43 – A Beautiful Truth – You Are Not Alone

coverblackA sentimental essay and subjective exploration of Clark’s character arc and the birth of the superhero.

Briefly revisiting Man of Steel to find a beautiful truth in Batman v. Superman we can all apply.

Understanding and empathizing with Clark’s burden beyond just bearing the weight of criticism.  Refusing to take Superman the symbol for granted.

Answers, insights, and commentary on:

  • A beautiful lie, the ugly truth, an ugly lie, a beautiful truth
  • The beautiful truth beheld by Martha and Jonathan
  • Jonathan always dreamed of the Superman
  • What is the Superman? = What is the superhero?
  • Erring on psychology rather than unerring icon
  • Not taking “good is a conversation” for granted
  • How dialogue (lines) sacrifices dialogue (conversation)
  • Lois possibly picking the Superman over Clark
  • Clark feeds, Darkseid hungers, Superman teaches all to feed themselves
  • Clark counting the cost of the Superman, an uncertain symbol, with Martha
  • Batman is not a superhero until Superman shows him
  • Not a misunderstanding of Superman, pursuing an understanding of Superman
  • Clark’s consistent characterization on the hotel balcony
  • Paradox of hope and protection challenges Clark’s faith
  • Showing how Clark works out his values, ethics, and morals
  • Twice Lois says, “You came back.”
  • Lex knows he seeks to spread a lie
  • Superman is one… Superman dies… the superhero is born
  • Death protects Superman while expanding the superhero for his return
  • The Justice League works out the logistics and expands the definition
  • Superman was inspired by us
  • You are not alone

…and more.

How deterrence is changing, explained by Defense Secretary Ash Carter | Vox
The Irony of Cheese | Zack Snyder
Zack Snyder Loves Superman and BvS Proves It | Mark Hughes
BvS: How I surprised myself and fell in love with this film | Brett Culp
Look to the Sky (2016) #SupermanIsReal | The Rising Heroes Project
Superhero Psychology | Huffington Post

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  1. Hey doc I’m a huge fan of your podcasts and YouTube vids, your insights and ability to look deep into these DC films inspire me to become a reviewer myself, I’m very excited for your ep on the state of mind and psychology of Bruce Wayne, the layers that Ben affleck portrayed was mind boggling, your really one of the best and I hope you could return to YouTube and do some videos on bvs like you did for man steel (just a personal request)

    • @Lyndon, thanks, looking forwards to your content too.

      I don’t have any BvS YouTube videos in mind. The only two systemic factual misinterpretations video might help that I can think of… relate to Superman saving Lois in Nairomi and the logistics of the final fight. The first one is a split second hard to make a video of unless I’m going to do my own illustrations or get someone to do them for me to pad out the video. The latter… well, I’m guessing once there’s home releases there will be endless nitpicking videos which might inspire me, but parsing fight choreography is honestly exhausting, more can be done to defend it but I don’t really have the tools or time to do it.

      • Oh OK, well anything you do have I’ll listen anyway, I do enjoy listening to your thoughts and research

  2. That´s what i love about you Doc. You recognized Clark´s reserved behavior as 21th century humbleness and not an emotionally stunned state. Something even a lot of fans couldn´t recognize. I agree with you that Batman only turned from a “Mysteryman” into a Superhero the second he spared Lex but Lex was already a supervillain the second he snuck on the scout ship and started to play Frankenstein. A Modern Prometheus if you want. He was basically the Golden Age version of Lex in that scene, with shades of Byrne and again/especially Jurgens mixed in. They just changed proto-Gordon Gekko to Zuckerberg.

    You are not alone indeed. The film currently has a multiplier of 3,45 (863. mil.) Nuff´s said.

    • @residentgrigo, in terms of boldness, certainty, and outspokenness, I think the film makes it clear that would be terrifying with Superman in the Knightmare with Tyrant Superman and the talking heads raising atrocities, deification, and geopolitics. Especially after being called a “god” by a hater, treated like a god by rescuee bystanders, and called “an alien who can burn the whole place down” Clark is really careful about how his presence is received.

      Weaker characters like Captain America can get away with stuff which would horrify us if they have Superman-level power. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px63WK6AT7E

      Food for thought: When you see the flood victims do you save the family who painted your symbol on their house first? What does it say if you do? What does it say if you don’t? What kind of precedent are you creating? Clark is getting confronted with a bunch of complexity that street-level powerless beings don’t have to deal with and which aren’t already answered in this world.

      • I have read Captain America 1 from (1941) and did an analysis of the cover for one of my final school projects. I am German… Lol.
        I am a big fan of Cap in general, maybe not the time he turned into Capwolf, and loved the 2nd Cap 2 film but the 1st and 3rd are slightly disappointing. The films butchered Red Skull and now Cross Bones/Zemo but 100% nailed Hydra. Sorry, but none of you could every beat me at comic trivia. Feel free to try though.

