Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El Characterization

Discussion in 'Man of Steel' started by Rodrigo90, Jul 9, 2011.

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  1. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    I think the cop analogy was used to make one point (that he has to put on a persona of authority like a cop would), not to describe what Superman is, what being him means overall.

    Superman is not like Spiderman, no matter what side of the camp your on.

    Parker got powers accidentally, and was driven by grief and a feeling of responsibilty to honour his Uncle. But Spiderman is just the costume he wears and the name they give him.

    Yes, he can be more daring, he is a bit more cocky and fearless when he's in costume, but that's because he feels safe behind his mask. But when he's Parker, he doesn't have to pretend to be an awkward nerd, because he IS that in a major way.

    Superman is different. As I've said before, his much more like Batman in his personas, in that neither his public face as Superman or Clark Kent are real. You can only truly know the man when you find out his secret, and then he can be who he really is, which is a combination of both personas.

    I don't see what's boring about that, or how it's following trends in Marvel.
     
    #76
  2. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    But it makes the most sense IMO.

    Look at it from a psychological perspective.

    If Clark Kent was raised as a human for over 15 years, and suddenly found out he was an Alien, would he instantly throw away his identity and humanity? Realistically, the answer would be, no. He would be terrified of that scenario, but in time, there comes the acceptance of who he really is.

    Superman is the cross between human and Kryptonian. He wears the symbol on his chest to show that he is not of this world, that he's proud of native world.

    There is a complex psychology with Superman, I understand that. But to say Clark would rather be Superman all the time and prefers being Kal-El, it just makes him look out of touch, and it doesn't really do anything.
    What I saw in Brandon Routh was that Superman was the dominant personality, and I didn't like it. It just made him almost eeiry and cold. It makes him look stuck up as well. I never knew what Routh was about it in that movie, and I don't want to see it again.

    Clark Kent is what makes Superman human...the man behind the "mask" :) If there was no Farm Clark Kent, then the Superman personality wouldn't exist. If Kal-El was raised by different people, then there might never have been a Superman at all.
     
    #77
  3. herolee10

    herolee10 No More Miracles

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    FREAKING FANTASTIC!

    WELL SAID!


    Seriously, I could go on as to how awesome I think this post is and how much I agree with it.


    As you said, it wouldn't make sense whatsoever in my honest opinion for Clark to abandon his humanity once his parents were to die, especially when he's been raised with the mindset of being human.

    He would be afraid of himself at first and even try to reject it in his desire to be normal and fit in society.

    I think one of the interesting things that they could go with his character arc in this film is show on how he comes to accept that he's both human and kryptonian and that he needs to accept that.

    Superman didn't create Superman; Clark Kent created Superman. Both personas represent the two sides and heritages that he has within him.
     
    #78
  4. Rust

    Rust First Son Of Yesterday

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    Which sounds most realistic as well and isnt that what they're going for here?
    Sounds like Secret Origin which I just finished reading. Great origin if you use some of it as flashbacks in a Birthright-setting. Not sure I like the Superboy-elements in there. He probably shouldnt put on the suit until he finally wants to reveal himself to the world as an adult.
     
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  5. Superman_20

    Superman_20 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it is too complicated to explain which is the real Kal-El.

    I think there is Kal-El:
    Kal-El is the man who grows up on the farm, strong, powerful and with a very definite sense of what is right and wrong and has a kind of ethics that most people don't. He is confident, smart, and kind.

    Clark Kent is:
    A slouching, quieter version of Kal-El. He still has a strong sense of right and wrong but is simply in disguise. A faded version of Kal-El. He does not come off as confident or as smart anymore as Kal-El from the farm. He isn't a bumbling idiot that sticks out like a sore thumb because he is a boob.

    In fact, he doesn't or shouldn't stick out at all. He should be just one more guy that looks maybe a little chubby in a suit because of his posture. He wears glasses instead of contacts, and does not have a very good sense of style at least for his hair. He doesn't wear colorful ties or anything like that. He isn't at office parties, and isn't in the mix of everything in the office because it would be much easier to recognize him. He should just be a bland version of Kal-El who is simply lacking a little bit in personality. He is easily forgotten, he is easily dismissed, he just does not make an impression on people.

    Clark is not the real Kal-El because he is just forgettable. If you didn't see him in the office for a couple of days you might think of asking if he was on one of his days off when you got there, and just forget about it 5 minutes later.

    I think that Superman is:
    An exaggeration of Kal-El. He stands out much more than Kal-El and everyone knows what he believes in. He is not just confident but he is fierce. He can be the guy that pulls a kitten off a tree but he should also be the guy that could scare someone off without even moving a muscle. He is supposed to radiate intensity as Superman. He is supposed to be fierce when he needs to be and physical.

    I think that's what most people don't realize. It is not that Superman is the real person or Clark is the real person. The real "Clark" does not slouch or need to wear glasses, and the real "Superman" is not fierce all the time flying around patrolling the world.

    The real person is Kal-El. The person he is when he is by himself, either reading, watching TV, or doing something for himself. Flying to see the world for himself, or at the farm, etc.

