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Today, I went to see Man of Steel and was sorely disappointed by the ending. Anyone who has seen it probably knows why. Nearly ten years ago, Christopher Nolan gained notoriety revamping Batman as a more realistic and down to earth hero (especially after the god-awful outing by Shumacher). In 2005, we got to see the training of Bruce Wayne, saw his motivations, and even got a logical explanation for his toys (especially that cool Batmobile, the Tumbler!). Long story short, it was box office gold. So much so, that he did a sequel three years later. It was even darker, and raised serious questions about the limits of how far law enforcement should go in a free society. It also raised a few red flags about Nolan's own political leanings.

Nolan almost seemed to be endorsing things like domestic spying and saying that it's okay for the authorities to go over the legal line once in a while for the sake of protection. Because it was the end of Bush's term, this was seen as an interesting observation of the times. But very little was made of Nolan's own beliefs. That is, until the third installment came out.

Dark Knight Rises, in comparison to the two previous films, is arguably the weakest. It is also the most politically brazen in it's seeming endorsement of conservative politics. Bane with his "anything goes once you get rid of the authorities" attitude and the mock trials of Gotham's rich read like something out of an Ayn Rand novel. I'm not the first to notice this either. Matt Tiabbi wrote a scathing review of the movie for Rolling Stone at the time it came out basically saying the same thing. This was the first major red flag for me that Nolan is hiding something about what he really believes and perhaps is not the best person to put on a Superman movie.  

Superman, from his recession era origins, started as a liberal champion of New Deal reforms. Knocking down old slums to force the government to build new housing projects for the poor. Ending wars by forcing the profiteers who start them to fight in them. An early story from the thirties has him disguising himself as a miner to trap the mines owner and his rich friends in one of his unsafe mines to teach him what his workers have to go through after one of them got injured. These are the values his creators, two poor kids from Cleveland, intended. Over time, he became the symbol of the status quo. An official member of the Metropolitan police force, membership in most countries on Earth (with the exception of those evil communist countries) and beloved the world over. Not endorsing any particular beliefs one way or the other. As it probably should be for a world protector.

As time went on super-heroes became more complex, first with the introduction of Marvel and it's "flawed" super-heroes, then with "darker" works in the eighties like Watchmen and Dark Knight, the basis for the Nolan movies and written by Frank Miller, another fringe Randian. But through it all, Superman stayed the same no sided hero he always was. A revamp in the eighties, in an attempt to make him more realistic, got rid of some of the sillier elements that got attached to him in the Silver Age, like Superboy and the super-pets. But one of the more clever changes involved turning Lex Luthor from a mad scientist to the more believable, for that era, villain of a corrupt billionaire. This was perfect for the Gordon Gecko eighties.    

Through various incarnations on TV, like Lois and Clark and Smallville, we see this reflected. Luthor is the big man in the city until the flying alien shows up to steal his thunder. He has what Luthor's money could never buy. A natural ability. The latter show has Clark and the rich kid Luthor start out as friends after Clark saves his life in the first episode. And although it went off the rails in the later seasons, the idea of the rich kid from the city who is pushed by his father to be a Machiavelli and the poor farm boy with the powers of a demi-god but chooses to use them for the betterment of others shines through. This contrast is the perfect contradiction of liberal and conservative politics.

Clark has much but uses it for the betterment of all. Lex has much and wants more at the expense of anyone. It is almost impossible to make Superman a conservative in the modern sense. He is too giving; too kind. Contrast that with today's modern "every man for himself" attitude of conservative politics. And it is this attitude that I believe makes it impossible for a conservative to truly be a super-hero. Superman does not judge, he simply helps out where he is needed.

Nolan was an odd choice to direct a Superman movie in my opinion anyway. Just as with the Superman animated series in the mid-nineties, you have Batman fans making a Superman show. To those who never saw this version, they "humanized" Superman by reducing his powers to the point where he would have trouble lifting a car over his head. This was an attempt to make him easier to write for but it also made it clear the people doing it didn't necessarily want to be making Superman. To be fair, this got better with the follow up Justice League series that took place in the same universe but even then, Batman was still portrayed as the adult who makes all the rational decisions while the other heroes were still intimidated by a guy whose only advantage is he dresses all in black.

Making a successful franchise only works if the people doing it want to be doing it and not something else. Nolan got pegged to make the Superman revamp only because he did such a good job on Batman despite the fact that they are two different beings. So how does a Batman fan make a Superman movie? By making him "darker". Making him edgier with a darker costume and more complex origin.

In this origin, we see a Krypton in the throws of destruction due to, let's be quiet blunt, fracking of it's core. The planet has become unstable and is about to collapse and the only one who can see it is Jor-El, Superman's daddy. Not long after he warns the planets government and is roundly ignored, the government is nearly overthrown by general Zod, the leader of the Kryptonian military. His plans stopped, he is put on trial for treason and sent into space as punishment. But not before Jor-El sends his son to Earth for a better life.

The sequences of Clark growing up are your typical Superman fair. He is a child that has to hide what he can do and in some cases, can't control his abilities in school. Such as when he hears everything in town while sitting in class. He spends his youth wandering the world taking odd jobs. Nolan's "every man for himself" attitude is hinted at in a flashback when Clark rescues a school bus full of kids and his father chastises him for exposing himself despite the fact that he kept kids from dying. When asked if he should have just let the kids die, his fathers response seems to be "maybe". In fact, this is basically the only real role his human father has in the movie is telling his son to keep his secret no matter what. Even when lives are at stake.

When he finds out his true origin, Clark puts on the Super suit and goes out into the world. I won't go into the whole movies dynamics but the basic premise is that Zod and his soldiers escape their prison and find their way to Earth to find Kal. Fights ensue in both Smallville and Metropolis and long story short, once Zod masters control over all his powers, he poses a serious threat to Superman. Up until then, him and his people were seen largely just leaping into planes and people.

Towards the end, Zod has cornered a group of helpless humans and is threatening to sear them with his heat vision. Superman has him in a headlock begging him to stop but he refuses. With only seconds to spare before the beam reaches the trapped humans, Superman does the only thing he can think of...he snaps Zod's neck like a twig. That's right, the symbol of perfect moral virtue for the past 75 years, kills his enemy.

There were probably a million ways to end this movie. There were hundreds of Kryptonian ships flying around shooting up Metropolis. It would have been pretty easy to write an ending where one of them falls on Zod accidentally or have him get sucked into the Phantom Zone with the rest of his team (yes, that happened too). Instead, Nolan, the man who thought it's okay to wiretap every phone in Gotham and reduced the complexities of wealth and poverty to a bunch of ungrateful urchins like something out of Les Miserables sentencing rich people to be executed for nothing, decided to have Superman break the one rule no other version has ever done in any franchise. THE one rule of Superman. HE DOES NOT KILL.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why conservatives cannot be super-heroes. Even in a franchise where killing is the biggest no-no of all, they do it anyway. Because law and order and all that. There are super-heroes who kill, make no mistake. Wolverine, Punisher, even Wonder Woman on occasion. But give them control over the one guy for whom killing is off limits and they still do it. This is the conservative mindset. The ends justify the means. No matter what. Because we have to send a zero tolerance message even if it means destroying everything that makes a character every child looks up to something he's not.  
       

Originally posted to blueoasisinaredsea on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 07:39 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Batman seems conservative to me (13+ / 0-)

    I've always seen Batman as a conservative. The Batman films have an almost crypto-fascist Nietzschean adoration for the concept of the "superman."  He's an uber-rich vigilante who feels that he doesn't need society; that to me sound conservative.

    •  He's also a filthy rich kid, whose family is (14+ / 0-)

      responsible for all that is good. He is a conservative wet dream. Remember the bullshit in the second movie of this current series? It's a total conservative message. The joker is inexplicably evil and Batman must use completely unorthodox methods to catch him or we're all dead. But don't worry, Batman will only use those means for good.

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 08:03:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the point is (10+ / 0-)

        He does use his powers only for good. When he's caught the Joker, he destroys his spying machine. A conservative would have claimed there are thousands of Jokers out there, we are at never-ending war with the Jokers, and the spying machine needs to exist permanently to protect us from the Jokers. Then he would use the information he gathers to make himself richer and more powerful.