        Superman: Peace on Earth asked similar questions to Bvs and allowed Clark to fail. I certainly wouldn´t like to bear the burden of a demigod who could “save your child”, or feed the world, or…” but should he”. Hm. Man, that (awesome) news cast was really depressing and i still can´t understand why Superman needed to smile while lifting heavy machinery or analyzing a flood in slow motion. “Criticism.”

      • Forgot: Superman: Earth One (i ain´t a fan either Doc), especially Vol.2, was pretty “horrifying” and that is coming from an Image/Windstorm fan. That series is EVERYTHING Snyder critics accuse his filmography of being but the project gets to hind behind (mostly) good art.
        Superdickery and http://comicsalliance.com/superman-sex-tape/ (yes, i actually read that trash but i do like the majority of the run) won´t be forgotten either. Both companies have corpses buried…

      • Hey Doctor, while I never bought the notion that Superman was hovering in front of the sun just to be cool, what do you think of this theory:

        Superman can’t just pick up everybody at once, seeing that the flood area is too vast, even he only has two arms and twenty fingers depite his super strength, and he also can’t count on the flood victims to be strong enough to grab him by the costume as he flies away. My personal theory is that in that sequence he’s actually planning on doing what his character did in Paul Dini and Alex Ross’s “Superman: Peace On Earth” — salvaging floatable material from the already doomed houses to build a giant raft and then tug the survivors away with a chain.

        • @Vermouth, I agree there are logistical issues, but I also think there are serious policy issues as well. If one family paints your symbol and you save them first, what does that say to everyone else in the world? If you don’t save them first, what does that say? Is your rescue order something you necessarily want to put out there as predictable? I know Superman ultimately does the right thing in that situation but I can also imagine him having concerned about the message on top of what he’s doing.

        • I think the general misunderstanding of this whole scene is that the scene itself is Clark watching TV and listening to the “Superman issue”. As he listens he starts recalling some of the things he’s done such as the shuttle save, the ship, the flood victims etc. It is deliberately shot soft to tell us it’s his recalled memories. The hovering is only very short because it’s slowed down. In that memory, Clark recalls the family on the roof that painted his Superman symbol amd no doubt thoight through who amd how he was going to save many people as practical.

    • I really enjoyed BvS, it was the second best superhero movie I’ve seen (The Dark Knight being #1). BvS was a psychological thriller, sci-fi and action rolled into one. I really enjoyed Jesse Eisendberg as Lex Luther, he was by far the best Lex to ever appear on the big screen. I’ve seen it 4 times already and plan on seeing it at least 2 more times.

  3. Hey doc, you should register to podcastawards.com. If you are not registered already. Even if you don´t win you deserve recognition for this marvelous job you are doing.

  4. I forgot to praise the Clark´s walkabout. He didn´t fly anywhere but walked, like a man, to find his middle. Very consistent with his behavior in MoS and he may not have a fortress (yet) but this destination couldn´t have been more solitude. It was actually Byrne who decided in 1986 to make Clark the “real” or at least equal persona for Superman. It was needed as DC decided to forbid the existence of his early in-cotume Superboy days (which were a retcon themself), so young and heroic Clark then needed to be a Superman in his own right. I always loved that decision! Synder seems to agree.

    Regarding the farmer´s dream. Him and Martha and are/were farmers too. He was obviously talking about Jonathan but this dream and hopes also applied to his “past self” that me may ear to lost a connection with. He obviously didn´t.

    Question: Do we have an official death toll for the senate bombing? I remember Doc mentioning a number in the 30s but that is way to low. That number is importation to me as would 100% explain why he left immediately. His X-ray and hearing are is downright perfect (as in the Doomsday fight), so he would have zero reason to stay if couldn´t have helped properly and the destructive power seemed immense. Just a weird quirk for me.

    • @residentgrigo, re: Death toll comes from the news ticker Lois is watching in her hotel while trying to reach Clark. I’d suggest that even if his senses are perfect, he doesn’t know what he’s looking for. The next attack doesn’t have to be a bomb. It could be gas, gunfire, germs, or whatever other evil people wanting to hurt those literally closest to him at the time might try. Rather than tempt or provoke additional attacks which could turn rescue workers into secondary collateral (which is tragically a common terrorist tactic), he takes off… perhaps observing from above or afar rather than risk additional casualties.

