Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?

Discussion in 'DC Comics Films' started by Vader's Fist, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. Lantern Venom

    Lantern Venom Lego SUCKS

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    Comfort and Joy is my favorite Superman/Clark episode from the JL/JLU series. Underneath the sometimes stoic exterior of Superman, there was a farm boy who acted, quite literally, like a kid on Christmas. The bathtub scene in BvS reminded me of this side of Superman's personality. Kal has a playful aspect, but he's all business when he puts on the tights.
     
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  2. fan4stic

    fan4stic Well-Known Member

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    I would call him in Comfort and Joy more or less being Clark Kent for the whole episode, but I did consider that. I mainly chose episodes where he was in action as Superman though, due to the person saying he has as much personality as the DCEU one did as Superman.
     
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  3. CLARKY

    CLARKY Well-Known Member

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    You are right, there is a kind of playfull aspect in Clark/Superman.
    Hereafter was also a great episode.
     
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  4. DrCosmic

    DrCosmic Professor of Power

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    STAS/JLU Superman had personality. It's why the "World Made of Cardboard" speech felt right and the anguished scream after the necksnap felt odd. So much more money had been spent on exploring the world of Man of Steel, but consistent character development was missing. For all the little bits and bops interpreted by fans as subtle storytelling, there are reams of screentime that show how little effect anything has on Kal El's mood and M.O. in the DCEU. Superman in STAS reacts to everything. He's not physically 'vulnerable' but he is always the first to leap into action, and the first to get beat down to let everyone know how serious it is (and so we don't have to see bloody smooshed people in a kids cartoon). His consistent action portrayal and design tell us his story, even when he doesn't have a focus episode.
    Can you guess what emotions Clark might feel in this scene:


    [​IMG][​IMG]


    This is called skilled visual storytelling. Even in hero shots, getting ready for battle, you have this kinda stuff:


    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    The cartoon takes everything it can to communicate who this guy is, fists clenched, ready for action. Man of Steel, just... walks. Vaguely concerned, vaguely confused, vaguely curious, vaguely... whatever you want.

    And I'll stop with this pic, because I think this actually goes back to the point:

    [​IMG]


    Here's a classic Superman pose, right? Arms crossed, show himself the guarded powerhouse, an authority figure almost, right... but... his armor is so bulky, he can't even rest his hands like a normal human figure, and so the viewer has to essentially project the idea that is apparently intended onto the picture to get the effect out of it. Because all the trappings of the film take away from what actually makes the character work.


    Superman is a character of heart. All the Blockbuster trappings aren't what make him endearing, which is why the janky 78 movie is more universally beloved than the post 2005 version, which is simply not true of any other character. In doing so much to try and 'keep up' with whatever trend, they hamstringed themselves from the actual core appeal of the character.

    It's hard to make a good Superman movie because expensive suits and cool action scenes won't get you there like it can with Batman. Jokes and quips and creative CGI action can't either like it can with Iron Man. A faithful origin and competent story won't get you there like it can with Wonder Woman.

    For Superman, you have to understand how to subtly, constantly communicate character. To actually do what defenders of MoS think Snyder did. This is what had to happen on STAS and JL/JLU for there to even be a consistent idea of Superman for this generation. And it wasn't because of his focus episodes it's because the artists and writers communicated who he was every moment he was on screen, not just three moments out of a two hour movie.
     
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  5. misslane38

    misslane38 Well-Known Member

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    That's a bold claim not backed up by evidence. From the younger actors portraying a child and teen versions of the characters to Cavill's adult version, we see him react to new things with different expressions to match his mood. The younger actors portray a lot of the insecurity Clark feels as a child who is different and confused about what that means. Cavill's portrayal of older Clark's reactions to finding out about his Kryptonian heritage are full of smiles and excitement (I provided three examples of this earlier in this thread). He shows a similar joy when he is welcomed to the planet by Lois at the end of the film. As for your comparison to the "cardboard" speech from STAS, I thought DCEU Superman said something similar when Zod's protective armor started to malfunction. It had a lot of emotion and weight because he spoke about adjusting to his powers as a child, which we saw in the first scene in the elementary school and heard about from Martha's story about how Clark had a hard time breathing as a baby.

    Really? Also, why are you relying so much on promotional stills and so focused on battle or fight stances?

    I recommend not using cherry picked stills from the film and to actually verify your evidence before you say ridiculous things like this. There is nothing vague about Superman in Man of Steel in the scene you're referring to. In fact, it has everything you are asking for at about the hour and a half minutes mark. Here are some visual aids:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The scene is filmed like an old-fashioned Western standoff with Superman telling the frightened civilians to get inside and with Faora and Superman clenching their fists instead of grasping guns.

    This is a promotional poster, not the film, and I think you're exaggerating whatever minuscule effect and import this slight difference in hand placement, that I don't even think is either true or obvious, would have on anyone who sees it. Also, there's this.

    The accuracy and understanding you have for what actually happens in these films and for visual evidence of visual storytelling is so limited that it's hard to view "analysis" like this of yours as credible.
     
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  6. Lantern Venom

    Lantern Venom Lego SUCKS

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    That costume is just gorgeous. The light dances across the symbol and the cape flows with the agitated atmosphere. And that shot of his fist is also a thing of beauty. Viewers knew that serious business was about to go down.
     
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  7. Spider-Fan

    Spider-Fan SHHFFL 2014 Champion

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    Contrary to popular belief, insults and shade don't make me see you as more intelligent. It makes me actually think the opposite. Someone with imagination can keep arguing legitimate points. Insults mask the inability to make them, thus showing a lack of imagination and/or intelligence. Either debate each other civilly without the insults and shade or ignore one another.
     