    I don't think there are 2 persons, but 3.
     
    #80
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  6. The Batman

    The Batman The Dark Knight

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    All Star was plenty mature and serious to me. The idea that All Star is "light" just because it has imagination to it is just sad. ITs also a better story than Birthright, as much as I like it. All Star is still getting praise, while Birthright also got replaced as an origin for Supes.
     
    #81
  7. RetrogradeOrbit

    RetrogradeOrbit Do I look like I'm joking?

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    #76, 77 and 80... I agree so much with your statements above and hope we get characterisation such as this in MoS.

    As Lex might say, "Couldn't have said it better myself!" and indeed I could not.
     
    #82
  8. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    Agree with most of what your saying, except calling the real part 'Kal-el'. That's not his name, it's the name he would have had.

    His name is Clark. You can distinguish, as I do, between the real Clark who is basically what you've called Kal-el and the Metropolis Clark, but Kal-el is his kryptonian name. I don't think it has a persona.
     
    #83
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  9. The Batman

    The Batman The Dark Knight

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    Kal El is his name. He may not be as used to it as he is the name Clark, but Its the name he was born with.

    Its ridiculous to act like that wouldnt mean anything to him once he finds out who he is. Then again, up until Russell Crowe was cast as Jor El, people wanted as little Jor El involvement as possible.

    One of the weakest arguments from fans is that Clark is somehow supposed to stay the same guy...even when he finds out he's an alien. People change. They grow, they learn, they adapt. It's ridiculous to think that Clark would still see himself as a simple farmboy.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  10. Superman2007

    Superman2007 Well-Known Member

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    Really hope we get a young, curious, and carefree Clark at the beginning.
    I'd love to see this shot realized on screen:
    [​IMG]
     
    #85
  11. Rust

    Rust First Son Of Yesterday

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    Ditto. A free natural-looking Clark just being really comfortable with his powers with a great backdrop.

    Then they'd have to include the lion-wrestle as well.:yay:

    These parts from Birthright really makes one go, "Wow, I'd actually do that too if I had powers like that."
    Imagine wrestling a lion for fun. Really powerful imagery too, but difficult to visualize I'd imagine.
     
    #86
  12. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    I'm not saying it's not his kryptonian name. Just that it's never something he thinks of himself in terms of. He'd never think of himself as Kal-el. It's not who he truly is.
     
    #87
  13. The Batman

    The Batman The Dark Knight

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    I disagree with that, especially when some of his superhero allies will specifically refer to him as Kal El, and he never says "I'm just Clark".

    He should think of himself as Kal El. he IS Kal El, just as much as he is Clark Kent. Him thinking otherwise is just more of that "Krypton dosent matter to me" garbage from MOS.

    Its like people expect Clark to act like he never found out he's an alien with powers, even when a spaceship with holograms tells him the truth.
     
    #88
  14. Superman2007

    Superman2007 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think he should discard his heritage or hate being called Kal-El, but I think, purely from a time standpoint, it's fine if he's called Clark primarily. He's been Clark for much of his natural life and while he may find the revelation of him being Kal-El as revelatory, you can't expect him to shed his adopted name.
     
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  15. The Batman

    The Batman The Dark Knight

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    I never said he would shed his adopted name.
     
    #90
  16. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    I agree that he shouldn't ignore his birthright.

    Superman is a man of 2 world's.

    Kal-El + Clark Kent = Superman.

    Superman the creation, is the combination of Clark's personality and Kal-El honouring his Kryptonian heritage. Hence the man of 2 world's. He loves Earth, and he loves Krypton.

    Superman isn't a job or a persona, he is an extension of Clark. Like Batman isn't a persona of Bruce, he is an extension of him, IMO.

    But it is Clark Kent who created Superman, not Kal-El. The name of Kal-El to Superman is his birth name, and something to which he will never let go off because he loves his homeworld.

    But even Jor-El knows that where his son's heart truly lies is the planet where he was raised, which is understandable.

    So Superman is the product of both Earth and Krypton. He was born Kal-El, raised as Clark, becoming Superman.
     
    #91
  17. Superman2007

    Superman2007 Well-Known Member

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    Not shed it, but understandably he'd feel more comfortable with Clark.
     
    #92
  18. herolee10

    herolee10 No More Miracles

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    So is anyone else wondering as I am on how they’ll come up with an explanation as to why Clark starts to don the Glasses at the time he chooses to in the same believable manner that they were able to incorporate the Batsuit/Gadgets/Tumbler into BB?

    I mean, I hope they’re not going to go down the route where Clark after many years of not having worn glasses, with everyone having gotten familiar with his face, chooses to suddenly don them and that no one will recognize his face once he emerges as Superman. But in the same time, unless he had chosen to wear glasses at a VERY early age, there’s no believable way in this already “suspended in disbelief” route that they could say that no one would have recognized Clark if they had been already familiar with his face without the glasses.