        Yes, super heroes are inevitably liberal. Liberals don't say no one should be rich, they say if you have the capacity to become rich, or are born rich (as Bruce Wayne was) you have obligations to the rest of us as well. No one becomes rich alone and the conservative exploitation of government to enrich themselves at the expense of others is morally corrupt. In fact, that's a sub-plot of all the movies: Bruce Wayne is the liberal rich guy, always fighting evil, conservative rich guys who want to steal all his money and who use what they have to commit evil acts. Sure he's a playboy, but he also risks his life on a daily basis to save millions of other people. He is the liberal version of governance. Iron Man/Tony Stark (the Marvel universe version of Batman/Bruce Wayne) claims to have privatized peace. He uses his technology and riches to help others and stops manufacturing arms (how his father and he originally became rich enough to create Iron Man and save the world) because it's morally wrong. He is another liberal rich guy. Colonel Rhodes, the token black guy (Lucius Fox's role in the Dark Knight films) is continually in conflict with his conservative military/government bosses because he wants to be a liberal good guy like Tony, but is compelled to steal and use Tony's inventions for conservative ends. Again, the "conservatives are evil exploiters of good" trope in liberal super hero stories.

        Bane, in the third Dark Knight movie, is the tool of a terrorist mastermind. He exploits liberalisitc/Unionistic rhetoric to enslave Gotham and hold it in a state of constant terror (created by him. Basically he's just Dick Cheney). He's Robespierre, using the rhetoric of the revolution to enrich himself and achieve his own ends -- in Bane's case, the destruction of Gotham. He just wants to be able to blame it on someone else (you made me kill you, a classic conservative trope). It's the same terror deal that Zod uses in Man of Steel, "give me what I want or I will destroy you," all the while planning to destroy Metropolis/Gotham anyway.

        They are both movie takes on the conservative method: Use the morals of liberalism to achieve non-liberal, evil ends. We know racism is wrong, so claim rich, white, Xtian people are the real victims of racism. We know bullying is wrong, so use anti-bullying rhetoric to claim conservatives are the real victims of bullying. We know pollution is wrong, so claim that it doesn't exist (fracking is pure as the driven snow!) and that global warming due to it is a lie. Liberals have won the moral debate. Liberal values are and have always been American values. Conservatives now use the fear of terrorism and outright lies to exploit liberal morality to their own ends, something Batman and Bruce Wayne (and Superman and Iron Man) would not do.

        Of course Batman is a fantasy. But he's a liberal fantasy.

    •  Um ... (11+ / 0-)

      ... a super-rich person who uses his wealth and risks his own life repeatedly to help people?

      Doesn't sound like any conservative I know.

    •  Green Arrow Is His Opposite (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      caul, Ellid, FutureNow, TheOpinionGuy

      The counterpart to Batman in the DC universe is Green Arrow. They even make a point of it with Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen getting into a fight over the fact that Queen is a liberal. They don't like each other precisely because of their politics.

      Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by seventh graders for balance. They found your paper "bogus," describing the lab work as "boring." We will be unable to publish your work at this time.

      by Rrhain on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:32:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same thing with Iron Man (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        METAL TREK, mikejay611

        Tony Stark goes to Afghanistan, is captured by terrorists, and gives up making weapons in favor of high technology and clean energy.

        •  And Captain America (6+ / 0-)

          is the Marvel version of a conservative, often at odds with Tony Stark's liberal/libertarian views.

          Interestingly, Cap is a Mom, apple pie, Christian conservative who lays his own life on the line for others. He's a boy scout who never tells a lie and so on. He is the conservative conservatives only pretend to be. The fact that actual real-life conservatives utterly fail to live up to the standards set by their fantasy rhetoric is one of the major failures of conservatism. They all want credit for being Captain America while actually being, or wanting to be, the Koch brothers (the real world's closest thing to evil super villains).

          •  Not necessarily (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ellid

            I'm no expert, but Cap was historically a New Deal kind of guy.  He hates bullies.  In Marvel Civil War, he was the leader of the anti-supers registration forces (in opposition to Iron Man.)  He protected other heroes who desperately wanted to keep their identities secret, despite the fact that Captain America's name was known by everyone.

          •  Uhm. Conservatives actually don't like Cap much (4+ / 0-)

            He's not Tea Party Friendly.

            And he's a "Statist".

            Hell, there's lists of the Liberal things Cap does.

            I think Cap's only conservative if you consider the New Deal and the best things about America to be "Conservative."

            I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

            by detroitmechworks on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:31:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

              Or, why I'm only half joking when I keep threatening to write a diary called "Captain America - Socialist Scum!"  Because, seriously - we are talking a guy who grew up during the Depression, worked as an artist for the WPA, was so in favor of intervention against Nazi Germany that he started trying to enlist in the Army soon after the invasion of Poland, then willingly submitted to a horribly dangerous government experiment solely so he could fight for democracy and freedom.  

              Add in that he was buddies with Franklin Roosevelt (who gave him his shield), that one of his closest modern friends is African-American, that his closest friend growing up was gay, and that he was portrayed as supporting all sorts of socially liberal causes as far back as the early 1970s, and the odds that Captain America thinks much of the modern conservative movement beyond the occasional "for this I spent ____ years in an iceberg?" are pretty slim.

              YMMV, of course. :)

          •  Not really. (0+ / 0-)

            Cap in the Ultimates line is very much a neocon, but Cap in the main comics is an old-style New Dealer in many ways.  He's not particularly devout, he believes in justice and equality, has no problem with people of other races (or genders, or sexual orientations), and leads an underground movement against the Marvel version of the PATRIOT Act.  I know a lot of neocons and Tea Partiers think he's one of them, but if you go back and read the books, not so much.

        •  Yeah, But... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cardboardurinal, Ellid

          Don't forget that when the government installed the superhero registry, Stark was the one leading it. I wouldn't really call him "liberal." He's not Cheney-level of conservative, but he's a centrist.

          Cap Ap is opposed to the SHRA and ends up dying for it.

          Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by seventh graders for balance. They found your paper "bogus," describing the lab work as "boring." We will be unable to publish your work at this time.

          by Rrhain on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:00:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

            I don't think it's any coincidence at all that the Civil War ends with the living embodiment of the American ideal splattered on the courthouse steps.  It was an incredibly disturbing image, and I was not surprised in the slightest to learn that Joe Simon, Cap's original writer, actually sat shivah when that particular issue came out.

    •  I've never seen him necessarily as conservative... (0+ / 0-)

      If he is, he'd be a more law and order type, not necessarily the whole package. He certainly isn't what one would consider a social conservative. In the current comics, Batwoman is a lesbian and he seems fine with it. I suppose he'd be more a libertarian then anything else though he's awfully generous with his money. Not fitting the pattern of either conservative or libertarian to me. He's sees the damage the bad policies have on society as Batman so it's not like he's hiding from them.

  •  Is there really such a think as a spoiler in a (10+ / 0-)

    Superman movie? I mean I wouldn't think for one moment that he wasn't going to save the world.

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 08:00:34 PM PDT

  •  At this point, I'm just waiting for... (9+ / 0-)

    Captain America 2.

    At least there I can root for a hero who genuinely wants to do the right thing, despite what others tell him.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 08:04:21 PM PDT

  •  Not sure I agree with your analysis (SPOILERS) (7+ / 0-)

    I think you're kind of reading too much into this stuff.  The characterizations of both Batman and Superman, in my opinion, have both been spot on.  Batman, in his current comic incarnation (dating back to the post-Crisis universe of 1985) has been a dark hero, willing to circumvent most legal norms, all concepts of due process and privacy, and get pretty violent with bad guys to stop crime in Gotham.  I don't think Nolan's characterization of the hero is all that off from the source material.  

    Likewise, Superman in this movie was much like he always is -- good and noble, and ultimately willing to sacrifice himself and the future of his own people to save the people of Earth.  At the end of the film he downs a drone and tells the general that he won't tolerate the US government spying on him.  He constantly risks his secret identity and his life to help others.  And in the scene you mentioned, Zod was about to kill a whole family -- Superman wasn't given any other choice.  He literally begs Zod to stop before killing him, and then falls to the ground in grief after killing him.  I think that's in line with the Superman character that is in the comics -- he hates killing and would do anything to avoid it, but in this particular story, Zod literally gave him no other choice.  

    A desperate disease requires a dangerous remedy.

    by Guy Fawkes on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 08:37:23 PM PDT

    •  But there were so many other options... (10+ / 0-)

      This is a movie that had all sorts of Kryptonian ships flying around and weapons going off. Superman could have knocked Zod into one and had it kill him by accident or simply sent him into the phantom zone. Yes, that particular circumstance, Superman didn't have a lot of choices but why did the writers put him in that position? It seems they were setting him up to kill. That is what I had a problem with.

      •  That would be an example of crap plotting (6+ / 0-)

        Setting things up so Superman doesn't have to make the decision or choice, a decision that was morally justified given the circumstances, would have been a cheap method of a writer pulling a deus ex machina out of his ass just to keep Superman as a Technical Pacifist.