      • So I’ve only just listened to this episode in its entirety, and I have one little amendment to make:

        @ circa 1h 6min Doc talked about Clark asking the ghost of Pa Kent if the nightmares ever stopped, despite Pa Kent seemingly not mentioning having them. Actually, Jonathan did mention nightmares: Since the Kents learnt after the fact that they’ve actually diverted the flood upstream to the Lang family farm and *they* got all washed away, Jonathan reckoned that their horses were probably already drowning horribly by the time he was tucking into the cake (which, I’ve just realized, can serve as a mirror to that other reporter dismissing Bruce Wayne as part of the “let-them-eat-cake beat”). And then he mentioned to Clark that since then he could hear horses screaming in his sleep — Not that he was necessarily there to hear it in real life à la Clarice Starling in the lamb slaughterhouse, but it was a clear manifestation of his guilt with the help of perhaps his memories of hearing horses in distress from other ocassions.

  5. Hey Doc,

    I want to start by first saying that I’m a huge fan of your podcast and look forward to it every time a new episode is released. I am a huge fan of Man of Steel, in fact it’s my favorite comic book movie, however, to quote a great man lol “reasonable minds will differ” Batman V Superman did disappoint me a bit. Now while I do like the movie, probably more than most, the biggest gripe I had was the movies depiction of Clark/Superman. While I completely agree with you in that Superman should not be portrayed as perfect or someone who “always” makes the right decision otherwise you risk him becoming in unrelatable to modern audiences, I did feel that movie held onto a sad, burden full, almost bordering on depressed Superman. I cite scenes like the montage where Clark appears very stoic and in some cases very sad when saving people as well as the controversial line “no one stays good in this world” and while I understand that he is struggling with himself, I feel like he could stand to be a bit more optimistic in that John Byrne 80’s and 90’s sort of way. I love the character and to see him where he is for the mostly the movie coupled with the end of the movie, without releasing spoilers, I felt that a different more hopeful approach to the character would have made certain scenes much more impactful in my opinion. Once again thank you for this podcast and I look forward to the next episode.

    • @Franky, thanks, no worries… my literal daily job is dealing with people who disagree with me civilly so it’s not anything new or embittering to me.

      The way I look at it is that we have the benefit of living in a world with superheroes for the past 78 years thanks to Superman, but they don’t. We didn’t even arrive at our ethics for what is right and wrong for Superman to do until probably the 80s and even then we were heavily divided about it entering the 00s. Everything before that was aimed essentially at kids, with nominal regard for continuity or reality. From Byrne on there are more stakes but it’s still ultimately a comic-book universe. The optimism is suspended by a veneer of genre literacy which works in context but is laughed at outside of it. For example, Lex Luthor refusing to believe or follow-up on his computer telling him Superman’s secret identity. The entire universe is suspended by those kinds of affectations which SUPPORT the optimism. When we came to the fallout from Identity Crisis into Infinite Crisis, I tended to side with Superman optimism because Batman’s paranoia was only pragmatic from a real-world perspective, not 15 years of mostly continual triumph against impossible odds. That’s what I mean by you have to follow the truth of your story. Post-Crisis DC Earth is essentially unrealistically optimistic to the core, so stories should fall in line with that and follow the truth of that reality (and if they’re going to break that with something like Identity Crisis or Civil War it has to be a company wide mandate to do so).

      To me, the cinematic universe isn’t trying to create or adapt Post-Crisis Earth. It is its own thing which essentially starts off with our real world as its base. In those terms, following the truth of that story, Clark has little to be optimistic about during those scenes. Ultimately, Superman is alone in his endeavor with no one who can really guide him so the emotions and reactions are real and true to that story. Essentially, Clark has only ever had two people in his life who have known everything about him at a time. He’s extremely grateful to have them and they’re precious to him, but compared to everyone else that’s a limiting experience. To me, it would be a little hollow if he was preternaturally smiling and optimistic if his life didn’t really line up with that.

      I grant you there was a honeymoon phase, but it’s a superficial one-sided adoration where they haven’t started asking questions or understanding what they’re celebrating- as Senator Finch says, “We’ve been so caught up in what he can do…” it’s a celebration of his abilities but not his person. Since much of the movie is basically a passion play, the focus is on that arc, and they don’t take us to- for example- Palm Sunday- where people are all fawning over Jesus without a lick of understanding what was going to happen or who he really was… a total disconnect between their expectations of him as a Messiah versus what he intended to do for them. Passion plays generally don’t glorify Palm Sunday because that just supports the misguided understanding of who he is. Similarly, happy people and a glad Superman before the advent of the superhero is all just about what he can do for them, not who he is… it just gets further away from his humanity, which they’ll never accept until he dies (this moral is wonderfully conveyed in Isaac Asimov’s Positronic Man / Bicentennial Man, I resisted derailing the podcast to talk about how critical mortality is to humanity accepting an alien other). So rather than continue to build up the “false god”, they wanted to get Superman to his real self ASAP.

