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Author Topic: What are your issues with the DCEU Superman?  (Read 5392 times)

Offline GoNerdYourself

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Re: What are your issues with the DCEU Superman?
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 15:20 »
I think Superman has had the disservice of having films directed/produced by people who either want to try people who want to turn the character into a farce (Richard Lester, the Salkinds, Cannon Group), try too hard to emulate Richard Donner (Bryan Singer), or force the religious symbolism down your throat (Zack Snyder). Donner had such a reverent, humble way of approaching the character, which was perfect. Their Superman felt like a human being  and that's often something that is lost in translation. Yeah, he's an alien, but he's also alien that was raised to be human.


Offline The Laughing Fish

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Re: What are your issues with the DCEU Superman?
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 21 Apr 2017, 10:27 »
I think Superman has had the disservice of having films directed/produced by people who either want to try people who want to turn the character into a farce (Richard Lester, the Salkinds, Cannon Group), try too hard to emulate Richard Donner (Bryan Singer), or force the religious symbolism down your throat (Zack Snyder). Donner had such a reverent, humble way of approaching the character, which was perfect. Their Superman felt like a human being  and that's often something that is lost in translation. Yeah, he's an alien, but he's also alien that was raised to be human.

Singer was just as guilty when it came to religious symbolism; if anything, Snyder went even further with it. I say this as an observation, by the way, not a critique.

In terms of Donner's take on Superman feeling like a human being...I'm not sure about that. I only got that feeling when we see young Clark growing up in Smallville, witnessing Pa Kent dying and saying goodbye to Ma Kent while leaving home to discover whatever destiny has in store for him. Otherwise, I don't think Reeve's Superman felt more of a human being than Cavill's.

Mind you, I know that sounds like I'm trying to favour one over the other, but I'm not. I like both versions as they are, but both have strengths and weaknesses, in my opinion.


Quote
Jonathan Nolan: He [Batman] has this one rule, as the Joker says in The Dark Knight. But he does wind up breaking it. Does he break it in the third film?

Christopher Nolan: He breaks it in...

Jonathan Nolan: ...the first two.

Source: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=uwV8rddtKRgC&pg=PR8&dq=But+he+does+wind+up+breaking+it.&hl=en&sa=X&ei

Offline thecolorsblend

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Re: What are your issues with the DCEU Superman?
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 21 Apr 2017, 18:03 »
I think Superman has had the disservice of having films directed/produced by people who either want to try people who want to turn the character into a farce (Richard Lester, the Salkinds, Cannon Group), try too hard to emulate Richard Donner (Bryan Singer), or force the religious symbolism down your throat (Zack Snyder). Donner had such a reverent, humble way of approaching the character, which was perfect. Their Superman felt like a human being  and that's often something that is lost in translation. Yeah, he's an alien, but he's also alien that was raised to be human.
The literary concept of a christfigure predates Superman. And realistically, he's a good candidate for that type of metaphor.

Superman II and, to a greater extent, Superman III are very Bronze Age Superman types of stories. I'm at a tremendous loss to think of anything from Superman III, in particular, that couldn't be found in hundreds of Bronze Age Superman comics. The comedic guest star driving the subplots, Superman visiting Smallville, romantic tension with Lana, a showdown with a giant robot (of sorts), it's all there. It's a little sad to me that Superman III may go down in history as one of the least comic book-faithful movies in history when, in fact, it's probably one of the most faithful.

Overall, the only Superman movies I truly loathe are Superman II and Superman Returns. The latter in particular is to me what The Phantom Menace is to a lot of Star Wars fans.

Offline The Laughing Fish

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Re: What are your issues with the DCEU Superman?
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 21 Apr 2017, 23:40 »
Superman II and, to a greater extent, Superman III are very Bronze Age Superman types of stories. I'm at a tremendous loss to think of anything from Superman III, in particular, that couldn't be found in hundreds of Bronze Age Superman comics. The comedic guest star driving the subplots, Superman visiting Smallville, romantic tension with Lana, a showdown with a giant robot (of sorts), it's all there. It's a little sad to me that Superman III may go down in history as one of the least comic book-faithful movies in history when, in fact, it's probably one of the most faithful.