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  8. MrB

    MrB Guest

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    Why is it so hard ? Because the people in charge don't respect the source material.
     
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  9. Lantern Venom

    Lantern Venom Lego SUCKS

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    What parts do you feel that they don't respect?
     
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  10. Skrilla31

    Skrilla31 Well-Known Member

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    A thought about MOS being a 'modern' take on Superman.


    A pretty popular claim among MOS fans is that... "Well if Superman existed TODAY the people of Earth would probably be scared of him at first".


    Well no s*** sherlock.



    Of course humans we would be cautious of an all powerful flying god-man. Superman the comic character was created in 1938, does anyone here truly think that the people of 1938 would have reacted any differently to such a circumstance?


    It's as if people look at old comics and cartoons of Superman being adored by the public and arrive at the conclusion that people back then were more open and accepting or something. Those stories just chose not to focus on it. They exist in a continuity where Superman has already proven himself to everyone and has earned their trust.



    MOS was unique in that it was a first contact story, so yes we can rightfully assume that the public would fear him at first. But there's nothing 'modern' about that. The same would be the case if you applied it to any group of humans throughout history.
     
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  11. TheVileOne

    TheVileOne Well-Known Member

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    It's not a bad costume. It's just made to look bad by bad lighting and cinematography.
     
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  12. misslane38

    misslane38 Well-Known Member

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    MoS isn't modern because it argues 21st century humans would react differently to an omnipotent alien. MoS is modern because it didn't ignore that aspect of the storytelling. It was a modern take on Superman's origin because it explored all of those challenging yet often overlooked ideas.
     
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  13. MbJ

    MbJ Well-Known Member

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    I very much enjoyed Morrison's take on Superman's early days for that exact reason. A man who is feared by the establishment but viewed as a folk hero by the little guy on the street.
     
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  14. Skrilla31

    Skrilla31 Well-Known Member

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    I understand what you're trying to say but I don't know if 'modern' is the appropriate term then.
     
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  15. misslane38

    misslane38 Well-Known Member

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    You're right. The best and most accurate term is "postmodern" in the vein of postmodernism.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Grant Morrison himself said:

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. misslane38

    misslane38 Well-Known Member

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    Also this:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  17. Madam-Shogun

    Madam-Shogun Well-Known Member

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    I was indifferent to Superman Returns, LOVED MoS though.
     
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  18. MbJ

    MbJ Well-Known Member

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    I'm good.
     
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  19. misslane38

    misslane38 Well-Known Member

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    I think it's so cool that Morrison saw his outlaw hero of the people version of Superman in the DCEU's Superman. And little notes like poor and forgotten people in Gotham loving and caring about him really underscore that idea. I thought you'd like it, because you said it's the kind of thing you like, but okay.
     
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  20. m1ll3r

    m1ll3r Failed experiment

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    Grant Morrison on Man Of Steel:

    I kinda liked it and kinda didn’t, to be honest. I feel bad because I like [director] Zack Snyder and [writer] David Goyer, and [star] Henry Cavill was really good. But it felt like one of those ones where it’s like, “Bring on the second movie now that you’ve done this,” and I don’t need to see that as someone who knows all I know about Superman. For me, it was a bit “seen it before,” no matter how they tried to make it a little bit different. I’m more looking forward to the Dark Knight version of Superman, the next one, where hopefully it will have Lex Luthor and be some fantastic second act.
    It’s a credible Superman for now. But I’m not sure about the killing thing. I don’t want to sound like some fuddy-duddy Silver Age apologist but I’ve noticed a lot recently of people saying Batman should kill the Joker and, yeah, Superman should kill, he should make the tough moral decisions we all have to make every day. I don’t know about you, but the last moral decision I made didn’t have anything to do with killing people. And I don’t think many of us ever have to make the decision whether or not to kill. In fact, the more you think about it, unless you’re in one of the Armed Forces, killing is illegal and immoral. Why would we want our superheroes to do that?
    There is a certain demand for it, but I just keep wondering why people insist that this is the sort of thing we’d all do if we were in Superman’s place and had to make the tough decision and we’d kill Zod. Would we? Very few of us have ever killed anything. What is this weird bloodlust in watching our superheroes kill the villains?

    I rarely disagree with Grant Morrison.
     
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  21. misslane38

    misslane38 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure what your point is. Grant Morrison appreciated what Snyder did with BvS, which is the quote I posted, and it was that movie that dealt more with the world's reaction to Superman, which is what the topic of conversation was and what Morrison is saying he's looking forward to here in this quote you've shared. How Morrison felt about MoS doesn't change that, especially this one concern about killing Zod. In fact, it's completely irrelevant.

    Here's that Morrison quote again:

    [​IMG]
     
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  22. Herofan

    Herofan Well-Known Member

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    I think most people basically sense that Superman is pretty much an establishment figure, fatherlike or at least like a policeman, that's what they know him as and they either like it & want to keep it or even if they don't like it much they still think going too far away from it feels like too new and change for the sake of change, too overcompensating.
     
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  23. MbJ

    MbJ Well-Known Member

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    Same here.
     
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  24. Skrilla31

    Skrilla31 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting that he would equate 'father figure' and 'police figure' with being rightwing... and also with being 'boring'.



    Meanwhile Superman has never been more popular and prevalent than when he displayed those virtues, and the further he's gotten away from that the more irrelevant he has become.
     
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  25. misslane38

    misslane38 Well-Known Member

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    Here in the USA, the police are very much becoming a symbol of the right. Morrison, by the way, is specifically referring to the paternalistic and ally of the state Frank Miller portrayed Superman as in The Dark Knight Returns. Superman became popular in the 1930s when he was portrayed as an aggressive, anti-fascist, anti-establishment, anti-corporate populist.
     
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