      Aside from everything I raised in the podcast, consider on a practical level how much Superman will grow as a person once he has friends who not only can know his secret, but who can protect themselves and know the same burden of power he had. From a psychological perspective, that’s when you can have a sincere optimism based on having community and support in a way Clark never could have before. Any kind of relationship before was between reluctant god and man… afterwards, he’s a enthusiastic superhero relating to the people… that’s when you can celebrate sincerely. Doing what you propose works in an unrealistic reality, but in a realistic reality it means that either Clark has a god complex where he enjoys being a god or he has a break with reality where he’s optimistic in a way that doesn’t make any kind of rational or justifiable sense… insane, deluded false hope, rather than something inspiring based on experience.

      Last point, this is just part two of a three part arc, so I sincerely believe that they were only allowed to this dark because they had an inkling of how light the League would be to complete the trilogy. I expect a world without superheroes to be bleak before the dawn, but in a world brimming with them, to be a full on sunrise.

      • I partially agree with you however I don’t think JL will much lighter in tone and story than BVS, I mean Darkseid is coming everything with apokolips looks outright satanic. An invasion from apokolips is going look like hell descending upon Earth and probably be treated as such. Darkseid is likely going to bring death and destruction like our little blue planet has never seen he has to to live up to the build up surrounding him.

        I see the tone being similar to the difference between TDK and TDKR. TDKR was bleak there were times it got even bleaker than TDK however in the end it is far more idealistic and hopeful and optimistic than it’s predecessor having far more uplifting moments and even having a full on happy ending. This is what I see happening with JL the story will likely reach its bleakest and most hopeless yet in the second act but on a whole the movie will have more hopeful and uplifting moments with a likely very optimistic and inspiring ending to the trilogy.

        However just because it won’t be as dark as BVS doesn’t mean it won’t still be very dark at points it’s Darkseid what other tone is there? JL will have more levity and humor but it will also probably have some of the darkest scenes in all three movies, it won’t be a happy movie but it will end on a truly happy and hopeful note.

        • I strongly assume that JL Part-2 will be “the dark” one among the 2, for the reasons given.
          Part 1 should fully be about uniting the 7 and the invasion should come next. I want a properly formed JLA go to war against Apokalypse and we will need the 2+ hours to set them up. Maybe even Kurosawa style…
          Part 1 “should” be about as light or dark as Cap2/Ironman 1 but i do expect a bit more humor due to the Flash and growing group dynamics. The trinity jokes a bit after all. Not that MoS/BvS were bleak or anything.

          • Please no Marvel has spent so much time building up Thanos that I don’t care anymore and there’s still two more years before he finally gets off his butt and does something. Don’t do the same thing with Darkseid they hinted at him way too much for his arrival to be six movies away not everything needs to built up to over several years.

            People crucified this movie for setting up too much at least those Easter eggs and set up will seem justified if they’re paid off sooner not JL 2 which they don’t even have a script for. This wasn’t the little hint of Avengers one this was the full on build up of Age of Ultron. The nightmare, the records in the ship, the deleted scene the rant in the end, the picture symbolizing Darkseid invading. That is way too much set up for something six movies away. BVS and JL are back to back for a reason, JL will answer questions raised in BVS as a part 2 of a two part movie does, BVS was part 1 of JL.

            They set up Darkseid pay him off if Darkseid isn’t the villain then BVS shouldn’t of had so many hints and set up. We don’t need two hours to set up the JL secret origins did it in thirty minutes. Also people are forgetting about SS and WW which have massive links to BVS and JL. WW could show some of the gathering of the league as well as further explore Superman’s death.

            We don’t need a Thanos Darkseid can be the main villain of phase 1 MOS through JL four movies is more than enough to do Darkseid and you don’t have to get rid of him he can still play a role later on after JL. Phase 2 could explore the ever growing world after the birth of the league. The Atlantis invasion in Aquaman, time travel in Flash maybe lead up to flashpoint which could tie back to BVS, this way you pay off the nightmare with Darkseid in JL satisfying people only to reveal that it actually was the flash point of this universe later on, tying stories together but not dragging them out. Flashpoint and time travel leads to the introduction of the multi verse which the new gods also tie to.

            There’s your endgame for phase 3 Crisis the best part here is that audiences wouldn’t know it, there’s a main narrative and saga but you don’t know what it is. Darkseid would obviously play into this maybe have a New gods movie down the line. There’s so much to do that is actually deeper and richer than Darkseid. The DCEU does not hold back look at its first two installments the story consistently moves forward I hope we keep this pace. They set up Darkseid so much it doesn’t make sense for it to be JL 2 wrap up this story, focus on this trilogy or phase worry about JL 2 later like when they have an actual writer for it announced or heck an even basic idea of it.