        •  But It's Against Canon (6+ / 0-)

          So many other moments in the Superman mythos point out that he is always holding himself back lest he go too far. There's a wonderful scene from one of the animated versions where he talks about it: The "World of Cardboard" speech (http://www.youtube.com/...).

          In the Doomsday story arc with the death of Superman, he has the same crisis: He has always held back and bow there is a foe that can take everything he has and he realizes too late that his holding back at the beginning of the fight will mean he won't be able to defeat Doomsday. And he's right. The only way to stop Doomsday is to push himself so far that he dies.

          To have Superman kill Zod over something so trivial as a headlock is simply a slap in the face. He would have taken the shot himself. Spin Zod around so that he takes the blast. Fly up with Zod in tow to take him away. Anything else would have been better.

          Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by seventh graders for balance. They found your paper "bogus," describing the lab work as "boring." We will be unable to publish your work at this time.

          by Rrhain on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:49:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  go back and watch Superman 1 and 2 (1+ / 2-)
            Recommended by:
            caul
            Hidden by:
            Fred Fnord, TheOpinionGuy

            then come back to complain

            as the guy on HP wrote, in Superman 1, a little girl get's hit by her mom for 'lying' about a flying man who saved her cat from a tree

            Man of Steel is 100 times more tame than Superman 1 and 2

            don't be such an ignorant whiner

          •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mikejay611, TheOpinionGuy

            Superman is one of those superheroes who simply does not kill.  Ever.  Having him start his modern cinematic career by killing Zod is not a good sign at all.

            •  You also have to wonder (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MPociask, Box of Rain, Ellid

              how many thousands of people his battle with Zod has ALREADY killed and maimed? He's frikkin' DESTROYED Metropolis! If we accept that Metropolis is New York, on any given day he's risked the lives of eight million people, packed by the thousands in the skyscrapers he has knocked down willy-nilly and crowding the streets he has filled with rubble.

              (Shameless plug: I covered this in my diary about the movie, here: Superman Don't Weep for Collateral Damage)

            •  Superman has killed... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              niemann, ArthurPoet, TheOpinionGuy

              Before the comics code was implemented Superman (and Batman) killed villains and often without remorse.

              And in John Byrne's run of Superman, he killed kyrptonians with kryptonite, which ultimately had him go insane, become a vigilante under a different name for a while (the Warrior, I think?) and then exile himself in space while he came to grips with it.

              He also killed Doomsday. As much as Doomsday can ever be killed.

              I mean, it's not like Superman kills all the time. His no-killing code is there, and is definitely an important part of the character. But it does, on a very rare occasion, get broken.

              The Baptist Death Ray (wrightc [at] eviscerati [dot] org) "We are all born originals -- why is it so many of us die copies?"
              - Edward Young

              by The Baptist Death Ray on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:22:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Except (0+ / 0-)

              when he has to. Like Doomsday. But what are facts?

              http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/ Jesus Loves You.

              by DAISHI on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:53:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Superman the comic--1938 (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                niemann

                It has been a while since I read the first Superman comic, but I believe he threw one or more bad guys way off in the distance which is "real life" meant death.

              •  Doomsday's a tough one (0+ / 0-)

                First off, Doomsday explicitly isn't a person. It's even arguable whether he's sapient or not. Superman has never had any compunction about destroying non-sapient robots and other defense systems.

                Second off, when he finally had to get rid of Doomsday, and was finally able to, he exiled him in time. Unless he's come back since then, and been 'killed'? I admit, I haven't followed the comic since 'THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN'. I was always a Marvel guy, myself.

          •  I think there's a tradition that Superman (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mikejay611

            HAS to exercise great moral control because of the godlike superpower that he has.  It makes sense, in a way.  Otherwise, he could just say, "Fuck all this democracy bullshit.  Let's do it my way.  No more countries, no more wars."

      •  This is called weak story telling (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        METAL TREK, niemann, Kokomo for Obama

        There's no way you convey the emotion of what it is to kill by having Zod blow up in some accidental spaceship explosion. The personal nature of having to directly kill is exactly what communicates how horrid of an act it is. If you're going to make a narrative point, you don't do it softly.

        http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/ Jesus Loves You.

        by DAISHI on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:53:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just my thought. (0+ / 0-)

          Although I like Superman's (and Batman's, and Doctor Who's, etc.) preference not to kill ... that's what it is:  a preference.

          If someone in real life was put into the positions they constantly find themselves in -- fighting powerful beings who have no problem at all killing -- that preference would be repeatedly challenged.  

          At some point they would have to choose to go against their preference, because there would be no other choice.

          To say dogmatically, "Superman doesn't kill -- ever!" is indeed to invite weak storytelling.  We would get the same cheats that I felt whenever the bad-guys were always captured on Scooby Doo, say, by having tires thrown over them, or slipping on a patch of oil that just happened to be there, and so on.

          •  Looking back on it, it was the way it was done. (0+ / 0-)

            Having had a few days out from it, I realize my biggest problem with it was the fact that it was so sudden and dramatic. He doesn't throw him in a pit (which, technically he did in 2) or slam him into his own weapon or anything, he snapped his neck. It was a particularly violent death. That doesn't sit well with me. Even now. I'm a little more "over it" than I was but it's still uncomfortable.

            •  One other thing (mini-spoiler here) (0+ / 0-)

              At the film's very end, Superman destroys a US military drone that's been sent to spy on him, and tells the general that he should really be more trusting. Superman notes he grew up in Kansas. In short, a dig against domestic surveillance, and a pitch in favor of civil liberties and the right of privacy. Although, I suppose, given that Kal-El is an ET, maybe the FISA court concluded that he was a foreigner. Wait until Clark Kent needs to produce his birth certificate so he can vote in a red state.

    •  But that was a writer's decision (10+ / 0-)
      he hates killing and would do anything to avoid it, but in this particular story, Zod literally gave him no other choice.
      He had as many choices as the writer wanted to give him. The point isn't how Superman is and acts. He's a fictional character. The point is how writers, conservative ones, have taken the character and made it do something it never did before.
    •  As someone who read the Batman comics through (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ellid, quarkstomper

      the 60s and into the early 70s, there was a point (the Neal Adams era) where Batman was seen as siding with the "little guy" against big corporate interests and corrupt government.  (In fact, Adams had a whole series with Green Arrow, the Black Canary, and the Hal Jordan Green Lantern that tackled drugs, racism and a host of other social ills.)  

      Which kind of makes sense.  While Batman is a darker hero, his father's sense of using his wealth to do good is instilled in him, and easily could be a springboard for a more generous defense of Gotham against evildoers who would prey on the "little guy."  

      (Indeed, I can even read that into The Dark Knight Rises as Bane is a tool of the nihilist Ra's al Ghul's posthumous revenge -- a nihilism that puts me in mind of nothing so much as Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine -- you know, the whole destroying-the-village-to-save-it (for ourselves) mentality.  In fact, that can be argued is a theme of all three movies:  An argument against a nihilist approach to solving social ills.  To bad the third film was such crap filmmaking.)

      In any event, this is to show that there are ways to show the "darker" hero as a socially conscious one.

      Is it courageous to propose tax cuts but not identify a single tax expenditure to rein in? Is it courageous to target your deepest cuts on the poorest Americans, who vote in lower numbers and provide little in campaign contributions?

      by caul on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 03:26:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bruce Wayne, Rich White Liberal (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MT Spaces, niemann, Cassandra Waites, caul

        In the '70s, when Denny was writing Batman, Bruce Wayne was practically the poster child for White Liberal Guilt.  He eased off on the "Millionaire Playboy" schtick and started focusing more on The Wayne Foundation, a non-profit organization intended to fix the problems with society which results in the criminals on the street that Batman beats up at night.  This aspect of Bruce Wayne kind of faded as the '70s went on, as DC's experiment with the "New Relevance" (of which the Green Lantern/Green Arrow series was also a part.) fizzled.

        "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

        by quarkstomper on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:52:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I saw an analysis (0+ / 0-)

      That points out that Superman could have avoided a lot of the destruction if he'd simply taunted Zod and then headed out to sea.  Zod would almost certainly have followed him, and then they could have slugged it out without any civilians threatened or Metropolis being reduced to rubble.

    •  People seem to be freaking out (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      niemann, TheOpinionGuy

      over Superman killing. I did not. He very much consigned his own species to Oblivion to save humanity. Zod told him it would end in death. He was still trying to save lives. He had no choice. Why doesn't Superman kill ( which he does btw, its very rare and big deal when it happens)? Maybe because the necessity of killing Zod was so traumatic he takes it to heart and always tries to find another way?

