Superman is about to return to our screens in Man Of Steel. I'm hoping it's going to be a great movie but how will it deal with the crucial matter of the super hero's strengths and weaknesses?

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  • Comment number 56. Posted by Nick

    on 17 Jun 2013 22:34

    Anniemouse I loved Smallville and until the recent Crisis reboot I thought Clark's greatest assets were the women in his life: Martha Kent, Lara his biological mother, Lana Lang and Lois Lane.

    As much as I love Marvel, only Storm rises above the male dominated fantasy. Even as cool a character as the Black Widow has to wear skintight leather/spandex/latex and have long flowing hair. Whereas Lois Lane is *the* female comic character.

    I don't mind a powerful character, as if you get under Clark's skin, you get to understand his dilemmas, the choices he has to make, who he can't save and how he decides who to save.

    That must be a heartbreaking power and hasn't really been dwelled upon. Superman is a good character handled rather poorly by too many. Even Batman has had his fair share of poor stories.

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  • Comment number 55. Posted by MikeLee

    on 13 Jun 2013 19:54

    What can make the drama in Superman is not whether he is vulnerable physically - but whether he can hold the idealogical high ground and maintain the moral compass of the "boy scout" in the face of adversity.

    The reason Batman and Superman can have the best relationship in the DC world is because they are opposites - Batman can be physically hurt but can tread a dark moral path - Superman can rarely be physically hurt but can be affected by choices he makes or choices we make.

    Superman is the idea we can strive towards - how dark the reflection of the human condition is in the film will depend on where the drama comes from.

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  • Comment number 54. Posted by Adam from Brighton

    on 5 Jun 2013 13:40

    I think the problem is in audience perception, or studios unwillingness to test it.

    Most of the characters that are a threat to Superman, physically, are fantastical in nature. They look like aliens.

    Sure, superman *is* an alien, but he looks human, so we accept him as a character. But Doomsday, Metallo, and all the various space monsters who Superman struggle against just look weird.

    Going back through live action superman to Richard Donner's classic, non-humanoid villains don't make an appearance until year 7 or 8 of Smallville, and even then, it was a humanoid who turned into a monster, briefly, and rarely shown in full.

    If the studios wanted to take a chance and embrace the fantasy side of Superman as a comic book hero, there would be a wealth of characters who could be a serious threat to him.

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  • Comment number 53. Posted by dimski

    on 5 Jun 2013 08:45

    after Superman Returns(2006) the bigest problem for me isn't the limitations of power although that is an interesting point.

    the biggest factor is the duality of Clark Kent/Superman. Christopher Reeve is the only actor who brought credibility to the 2. His Clark Kent is goofy in the extreme and his Superman is macho and heroic in the extreme. It makes the fact that all that separates the 2 characters is a pair of glasses more credible. Reeve played the parts so well as did his supporting cast Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor, Margot Kidder's Lois Lane amongst others. I will watch Man Of Steel and hope it to be great but it will have to go some to get close to the first 2 Superman movies. I can only hope its better than Bryan Singer's effort

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  • Comment number 52. Posted by rosstmiller

    on 4 Jun 2013 14:02

    I think the question around whether or not Snyder will bring Superman down to earth, so to speak, highlights an inherent problem that at least I (and I'm sure many others) have had ever since I've known about him: the fact that he has all these extraordinary powers makes him uninteresting. I'll say it - he is an unfair character. Now yes, some may argue that a superhero hero should, indeed, be SUPER but if he is basically indestructible save for the repeated introduction of Kryptonite into the equation, then where's the drama? There's no danger than he won't succeed. I much prefer a character like Batman, someone who is flawed, relatable and without superpowers, a man who used something terrible that happened to him to become this mythical hero that everyone can look up to and depend on. I'm not saying there haven't been good Superman movies in the past, nor am I saying that Snyder's film won't be any good, but for me there's an inherent problem with the character that's very hard to get around.

