I saw " Man Of Steel " at a midnight show last night/this ayem .

  Briefly , I have sort of a liking for super-hero stuff that follows a litle bit more a " real ' science fiction approach - While , admittedly , basically still sticking to the structure of fights and conflict in the story .

  MOS rather fulfilled that .

  It explored how the Superman concept might've been set up , the whole Krypotn thing , and how it might work out down on Earth , pretty well .

  Well , i thought so .

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Emerkeith Davyjack said:

I noted the distinct hints that in the movie's version of things Krypton's explosion may have in fact happened hundreds - or thousands - of Earth years back !!!!!!!!!

 

I dimly recall somewhere -- I forget where -- that the rocket that carried baby Kal-El was steered through a space warp, which is why he was still a baby when he got to Earth. It was in some text thingie in some comic that listed differences between the Superman of Earth-1 and of Earth-2. One of the differences was that one of the babies was still in swaddling clothes when he got here, while the other was about two years old. 

The business about sending the rocket through a space warp also explained why the rocket didn't get caught in the explosion of Krypton, or pelted by the debris.

Maybe our crack research team could dig that up ...

The first Christopher Reeve movie took place against a certain political/cultural backdrop.

 

The US wasn't long out of Vietnam and still reeling from the Watergate scandal.  The public really wanted to be reassured that those events hadn't robbed them of their innocence and sense of morality.  Superman himself tried to show them their best face, and that the American Dream still allowed for a kind of nobility and decency.  Superman himself said he stood for 'Truth, Justice and the American Way".  Lois, representing the adult cynics who had seen what American was capable of in the previous decade or so, was agog that he would still make that statement, but the point is that he wins even her over by the end, and shows her that there is a better way.  (This is precisely why she is portrayed as such a hard case in the first two movies.  If she can be moved by Superman's message, anyone can.)

 

By illustrating a movement away from one of the US' darkest periods of history towards the light, Superman the Movie very successfully tapped into its moment. 

 

In 2013 the US and their western allies are at the fag-end of a long War on Terror.  Many Western countries are sending some of their young men to fight and kill and destroy property and infrastructure overseas in the name of it.  We could have had a movie that suggested that, when you were in possession of so much power, there was an alternative to excessive violence, death and destruction.  However, such a movie would be an insult to those young men.  Further, it would raise questions in the minds of the masses on whose consent the continued prosecution of the War depends.  It would certainly be seen as an implicit criticism of the West's interventions in the Middle East if it had made a big thing about not killing, not compromising your values, and not allowing yourself to be drawn into a destructive conflict.

 

Instead we seem to have a post-Zero Dark Thirty movie that shows that real heroes aren't afraid to take the pragmatic steps needed, no matter how distasteful, in order to win the day.  You can't fight evil without massive destruction of property and the deaths of thousands.

 

Whatever else you might say about Man of Steel, it is, like Zero-Dark Thirty, "On Message".

 

It would seem that when we really want to change, we look to the finest heroes our culture throws up and try to emulate them, even when they are more idealistic than practical.  When we aren't ready to face up to where we are at, then we adjust the heroes to be more like us, and find consolation in that...

...Just to make a point about the details on Superman's - and Batman's - origins changing through the years:

For how long did the Super-origin show Lara , offered a place in the rocket away from Krypton , turn it down because " My place is here with you ! " (Jor-El) . So , in a sense , Superman's mother committed suicide/chose Daddy over him !!! ( I don't think there was any " It'll make the rocket safer if there's less weight...: . )

  Aannd , when was the Batman origin revised to make Joey Chill not have shot Thomas and Martha Wayne but only Thomas ??? In this version Martha is so shocked by the killing that she dies of a heart attack , but not of an actual bullet fired at her .

  For a long long time , though not by the time Mort's era came in I suppose , Superman's origin presented Krypton as " a planet of supermen " with flashbacks to Krypton showing people outrunning trains , leaping to second balconies etc. The earliest known Super-origin , the daily newspaper strip's version , which was done by S&S in 1936 , shows this...and well into the 40s !!!!!!!!!