      I think what they were going for was giving Superman a reason for his never take a life policy.

  •  In that JL animated series, Superman is portrayed (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, caul, Ellid, TexasTom

    as kind of an idealized "Morning in America" kind of person. After Luthor becomes President and his plans reveal themselves, he still has a hard time being the rebel.  The most Liberal of all the JL is Green Arrow.  He even calls himself an "old leftie" in one moment in that animated series.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 08:51:55 PM PDT

  •  I think Batman is neither Liberal or Conservative. (6+ / 0-)

    To the world, Bruce Wayne is the playboy and the Noblesse Oblige, but as Batman I think he's sociopathic.  But towards law and order He keeps a Do Not Kill rule as well but he's not afraid to get dirty with the criminals.

    Joker is his polar opposite as a sociopath.  

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 08:55:47 PM PDT

  •  I'm not especially into the Superman universe (6+ / 0-)

    but if I were, I'd just said the movie isn't canon and dismiss everything subsequently tainted with it.  That's the brilliance of franchises like this: Canonicity is 100% fan-based.  Even when a creator fucks up their own universe the work can be dismissed by fans (see: George Lucas).

    Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

    by Troubadour on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 09:38:24 PM PDT

  •  I didn't much care for it, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheOpinionGuy

    and I didn't spend a lot of time trying to analyze why.  On the other hand, I loved the last Batman, I think the point was that humans, as a group, are a lunatic mob,  especially when they're in danger, insecure.  If you don't think food riots in NYC would turn into lynching Wall St. financiers, the DoD disagrees with you.

    190 milliseconds....

    by Kingsmeg on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 09:45:47 PM PDT

  •  Wow, out of date (10+ / 0-)

    Superman has killed.

    In the late 1980s, he was taken to an alternate Earth where the last survivors of Krypton were Zod and two of his followers. These Kryptonians were actually stronger than Superman, and by the time he'd arrived they'd sterilized the entire planet of all life except for a lone band of heroes who'd survived in a bunker and carried on the fight, which they knew was hopeless. In the end, it was futile: they were killed by Zod, and all that were left was Superman and the three Kryptonians.

    Using some gold kryptonite (which didn't effect him), he weakened and defeated them  them but then they promised they'd find a way to regain their powers and find their way to his reality and do it to his Earth.

    Feeling he had no choice (sound familiar), he exposed them to green kryptonite and killed them, not showing mercy even when they begged for it, because he felt he had no choice.

    The storyline went on for some years about how deeply affected he was by it.

    In the animated DCU, he was clearly about to kill Darkseid with deliberate intent, and was absolutely pissed at Batman for intervening and hauling him away by Boom Tube (saving Superman from the explosion that apparently killed Darkseid). Supes was fully prepared to die so long as he got to kill Darkseid.

    So there's nothing particularly wrong with Nolan having Superman prepared to kill in defense of others. He's done it before.

    •  Superman Kills (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vayle

      Here is the comics spread where Superman Kills. It was written and drawn by John Byrne who was the same writer that rebooted Lex Luthor from crazy supervillain to businessman.

      I'm never sure if I've forgotten and left the lid up, or if InvisObama™ is using the loo.

      by The Gryffin on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 03:48:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Hated Byrne for That (4+ / 0-)

      I remember that story.  It was one of the last ones -- perhaps the last one -- he did for Superman during his Post-Crisis reboot of the character.

      The reason why "Superman Had No Choice" was because John Byrne didn't want him to have one.

      After Byrne left, the writers succeeding him did a storyline where Supes basically has a mental breakdown from guilt and winds up leaving Earth for a while.  A decent storyline, but it was trying to salvage something which shouldn't have happened in the first place.

      They tried to spin it that having killed the Kryptonian Criminals has confirmed Superman's resolve not to kill. As one comic fan at the time commented, "There's a difference between saying 'I will never kill' and saying 'I will never kill... again.' "

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:00:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Byrne thing never made sense to me. (0+ / 0-)

      They were already powerless. He could have left them there and, let's be honest, they probably wouldn't have lasted very long on their own. It's not like there was a lot of food to eat. They would have died on their own eventually. I don't begrudge him for not taking them back to his Earth.

  •  Why siegel and shuster wanted their rights back (4+ / 0-)

    Because two Jewish kids from Cleveland would be horrified by all that damn Christ imagery.

    This film in particular laid it on with a shovel.  Short of making Clark a carpenter, they pretty much did the whole magillah.

    Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

    by mbayrob on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 10:09:58 PM PDT

    •  Christ imagery? (0+ / 0-)

      Can't be as bad as it was in the second friggin' Spider Man movie.  

      The director even crucified Spider Man on the front of a run away train.  It was ridiculous.

      But, Superman has always had a bit of Savior symbolism going on.  And Jewish kids are as likely to put such symbolism into their creations as Christians are. After all, the Christ is a Jewish myth, right?

      The last (only begotten?) son of another world, sent to this earth to protect its people, etc, etc.  They laid the savior symbolism on pretty thick from the start with ol' Supes.  :)

      "It puts the lotion on its skin, or it gets the GOP again." - The Democratic Party

      by Rick Aucoin on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:45:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How is the "Christ" a Jewish myth??? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul, Ellid, pat bunny, Cassandra Waites

        Siegel and Shuster created a Superman who rejected leading the world as a Christ savior, instead living his life as the ultimate schlemiel -- Clark Kent.  

        All Kal-El (as Hebrew a name as there is) wants is to blend in and be accepted as American, but give back by leading by example in everyday deeds (what we Jews call Tikkun Olam).

        Superman doesn't interfere in world governments.  He stops crime or gets cats down from trees.

        This is pure Jewish philosophy.

        How is any of this Christ-like?  Does Superman demand that the world acknowledge him?   Or does he get a job as a newspaper reporter and pine for a girl he can't date?

        •  Really? i seem to remember something about... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mikejay611

          ... Superman taking all the world's nukes away from our governments?

          Anyway, ah, yeah, was pretty sure that the christian Jesus was supposedly the foretold savior of the Jewish people, at least that was the story.   He wasnt foretold in christian prophecy, there wasn't any.christian prophecy.

          The idea of a savior isn't alien to the Jewish people, so I can't see criticizing based on that.   And, besides, its been 80 years since the creators of superman had much influence on 'who' Superman is, eh.

          "It puts the lotion on its skin, or it gets the GOP again." - The Democratic Party

          by Rick Aucoin on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:12:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds at least as much like Moses n/t (0+ / 0-)

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:52:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Retroactive baptism of Superman (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      caul, Ellid, Cassandra Waites

      Heck, the Christians already took Passover and made it Easter, why not start in on our pop culture contributions as well?

    •  In fact, (0+ / 0-)

      they are marketing the movie to Christian study groups, according to the Guardian. I think blueoasisinaredsea is right about the political overtones.

      You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

      by northsylvania on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:54:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It wasn't a great film.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prius04, Rick Aucoin, caul

    Though I wasn't as dissappointed with him killing as you were.  I understand some will take that, but we have to remember in Superman II (the cut as released to the theater) Superman took a completely disarmed Zod and threw him into the pit.

    Here, Zod presents as someone who repeatedly says "we will fight until someone dies.."

    The problem I had with Superman as presented this time around are these:

    (1) The action sequences were too long, and with almost no remorse.   Look at "The Avengers"   Tons of destruction in NYC, but we spent a lot of time seeing the superheroes do everything possible to save the average person from the horror; here, Superman and Zod just keep pounding each other and major sky scrapers are collapsing, occasionally people come out of the rubble, but countless people had to be killed in the battle, and we never get that aside of "we have to protect the people"

    (2) The final action sequence is long... like WAY too long.  If it was trimmed down about 5 minutes it would be more intense, more interesting.. but as it's presented it just wanders on and on and on.

    (3) Despite Slate.Com and others saying "Lois Lane is the first feminist role in a superhero" I say: Pusha.  Didn't we just see Pepper suit up and save herself, as well as become a hero of sorts?  Didn't the Avengers do the same?   Meanwhile, Lois here is terribly underwritten, and her story pursuit really lays flat; her reveal of Clark's identity is also boring and ridiculous.

    (4) This makes at least the third time I can think of where we have had a plot that dealt with the Origin of Superman.  It's boring in that we get the same villains, etc.   The world of Superman has lots of villains, couldn't they chose someone, anyone except Zod?  I mean, Braniac or anything..

