So, I wrote how history was different in the mid 90s and we had the awesome luck to have a Superman and Batman movie in 1995 with Christopher Reeve and Michael Keaton. The geek world would have truly rejoiced if that had happened nearly 25 years ago.
Yet, I also want to point out that the movie back then would have been completely different than what we finally got in 2016. It would have been a positive and heroic journey – a team-up in every sense of the term. Back then, we wanted movies that inspired. Movies to look up to. We wanted reassurance that the world is still great – where good defeated evil. Our super-heroes were symbols of hope and perfection. They were role-models. We wished we could be like them. Superman was super because he didn’t represent the stereotypes but instead represented righteousness. The character taught us morals and ethics. Then, this changed….
Somehow, the studio (publisher too) in charge of our favorite characters (more specifically my favorite character: Superman) needed to be part of the modern status quo. He/Them is/are flawed. Superman needed to have inner demons. He needed to question everything and everyone around him. Johnathan Kent thought him he couldn’t trust anyone so why would anyone trust him, and vice versa. We got a Superman in the post 9/11 world (you know, where parents sue the Kents because Clark could have endangered lives when he actually saved them. No one blames the tire. Or the guys at the garage for putting faulty tires on the bus. The parents should be thankful instead they call him out. It’s not a positive scene anyway you look at it.) This is a world where Superman should be feared. A Superman with all due respect was not super. This disappointed fans. They even tried to force feed us hope stating his S was Kryptonian for the very word. (Not just a family crest but a perfect time for some moral lessons). Superman wasn’t there to save kittens from trees and stop jewel thieves. Instead he was running from his destiny. How’s that sending a message of hope? Oh well.
Batman was now introduced not as a dark, lone vigilante but an aging cynical man that feared Superman. Not only fear him, but to blame him for the rain of destruction on Metropolis or more specifically the Wayne Building in Metropolos (say what? That’s convenient). The entire point of Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman was for everyone (not just the characters in the film but the audience) to fear Superman. Why? Is it just the time we’re in today or does someone think that he’s more interesting as flawed, unpredictable, scary, powerful alien. In Superman II (1980), Superman battled General Zod (and his henchman). That Metropolis had its citizens cheering Superman, supporting the fight even though it was causing millions in property damage. Heck, they even tried to take on Zod when they thought Zod had killed him. In the new version, citizens of Metropolis are blaming Superman for bringing evil to our planet. They blame him for wrecking the city – they demand justice. They are inconvenienced. They have no loyalty. Everyone seems out for themselves. It’s a world where they demand security but forgot that it takes people to risk their lives for it. They forget how Superman is there to unite – to save them. Now, it’s politics and pointing fingers. We can’t just have simple heroes anymore. No. We must be skeptical. We must reject the ideology. We have lost faith in truth, justice and the American way!
The 1980s (filmatically) was an era of hope and positive community. The movies were fun. They made us laugh. They made us cry. They were great movies because we’re still talking about them to this day. I just feel like the post 2010 movies are more about dividing and trying to direct blame at our faults than working together to over come them. Maybe its just me but I felt we’ve definitely lost something not only in society, our culture, but our pop-culture too. I’m curious if anyone in 20 plus years will be still talking about Man of Steel or Justice League. They may be it wont be the same….