  I never watched Justice League Unlimited (although I got the funnybook) so I never heard of this " famous " Super-speech about " My world is made of cardboard " from the concluding episode - But a Krypton of all " superpeople " would be like that too , even if on a " lesser " (assuming Captain Cleveland-level super-powers or even just Kal-L's not-quite-" juggling planets " power) level - Maybe it would be an interesting concept to attach to a Captain Cleveland-like " early " Superman , if DC ever goes a step beyond that old ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN story and officially acknowledged that there was one !!!!!!!!!

When did the "Superman doesn't kill" become DC canon?

...I recently found out about this - about 1940 - " code of conduct " for DC's heroes in general that , IIRC , one of the Leibowitzes and Whitney Ellsworth , just after he joined DC , came up with . That doesn't precisely answer your question , but.........

Commando Cody said:

When did the "Superman doesn't kill" become DC canon?

Commando Cody said:

When did the "Superman doesn't kill" become DC canon?

 

 

To be sure, in his earliest appearances, Superman was grittier, more of a roughneck, even to the point of killing.  However, that pretty much ended in 1940.  Thanks to some on-line research on the history of censorship in America, some biographic knowledge of National owner Harry Donenfeld, and information provided by Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the American Comic Book, by Gerard Jones (Basic Books, 2004), I can describe why that came about.



Before owning National Comics (the company which would become DC), Harry Donenfeld was one of the largest publishers of "girlie pulps" and "art books" (read: portraits of lots of sexy, naked girls) in New York.



In 1939, a reform movement launched by New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia joined forces with various public watchdog groups to impose censorship of such "salacious" material, and operations like Donenfeld's were forced to shut down or scale 'way back on the overt sexuality.



After Superman became a tremendous hit, Donenfeld became something of a public figure in his rôle of being National's owner/publisher.  He appeared on radio and in advertisements to promote their Cash-Cow of Steel.  That's when his past as a "smut-peddler" came back to haunt him.



With the girlie-magazine industry shut down, the watchdogs turned their sights on comic books.  In May of 1940, Sterling North, the literary editor of the Chicago News wrote a scathing article condeming comic books.  North charged that the rampant violence in comics encouraged emulation by the youth of America, by catering to their basic violent instincts. Naturally, the Do-Gooders of Morality jumped on this.



Gerard Jones's words, from Men of Tomorrow best describes National's response to this imminent crisis:

Liebowitz [Jack Liebowitz, Donenfeld's partner and the power behind Donenfeld's throne] and Ellsworth [Whitney Ellsworth, editor of the Superman magazines] sat down immediately to develop a code of acceptable behavior for superheroes, the first of its kind.  The censorship that had killed the girlie pulps and hurt the Spicies was barely a year in the past, and Liebowitz knew that as soon as the protectors of public decency realized that Harry Donenfeld was responsible for Superman, they'd be going over the pages with a magnifying glass.  Harry might enjoy baiting censors, but that didn't fit the Liebowitz plan for building a children's entertainment empire. In one early episode, Superman had torn the wings off the bad guys' plane and let it crash in a fireball.  Batman, for his part, had jumped in a fighter plane and machine-gunned a Kong-like monster.  Liebowitz and Ellsworth decreed that no DC hero would ever
knowingly kill anyone again.

 

It was at that point that Superman and Batman adopted codes against killing and ameliorated their more rough-shod tactics.

 

Hope this helps.

...I got that info from that book , too , Cmdr. (indeed , as i said , the information-improved U.K. market revision never published in the U.S.A.) , but I wonder about " NO DC hero - knowingly kill " - the Spectre ?

  And , of course , that leaves out non-superpowered " adventurer/public servant " military/policeman/etceteras not to mention past-times (Middle Ages , Old West...) characters who operated under an " older " code...

  The same volume of the SUPERMAN CHRONICLES book series , IIRC , that has the Luthor/Powerstone story , which I have argued to be among the first of the " Golden Age Superman "-Kal-L stories , what I argue to be (at least) the 2nd Superman featured in DC's stories with the less-powered , more " roughneck/Muscular New Dealer " early Superman of at leat 1938-39 DC stories who I've been calling " Captain Cleveland "the orignal Superman...Has another story which I will call a possible one of the last " Captain Cleveland " stories...in which Superman , high up on a hill mountain , dodges someone looking to stab him in the back , causing the would-be stabber to fall off of the peak , crying and screaming presumably to his death IIRC...And that's the last to be seen of him !!!!!!!!!