Overall, the only Superman movies I truly loathe are Superman II and Superman Returns. The latter in particular is to me what The Phantom Menace is to a lot of Star Wars fans.

I think we should all remember that there were religious analogies in Donner's take as well.

I don't consider myself a huge fan of SII either nowadays, but I gotta admit colors, I'm a little surprised that it has fallen that FAR in your estimation. It's definitely the most overrated out of the Reeve films, but do you think the overlooked flaws - some of which people have condemned Snyder's take for having - have taken its toll?


Quote
Jonathan Nolan: He [Batman] has this one rule, as the Joker says in The Dark Knight. But he does wind up breaking it. Does he break it in the third film?

Christopher Nolan: He breaks it in...

Jonathan Nolan: ...the first two.

Source: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=uwV8rddtKRgC&pg=PR8&dq=But+he+does+wind+up+breaking+it.&hl=en&sa=X&ei

Online The Dark Knight

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Re: What are your issues with the DCEU Superman?
« Reply #24 on: Sat, 22 Apr 2017, 00:48 »
In terms of religious imagery for Superman, I don't have a problem with it. Batman has Gothic imagery and Superman has religious imagery. That's how how it is, and I think it should be utilised. But I prefer it to be how the world views Superman. Humanity views him as a Christ like figure. They see him up in a golden sky looking down upon them, ready to save and protect. But Superman shouldn't view himself that way, and he doesn't.

Offline The Laughing Fish

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Re: What are your issues with the DCEU Superman?
« Reply #25 on: Sat, 22 Apr 2017, 02:34 »
I found someone on Twitter collecting the darkest scenes in the DCAU to counter claims the recent DC films are too dark.
https://twitter.com/ComicBookDebate/status/854885430667378688

Who can forget Darkseid murdering Dan Turpin, or Superman wanting turn Darkseid into "greasy smear on his fist"? Not exactly all happy go lucky, is it?
 
Looking back, I'm a glad Superman fans haven't disowned the Dini/Timm interpretation.


Quote
Jonathan Nolan: He [Batman] has this one rule, as the Joker says in The Dark Knight. But he does wind up breaking it. Does he break it in the third film?

Christopher Nolan: He breaks it in...

Jonathan Nolan: ...the first two.

Source: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=uwV8rddtKRgC&pg=PR8&dq=But+he+does+wind+up+breaking+it.&hl=en&sa=X&ei

Offline thecolorsblend

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Re: What are your issues with the DCEU Superman?
« Reply #26 on: Sat, 22 Apr 2017, 03:30 »
I think we should all remember that there were religious analogies in Donner's take as well.

I don't consider myself a huge fan of SII either nowadays, but I gotta admit colors, I'm a little surprised that it has fallen that FAR in your estimation. It's definitely the most overrated out of the Reeve films, but do you think the overlooked flaws - some of which people have condemned Snyder's take for having - have taken its toll?
It was the 2001 era Superman movie DVD releases that did it for me. I never gave Superman II much consideration before then. To me, it was just another Superman movie.

But seeing it again for the first time in years as an adult was eye-opening. Superman's motivations through the entire film are pretty selfish. In the end, he only makes the right decision because he has to. It's almost an issue of guilt for him. Except Superman's defining trait is altruism so guilt doesn't play as well there.

One thing that Man of Steel brought out was the idea that it's okay to dislike Superman II. A lot of Donnerphiles resent comparing Superman killing Zod in Superman II (which is what he did) and Superman killing Zod in MOS. And their counter-argument to that is actually really persuasive and articulate. "Shut up."

Seriously, that's what a lot of them say when you bring up how they love Superman II and despise MOS for the exact same reasons. "Shut up."