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  • Comment number 51. Posted by The real Son of Clough

    on 4 Jun 2013 11:48

    I'm a massive Superman movie fan. I loved Christopher Reeve, I loved Brandon Routh. They were both a bit wooden, but they are playing someone from another galaxy, so it works for me.

    I don't like all the sniffy comparisons to Batman. I've always felt Batman is overrated. All this rubbish about being a troubled anti-hero - he's a do-gooder in black. I find myself incredulous in a Batman movie at his ability to survive falls, lethal beatings etc that aren't plausible for a human being. At least with Superman we know he is invulnerable, our disbelief is already suspended, so, have a slo-mo of a bullet crumpling up on his eyeball and why not have him lift an entire continent by it's roots and chuck it into outer-space.

    Superman may not have any physical weaknesses but his weakness is his faith and love for humankind (Americans). Get to them and you get to Superman. I think that this is a very compelling reason to stick with Superman. The only contravention of this was the ridiculous turning back time thing in the first Superman movie which seems like a re-write of an original ending played out on screen at the behest of studio big-wig. It would have been better to show him reversing the spin of the earth and show that Lois' car hadn't come out of the hole in the ground - a valuable lesson for the kind-hearted, naive lughead

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  • Comment number 50. Posted by Karen

    on 3 Jun 2013 21:33

    I think the key to Superman (nowadays) is not what HIS limit is but what OUR limit as humans are. Superman holds up a mirror to humanity and asks "what are we capable of?"

    Once we reach our limit Superman will then step in to help. He is there to defeat what we cannot (General Zod and the battle of god like beings) with some help from us mere mortals - we join him in the sun :)

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  • Comment number 49. Posted by thatsnotWinston

    on 3 Jun 2013 18:19

    I believe that Nolan is smart enough to realise the fact that Superman's real weakness (as was Bruce Wayne's in The Dark Knight) is his faith in people.

    In The Dark Knight, the film begins with a city full of people that are happy to let Batman clean up the streets until the Joker threatens them with violence if Batman does not reveal his identity to the world. Immediately both the police and public turn on Batman without consideration.

    The most recent trailer for Man of Steel shows a similar theme as General Zod demands that Superman be identified and given to him or the people will suffer the consequences.

    I believe that the public will turn on Superman as a result. The weakness of our illustrious hero is that he wants to be a symbol of hope for humanity, but, in Nolan's superhero world, humanity is apathetic at best, and will ultimately crumble in the face of danger rather than stand by a hero. They will see Superman as a burden rather than the saviour he strives to be.

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  • Comment number 48. Posted by Jackovasaurus

    on 3 Jun 2013 14:27

    To me, if anyone can make Superman both believable and vulnerable, it's Zack Snyder.
    ==============================================================
    Hilarious.

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  • Comment number 47. Posted by eeevol

    on 3 Jun 2013 10:21

    Great comments everyone, really good arguments for what does and doesn't make the Superman character appealing. For my tuppence worth I think we were robbed of a genre defining moment when the Nicholas Cage Superman project was shelved, even if the guy has had a few duffers out recently there was a fantastic perspective that could have been made there. Also, why does Superman have to look like he just stepped out of the Littlewoods catalogue? Take away the pretty-boy element and you can deal with the character in a more raw and honest way.
    Also agree with Snyder (ZACKSNYDER! ZACKSNYDER! etc) and his need for someone to rein in his obvious visual talent to make sure his characters and story contain a bit more depth and achieve a bit more balance. Watchmen got close but was still emotionally unengaging (though the source material had a similar tone admittedly) and Suckerpunch was just an extended anime/promo video (though I do wonder if it was intentionally that vacuous to appeal to some core demographic? The 12 year old me would have enjoyed it thoroughly, the 35 year old me appreciated it was visually very effective)... this collaboration makes me hope for Tobe Hooper/Spielberg type success...

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