    Finally, I've come to realize part of what has made the Marvel universe so much money at the theater is that it takes itself far less seriously, and the superheroes may have their inner demons to deal with, but they play up the: doing good deeds seems/feels good, etc.    This film just came across as dark without a purpose.    

    Frankly, if you get a chance, rent Superman Unbound, the animated release most recently out.. it's better than this in every possible way.

    (And, FYI: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the best batman movie ever produced, period, end of story)

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 10:15:01 PM PDT

    •  LOIS LANE???? (5+ / 0-)

      Unless they mean Noel Neill or Phyllis Thaxter, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow is a lot closer to being a feminist character than Lois Lane.  Ditto Pepper Potts, or Peggy Carter.

      Good GOD.

      @@@@@

      Also, I completely agree with the point about the Avengers doing everything possible to contain the Chitauri and protect the civilian population - Captain America almost gets his head torn off saving a group of terrified people in a bank, and almost his first action during the battle is ordering the police to evacuate non-combatants and get them into the subways where they'll be out of danger.  If Superman truly doesn't take the five seconds to do this, I will be severely disappointed.

    •  I had a lot of issues with it, actually. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmservo433

      The killing Zod thing was just the biggest one. The way his father died, the fact that Lois learned his identity from the beginning, the convenience of the Kryptonian ship buried in the ice. All going the long way around to address some very simple issues. The first movie dealt with most of these much easier. Heart attack, device inside his ship, etc. Personally, I would have preferred Brainiac as well. Hell, make him the cause of Krypton's destruction! BOOM! I just wrote a better Superman movie!

      Nolan always seemed to overplay this stuff even in the Batman movies. He got credit for making him more "realistic" but let's be honest, a guy who puts on a sack and sprays gas in people's faces isn't all the realistic. No matter how you do it.  

  •  At the end of Superman II (3+ / 0-)

    When Superman took away the powers of Zod and his 2 henchmen, he then tossed them into a bottomless pit.  Since they were now mortal, surely this killed them.  Did it not?

    •  gotta love ignorant know it all superman fans (6+ / 0-)

      who can't even remember the best Superman movie enough to remember that he killed Zod in a MUCH MORE HORRIFIC way.  he crushed the bones in his hand and then tossed him down a pit to die a falling death.  then went to go beat up a trucker who had hurt his pride.

      in this version, he breaks his neck (the MOST humane and instant death) and then screams a gut wrenching screen of horror that he had to do it

      it's like some people don't even pay attention and think

  •  Thanks everyone for saving me the price of (0+ / 0-)

    admission. I can now continue my record of not having entered a movie theater in 5+ years.

    One question though, this movie sounds a lot like a remake of Superman II (1980) with Christopher Reeve. Yes or no?

  •  Better watch the new Hit Girl movie! (0+ / 0-)

    "This isn't America" - Zenkai Girl

    by mythatsme on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:11:30 AM PDT

  •  Diary misleading - Christopher Nolan didn't direct (5+ / 0-)

    Christopher Nolan only produced Man of Steel but he did not direct.  The director is Zack Snyder.

    •  Even worse. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Geogre

      Every decent movie Zack Snyder ever did was, literally, a frame by frame "adaptation" of a very successful work someone ELSE created.  Both "300" and "Watchmen".

      I've yet to see a movie Zack Snyder actually created, himself, that had any real vision to it.

      "It puts the lotion on its skin, or it gets the GOP again." - The Democratic Party

      by Rick Aucoin on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:47:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  but you have done ANYTHING useful with your life? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        it's one thing to whine online about people with power, but now you are going to talk shit about an artist?  you are AWESOME Rick!!!

        •  I'm not a big Zach Snyder fan (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Geogre, mikejay611, Rick Aucoin

          300 was pretty awful in a lot of ways, not least because of the thinly veiled homophobia in the portrayal of Darius.  

          I'm seeing the movie this weekend, but based on some of the reviews I've read and the trailers I've seen, I'm not holding my breath that DC has finally found something to knock Marvel off its pedestal.  I could be wrong, but if nothing else, the stupid, stupid, STUPID scene in the trailer where a female Army officer simpers over how hot Supes is bothers me tremendously.

          •  Yeah, she's awful (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TheOpinionGuy, Ellid

            it's a clunky throwaway line at the end of a post-climax scene and her delivery and acting are just terrible. Absolutely should have been cut.

            But the real flaws of this movie are it's derivative nature; I spent most of it just totaling up the other movies and media it ripped off for virtually every one of it's big scenes: The Incredibles, The Matrix, Chronicles of Riddick, Independence Day, the Avengers, WPA murals, World of Warcraft, the film is a huge pastiche of other people's work.

          •  You saw 300 as homophobia??? (0+ / 0-)

            Hahahahahahahaha...........

            I love you, Ellid, but, really.  All those steroid-pumped guys wearing thigh high boots and helmets?  That was right-wing gay soft-core porn, and not even very subtle about it.

            •  Not them. Darius the Persian. (0+ / 0-)

              Think about it:  effeminate, mincing, pierced, androgynous...a lot of people thought he was the worst sort of stereotype.  Did not like that at all.

              And the beefcake was too blocky for my taste.  I like a well built man as well much as the next girl, but geez, a little leaner through the hips wouldn't hurt.  And the red speedos were just ridiculous....:)

              •  Well, I saw (0+ / 0-)

                macho homoerotic symbols on the Spartan side, flexing their muscles, and I saw effeminate homoerotic symbols on the Persian side...  Both doing battle with each other.  Andrew Sullivan called it the gayest movie ever made, and I think he was on to something.

                There is something macho homoerotic about almost all right-wing art.  Tolerant of overblown masculinity (no pun intended), intolerant of effeminacy.  Effeminate men don't make good soldiers for a great warrior people, I suppose, that's the thinking.  

            •  It's the Homophobia of the Closet (0+ / 0-)

              All portrayals of even the most vague recognition of open homosexuality is sneered at and actively denigrated. Recall the scene where the Spartans call the Athenians "boy-lovers" and put them down as effeminate. In reality, Athens routinely kicked Sparta's ass and guys, YOU'RE SPARTANS! For crying out loud, you institutionalized pederasty as a fact of life. All of the members of the Spartan band were fucked as boys by the older men. They're still fucking each other.

              Yeah,there's a lot of homoeroticism in 300, but it's all portrayed in a sense that you're not supposed to actually admit that you like it. Anybody out of the closet (or symbolically so) is a villain.

              Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by seventh graders for balance. They found your paper "bogus," describing the lab work as "boring." We will be unable to publish your work at this time.

              by Rrhain on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:45:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Macho homo-eroticism is a constant (0+ / 0-)

                in right-wing art.  Go back and look at the thong-clad bodies at the beginning of Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia, throwing discuses in slow motion.  (Although we should acknowledge that Leni was a chick, so she wasn't really gay...)

                There may have been some hypocriticism in aspects of 300, but, jeez, Andrew Sullivan said it was the gayest movie ever made.  Whether it was hypocritical or not.  In fact, the hypocrisy of it probably emphasized it!

        •  All of us are competent critics (4+ / 0-)

          The fundamental unfairness of art is that all of us are far better critics than we are composers. We consume art of all forms in multiple ways all day long, and, though I can't draw a straight line, I can tell a great painting from a poor one.

          There is educated criticism, of course, where people will say why a director seems "bad" or good. For example, in "Watchmen," I thought the jailbreak scene was done with so many jump and flash cuts that it was impossible to see the action sequence at all. It seemed to be giving up -- as if it were, "Standard fight here" -- and this on top of the fact that these were supposed to be real people (who amazingly never tire. . . compare "Old Boy's" escape sequence). The shot framing was dull, if not homoerotic. The fact that Mr. Manhattan was nude was fine, but there were shots where the visual center and lighting were so intensely on the penis that the director's hand was all over it. The pacing on Mars was dreary. It was supposed to be cerebral, but it seemed instead to be shot with cough syrup. These are all matters for the director.

          As for "300," I have little to say. It was oiled muscles and grotesques that I found insulting in every form. Golly, am I unable to tell a bad guy without a deformity and a simper? The sexual assault on the marble statue wife (the actress can act, but she doesn't seem to understand what she's doing there, and neither do I) is clumsy and less menacing than . . . weird. If there are women present in the scene, they're devalued but well lit.

          Ok, so maybe I should stick to Bergman movies, but you get the point. If the director has an aesthetic, it's unclear, and if he has a point of view, it either seems creepy or submerged.

          Everyone's innocent of some crime.

          by The Geogre on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:58:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Um, it's a film criticism diary, moron. (0+ / 0-)

          WTF is your problem?

