Episode 166: The Superman Symposium

June 27, 2013


Featuring Matt Anderson, Ben De Bono, and Rick Lee James

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2 comments on “Episode 166: The Superman Symposium

  1. Michael Jun 28, 2013

    Good discussion, guys. I certainly second Rick’s recommendation of “All-Star Superman,” although my personal favorite Superman story is probably Mark Waid’s “Birthright.” (Here’s a nitpick for you: “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?,” which is indeed a great story, is technically “in continuity” as far as the pre-Crisis era goes. And “Last Son,” a story arc from 2006 or so, co-authored by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner, is one in-continuity story that is a very, very strong one – it’s the reason I collect Superman comics now, in fact.)

    I learned recently that Superman’s memory-wiping kiss actually *is* based in the comics: see Action Comics 306 (http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2012/12/25/your-christmas-present-the-super-kiss/ – although apparently that “Lois” turns out to be an actress impersonating Lois… ah, the Silver Age!).

    I go on record as liking the way Marlon Brando pronounced “Krypton.” Distinguishes it from the actual element, after all!

    I’m frankly ready for a Superman movie that *doesn’t* invoke a lot of Christ-like imagery. There is more to the character than that, and too much can be made of it. (Superman was ostensibly raised Methodist, by the way – http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/Superman.html – although the priest in the movie looked perhaps Lutheran to me.)

    I have to say, as much as I liked (and still generally do) “Man of Steel” in my SFC opening-night review (and thanks for shouting out about those, Matt), I keep going back and forth on the killing of Zod. As others have said online in the weeks since, it’s not a documentary; the filmmakers went in making the choice to have Superman kill. Nolan even initially objected to it. I am therefore a little surprised to hear Ben’s full-steam-ahead defense of that moment as exemplifying an ethic of life. Hopefully, as Rick says, there will be consequences for this action in future films.

    I also wonder how fully we can treat Zod as a signifier of anything, since he was, as he said, born and bred to be nothing else but what he was. It’s an unusual choice to have a character who, by definition, isn’t really a character, since I think being a character (as does being human) must necessarily involve making choices. Zod apparently can’t. I dunno – still pondering that point.

    (Ironically, though, if Zod is really more of a “force of nature” since he was designed to be as he is, and isn’t really a character with choice and will of his own, maybe that should put me more at ease with Superman killing him?! Lots still to think about…)

    I especially liked how Rick brought up the point about “making a better world.” Absolutely, faith doesn’t eliminate the need to be responsible stewards of the world. Very well said!

    Good episode, guys. Thanks for it! (And, Rick, thanks for your kind words!)

    • I defend the scene where Superman kills Zod not because I think it was indisputably the right thing to do but because the film had the courage to show death as a morally weighty action. Putting aside the question of whether they should have had the character of Superman kill (as a non-fan I have little opinion on that point) I think seeing killing treated with gravity is a huge breath of fresh air considering that movies like this (i.e. any of the MCU films) often treat it as a casual, routine action

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