          • I agree that Darkseide can´t be held back for years and Thanos is only a (solid) B level characters who is way too overhyped, but i also assume that both JLA films will be companion pieces.
            A bit Kurby in 1 and full hog Rock of Ages/Final Crisis/Jim Lee JLA in 2. Part 2 could be something really special if i guessed correctly due to Snyder´s 100% fitting style and his lived in universe is straight out better, or at least more comic accurate, than Marvels already. Nothing against Marvel btw. Don’t ask me though why the communion scene isn´t in the cinematic cut.

      • @Trent, I am not too sure if they release the Unlimited Edition to theaters that they will lump the totals with the original cut. BoxOfficeMojo.com and other sites may just list it as a separate release. They will also have to re-market it as the Unlimited Edition, which might be some extra expenses that opponents of the film might use as ammunition against the film as still not making a profit. There is still a chance, though that this film could make close to $1 billion if it can remain in theaters as long as “The Dark Knight” or even “American Sniper” were in release (33 and 26 weeks respectively). Although $800-900 million is still a lot of money for their investment, I really think that it was very malicious what the critics did to the film. I am sure it might have cost it anywhere between $200 and $500 million extra in box office revenue.

        • The reception definitely cost the film a lot of box office income. People say the reviews didn’t affect people’s opinions on the movie this is crap, I was on Superhero hype before the embargo lifted people were mostly positive after it lifted people were still positive plenty of positive reviews detractors though you could argue with them reasonably the second week drop off all positivity gone the movie is declared a failure complaints they didn’t agree with they all of sudden do endless reviews from people not paying attention. Any attempt to be positive smashed into the ground try explaining why people didn’t get the movie banned, it reached a point where the people who ran the forum were trying to stamp out any positivity at all. People were influenced that kind of change in demeanor doesn’t happen out of nowhere. Releasing the ultimate addition might help maybe but it also gives people another thing to attack even though TDK was re released in IMAX something people conveniently overlook.

          Regarding residentgrigo I don’t think JL 1 and 2 are companion pieces for a few reasons. First they are two years apart the companion films usually only have one. Second Chris terrio isn’t certain he’s writing JL 2 if it were a companion piece he would at least have an idea even more so if they were companion pieces they would definitely have a script or idea for something that ends on a cliffhanger.

          Third BVS and JL were announced not far apart we had information regarding the JL script the same year BVS was announced, back then the extended universe wasn’t certain at that point it was just a DC universe trilogy the future announcements came after so I believe JL was always the end of the trilogy. Finally this is my preference despite our thoughts on the manner DC is suffering massive problems with the public and critics especially Snyder this is not likely to change with JL, no way it gets any higher than a high 50 or low sixty. People were already pushed away with BVS which with the low critic score the mixed audiences score (for dumb reasons but still) and the lower than expected box office JL has it all stacked against it odds I don’t think it can win pulling in a billion with this much hatred and biased against is possible but to make even IM 3 money with these odds is near impossible. After the “failure” of BVS low critic scores will kill JL which let’s be honest critics have already decided what they want from Superhero movies, Looking at MOS and BVS I don’t see this changing.

          DC is taking this unexpected turn in stride but if it happens with JL just like BVS and MOS they won’t be as forgiving and they will take notice if JL doesn’t meet expectations WB will change plans they will readjust things and they will listen to criticisms all the wrong ones and none of the ones that could actually help. Everything hinges on critics liking JL and that’s not likely. I want Darkseid now I want to pay off this story now, while I still can. If JL faces the same harshness BVS did (which is likely) JL 2 won’t matter I don’t want to risk them saving Darkseid then critics ruin everything resulting in me either not getting him or getting a watered down version of him. Go all out, DC needs to give it everything they have to get people in seats critics won’t help them so they can’t afford to save things for later.

          • @Trent, that’s why I think it was deliberate. The critics who posted reviews on RottenTomatoes and Metacritic (although not all) gave negative reviews to deliberately place a scar on the film. It was then up to the trolls (who for all we know could be some of the same critics) to use that as a talking point to continue a psychological warfare campaign against the film to derail any further viewings of the film. They might deny it and say that it’s crazy talk, but certainly “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was a far better film than “Barb Wire”, “Daredevil”, or even “Batman: The Movie” (1966). I expect the same thing to happen with every DC film, since this has been happening since Catwoman (the Batman franchise seems to be immune to this nonsense).

          • Directed to dnno1 for whatever reason there is no reply option below your comment.

