Full on spoilers ahead for a movies so read on if you dare.
I read an article this past week comparing “Man of Steel” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” or more specifically Wing Tips and the Big Blue Boy Scout. Both of these characters are the moral compasses for the respective universes. Truth, justice and honor drive these two men. The article I read talked how Superman killed Zod at the end of his movie while Cap took an ass-kicking from his old buddy Bucky, or now called the Winter Soldier. First off, big differences in that Bucky was Steve Rogers oldest, bestest friend and wasn’t going to give up on him and Zod was some maniac from Clark’s home world who was trying to destroy Earth. There was no connection between them other than being of the same species. You know what, that’s all I need to say about that.
I get where the writer was going with his point. Superman doesn’t kill people, that’s one of his biggest rules. So Supes snapping Zod’s neck like an iPhone is definitely out of character. And I get that. The writers felt that it worked within the tone of the movie (you know that ultra-gritty, realistic DC movie world). I’m okay with Superman doing what he did.
Superman gets labeled as boring and old and blah blah blah. I get it. Comic fans complain that he’s too powerful and no one can give him a real challenge or a good fight. Hence that’s why it’s hard to write good stories for him because there’s nothing he can’t do. He’s a man with no limits. My rebuttal is he may be a man without limits but he is a man still. That’s the part of Superman that often gets ignored.
Superman represents the best of humanity but yet everyone seems to focus on the fact that he’s from another planet. He gets mad at the same things that piss me off. One of the best Superman stories to me is the video game “Injustice: God’s Among Us.” It shows that Superman is human and feels the same emotions that we all go through. Granted he loses it and takes over the planet, he killed Lois and his unborn child because Joker drugged him. If I had Supes powers I’d probably do the same thing in that situation. Superman always does the right thing but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t struggle with it sometimes. He’s just like you and me, except you know he can fly at the speed of light and lift mountains and shit.
And for the man who can supposedly do any and everything, there’s a ton of crap he can’t do. Zod, Brainaic or Darkseid can all be bitch-slapped around by Superman and stopped but what about the battles he can’t just punch into submission. Batman fights an endless battle against organized crime, that’s how he started. Superman is the guy who deals with things on a global scale. How does he stop world hunger or domestic violence or cancer? Those are fights he can’t just lay an ass-whooping on. Imagine being able to move stars with your bare hands but can’t save a woman from getting slapped around by her husband. Or stopping floods by evaporating them with heat vision but not being able to stop a sixteen-year-old boy from overdosing on heroin. Exploring Superman’s psyche might just be more interesting that Batman’s.
This is why I love Clark. He doesn’t do the super hero thing out of anger or vengeance or revenge. He does it simply because it’s the right thing to do. It’s not the powers, or the cape. It’s all about doing the right thing. He’s a symbol of hope just because of that creed he lives by. Clark Kent is far from infallible but it’s never stopped him from doing what’s right. That’s what makes him super.