          "It puts the lotion on its skin, or it gets the GOP again." - The Democratic Party

          by Rick Aucoin on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 11:05:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Breaking all the rules. Whatever it takes... (5+ / 0-)

    It's the standard police/revenge/superhero conservative wet dream fantasy on display everywhere in movies and television.

    Almost every police procedural on television has the law enforcement heroes doing battle with eeeeevil villains while tragically hand-cuffed by those pesky laws and due-process rules. Only when they...you know...bend a few of those rules do they vanquish the bad guy. It's all okay because of that cute redhead chained up in the basement.

    This just makes me crazy. It's relentlessly conditioning us to accept a police state, free of any restraints on law enforcement.

    I'm reminded of the brilliant soliloquy in 'Man for All Seasons', wherein Paul Scofield (as Thomas More) chastises a young Zealot who wants to break some laws in his eagerness to go after heretics. More points out that he may cut down the 'forest of laws' in his eagerness to get at the Devil...but when the Devil turns on him, he'll have no place to hide.

    •  Bingo, wins a cigar. (0+ / 0-)

      Echoes everything I said below.

      It's what comes from 20 years of being the lone superpower, where the rules of the game are those that only we make.  And ten years of color code terror threats with our enemies not equals but subhuman insects to be exterminated.  It fosters a pervasive cultural viewpoint that, of course, affects things like Superman.,

  •  <<spoilers> Battle of self-determination (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anonevent, METAL TREK

    Every person on Krypton is designed to fulfill a function before they are born, Kal-el is the first "natural birth" in centuries.

    Zod was created and trained for one thing only, the preservation of Krypton as it is, by any means.  He has no choice in the matter.  He agrees with Jor-el about the impending destruction of Krypton and must do what he can to stop it (albeit a bit late), by staging a coup against a council who presumably were also created to be leaders but fail miserably.

    As Kal is not locked into this genetic predestination, he has to be taught and learn the consequences of his actions - he can grow and change unlike Zod who is simply following his programming.

    I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

    by wretchedhive on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:02:48 AM PDT

  •  I have always wondered why super heros (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    couldn't be portrayed as more proactive and less reactive.

    Villains are portrayed as planning for years to establish the infrastructure and tools they they need to make their plan work. Batman comes the closest to this right down to his having established political connections.

    Indeed to the extent that they do plan ahead they seem to be considered criminals by the news media.

    Superman seems to react episodically to the crisis of the moment rather than preparing in advance.

    I wonder why dealing with things like climate change, overpopulation, pollution, and poverty wouldn't be jobs just as challenging for Captain America as fighting Nazi's

    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

    by rktect on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:03:38 AM PDT

  •  Do you think Zod didn't die in Superman II? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aaraujo

    Zod's bones in his hand were crushed, and then he was disposed of. Lois smacked the chick and the idiot tried to fly and went falling into the chasm.

    Did we see supes fly down to save them? Did we get any details on them after that?

    At best, they were frozen and in stasis, but not by superman...Maybe he's got them sitting somewhere int he fortress all frozen, but I doubt it.

    If Supes holds to the 'will not kill' completely, then he becomes an accomplice to the things that happen, because he could have made a different choice. Luthor pointed this out in one of the animated shows as well.

    Aside from that, Supes never seems to suffer from collateral damage, but all those buildings that Supes and Villains get punched through have people in them. Much of the time, we've not been exposed to those consequences.

    So to think that Supes doesn't kill is a bit naive. He sure hasn't felt too bad about the collateral death, and even when there has been remorse, he gets over it quickly.

    -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

    by Vayle on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:17:19 AM PDT

    •  Well, actually... (0+ / 0-)

      It always bugged me that the villains in Supes II vanished into a crevasse without a definitive resolution to their fate. (In comic books, unless you actually see the villain die, he's still around somewhere, licking his wounds - and sometimes even if you do see him die, he still somehow manages to return.)

      The broadcast TV version added a ton of stuff they left out of the theatrical release. (When they did the same with the first movie they included the scene inside the train where the little girl who sees Clark racing alongside is a very young Lois Lane - and her parents were played by Noel Neil (the '50s TV series Lois) and Kirk Alyn, who played Supes in the 1940's(?) movie serial!

      Anyway, back to Supes II. The TV version added on an outtake with what seemed to be Russian police arresting the 3 now-powerless villains and taking them off in arctic tractor-type vehicles. Ahh, there's nothing like closure...

      Hey righties: You lost. Suck it up.

      by Miscweant on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:12:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I actually did forget that... (0+ / 0-)

      But maybe the fact that it wasn't so dramatic is why it didn't stick out in my mind. The "physics" behind the Donner Superman movies always seemed to be changing. He could make multiple copies of himself, make people forget things with a kiss, that "S" he threw, all seemed out of place. So maybe I didn't think they died so much as sent into some hole or it was some kind of bottomless pit or something. It was more cartoon physics. We really didn't know what happened to them because things worked differently with kryptonians. The fortress seemed like a fun house with rules that functioned differently than Earth. So we don't know if they were really dead or not. Superman breaking bones doesn't bother me so much as killing. Bones heal, death doesn't.

  •  Superman did kill Zod in Superman II (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vayle, The Voice from the Cave

    people tend to forget that

  •  Superman is Jesus as envisioned by two Jewish boys (0+ / 0-)

    in Cleveland in the 1930s.

  •  Conservation = poor heroism (0+ / 0-)

    "Captain Planet" had the problem too. Omnipotent creatures have no agon, and "preserving the status quo" is rarely heroic. Very, very rarely can any narrative survive having the agent of the empire or state hunt down the plucky rebel force.

    Zod should be seen, I would argue, as a by-word for the military state, the junta, and the rule by force. Nolan's politics are worse than conservative: they're abstract. He looks at ideas, rather than real politics. Thus, if you have the question of law and order and whether humanity is bestial or not (Batman), there is a roughly affirmative answer that Batman is fighting for and an explicitly New Deal solution in his father's faith in institutions and government.

    In Superman, you have Power. Do you deal with ultimate power (let's say god-like) by hiding it, by using it every day to fix every evil, by using it to rule the lesser creatures? Should Order triumph with strength (Zod/Naziism)? Should the glorious leader (Nietzscheism)? Superman emulates an ineffable divine, in that there is some intervention, some not, no clear leading, and a value on the individual. The change would be that such a divine is only divine if it asserts the power to decree its power to not rule by executing those who would.

    Yes, Nolan's irresponsible for treating these themes as just ideas. No, I don't think it's conservative politically, but ideologically.

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:45:42 AM PDT

  •  Superman did kill in the comics (0+ / 0-)

    Its actually one of the seminal Superman story lines.

    After the John Byrne revamp that ushered in the modern Superman, Superman wound-up in another version of Earth where Zod and his minions were taking over the Earth. Superman eventually captured them all, but realizing that he had no way to be certain once he left the parallel universe that they would not escape...

    Superman executed them. (Not in the heat of battle, not a no choice situation. He executed them.)

    For about the next year the Superman books dealt with the effects of that execution on Superman, and the end result was his decision to never again take a life.

    So, Superman killing Zod in the heat of battle this close to the beginning of his career is in line with the Superman mythos - if Nolan uses the next film to follow-up on it and makes it clear there are ramifications from that decision.

    •  I wouldn't call that "seminal", (0+ / 0-)

      considering that it took place some fifty years after Superman first appears, and several years after DC destroyed and remade its universe with everything "the same, only different" - the first time. (It has done that several times since, and the results have never been an improvement.)

      "Who and what Superman is" was established a long time before that. (Fans screamed about it at the time and ever since, until DC just gave up and pretended that their constant remaking of the universe had made it "never happened".)

      Other characters have proven more malleable, even Wonder Woman, who is now In Name Only. But not Superman.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:38:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Superman may not purposefully kill (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anonevent

    but plenty of people were killed during the fights as collateral damage.  Is that better than wringing one villain's neck?  

    I think particularly of the scene where Superman is defending his mother.   Superman lunges into Zod, pushing him through several small buildings and a gas station, which explodes.  People killed because Superman loses his temper.  

    Yeah, it works as cartoon violence.  

    The bottom line is these are action movies, pandering to those who are entertained by chase scenes, explosions, and other destruction (like my husband, unfortunately).  There's a pretense that nobody's seriously hurt or killed by this mayhem unless it advances the plot.  But if a gas station explodes, chances are the staff and patrons are going to be hurt or killed.  

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:04:15 AM PDT

  •  Um, Nolan didn't direct Man of Steel (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry.