Donner gets cut a lot of slack on that. But people forget that Lester reshot scenes but he didn't really change the broad trajectory of the story. Donner's ending for Superman II would have been either identical to Lester's or else very similar. Superman II in its broad strokes is basically Donner's brain child. It's fair and reasonable to hold him accountable for how awful that movie really is.

At least Superman in MOS has excuses. He was either a rookie or else he was up against an existential threat and had to take life. Those experiences shaped him. He'll do better next time.

In Superman II, few or none of those same conditions explicitly apply. So he's just a Super-Jerk.

No, I don't enjoy Superman II. I'll take Superman III any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Online The Dark Knight

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Re: What are your issues with the DCEU Superman?
« Reply #27 on: Sat, 22 Apr 2017, 05:38 »
I like BBBB - Big Blue Being Badass.

Big Blue sends Zod sliding down into an abyss. Violent? Nasty? Yeah, but it's satisfying.
Big Blue returns to the diner to even the score. Petty? Jerkish? Yeah, but it's satisfying.
Big Blue strips himself of his superpowers and underwear because he has a super itch. Dumb? Selfish? Yeah, but it's satisfying.

Big Blue in Superman II killed the villain, settled an old score and got funky with his lover because felt like it.

I may be viewing this stuff from a Batman fan's perspective so take that into account.

Offline Silver Nemesis

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Re: What are your issues with the DCEU Superman?
« Reply #28 on: Sat, 22 Apr 2017, 13:45 »
The comedic guest star driving the subplots,

I remember you mentioning this when we wrote our comic analysis of Superman III a few years ago, but at the time I didnít appreciate just how right you were. Since then, Iíve stumbled across several more Superman stories featuring famous comedians.

Bob Hope:


Jerry Lewis:


Don Rickles:


In retrospect, itís a wonder Pryor didnít guest star in the comics as well as the film.

Superman's motivations through the entire film are pretty selfish. In the end, he only makes the right decision because he has to. It's almost an issue of guilt for him. Except Superman's defining trait is altruism so guilt doesn't play as well there.

But doesnít the guilt arise from internal conflict between his altruistic and selfish drives? Guilt only arises if the person knows theyíve done something wrong to begin with. If Superman wasnít altruistic, if he didnít understand the folly of what heíd done, then he wouldnít have felt guilty. As Father Lantom says in DD s2: "Guilt can be a good thing. It's the soul's call to action. The indication that something is wrong. The only way to rid your heart of it is to correct your mistakes and keep going until amends are made." Superman's capacity to err makes him more human, and thatís the central theme in Superman II Ė Clark screws up big time and humanity suffers the consequences.

When you hold the fate of the world in your hands, the slightest error in judgement can have disastrous consequences. Superman II is the only movie in the franchise to successfully explore such an eventuality. Superman IV and Superman Returns attempted to address similar themes, but neither quite pulled it off. The movie is all about Supermanís greatest failure. And itís not a failure of strength or power, but a failure of his conscious mind. Thatís where Superman is best tested; not by how much he can bench press, but by how he responds to moral and intellectual quandaries. And in Superman II he makes the wrong decision by picking the selfish path. But he recognises his error, learns from his mistake and strengthens his resolve as a result of it.

Such character arcs are a common component of the second act in the classical heroís journey: the hero fails, is scarred and must learn from his mistake. Itís also common in the darker second chapters of many film franchises: Luke fails to save Han or defeat Vader and loses his hand as a consequence; Kirk fails to retrieve the Genesis device or save Spock and he loses his best friend as a consequence; Batman fails to save Rachel or Dent and loses the faith of the entire city as a consequence. If theyíd done this in the first Superman movie, then I agree it would have been a miscalculated way of launching the franchise. But it made for an excellent second chapter IMO.

