Whether we like it or not, Hollywood is cashing in on our obsession with the men in tights (sadly no, I'm not talking about Mel Brooks and Cary Elwes). Both Marvel and DC are planning a full-scale bombardment of super for us in the years ahead. Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice isn't out in theaters until next spring we've already seen a teaser trailer and some rad promo posters. This means we will all be encountering that inevitable, weighty question and we each have to pick a side.
I like Batman. Truly, he's a self-made hero, unapologetic, and he looks great in black. He is in a way the (albeit a very gothic translation) of the American dream. So where does that leave Superman, the original American crime fighter? When debating this topic with my co-workers, the number one complaint they offered was rather simple: He has too much power. To many that automatically makes Clark Kent either a boring hero, potential tyrant, or poser who fight's with Kryptonian daddy's powers.
But, we're forgetting something. Superman is not Clark Kent, Clark Kent is Superman. Yes, Kal El was born on Krypton and inherited his race's abilities and he usually puts his identity as a caped crusader before his personal life. But he was raised by humans. If you've watched the hit series Smallville that ran on the CW for ten seasons, you know how much the show explored the humanity and morals of heroism and the struggle within Clark to accept his Kryptonian identity. This was an aspect of the Superman saga that had been for the most part neglected by previous adaptations, and it was a genius move by the show runners. Exploring the humanity of heroes and their ethics makes for not only for riveting character development, but it offers an insight to our current culture and it's morality. Superman has the most potent power and yet was raised by middle class farmers in a small town, and that doesn't make for an good story? To be honest, I'm tired of the snarky approach in Superhero movies and television. I'm entertained by the likes of Tony Stark and the Flash, but often the one-liners and jam-packed action overwhelms the personal journey of the character and their balancing act between being an altruist and a normal person. Shouldn't that be why we pay to see these films instead of bloated effects and shirtless men/leather-clad women?
So maybe Man of Steel lacked comedic pull, but I appreciated the focus on the effect of Jonathan Kent and Jor El on their biological/adopted son. And Superman does have an extremely dangerous amount of power, yet he made Batman promise to take him out if he ever went dangerously out of line. For all the talk about how overrated Superman is, most undervalue his integrity as forged by his parents. I look forward to seeing how a humble character like Clark Kent reacts to the implications of his powers in the scope of being a global figure of heroism. Or maybe we'll all be exhausted with this Superhero stuff by then...probably not.