Monday, June 17, 2013

He Looks Good for a 75 Year Old Alien

   Man of Steel opened this weekend. It’s the story about an alien named “Kal-El” from a planet called “Krypton.” I recap mostly as a joke, I think knowing about Superman and his origin is probably knowledge we’re all born with, along with the Giligan’s Isand theme song and the fact that there will never be a TV cop as great as Erik Estrada.

    However, I was having a conversation with one of my professors/academic advisor/all around cool guy and he asked an interesting question. “Not counting comic books, what version of Superman is this that you’ve seen?” So, we counted, when we were probably supposed to be discussing something more important. Here’s what we came up with:

-1950’s George Reeves black and white show.
-Smallville, the dreamy Superboy but not really Superboy because of litigation at the time version.
-the Christopher Reeves/Richard Donner version.
-The old Max Fleischer cartoons
-The animated show that came out a few years ago
-Reluctantly we counted the Brandon Routh Superman Returns.
-The various DC Comic animated movies
-And a few more we’re sure we’re forgetting about.

    That doesn’t begin to count the billions of different Superman interpretations in comic books, including Earth 1 which features Superman at his emo-est, Secret Identity which is a young kid realizing he’s Superman, or even the electro-powered version of Superman that someone thought was a good idea clearly after a night of bad clams. There have been a million attempts to re-define the Man of Steel, the Last Son of Krypton.

    So... why?

    It’s safe to say that long after people beam old versions of this blog into their brains to find out what life was like back before cloning made it possible for everyone to make out with their own version of Scarlett Johanssen (it was a dark time, people of the future) there will continue to be new versions of Superman. Why do we try to understand him? Why do we keep thinking of new ways to interpret and dissect the Man of Steel?

    Superman is an icon. If you took the “S” (or “Hope”) symbol anywhere in the WORLD people would know exactly what it means. Superman stands for something greater than us. He stands for ideals we’d hope we could achieve. Think about it Superman isn’t just more powerful than other humans, he’s more powerful than the Superhumans in the comics. What does he choose to do with all that power? Save people. Help people. Not take over the world. (Although there’s that version out there, too...)
    There will always be a Superman. As reviewers and hipsters try to pretend that Superman has lost his relevance (I’m looking at you, Slate and your moronic story about a hero that actually likes being a superhero not being cool anymore) he’s more relevant than ever. Maybe because we need that hope. Maybe because we want to believe that things aren’t as bad as we think they are. Maybe because it’s just really cool to see a guy flying around.

    So, what did I think of the movie itself? Like I’ve said before, I write these a week in advance, and I’ve not yet seen the movie. I’ll be doing a special movie review tomorrow. See you then!
So, a little movie called

No comments:

Post a Comment