In terms of narrative structure, Supermanís selfish decision to relinquish his powers is what Vladimir Propp referred to as the Ďviolation of interdictioní: the point in the story where the hero ignores a previously stated mandate or piece of advice and makes a bad decision that empowers the villain and has other negative consequences. This failure is necessary to facilitate the later stage of Ďtransfigurationí where the hero is reborn in a better form. In the case of Superman II, that would be the scene where Clark regains his powers at the Fortress of Solitude. I get that some people may not like it, but Superman II contains solid well-structured storytelling. And unlike almost every other film in the franchise, it has a reasonably balanced tone thatís neither too silly nor too miserable.

I also give the film credit for introducing us to the modern General Zod. Iíve read every Zod comic published before that film came out, and back then he simply wasnít a very interesting or memorable character. In fact he was one of the more forgettable Phantom Zone criminals. I felt the movie fleshed out and improved the character in every way imaginable. Many of the defining characteristics we associate with Zod today originated in Superman II. I also consider Stampís Zod to be the best movie villain Superman has faced to date (though thatís not saying much). Without Superman II, I doubt Man of Steel would even exist.

It definitely has flaws and contains several scenes and plot points I donít like, but overall I still rate it as the second best live action Superman film after the 1978 original. But thatís just my opinion and Iím not trying to impose it on anyone else. If others like Superman III or Man of Steel better, then thatís perfectly fine with me.

A lot of Donnerphiles resent comparing Superman killing Zod in Superman II (which is what he did) and Superman killing Zod in MOS.

I guess I must be a Donnerphile then, because I honestly donít think that analogy holds water. However much Snyder fans might want it to be, Superman killing Zod in Superman II is not canon. Superman killing Zod in MoS definitely is.

I donít want to get into this subject too deeply as I already made my case in an older thread, but the fact remains it was never Donner or Reeveís intention for Superman to kill Zod in Superman II. There are quotes from both men to support this. The script and numerous authorised extended TV cuts make it clear that Zod and his cronies were simply depowered and then handed over to Earthís authorities (it was Donner who shot the footage of both the Fortress confrontation and the subsequent arrest scene; it was Lester who neglected to include the second half of that sequence in the theatrical cut, not Donner). In the Donner Cut, Superman even goes so far as to reverse time to restore them to the Phantom Zone. In Donnerís directorís commentary he clearly states the villains could have returned in a future film as theyíre ďstill out thereĒ. Fact: it was never Donnerís intention for Superman to kill Zod.

I understand that DCEU fans like this interpretation as they feel it vindicates Snyderís creative decision, and thatís fine. If weíre talking about the Lester theatrical cut, the ambiguity is definitely there to allow for that reading. I have no problem acknowledging the validity of that interpretation. But it is just an interpretation. Itís not canon. And it certainly doesnít reflect Donnerís intent when he shot the scene.

I also think if weíre going to acknowledge Snyderís Ultimate Edition of BvS over the theatrical version then itís only fair to acknowledge the extended TV cuts of Superman II. Those werenít fan edits like the Batman Forever: Red Book Edition. Rather they were official cuts authorised by Warner Bros. And those versions of the film remove any ambiguity over the fate of the Phantom Zone criminals and clarify the filmmakersí intentions on the matter.

There are numerous cuts of Superman II where itís canonically stated that Zod did not die. There isnít one official edit, nor any documentation or quotes from anyone who worked on the film, where itís canonically stated that Zod definitely did die. If some fans prefer that reading of the Lester cut, then I have no problem with that. As I say, the ambiguityís there in the Lester cut. Itís a perfectly valid interpretation and I respect it. What I do object to however is the assertion that Supes killing Zod is unquestionably, definitively, canonically the only true meaning of that scene Ė even though the script, the director and the extended cuts prove otherwise Ė and that anyone who doesnít accept it as such is a hypocritical idiot blinded by nostalgia.