            The reception was truly bizarre only Batman seems immune to this problem. It’s rather hypocritical the common complaints being characters lacking logic, the plot not making sense, Lex having no motive or the characters in general which is false anyway. Where it becomes hypocritical is with TDK which everyone loves (for good reason) but it should be guilty of a lot of the sins people accuse BVS of. How can anyone say Lex made no sense but understand Joker who has plans that outright counteract each other, he’s an anarchist but this isn’t outright stated. How is Batman being manipulated by Lex bad but being played by Joker is fine. It’s bad for Batman to kill to save Martha but okay for him to kill dent to save Gordon’s son. It’s bad for the bat mobile to kill people during the chase, but it’s okay to kill the truck driver during the chase in TDK. It’s bad to jump from Bruce to Clark to Lex and Lois but it’s okay to jump from Bruce to Dent to The mob to Wayne enterprises.

            It’s bad to blow up the hearing and then mention it sparingly but it’s okay to blow up the hospital and not really mention it again. It’s bad for Lois to throw away the spear but it’s okay for Rachel to leave Bruce’s safety house. It’s bad for Lois to have a subplot investigating Lex but it’s okay having Reese investigate Bruce’s identity. It’s bad for Bruce to still be affected by his parents death here (don’t ask I have no clue) but it’s okay for him to still be haunted by them for the entire trilogy, neither is bad since Bruce not being able to move past it is kind of the point of his character. It’s bad having doomsday in the third act but it’s okay to have two face in the third act, I have no biff with either. Finally it’s bad for Superman to not be the main character of his sequel movie but it’s okay for Batman to not be the focus of his sequel movie, (great as it was TDK was Dent and Gordon’s story told through Bruce’s eyes.)

            I mean seriously how can people not see the hypocrisy of all this my list doesn’t even end there. I’m not dissing TDK it got the praise it deserved what confuses me is why all these perceived flaws or minor things are all of a sudden not okay BVS was Superman’s TDK and did many similar things so why are critics and people being so hypocritical towards it.

            On a different note here has anyone noticed that BVS is the anti TDK think about how certain arcs go and the nature of the villains and you’ll start to see what I mean.

      • @DrAwkward You raise a lot of great points my hope is that the third act will bring the light into this universe and will have a Superman who, as you say, can share his secret with a few more people and will lighten him up just a bit. The moment with Lois in the bathtub, where you see him truly happy, albeit fleetingly so and possibly naively so, is one of my favorite parts of the film. I love the character and I hope that Justice League injects a little more of that optimism from the character that we all know and love. I don’t want them to go back to a Christopher Reeve like Superman because, while he is who everyone thinks of when we talk about the Last Son of Krypton, my favorite version of Superman was where Clark is the true person and Superman is the disguise he uses to help people (as I wrote this I realized how that is exactly what they’re going for in this universe lol) so I don’t want him to be impossibly perfect, after all he was raised human, I just want him to serve more as an inspiration to the good that even mere mortals can accomplish when they truly make the effort to be good. To quote Jor-El in Man of Steel, “you will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall but in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.” Thank you for the response and a bit more insight into your thoughts of the movie, I agree with you on a lot but I hope to see a more optimistic inspiring Superman in Justice League. Once again I’m a huge fan of your podcast and I look forward to the next episode 🙂

  6. Hey, Doc, great episode, as per usual! xD

    I happen to have one big question regarding Clark in BvS, as it is frequently brought up as an alleged plot hole in the film – how exactly and at what point was Clark able to deduce Batman’s alter ego? After all, unlike Lex, Clark isn’t privy to CCTV footage, or facial recognition systems, and him just hearing Alfred’s voice in Bruce’s earpiece in and of itself wouldn’t necessarily at all imply to Clark that Bruce Wayne is Batman. So, taking that all into consideration, what do you think the best apologetics for this so-called plot hole would be?

    • @Nicholas, thanks for the question. Pet peeve of mine, I don’t consider that to be a plot hole. Although not explained, it’s also not impossible / contradiction, which is the dictionary definition:
      (“In fiction, a plot hole, plothole or plot error is a logical inconsistency within a story. Such inconsistencies include such things as illogical or impossible events, and statements or events that contradict earlier events in the storyline.”)

      I see no reason to overthink this one. Superman surprises Batman and busts the Batmobile. From Man of Steel, we’ve seen that when Superman uses his vision we generally don’t get a clue that he is (reading Hamilton’s badge during the interrogation, etc)… so he peeks and sees the same billionaire who gave him grief a few days ago. Easy as that. You can go before that if you want since Superman had to find the Batmobile to begin with so that process may have upturned the identity as well. Really, it’s only an issue if the critic is being stubborn about it and refusing to accept any number of easy apologetics.

