woman in the world naked anytime I want. All of my neighbors are hideous even with clothes on. And we all know that women in general are sexier with skimpy clothes than totally naked. And super hearing? I already know what everyone thinks about me. I think I would be horrified to hear them say those things.

    What else? Oh yeah, flying. Where would you fly? And people would see you. And you’d eat flies and run into birds. Ewww. Forget it. I’m not flying. I don’t even have a driver’s license. I’ll walk. Or take a train and watch a movie on my ipad. Oh, and bullets don’t affect Superman. To be honest, nobody has ever shot at me so this doesn’t seem like a useful power to me."

    http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2012/03/five-things-ive-learned-from-superman/

    No I am not james altucher and no I do not have any relationship with the man. I just found his take interesting, at least that part.
     
  4. Thundercrack85

    Thundercrack85 Registered

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    Superman is considered an "old superhero". I think that's partially due to the fact that he hasn't had an origin movie since the 70's. Superman Returns was a sort of belated quasi-sequel.

    If Smallville is any indicator, if done right, he can become relevant to modern audiences.

    A modern up to date, retelling of his origin certainly couldn't hurt.
     
  5. gugumugats

    gugumugats SKIDOOOOOSH!!

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    It seems like the most relatable/compelling Superman stories are those about his origins (Birthright, Smallville, Earth One, Secret Origin) so I was actually one of those who applauded the MoS writers/filmmakers for choosing to tell Supes' origin stories.

    I hate how people bring up the power thing to dismiss Superman as being un-relatable when people forget that Batman/Bruce has a boat-load of money in place of his powers. Not that Batman is un-relatable either. Both chracters are popular b/c they have those aspects that people can relate with, on top of having some characteristic to satisfy a reader/audience's wish fulfillment.

    P.S. Other than the Superman origin story, other great stories are those that address Superman's use/abuse of power (Red Son), his relevance to a 'modern audience' (Kingdom Come, What's so funny about truth, justice ...), and also those about his demise (Death of Superman, All-Star Superman -- MY FAVORITE GN EVARRR).
     
  6. LuvSupes

    LuvSupes Registered

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    I think only within the comicbook community Superman gets hated on. To the general audience, Superman is completely relatable and universal, he is the ultimate immigrant story. I think Man of Steel will do well at the box office. The two superheroes that audiences love (and can capture that wide demographic on their own) are Superman and Spiderman. Look, even when they are presented in a mediocre film, people come to see them. So that's gotta show something. For other superheroes, their films have to be at least decent or have alot of buildup or hype or other factors to do solid at the box office.
     
  7. solidsnake86

    solidsnake86 Registered

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    Its all about how you approach the material. Superman isn't irrelevant if you give him conflict to deal with. His entire planet was wiped out of existence, if thats not tragic I don't know what is.

    Because this is a movie and you don't have to have continuing stories like comics, you can put together a movie where the character can grow and is tested with conflict. His origin story is told again and again in different mediums, why do they do this? because its a story that most people can get behind, its his journey to becoming a hero which lots of people like to see.

    With zod as a villain in the movie supermans character is challenged.
     
  8. Showtime

    Showtime Your Friend In Time

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    I wouldn't say Superman is irrelevant but he is less relevant on film. It's not as cool to see Superman performing super feats when you've seen other heroes on screen doing almost the same thing.
     
  9. DoomsdayApex

    DoomsdayApex Registered

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    In my opinion, there has to be that one moment in MoS where Superman separates himself from Thor and Hulk (strength-wise).

    As for the film, I'm not worried about Superman being irrelevant. Superman Returns was basically a Donnerverse film. I don't think Snyder/Goyer/The Nolans will be making the same mistake.
     
  10. Binker

    Binker Registered

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    I hate the power thing too, because while I could understand the feeling of "no conflict" in the stories (50s-70s), that's been cleared up since then and therefore people should get themselves up to date/do research so that feeling will go away. Personally, I feel that the best stories featuring Superman as very powerful are the ones where him being so powerful doesn't mean anything; he could stop the fights and fix things, but that either blows up in his face later on, or yeah, he could combat something physically, but emotionally, he's powerless, and there's nothing he could do.

