In 2013's Man of Steel, moviegoers were treated with an action packed theatrical performance filled with explosions, alien soldiers, and black holes pitted against the last son of Krypton.
But after watching this movie only once, I was left with a question that puzzles many fans of DC comics' most iconic superhero. This delivered a rare, yet intriguing answer for the newly rebooted Superman series.
Why does no one recognize Clark Kent is Superman?
The simple answer for the Man of Steel movie is, they do. Everyone has joked about it; how can glasses and a new hair-do fully hide a man like this? I had presumed, in a collective of many, that it was simply what the the story needed. And at the time it did. But things change. The approach to Man of Steel was to make Clark a more realistic Superman. Bullets can hurt him, oil rigs can break him, and people can recognize him.
After every incident Clark had involving his powers, he ran. It would be unfathomable trouble to explain to a stranger your identity as Kal-El, knowing almost nothing of yourself. There were no public heroes. He was on his own.
Superman is, after all, an alien life form. He is simply the acceptable face of invading realities. -Clive Barker
Moving from town to town would without a doubt cause someone to notice, like Lois Lane. Every person she spoke to on the issue of Clark's powers recognized him. Everywhere. Clark's ruffian friend instantly recognized him in the Superman suit, Lois referred to Superman as Clark in front of a police officer (who would be required to identify him) and everyone in Metropolis watched the fight with Zod. So why does no one do anything?
They are terrified. In debt. And powerless.
Imagine everyone you know trying to fight Superman. It would be a slaughter. What if law enforcement and government agencies declared Superman was a criminal? That it was illegal to be him. He would instantly become, at least, partially apathetic to human life; at the most, insta-death. Everyone is choosing to go about their daily lives and just let him be the guy in the cape that can save the day, or end it. After the decimation of an entire city it was agreed that Clark was an unstoppable force of nature that also happened to be a nice person. Confrontation would lead to disaster.
The necessity that is the Dark Knight
Bruce is the guy with billions of dollars and the gumption to throw on a pair of tights and jump off a building in December. A man who fights crazy with crazy, because deep down, he is crazier. A man who will fight an alien from another planet because he is alien to the world he lives in. And deep down, he is the alien. If everyone knows who Clark is, then Bruce knows, too. Batman uses fear as a weapon, not a crutch. Anything that could cause Bruce to fear Superman, which is everything, will be turned against Clark, the unstoppable tank. Batman is the only one ready to fight Superman and keep him in check, or die trying. And even without billions dollars, it should not be hard for Bruce Wayne to hunt down Clark Kent.