      • I just assume that Clark started to put 2 and 2 together when he accidentally intercepted Bruce´s radio communications during the gala. He was further actively investigating Batman and the Ultimate Cut will have a scene (or more) with him on the beat in Gotham. I will also assume that he immediately deciphered though Batman´s voice modulator. Why shouldn´t he found out? He is a reporter (with a grudge!) after all. The whole gala scene is crazy ambiguous on top of that.

        If that´s not enough than just remember that Superman is as smart as Batman (or Flash, as both have super reading skills and more) in the comics. He also could easily peak, just as in the 90s toon. No holes here. I am actually kind of amazed how water tight the script is. I always liked most of (cough Blade 3 / the tv show) Goyer´s work and head re-writer Terrio is even an Oscar winner. I am actually not that crazy about the 3rd act of his Argo but he now has my full trust due to BvS. My only gripes are again with the (last second?) editing.

  7. @Doc, this was probably your best post yet.

    The Hollywood Reporter is trying to call this the end of the film’s run (see http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/box-office-verdict-batman-v-889234) when it probably has another 7 weeks more of release (maybe more since we are moving towards summertime and more students will be available to view the movie). I think we should all encourage our friends and ourselves to go and see the film again at least one more time in the next few months to prove THR wrong.

    • I can’t comment on how the movie will do from this point but I’m pretty sure it will reach number six in highest grossing SH movies likely knocked down to seven by CW. With a few weeks left I believe it will reach somewhere around 900 million if the ultimate cut gets a release in theaters it could reach a billion though I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter this is absolutely a success second installment in the entire franchise and it makes more than all but six comic movies, it did it’s part.

      Regarding Franky’s post I feel I should bring something up as it refers to a reoccurring problem I have to address elsewhere. I understand wanting a more happy Superman that’s a preference a lot of people have but a lot of people seem to mistake a happy Superman for a hopeful Superman that is not the case. Happy and hopeful are not the same thing, a happy Superman doesn’t equal a hopeful Superman nor vice versa. This Superman is probably one of the most hopeful we’ve had as is this universe in general when it comes to comic movies.

      Hope isn’t being happy, hope is believing in the better of people and believing things can get better despite having no reason to. The idea of Hope comes from darkness and despair only when in darkness can there be light. Superman reflects this he believes in the better of people but his belief is constantly being challenged, he wants to have hope but the world won’t let him. Having Hope and being optimistic is meaningless if you haven’t faced tough times because how can you hold onto your faith truly and if it’s never challenged?

      The truly hopeful Superman has to be earned Superman’s faith in us must be earned and it is through batman through Lois through Johnathan to an extent. Still his faith must be tested we must tear him down break his spirit so his faith can truly be established only once he holds to his ideals under the impossible can his hope truly be absolute. That line no one stays good in this world is the beginning of Superman’s final trial does he hold to his ideals when it truly counts, he has no reason to not kill batman he’s a brutal vigilante, he is trying to kill him and won’t listen to reason, even worse Superman’s ideals may very well get him killed in turn killing his mother as well. He has no reason not to kill him and every reason to yet he doesn’t. Then when Doomsday is going to kill Lex Superman saves him he has no reason to at all but he does regardless proving that his morals and ideals are absolute, Superman has passed his final trial.

      Now we can have a more hopeful and even happy Superman because we have earned it, Superman worked his way to that point going from Clark to Kal El to Superman and finally The Superman. I understand wanting to get this point sooner it is the preference of many people. I feel this can be problematic we sometimes let our personal preference get in the way.

      For example people want a more happy Superman but many fail to see that a happy Superman makes no sense here. Even when saving people it doesn’t because Clark has no connection to these people he can’t talk to them since they don’t see him as a man. While saving that girl Clark was her angel but not a man. To her people he was a god, this would naturally make Clark feel uncomfortable. He is constantly trying to do good and beaten into the ground for it. People see him as a threat despite what he does those who don’t see him as threat see him as a god descended from heaven. There’s no middle ground here so few people see him for who he is, therefore he can’t connect to humanity everytime he saves someone the good he does is twisted in some way or he is once again reminded that he is not one of them. Clark doesn’t want to think of either option he just wants to be a symbol for people to believe in to give them hope, but his symbol keeps being distorted no matter what he does his symbol keeps pushing him further from humanity. So there is no reason for Clark to be happy at all would you be I know I wouldn’t.

      Anyway in the words of doc himself I am starting to ramble, so I’ll just wrap up with this. I understand wanting a certain version of the character and I understand having a certain preference regarding Superman but I feel we need to put those preferences aside and consider if the portrayal of the character in context fits the story being told and with Superman I feel it absolutely did, a happy Superman or even a not depressed Superman wouldn’t make sense in this story. The way he was portrayed fit the narrative and in my opinion was the best option.

