I've been looking out for news about the upcoming Superman movie lately. I've never been a huge Superman fan, but it's hard for any movie loving geek not to be interested in a film directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen), and written and produced by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception).
It got me wondering why I've never really warmed to the 'man of steel'. The character is arguably the most definitive super hero of all time, DC Comics flagship icon and one of the most revered and beloved comic book characters ever. I remember news reports of people actually breaking down in tears when DC 'killed' Superman back in the nineties. I've just never felt a connection to the guy. To me his whole mythology is kind of unpalatable.
If I had to pin down why Superman is so uninteresting to me it would come down to a few things. Firstly, he is too powerful. There is no way around it. He is just way too powerful. That's why writers have had to spend years coming up with these ridiculous plot lines just so there is some kind of threat. If it's not 'magic' it's someone who somehow gets kryptonite bullets or something similar.
Secondly, the guy is totally unrelatable. Not just to me, but to just about anyone as far as I can tell. I don't know what kind of comic book reader can relate to an almost invulnerable, indestructible being of virtually limitless power. He is basically a God. I remember reading books like X-Men back in school and finding a connection to the characters and stories. These books were about people who, granted, had almost god like powers themselves, but they were outsiders, misunderstood. This spoke to a shy, introverted kid. But Superman? He has it so easy. Nothing can touch him, everyone loves and admires him. I can't imagine how the guy can stay grounded (no pun intended). He would have to see the human race as a bunch of petty, imperfect little insects, but he never does. Everyone has flaws. It's what makes us human. But Superman is flawless. With all our wars, racism, hate and self destruction, how could such a perfect, morally inflexible, super powered god find any way to understand, and more importantly, tolerate all the human race's bullshit? A character like that does not fit on planet earth. Maybe if writers gave the guy some flaws he would feel different. I'd love to see Superman get angry and pissed off. I'd love to see him lose it a little. I'd love to see him show any semblance of human emotion other than 'love' for Lois Lane and his unbending sense of moral duty. There needs to be more complexity there. I'd like to see Superman tempted to wipe humanity off the face of the earth, not being able to put up with the fact that we can't help but do horrible things to one another and ourselves. I'd love to see him wondering, after years of protecting us, wether we are worth saving or not.
The likely hood of DC allowing something like that onto a movie screen with one of their top shelf characters is pretty unlikely, but who knows what will happen. Snyder and Nolan are smart and talented enough to make something interesting.