    I’m also wondering, if they do go down the Birthright route, where Clark chooses to learn more about his heritage AFTER he comes back from his foreign trip, why had he waited so long to do so?
     
    #93
  19. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    Ummm... He never says 'I'm just Clark?'... I mean I can't say too much about the comics because I'm not as well read as I'd like yet... But I know for a fact he's said that on 'Lois and Clark' and 'Smallville', whether you want to count those as legitimate interpretations within the franchise or not.

    And an adopted kid still thinking of himself as the name he's had his entire life, instead of just randomly switching it in his head, doesn't mean he doesn't CARE about Krypton or his heritage, or even that it doesn't become a part of him.

    But it's what he is called in his mind.

    Let me try and put this in a simple scenario.

    Say he is mentally scolding himself for messing up a date with Lois.

    Does he think 'Nice one, Clark' 'Nice one, Superman' or 'Nice one, Kal-el'...?

    Now do you see what I'm saying?
     
    #94
  20. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    Good points there :)

    Lets look at it this way.

    If you were born in Britain, but then raised in America and found out about it years later, would you automatically say "Screw America, I'm going back to Britain"?

    If you were raised as a completely different person, then found out you were born to somebody else, with a different birth name, would you automatically say "Screw you who raised me, screw the life I was given, screw my identity, I want my original one"?

    No...Baby Kal-El was raised as a human, and became Clark Kent. Clark then became Superman. He honours his Kryptonian heritage, but he would see himself as human IMO.

    It would be like this "I know I was raised as an American, but my parents who died were from Britain, and I have nothing off them. So to show my love and respect for the people of Britain, I am going to wear this Union Jack T-shirt. I love America, but I also love my birth country" Something like that :hehe:
     
    #95
  21. The Batman

    The Batman The Dark Knight

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    Whether or not their legitimate dosent change the fact that the comics....the source of Superman has characters refer to him as "Kal", and he dosent object.

    He can think all three of those things (maybe not Superman, except sarcastically). He IS all three of those things.

    Again, people act like individuals dont change. Just because you thought a certain way at 15 dosent mean you'll always think that way. Especially when you're Superman and have higher brain functions than everyone else anyway.

    Clark is an alien, not just a human being who happens to get powers.

    Its amazing to see how a lack of knowledge on Superman's whole history can affect a fan's perspective.
     
    #96
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  22. Superman_20

    Superman_20 Well-Known Member

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    I am calling him "Kal-El" for the real part so I didn't have to call him "Farm Clark" or something like that. But the version of the person we see in Metropolis is not the real one, and neither is the one in the tights. It is the one in the farm that is the real one.
     
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  23. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    :whatever:

    It's amazing how quickly sweeping arrogant comments can end a civil debate.
     
    #98
  24. DrCosmic

    DrCosmic Professor of Power

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    Well, there's two inherent problems with this thought process, imho.

    1) Being "an alien" doesn't mean anything, unless the writers say it means something. There is no, as far as I know, cause for Superman to think or feel differently than a human, and historically, that means he's a human who 'happens' to be an alien with powers.

    2) Traditionally, Superman having an alien mindset has made him unlikeable and uninteresting, while having a human mindset has made him sympathetic, and able approach a wider variety of themes.

    Here's my real problem with it though. Kal-El was raised as Clark Kent. Like most (all?) teenagers, he felt there was something different about himself, but couldn't put his finger on it. Meanwhile, he's being picked on, learning from his wise parents, working on the farm. Growing. As a Human grows, physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially. When he finds out he's an alien, those experiences are still 'who he is.' His experience as Kal-El is not who he is. When writers make those experiences who he is, through time travel and such, they estrange us from the character in a way that does not benefit the story, especially for a modern audience.

    There are paradigm shifts that happen when you find out you're an alien to be sure. All of a sudden, trying to be normal isn't an achievable goal, really. All of a sudden, your community responsibility grows a few thousand miles. All of a sudden, there's this whole other side of you that used to be mysterious that you can now explore and learn about. But no matter what you learn, no matter what you can do, your formative years, your fondest memories, are always there on the farm. The lessons you hold dearest to you are those taught by Johnathan Kent. That's who you are. Emotionally.

    Kal-El is just what you are.

    The alternative, that Smallville is in any way expendable, emotionally, is to render it pointless. Why not have a 15 year old Kal-El crash land?
     
    #99
  25. The Batman

    The Batman The Dark Knight

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    All Star Superman perfectly captures how Superman sees things due to his alien nature and superhuman senses. Birthright also has Clark Seeing people's auras...which, instead of making him detached as you claim, only makes him more sympathetic and compassionate to other people.

    You act like Kal El is some completely seperate entity. That is not the case. Kal El = Clark, and vice versa. Once again, people change and grow. Not everyone bases their entire personality on what they learned when they were 13.

    I'm not saying he's gonna refer to himself as Kal El all the time...but he's not gonna act like Kal El isnt the name he was born with, and he's not gonna go around correcting his friends when they DO call him Kal El. Kal El IS WHO he is, whether its his primary name or not.
     
    #100
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