    Black Holes Suck.

    by Pi Li on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:30:30 AM PDT

  •  Ha. I remember when Nolan's second or third (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover

    Batman came out, and I rudely suggested that as good as the films may be, they are somewhat fascist in tone -- and I got HAMMERED for it.  People didn't want to hear that about a movie they enjoyed.

    A film, even a reinvention of Superman or Batman, can be both a great film and an enjoyable film and have that kind of right-wing undertone.  In fact, the whole subject of right-wing art is rightfully a touchy one on a site like this, but... good art is good art, and has to be judged as art, not as politics.  Only after that can you snipe at the artist's politics.

    From what you say about the new Superman flick, I can't say I'm surprised.  Just disappointed.  It's totally in sync with our age, though.  This is an age of young people who grew up in fear of terror and with the sense of entitlement to exercise of power that comes from being the lone superpower for twenty years.  When Americans were the ones being tortured overseas in places like Pyongyang or the Hanoi Hilton, torture was an evil thing that we were better than.  Killing people who don't draw first was evil.  Killing people preemptively was evil.  That was our cultural contract, whether it worked out that way in practice.

    Now, Jack Bauer and 24 better represent America's cultural contract.  The ticking time bomb scenario is the basis for all heroic decisions.  "It's a tough decision to make, but somebody has to do it."  Nolan captured that and regurgitated that in the Batman series and took it even a step further, and as repulsive as that is to you and me, it's unfortunately where too many people are.

    I remember when Sheriff Matt Dillon never drew first and tried to warn them not to do it.  I remember when the Lone Ranger used to tell outlaws that if they surrendered now, "I can't promise you you'll go free, but I can promise you a fair trial."  As if a fair trial would ever do them any good... but it was the thing to offer.  It said, our heroes have RULES, and we're the GOOD GUYS, and we don't CHEAT.  Doing any of that was a sure sign that a character was one the bad guys.

    I chuckle a bit when we hear about how progressive young people are today and how when they get older and dominate the demographics, it's going to be all cheese for us.  However, it's the 24 generation.  The Superman snaps necks generation.  The very idea that Superman would agonize over some way to stop Zod without killing him probably seems stupid and immature to them.  They're the ones that are going to inherit the Democratic Party.

    I hope something changes, but that's where I see things going.  And this Superman flick just seems to be an emanation of that.

  •  'THE one rule of Superman. HE DOES NOT KILL.' (0+ / 0-)

    Tell that to the long list of characters that he has killed in the comics and, arguably, in the second and fourth movies.

    Of course, since you didn't even pay enough attention to the director of the movie, I'm not surprised that you wouldn't know that.

    Whose interest does ignorance serve? - Carl Sagan

    by spgilbert on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:42:42 AM PDT

    •  Golden Age superheroes (not limited to Superman) (0+ / 0-)

      never killed intentionally, but also did not prevent a villain's getting his karmic comeuppance.

      The Comics Code and the resultant silliness of the Silver Age so completely overwrote this mind-set that people were SHOCKED when Steve Ditko reintroduced it in his work for Charlton.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:58:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Correct. And I'm not sure what that has to do (0+ / 0-)

        with the diarist saying that Superman never kills, when he actually does.

        Whose interest does ignorance serve? - Carl Sagan

        by spgilbert on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:12:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  actually....mostly correct. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          niemann

          I forgot about Batman carrying around a gun.

          Whose interest does ignorance serve? - Carl Sagan

          by spgilbert on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:21:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  and actually....after more thought.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            niemann

            Golden Age characters used to kill on purpose all the time. Look up The Spectre, for instance.

            Whose interest does ignorance serve? - Carl Sagan

            by spgilbert on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:29:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Spectre was a special case (0+ / 0-)

              He was basically a horror character even though his adventures appeared in "More Fun" comics.

              He didn't start coming close to the "superhero" pattern until he started hanging out with the JSA, and he eventually quit the group - possibly because they were cramping his style.

              If it's
              Not your body,
              Then it's
              Not your choice
              And it's
              None of your damn business!

              by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:59:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It's an important difference (0+ / 0-)

          For instance, it's the difference between pushing someone off a cliff and just not stopping him from falling (or someone else from doing the pushing).

          Golden Age superheroes (specifically) would not go to any great lengths to keep the villains from getting what was coming to them. (For innocent bystanders, or even fools who had gotten suckered into Big Trouble, they would do everything they possibly could, and then some, to rescue them.)

          Post-Comics Code and Silver Age superheroes, on the other hand, were expected to make that kind of effort even for villains. (For one thing, it made it much easier to bring back a popular villain!)

          War, crime, and horror comics, it should be noted, always played by different rules. (The Blackhawks, for instance, were not superheroes - they were war-comics characters and were expected to kill enemies.)

          That's what made Ditko's Blue Beetle so different - when he punched some crooks into a sewer, he just stood by and let them get swept away. (Ditko's intention was for him to let them drown, but Charlton stuck on a note that said they were fished out by the cops and sent to jail.)

          This would not have been unusual in the Golden Age - but in the late Silver Age, hoo boy!

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:26:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm still not sure about the point that you're (0+ / 0-)

            trying to make. You said before that Golden Age characters didn't kill intentionally, except that they did (a 2 second Google search can find instances of both Batman and Hawkman killing people on purpose. I stopped looking after that.) The diarist said that Superman never kills, except that he has, on purpose and accidentally.

            So, yeah...I'm not sure what you're trying to tell me.

            Whose interest does ignorance serve? - Carl Sagan

            by spgilbert on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 03:38:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ever hear of "Early Installment Weirdness"? (0+ / 0-)

              Sometimes things change once they reach a stabilized form. Batman got rid of his gun and acquired his no-kill principles about a year into publication. Hawkman killing Hastor at the end of his origin story was "tit for tat" - Hastor had murdered him (and, worse, Shiera) in their original lifetimes, and was getting ready to do it again. (It Makes Sense in Context.)

              Hawkman did, however, remain closer to the edge than most superheroes. Then again, he was a Badass Normal whose main advantages were "nth metal" wings and familiarity with a great variety of pre-gunpowder weapons.

              The whole "with great power comes great responsibility" thing is why Superman should never, ever deliberately kill - because if he did, he could all too easily become an Unstoppable Super-Villain. But I guess that's too sophisticated for the "Things Blow Up Real Good" crowd. :-P

              If it's
              Not your body,
              Then it's
              Not your choice
              And it's
              None of your damn business!

              by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 10:06:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Did he write it? (0+ / 0-)

      He wrote DK Rises, and, from what I understand, at least guided the direction of this one. The tone is similar to the Batman movies. So he at least had some influence on it. Some have said that he opposed the killing and if that's true then it's fair to say I am wrong. But the impression I came away from the movie with is that this was a conservative view of fighting crime in line with that portrayed in the Batman movies.

  •  Except (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anonevent

    Superman indeed does kill in the comics and the movies, unless you consider what he did to Doomsday a love tap. Oh, and throwing General Zod over a cliff in Superman 2. Oh, and killing General Zod in the comics. Oh, and all the normal people that surely would have died of blunt trauma in the Golden Age of comics when Superman was throwing around villains like paper.

    So yeah. Diary fail.

    http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/ Jesus Loves You.

    by DAISHI on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:50:27 AM PDT

  •  was dissapointed at 1st time jump/ scene jump (0+ / 0-)

    the flow from the ending of krypton.....supe's baby ship heading towards earth switching straight to a fishing boat made me stop watching

    ^ that was just bad story telling/ flow

    Let alone the "destruction" of krypton was due to tapping the core of their world for energy when it should have been the dieing of their sun ( a red super giant at the tale end of its life cycle)

    Anyway; the diary isn't really about people's disappointment with the story......

    •  No, that was great (0+ / 0-)

      I loved that they told the story in a non-linear manner, jumping around instead of plodding along chronologically - got us to some very cool incognito Clark-saves-the-day stuff right away, and saved the childhood angst for later.

      Hey righties: You lost. Suck it up.

      by Miscweant on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:17:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are several "canonical" ends of Krypton (0+ / 0-)

      The original one was "the planet blew up", no reason given.

      Krypton's sun wasn't always a red giant - it raises too many questions when it is. A normal red dwarf only has the problem of locating the "Goldilocks Zone".

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:37:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Several Points (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover

    1: As others have pointed out. Nolan didn't direct Man of Steel, so complain instead about Zack Snyder's directorial tics, of which there are many.

    2: Discussing art is not as simple as declaring it to be "left" or "right", there is rightly room for discussion. Here's Alyssa Rosenberg's take on Man of Steel, and she's an overt feminist critic. Here. And here.