  The would-be killer is NOT mentioned to have been ' wafted by Super-Breath into the waiting arms of the police at the nearby police station  " - He simply falls to his (presumed) death . Superman , whether the C-C one or not , makes no further mention nor thought of him .

Commander Benson said:

Commando Cody said:

When did the "Superman doesn't kill" become DC canon?

 

 

To be sure, in his earliest appearances, Superman was grittier, more of a roughneck, even to the point of killing.  However, that pretty much ended in 1940.  Thanks to some on-line research on the history of censorship in America, some biographic knowledge of National owner Harry Donenfeld, and information provided by Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the American Comic Book, by Gerard Jones (Basic Books, 2004), I can describe why that came about.



Before owning National Comics (the company which would become DC), Harry Donenfeld was one of the largest publishers of "girlie pulps" and "art books" (read: portraits of lots of sexy, naked girls) in New York.



In 1939, a reform movement launched by New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia joined forces with various public watchdog groups to impose censorship of such "salacious" material, and operations like Donenfeld's were forced to shut down or scale 'way back on the overt sexuality.



After Superman became a tremendous hit, Donenfeld became something of a public figure in his rôle of being National's owner/publisher.  He appeared on radio and in advertisements to promote their Cash-Cow of Steel.  That's when his past as a "smut-peddler" came back to haunt him.



With the girlie-magazine industry shut down, the watchdogs turned their sights on comic books.  In May of 1940, Sterling North, the literary editor of the Chicago News wrote a scathing article condeming comic books.  North charged that the rampant violence in comics encouraged emulation by the youth of America, by catering to their basic violent instincts. Naturally, the Do-Gooders of Morality jumped on this.



Gerard Jones's words, from Men of Tomorrow best describes National's response to this imminent crisis:

Liebowitz [Jack Liebowitz, Donenfeld's partner and the power behind Donenfeld's throne] and Ellsworth [Whitney Ellsworth, editor of the Superman magazines] sat down immediately to develop a code of acceptable behavior for superheroes, the first of its kind.  The censorship that had killed the girlie pulps and hurt the Spicies was barely a year in the past, and Liebowitz knew that as soon as the protectors of public decency realized that Harry Donenfeld was responsible for Superman, they'd be going over the pages with a magnifying glass.  Harry might enjoy baiting censors, but that didn't fit the Liebowitz plan for building a children's entertainment empire. In one early episode, Superman had torn the wings off the bad guys' plane and let it crash in a fireball.  Batman, for his part, had jumped in a fighter plane and machine-gunned a Kong-like monster.  Liebowitz and Ellsworth decreed that no DC hero would ever
knowingly kill anyone again.

 

It was at that point that Superman and Batman adopted codes against killing and ameliorated their more rough-shod tactics.

 

Hope this helps.



Commander Benson said:

Commando Cody said:

When did the "Superman doesn't kill" become DC canon?


It was at that point that Superman and Batman adopted codes against killing and ameliorated their more rough-shod tactics.

The code against killing seemed to have been flexible. In the 1960s, as I remember, Superman avoided killing even animals, if possible. But in Superman #87 (February 1954), The Thing from 40,000 A.D., Superman lured a shape-shifting sentient intelligent being into the blast of a hydrogen bomb test, killing it.
Saw this today and really enjoyed it. I can see why longtime fans, history buffs, purists, continuity sticklers etc...would have trouble getting past many aspects of the film. But Snyder, Goyer, and Nolan really hit almost all the right notes for me.

I've never really liked the character of Superman for many reasons. He was just too powerful, too unbeatable, too uptight, straight laced, white bread and just generally downright boring. This movie addressed almost every complaint I've ever had about the character in mostly satisfying ways.