    There is also another thing that people bring up that makes no sense, and I don't know if anyone here heard it, but there's also people who dislike/hate Superman because he's an alien. ??? I don't understand that. What does someone's biology have to do with being relatable to us? I mean, aren't we all alienated? Hell, Superman is considered the most human. And if you want proof: Superman For All Seasons, by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

    Action Comics #775, What's So Funny about Truth, Justice, and the American Way, which has been adapted as a DTV entitled Superman vs. The Elite, is also a very good story relating to this subject.
     
  11. ElDuderino

    ElDuderino Registered

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    What does being "irrelevant" even mean? What is "relevant" about Thor? Spider-man? Batman?

    Make a movie with good actors, great visuals, a good story, and people will go see it. I don't know what "relevant" means otherwise.
     
  12. flickchick85

    flickchick85 Mod of Might

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    He's not irrelevant, he just needs to be presented properly to appeal to modern audiences. Of course, making him a likable and relatable character is a major part of this (which is why I do not endorse the caricature approach to Clark Kent).

    But Superman's also supposed to have a "wow" factor. Remember the original tagline? "You'll believe a man can fly." That was a major "wow" factor 30+ years ago. And like others have said, audiences have now seen plenty of superheroes performing super-feats on screen for quite some time, so showcasing his powers with things like, I dunno, lifting a big rock into space, will not cut it.

    Superman's capable of greater superhero feats than Batman, Spider-man, Iron Man, etc. Yet there was no scene in Superman Returns that was as cool and gratifying as seeing Iron Man fly overseas for 2-minutes and kick some Ten Rings a**. Or as awe-inducing as the Hong Kong sequence in TDK. Or as epic as the Spidey vs. Doc Ock fight in SM2. The plane sequence is as close as it came. Pretty much the only time we saw him do anything other than lift heavy things or fly in SR is when he used his heat vision on...falling glass. And his super-breath on...fire. Boring. They just need show what Supes is really capable of in cool (non-dated) ways this time, and people will still want to see it, imo.
     
    #12 flickchick85, Mar 30, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012
  13. Thundercrack85

    Thundercrack85 Registered

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    Actually, Superman doing a jet fighter scene would have made sense.

    But there are certainly other things you could do. There's always the classic "disarming" a missile white its flying. While being shot at.

    Really, they should make more use of Clark Kent's day job. Being a reporter could mean you travel a lot, do a lot of research, see interesting places, investigate stuff, expose people, etc.
     
  14. The Morningstar

    The Morningstar Registered

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    His relevancy has dipped. Especially with the younger generations. But he'll never be completely irrelevant.

    But you change that by making an awesome film about him.
     
  15. Octoberist

    Octoberist point blank

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    I think his relevance is lacking in the general public. Talk to a normal casual film goer and I can tell you that his favorite superhero is most likely Batman.

    With the comic/fanboy community, Superman is extremely polarizing.
     
  16. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    Stupidest thing I ever read.

    When would you ever need claws to come out of your hands? Or webbing to shoot out of your wrists?

    That logic makes ALL Superheroes seem pointless. Which makes it idiotic logic.

    Agree with that. There is a sense that Superman is an old fashioned character, because the majority of people have no idea what he's like in modern stories... Because we've never really shown them!

    Agree completely. There is plenty that argueably makes other heroes unrelatable too. But we still relate to them.

    This.

    I mean, in the last film, everything was solved by throwing the problem into outer space.

    I'd like to see a threat that is a little more difficult to combat than that please!
     
  17. The Morningstar

    The Morningstar Registered

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    This guy is the very definition of idiot.
     
  18. Lord

    Lord All Mighty

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    Make The Man of Steel a good origin movie and he will get more popular, that's what got me into Spider-Man when i was 6 years old.
     
