Does Zack Snyder hate Superman? Did Batman v Superman and the DCEU as a whole ruin Superman? These are the questions spreading around the internet right now after the events of Batman v Superman. Now as a Superman lover I have a lot to say about this, so let’s discuss the state of Superman in the DCEU right now!
Spoilers for Batman v Superman follow.
Superman has been having a hard time lately in the movie universe. On his first day on the job he gets attacked by a group of crazy aliens from his home world. Then he spends months copping hate from the public. Then some guy in a bat suit decides to pick a fight with him. After he finally resolves that he finds out that some other crazy billionaire is trying to pick a fight with him, this time he comes with a giant ugly creature. Then Supes gets killed by said giant ugly creature. Yeah it’s been a hard life, and Superman fans aren’t happy.
Man of Steel was a divisive movie (surprisingly not as divisive as Batman v Superman). Personally, I loved the movie, and loved what they did with the character. The movie was about showing that Superman doesn’t just become the hero we know because he was born perfect and always knows what to do.
It showed that he was just Clark Kent, a humble farm boy who was told he was going to be one of the greatest figures in the world but didn’t really know if he could be that person. It was a learning curve for him, but eventually he did suit up to try to do the right thing. Maybe it didn’t go as well as he hoped, but this was the start of his journey.
It’s clear that the DCEU didn’t want to just give us our heroes as we are used to seeing them, they wanted to give us these characters in their early form, give them a journey before they got to their destination. And that journey continued in Batman v Superman.
Clark is still figuring out how to be Superman in Batman v Superman. Everyone has their own perspective and expectations of Superman, but it’s up to Clark to figure out himself who Superman is. That’s not easy when the world is quick to constantly criticise you, when everything you try to do backfires.
So throughout the course of Batman v Superman, Clark stops believing in Superman. He doesn’t believe that he can be this figure, when he can’t even figure out what it all means and how to do it without pissing everyone off. But at the end of the day Superman is a guy who loves humanity and aims to show the best in humanity, to inspire others. Lois reminded him of that and so we finally saw our Superman during the Doomsday battle.
But then he was killed, and the journey was over? Frustrating yes.
Now a lot of people have been saying that Superman really wasn’t very Superman like during Batman v Superman. Like I said earlier it’s not about presenting the characters as we expect them to be presented as, it’s about showing how they get to be there. However, the core of who Superman is was shown throughout Batman v Superman.
Instead of writing fluff pieces Clark wanted to report on things that matter, on things that are affecting real people. Instead of wanting to fight Batman he wanted to talk to him. Instead of getting distracted by the world around him he remained focused on the women in his life even when his life was in danger. Instead of being corrupted by pure power and a cynical world, he remained a hero.
My hope was that at the end of Batman v Superman Clark would make his proper transition to being the Superman we know so that he could lead the Justice League, so they could finally join him in the sun. But that’s not what we got.
Right now I’m of two minds regarding the death of Superman. As Alfred said, it’s the feeling of powerlessness that turns good men cruel. The cruel Batman is back to being good, because he was inspired by Superman. I like that. I like that he’s so inspired that he feels the need to form this team, so that Bruce won’t fail Clark in death. Maybe before Superman’s return, the Justice League are struggling to really be a unified team, but it’s not until Superman comes back that they find their groove and really become the Justice League. And so Superman’s return is triumphant and beautiful, he becomes the glue the team needs, the soul they need. That I like.
But if that’s not what we get, then maybe we have a problem here. Overall I like Zack Snyder, I don’t think Snyder hates Superman, but his comments are a little worrying to me. In interviews Snyder has discussed the decision to kill Superman. He said that it was done because he wanted Batman to be the one who formed the Justice League.
The rationale that the end result wanted was for Batman to form the Justice League, therefore we need to get rid of Superman, therefore we should just kill him, that’s frustrating. Producers Deborah Snyder and Charles Roven said the decision was more about inspiring Batman, so maybe it was just Snyder’s poor choice in words.
But another thing Snyder said was that we do know Superman is coming back, but we don’t know what he’s coming back as. Now the Superman fan in me starts to get worried again. One of the most overdone tropes in comic books is brainwashing/mind-controlling etc. Superman, turning him evil so that Batman and/or the League have to stop him.
What’s frustrating about this trope is that it means Superman is denied any chance for character development and exploration because instead we see this corrupted version of him.
From those comments the working theory right now is that Superman will be resurrected by Darkseid and will be used as an agent of Darkseid and the Justice League forms to stop the threat of Superman. Now this would be a slap in the face to Superman fans. Because it really does hinder any possible real character exploration for Superman, and instead degrades Superman in order to basically propel Batman.
So essentially the answer to, does Zack Snyder hate Superman? Did the DCEU ruin Superman? This comes from how they handle Superman moving forward. Superman’s return should inspire good, make the world feel whole again, give the League and society hope again. Now that the world has finally accepted Superman, have found purpose in themselves from him “If you seek his monument look around you”, now is not the time to give the world a corrupted Superman.
Many people complain about the nihilistic nature of the DCEU, which right now I think is a completely wrong interpretation. Batman v Superman’s ending was optimistic and turned the cruel man good again. When Superman said “No one stays good in this world” he was saying it because he stopped believing in himself, the ending of the movie showed that this isn’t the case, men are still good. But if we bring in a corrupted Superman, then yeah maybe the DCEU is too cynical and nihilistic, then it becomes a problem.
I’m hoping this isn’t the case, and with Justice League starting production in under two weeks, we will soon find out more details about the story and Superman’s role in the next slate of movies!
Categories: comic book movies