I hate Superman. It isn’t that I don’t like science fiction, because I do. I just don’t see the point of a character that can’t die – or one that can die and come back to life somehow. This particular rant isn’t out of the blue really, it’s just that I caught the scene of Superman II where Supes gives up his powers, gets in a bar fight, loses and immediately wusses out and gets his powers back.
Wow, what a super man – didn’t even last one day as a mere mortal. That particular scene solidifies just how much I do love Supes’ antithesis – Batman.
Now, Batman is a real character. He’s human – he bleeds, and he doesn’t have superpowers to fall back on when he’s getting his butt kicked by some really tough villain.
Much like today when it’s all too real that Superman will never exist, people need real heroes. Sure, it’s great to envision someone who can fly, shoot beams from his eyes, run faster than a locomotive and all, but when he’s fighting mere mortals, it is rather obvious he doesn’t quite understand them.
People need heroes, they need others to look up to who have strength, charisma and intelligence. Superman has strength, but that’s about it.
I think the most accurate representation of Superman’s intellectual faculties was portrayed in a Saturday Night Live skit featuring The Rock as Clark Kent/Superman. Lois, Jimmy and Mr. White were messing with Superman and joking how poorly he hides his dual identity. A pair of glasses? I wear glasses, but when I go to the beach without them, people still know I’m Michelle Demeter and not some tight-wearing do-gooder.
But in this skit, one of them pretends to get a phone call with someone reporting that someone has “Prince Albert in a can” and Superman rushes off thinking the prince has been kidnapped. Sounds about right to me.
Maybe Superman isn’t so cool because his movies were done in the 80s. Technology has improved and maybe an updated Superman is needed. I mean, look what Tim Burton did for Batman. Of course, Batman is a much better developed character, and it’s easier to find cool villains for him.
Lex Luthor has nothing on The Joker. Hmm… what other villains are there for Superman? Other impervious aliens, I suppose. Again, why create a character that can’t be defeated? Sure, Supes died, but we all knew that wouldn’t last. Who even believed he died in the first place? I sure didn’t. Batman would never have pulled such a stupid stunt.
So, watching bad movies from the 80s isn’t a waste and watching Superman II was good for a laugh or two, but in the end it only reminded me how much I love a well-developed character, not just someone flashy on the outside with little to offer in the future. Superman could have been even greater if he hadn’t been so alien to the human race.
Perhaps that’s why he tried to form a friendship with Batman in the past – maybe Batman is the only one who realizes Supes need to fit in a world that needs more than a cool flyboy. We need a real hero who is strong and intelligent but also understands what it’s like to be human and mortal – something Superman couldn’t even hack for a day.
- Michelle Demeter is an Oracle opinion firstname.lastname@example.org