  19. Prime

    Prime Registered

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    :facepalm:

    Anyway, I don't think the problem is really about Superman being or not being ´´relatable`` in movie terms. The problem is he hasn't been interesting or in other words, he hasn't had a good movie out since 1980 and that one - being over 30 years old - would not be considered good today. Like others here have said, a good story/script, cast, visuals etc, basically a high quality movie with Superman that isn't a wuss or a Christ like figure, with interesting villains and so on and so forth is what Superman needs. Most of the non comic book reading audience going to this type of movies don't really go to relate to the characters.
    Not from my experience of discussing the movies with said people anyway. Why do they love Batman for example? Because he's ´´cool``, he's Batman and ´´the movies are great``. Superman is relatable to an extent (and very non relatable to most narrow minded people in the general audience because they'll never see past the fact that he's an invulnerable flying, laser shooting ´´thing`` no matter what you do with the story) but even more so he and his mythology is fascinating and very interesting.

    Quite frankly Im shocked WB hasn't managed to get a good movie out of this deep pool of stories and characters. There is so much potential. You could take it either way, with a more ´´Alien`` angel, (introducing heavy Kryptonian mythology, Alien villains like Darkseid and other worlds like Apokolips or New Genesis etc) or a more ´´earthly`` approach (Lex, Morgan Edge, Metallo, Toyman etc), hell, I think a movie with Braniac as a villain could be a Sci-Fi masterpiece! But no, what we got after Superman III and IV and 19 years of no Superman movies, was Superman Returns. Sigh...
     
  20. CConn

    CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    The whole concept of Superman not being relevant anymore is a flawed and foolish concept seemingly manifested by a quadrant of people who haven't the slightest clue about Superman, his history, or the more subtle nuances of his character.
     
  21. The Guard

    The Guard Registered

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    Superman isn't irrelevant. But he has been a bit dated, a bit "throwback". Which to me is some of his charm.

    Bryan Singer tried to update the character, to give him some relateable human flaws and issues, and people balked at that, at any suggestion that Superman was not morally perfect. There were some amazing feats and visuals in SUPERMAN RETURNS. Stuff we've never seen another hero do. The plane sequence and lifting the Kryptonite continent are the obvious ones.

    But Superman has a darker side, and that's what needs to be tapped into next, because people want action. And seats with beverage holders. But mainly action. MAN OF STEEL needs to find a balance between his classic ideals and his powerful, somewhat violent nature.
     
  22. superman2090

    superman2090 Registered

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    I wouldn't say that he's an idiot. He's looking at this subject from a certain perspective. What I took from the snippet of his overall article is that from a certain point of view Superman's powers are not un-relatable because as someone else suggested, that would make all superheroes unrelatable. Batman's money and ability to recover from any injury and survive all encounters with far superior might and abilities are all just as much of a writing convention as superman's powers. When you write for Batman, you have him find clues to things that even the best detectives would not have discovered and sometimes you have to have him luck out of dying. When you write for Superman, you utilize his great strength and other powers for him to solve the situation.

    Neither of them is plausible as they are written in comics or portrayed in movies.
     
  23. gugumugats

    gugumugats SKIDOOOOOSH!!

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    WOW, that's a good Batman vs. Superman argument. I'm a bigger Batman fan though and I really really think that's b/c Batman is a bigger wish fulfillment figure than Superman is (rich dude, multiple hot chicks versus one Lois, wears cool outfits all the time, cool car, cool gadgets, knows kung fu).

    I also read the article in that link you posted. I think its easy to take your excerpt out of context if people don't read the entire article posted in the link.
     
  24. I Am The Knight

    I Am The Knight Tonight's a good night.

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    "Um....But it had a Super-Kid!!"
     
  25. Kurosawa

    Kurosawa Registered

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    This is true. Batman is actually more implausible because you are supposed to accept that he could really exist. No human being could do the stuff Batman does. Heck, no human being could do the stuff most B-list non powered superheroes do either.

    As for the guys article, it's not a bad article once it's taken into context. Superman can be relevant if they accept who he is and what he is about.

    "Do good to others and every man can be a superman"-this is the very core, the essence of what Superman is about. We can't do the things he does with his powers but we can adopt his compassion and morals. And through that, we can be supermen ourselves-it is transcendence through altruism.

    This is the message of the Superman comic and character and it needs to be embraced.
     

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