The hostility towards fans of Donnerís Superman and Nolanís Batman in general is growing tiresome. Not everyone who likes those films is a mindless sheep who gets their opinions from Rotten Tomatoes or is incapable of independent thought. Iím happy to respect the views of people who prefer Snyderís interpretation, and I have no desire to insult, belittle or devalue their opinions with ad hominem insults. It would be nice if Snyder fans could return the courtesy. And if they've encountered Donner or Nolan fans who treated their views disrespectfully, then thatís equally wrong and I don't for one second condone it. The best response to fanboy immaturity is to ignore it, not stoop to that same level. There are things in life worth fighting over Ė superhero films arenít amongst them.

And their counter-argument to that is actually really persuasive and articulate. "Shut up."

Snyder fans can be every bit as petulant, intolerant and abusive when someone disagrees with them. Trust me, Iíve experienced it firsthand.

Offline The Laughing Fish

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Re: What are your issues with the DCEU Superman?
« Reply #29 on: Sat, 22 Apr 2017, 15:20 »
I don't buy into the argument that the fates of the Phantom Zone villains in SII is only an interpretation and it isn't canon.

If Lester and Donner wanted to, they could've added that arctic police scene into the final cut of their own versions of SII. No matter how difficult the legal dispute was and maybe still is, I see no reason why either side couldn't include this scene, or show the villains surviving in a different way - if they really want to convey that was the case and eliminate any sort of ambiguity.

After all, if Tim Burton took only a quick second to show the audience that Catwoman was still alive in the end of Batman Returns, there's no reason why Lester couldn't do the same for Zod and co. But he didn't.

In Donner's case, he had access and total control to all of his original footage - including the arctic police scene - when he was editing his version of the movie. Instead, he didn't include it and the scene was left behind in a Deleted Scenes feature on the DVD/Blu-Ray. It's clear to me that Lester and Donner's decision to exclude that scene meant they never wanted it in their versions of the movie, despite whatever was originally intended in the script and what Donner suggests in interviews. Scripts don't always go to plan, and things change. Just look at B89.

The Ultimate Edition of BvS is supposed to be complete version of the film as it was intended, unlike the unfinished and compromised cuts of SII (some of which you still can't buy on home video to this day, unless they're on bootleg).

Quote
The hostility towards fans of Donnerís Superman and Nolanís Batman in general is growing tiresome. Not everyone who likes those films is a mindless sheep who gets their opinions from Rotten Tomatoes or is incapable of independent thought. Iím happy to respect the views of people who prefer Snyderís interpretation, and I have no desire to insult, belittle or devalue their opinions with ad hominem insults. It would be nice if Snyder fans could return the courtesy. And if they've encountered Donner or Nolan fans who treated their views disrespectfully, then thatís equally wrong and I don't for one second condone it. The best response to fanboy immaturity is to ignore it, not stoop to that same level. There are things in life worth fighting over Ė superhero films arenít amongst them.

Problem is, you're guilty of disrespecting others' opinions as well; as you once suggested that most people who don't like Nolan must be biased in favour of Burton, or accusing others of being locked in a mindset in hating his films, even over issues you originally agreed with. I don't mind people liking Nolan's films, but I despise the fact they're put on a such a ridiculous pedestal when they're just as guilty of the same criticisms people enjoy throwing at something like Burton, Snyder's two films, or even the earlier seasons of Arrow, and hardly anybody wants to acknowledge or admit it.

Anyway, I don't hate Donner. S78 is still my favourite Supes film to date and I can still see some good things in SII despite not enjoying it as much as I used to. But as I said earlier, Donner isn't perfect, and neither is Snyder. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.


Quote
Jonathan Nolan: He [Batman] has this one rule, as the Joker says in The Dark Knight. But he does wind up breaking it. Does he break it in the third film?

Christopher Nolan: He breaks it in...

Jonathan Nolan: ...the first two.

Source: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=uwV8rddtKRgC&pg=PR8&dq=But+he+does+wind+up+breaking+it.&hl=en&sa=X&ei

 

    
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