1. Sparksofember says:

    I really need to watch Man of Steel. I’ve been meaning to but this series is motivating me. Oh, and I adored Superman Returns  so I’ll be looking forward to part 4!

  2. dmdutcher says:

    You have to keep the culture in mind when evaluating the past films, though. The original superman film is similar to a silver age comic book, with all the pluses and minuses of that era. Expecting realism out of that is asking too much, because that’s something that didn’t really begin to matter until the dark age. Superman IV is probably just as bad as the bad bronze-era “message” stories of the time. 2 and 3 are in between, and yeah they are pretty bad. Though as a kid, 3 actually scared me because the scene where the computer converts the woman and then tries to convert superman were nightmarish and oddly prescient. Almost Lovecraftian.

    I think people tend to look at those films as purer mostly as a reaction against the dark and modern ages of comics. Sort of a backlash against moral complexity, and a wish for pure escapism.


    • That backlash makes some sense. At the same time, I’m already inclined to backlash vs. the backlash simply because of opposition to any impulse that says, “It’s just entertainment, it’s not meant to be real or be so serious, why can’t it just be fun?” To me that can possibly smack of a flippant and even less-than-biblical approach to stories and songs that, while being fantastical, are better when they reflect reality.

      • dmdutcher says:

        You’re thinking a different type of realism. The backlash is more against things like the Authority or Shadowwatch than anything.

        A good example of the tension between the two ideals is the animated movie Superman Vs. the Elite, which has him go against a thinly disguised Authority. i.e. amoral heroes who get things done by any means. Or Batman: Under the Red Hood, which is a different kind of pure versus realistic clash.

      • Ah, then we’re actually talking about two kinds of backlash. You’re speaking of “professional” fans reacting to comic-book extremes, apparently. My angle is more about casual fans who believe “Superman is supposed to be X,” but are actually thinking of a caricature of Superman/Christopher Reeve based almost exclusively on popular-culture memes and their memories of some of the classic Superman films. Above, my example is about fans who also believe that “of course” Captain Kirk was always saying “Beam me up, Scotty,” and “of course” the literary Sherlock Holmes was always saying he knew things because “elementary.”

  3. Adam Graham says:

    I’ve followed Superman in an enough incarnations to know that there are plenty of versions of Superman. I think the film captured a Superman who tried to do the right thing and save everybody. It was a decent film, but I do wish there had been some lighter films. I fear this next film is going to be darker. You pointed out that Superman killed Zod in Superman II. But not Superman: The Movie. That’s a key difference.  We’re going to be far darker in the next movie and the first one was dark enough.

    Also, I bringing up Superman III and Superman IV is a bit of a strawman. No one’s nostalgic for those movies. (Except for me and Superman IV since that’s the first film I remember seeing in theaters.) Still, I know it’s not good.

What do you think?