I've always felt that the Christopher Nolan hyper-realism approach is the best way to tackle superheroes. It dispenses with the camp and goofiness that I despise in superhero celluloid going back to the old Batman tv show of the 60s. For me, the key to success in the genre is achieving some level of believability. Otherwise my eyes just gloss over and I lose interest.

I can buy into the criticism that the fun is missing but I think fun is a little over rated when seeking to create something that resonates. What I think Snyder does with this movie is create something that is at times thrilling and intense rather than fun. And I think I prefer it that way with superhero movies. The movie does have some flaws in my mind. The tornado scene just doesn't work and Lois is really shoehorned into the plot in a way that seems unneccesary. And the fight scenes are nicely choreographed and beautifully depicted but they drag on for way way too long.

Overall, I found it to be a very satisfying experience and I'm hoping they stick with this approach for future sequels and just tighten up the plotting and pacing a little bit.

I've never really liked the character of Superman for many reasons...This movie addressed almost every complaint I've ever had about the character in mostly satisfying ways.

I think you've addressed the difference in perspective. Those who like who Superman has been in the past didn't like the movie much; those who didn't much like Superman liked the move.

I'm not sure that they addressed the "too powerful, too unbeatable" part, considering at best anything he came up against pushed him backward--he certainly wasn't hurt by having buildings fall on him And I'd even argue that they didn't address the "too uptight, straight-laced, white bread" criticism. I think the Reeve version addressed the "uptight" part by letting Superman tease Lois and make jokes at her expense.

He was mostly reacting to events in the first few days of being outed after wanting to disappear. He did little that was proactive or decisive that he thought up. And when the simplest answer was to kill his antagonist, he did. That last part may not be straight-laced, but I'm interested that you were satisfied by how they changed him from your description.

Unless the point is that "white bread" doesn't kill? I don't see what else he did that goes against those traits. By the end, he's playing a meek, mild reporter in a disguise. That seems fairly straight-laced and white bread.

-- MSA

Mr. Silver Age said:

That last part may not be straight-laced, but I'm interested that you were satisfied by how they changed him from your description.

I had to think about this for a minute. You’re right in the sense that there is not much in the script that differentiates this Superman’s personality. I think maybe it is Cavill’s performance that makes this version work for me. In the past I have perceived other depictions, whether it be George Reeves’ or Curt Swan’s, as a sort of one dimensional Mitt Romney-esque, jingoistic fuddy duddy. Christopher Reeve’s portrayal, for me, seemed to have only two gears: constipated robot or goofball. (Brandon Routh did a nice Reeve impression but brought nothing new.)  To me, Cavill’s performance has a little more subtlety and nuance. I felt like there was a full range of emotion bubbling under the surface. He just felt more like a real person to me. And I think that is what I have always felt was missing from the character. Granted, that’s just my personal perspective. I fully concede that others might see the various depictions in totally different ways.

I thought the movie addressed the “too powerful problem” in a couple of ways. First by having a scene, where he fails to hold up the oil rig early on, establishing that there are limits to what he can do and later by having him face adversaries that are just as powerful thereby forcing him to dig a little deeper in order to beat them.

The scene where he kills just doesn’t register much for me either way. (Perhaps because I have no interest in past versions of the character.) I think it does provide a little bit of an edge that allows me to relate to the character a little more. But much like the tornado scene, I don’t think it really works in a logistic sense. It just comes off as awkward and forced. I would liked to have seen it executed a little better (pardon the pun.)

One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post. I really liked the visual reinvention of Krypton. Reminded my a lot of the art of Simone Bianchi, especially the work he did on the Shining Knight Seven Soldiers series some years back. I just found it it to be really refreshing and visually appealing.

I beg to disagree MSA. My Superman(men) is the Silver Age comic book version and the George Reeves TV version and I liked Man of Steel. In fact I thought this was the best big screen version thus far. Before seeing the movie I read two excellent articles on the film that both stated essentially the same thing - with all the interpretations of the character over his 75 year history don't go into this expecting your version of Superman. Unlike Superman Returns, the current film manages to produce a modern vision of the character while still preserving his basic integrity. Most important to me, Man of Steel told a good story with likeable actors while keeping true to the core concept.

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