    3: Dark Knight Rises also isn't nearly as cut and dry for Nolan's supposed Objectivism. Here's Amanda Marcotte on the film, another overtly feminist writer. So no, not everyone that disagrees with your analysis is some fanboy with Cheeto dust on his fingers banging away on a keyboard in mom's basement.

    •  Useful comment with great links. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Doctor Locrian

      Thank you.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:21:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Did I say they were? (0+ / 0-)

      "So no, not everyone that disagrees with your analysis is some fanboy with Cheeto dust on his fingers banging away on a keyboard in mom's basement."

      I don't recall making that observation. No, discussing art is not a simple matter. And maybe Nolan doesn't have such political leanings. But that is the impression I got from the movies. Keep in mind, I wrote the diary just after seeing the movie. I was still a little angry. Maybe I jumped the gun but the dramatic death scene bothered me. I doubt I'm the only one.

      I'm not a huge Snyder fan either. I actually hated Watchmen. But as far as I know, he didn't write the last Batman movie either. Nolan did. That was my observation of his work. It just occurred to me that having Superman kill is a very conservative thing to do.

  •  Well Yeah... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I don't disagree with your point, that the filmmaker broke a big rule of Superman.  But I don't think you can go so far as to say that conservatives can't do superheroes.  There have been a number of (admittedly, bizarro-world variation) scenarios where the big DC heroes have killed.  Heck, even in the Cartoon Network Justice League Unlimited, there were two episodes featuring an alternate world where Superman had killed Luthor (and the moral was that the heroes were compromised by their resulting unquestioned power...and of course, our guys wound up winning).  But my point is you can break some of the big rules, like no killing, so long as you adhere to the other rules (blue suit, S on his chest, red cape, he flies, heat vision, super strong, can't tolerate kryptonie, and the rest).  And so long as you frame it correctly.  So the guy's trying to warp Superman a bit, and make him darker.  Is that a creative failure or an attempt to recognize that even our favorite heroes have limitations?  (I think it's more that heroes like Superman and Green Lantern don't fit well into the modern anti-hero concept.)

    You mentioned Watchmen.  Compare the book to the movie.  In the book, Veidt is compromised by all sorts of parallel stories and images, notably by the man who tries to save his village, but unknowingly attacks it, and ultimately joins the Black Freighter.  There are plenty of parallel lines of commentary on what Veidt is doing, even while his plan to save the planet from war succeeds.  And at the end of the book, we're left with a mostly hopeful view of the future: global war seems to have been avoided; Dan and Laurie are a couple; and Laurie has reconciled both with her mother and with the memory of her father (to the point that she's willing to wear a version of his costume).  It's a hopeful conclusion.  But the movie finishes with Veidt collapsed in his darkened palace, Dan's words of "Your new world is pathetic!" echoing in his ears, with Mozart's Lacrimosa playing in the background.  It's a complete 180 from the book, a thorough rejection of Moore's premise.  

    Now, granted, the book Watchmen doesn't have anything like the stature of Superman.  But rulebreaking and perverting previous ideas is what artists do.  Because you disagree with the guy's apparent politics is beside the point.  Go way back.  Vergil's treatment of uber-Roman Aeneas wasn't always so gentle.  He probably crossed a few cultural lines in making the progenitor of Rome such a bloodthirsty killer in the second half of his poem.  But it's still a really good poem.

    (And I am NOT suggesting Man of Steel is as good as the Aeneid.  Not even in bizarro world.)

  •  (Possible Spoilers) I enjoyed it (0+ / 0-)

    I still think it was a BIT dark for Superman, but I think the ending suggests the sequels will be more in line with canon.

    I also felt a bit uncomfortable with him killing Zod, but as others here correctly reminded me, he DID kill him in II and in this flick, he begged Zod to stop but Zod refused (probably due to his programming). Superman did what he did in the heat of the moment and cried out in anguish afterwards.

    FWIW, as far as Superman goes, I still prefer I, II, and Returns (yes, I LIKE that film and thought Routh did a good job), but I think the new film is good and I think the sequels might be even better (particularly if they focus on villains we haven't seen on film before like Doomsday, Darkseid, Brainiac, etc).

    OVERALL, however, I will ALWAYS prefer Marvel (even though I would really like to see a Justice League flick).

    A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

    by METAL TREK on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:55:27 AM PDT

  •  One Other Little Thing. (0+ / 0-)

    Ever seen Trigun?  It's the Americanized version of an anime series about a superfast gunslinger named Vash the Stampede.  Vash has killed before, and has vowed to never kill again.  But in the end, Vash is driven to the same conundrum that Superman is in Man of Steel: he has to kill an enemy (two enemies, actually) in order to save people, and he does.

    It's not a rejection of liberal sensibilities.  (Vash's motto is "Love and peace!")  It's a moral tale about how being the nice guy isn't necessarily effective.

    Again, Vash doesn't have quite the stature of Superman--he's even sillier, if you can believe that--but it's out there.

  •  Ummm ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    niemann

    In the early comics, Superman did kill a bad guy or two.

    Which side are you on?

    by ThirstyGator on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 10:12:27 AM PDT

  •  since when.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    niemann

    do people ascribe the political beliefs of the writer thru the villains actions?????

    it seems like you are in essence saying, because Bane did these bad things and takes a so-called conservative whatever approach, then the director is endorsing that idea???  that would logically be ass-backwards, wouldn't the actions of the hero be what one would think are the idea's endorsed

    batman... he doesn't kill directly and never uses a gun (he wont even touch them, he saw his parents killed wth one and abhors them).

    liberals have been better at crime fighting and war generally (at least compared to conservatives), because we know the cost of war and what it takes (ww1, ww2, bin laden), but make mistakes also (vietnam)...
    i didnt like what superman did, but the way it was presented fell under the justified killing reasoning.

    •  I'm not using Bane's motivations as an example... (0+ / 0-)

      I'm using the citizens response as one. Rich people are brought before some fake tribunal and sent to die for no other reason than the fact that they are rich. Bane is a criminal, and ultimately, the people could have rejected his proposal. Especially considering the fact that an atomic bomb was involved. They didn't. Instead they acted the same way many conservative commentators would portray them as: hunting down rich people and stringing them up just for being rich. Society collapses without law and order. The federal government is essentially portrayed as helpless to fix the problem.

  •  Thank you. I would have been very angry (0+ / 0-)

    if I plunked down my money to see superman kill

    batman wasn't supposed to kill either and usually they got around that by having what ever the bad guy set in motion ultimately kill him . . . but for superman to kill ... nope, nada

    not going to see it ... thank you for saving my money.

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:19:25 PM PDT

  •  Yes and no (0+ / 0-)

    First, this Superman outing was co-authored by Nolan, but he didn't direct the film and directors always have input. Over on one of the fan blogs there's a discussion of how this ending came to be, and the implication was that Nolan didn't write it, but that others came up with the idea and director Snyder saw its advantages. I accept your concerns about where a Nolan-infuenced Superman series might go, but maybe we're making too much of it.

    As a kid, I was always thrilled with Superman's strong moral code, especially his vow never to kill. However, that was in the comics of the '60s. From the Superman Wiki: "Although not as cold-blooded as the early Batman, the Superman featured in the comics of the 1930s is unconcerned about the harm his strength may cause, tossing villainous characters in such a manner that fatalities would presumably occur, although these were seldom shown explicitly on the page. This came to an end when Superman vowed never to take a life."

    So the vow against taking a life came later in the original's career. Maybe that was Kal-L of Earth 2 or something, and this is Kal-El of a completely different realm, but, hey, HE COULD NOW TAKE THAT VOW.

    But even that moral code was not absolute. When a nasty alien spore came to Earth and threatened to overwhelm the ecosystem, Superman (actually then Superboy, as depicted in ) discovered that white kryptonite could destroy the spores. Supergirl, tutored by her cousin, nevertheless used white K to destroy a plant-based alien parasite that took over Perrry White.

    In any event, the rebooted Superman really didn't have a chance to take that vow against killing before he was faced with a very big choice. You don't, after all, have to love guns or the military or war or killing of any kind to see that on rare occasions, defending the weak may force you to make unpleasant decisions. To pretend otherwise is, well, the stuff of comic books. I look forward (only hopefully, of course) to another Superman film where his action against Zod continues to have personal repercussions.

    By the way, while it was a dramatic and unexpected moment (precisely because it breaks canon; which is how Hollywood works, these days), my bigger complaint with the way things ended is that Zod didn't get sent back to the Phantom Zone, which is too bad. Michael Shannon made a terrific villain, one more nuanced than earlier versions and yet still over the top, which us comic freaks appreciate.

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