      • Hey Trent,

        First off you bring up a lot of good points and I agree that the whole point of showing an optimistic and hopeful Superman has to come from a dark place so that he can be the light, I just feel that the movie tried to say that there were differing viewpoints on Superman, one positive and one negative but in reality off of 2 viewings all I could see was a Superman who was getting beat down and was consistently mopey throughout until the very end of the movie. Aside from our mutual friend Doc lol I am one of the biggest Man of Steel apologists I know and that movie I felt did showcase the optimism and hope that Superman represents infinitely more than BVS. I don’t look to change your opinion as I do feel you bring up very valid points and when the movie makes its way to bluray I will happily watch it again with the hope that I will see something I may have missed initially. For me it goes back to something I believe Perry says early in the movie and I am paraphrasing but he says something along the lines of “world ends love affair with Superman” I guess I wanted to see more of that love the people had for him before they tried to bring him down

        • I wouldn’t count on that simply because with a movie this busy we did not have time to see the love affair so to speak. It was fake anyway people were awed by him but that was all. Maybe something in the opening a opening montage that is the light mirror of the one later, people praising his actions lots of saves and deeds with countless supporters and few protestors who point out his absolute power and if who he answers to when he should act setting up Africa, then the second montage is the opposite endless protestors with but a few supporters, that would be an awesome mirror. But that’s the best I feel we can have maybe one other scene there is a rumored football stadium scene, maybe have it result in a Superman save.

          • I actually think that would be a great idea and yeah I’m hoping we get to spend some more time with Clark and the stadium scene would be nice to see. I do feel the opportunity is there for the next few movies to show different facets to the character and that is what I like about the movie is that it does set up a vast world ripe for exploring

  8. Hi,

    Poeple complaint that batman vs superman fight is too short and apparently even by critics. Is this a legit criticisms??

    • The “original” fight in DKR isn´t that long (it´s slightly longer in the 10/10 cartoon film adaptation), Batman has partners and it was most importantly a media circus. Bruce pulled a power play there and shamed the president´s lap dog in front of the army! I actually never had a problem with the very first Miller Superman, who is a fascinating examination of a politically compromised icon, as he is still a hero. DK2 (that fight is pure garbage btw.), All Star Batman and DKRIII are all a mess and a dishonor to Superman´s legacy. Maybe even Batman. I am still not quite able to call any of them bad. Oh well.
      BvS though was a life and death slugfest due to Batman´s unwavering kill frenzy. Superman tries to talk it out, than to subdue him but is finally locked in a vicious battle to the death/survival. They threw in everything and the actual kitchen sink, so i was more than satisfied.
      There aren´t all than many scenarios BvS could have adapted or come up with that could work. BvS needs to have sequels and can´t really shame anyone (as beautifully DKR did). The fight in Hush or the opening arc of the New52 are basically what Batman vs Doomsday was. A one man desperation act and tickets can´t be sold that way. The gladiator match ultimately works due to the dark and manipulated place Bruce is in. Going with a, now falling, 20 year old vet, was a stroke of genius.
      Batman entered the (redeeming) 3rd act of his career after the fight and especially the end. Superman though only ended his 1st after being shived, as his father was (!), by Zod. That´s what i loved about Batman Begins. Bruce was still “beginning” when the film ended and not even the sequel featured a fully formed Batman. Superman also only became comic Superman (note the S curl towards the end!) when he decided to TRUST in his peers and sacrifice himself. This low burn structure slightly harms Nolan´s vision due to the trilogy structure but the DCEU is a franchise, so i will never complain about proper build up. Especially as we are already seeing payoff! And that´s what´s lastly good about the fight. It was a major event in out protagonists live but we got to move on and don´t have to awkwardly insert it because someone awkwardly decided to 100% retcon Ironman´s character and his backstory. Oh sorry, wrong film but i do recommend to Cap: CW to watch the themes of BvS done wrong. Still a good action film (7,5?/10) but certainly brainless one. We saw Batman stalk out the docs and send out an evacuation/warning signal. The Avengers though “lightheartedly” trash an airport and the have another battle and… Why did they choose that script.

      • Haha i already see civil war yesterday. While I agree that iron man vs capt is much more brutal and intense probably due to because in comparison to bat v supes fight, the fight do kinda seems shorter and the fight is also seem one sided whereas capt and iron man fight is almost on equal level. However I agree that capt vs iron man have nowhere the emotional impact that bat v supes have which I considered it to be the most powerful transformative and clarity moment ever for both batman and superman in MARTHA scene

        It is really laughable when critics claim that civil war improve batman v superman formula when the civil war to me is not really that any ground-breaking or any risk taker at all. Is just like any typical marvel movies.

        • I haven’t seen CW yet but I do know everything about it and I’m not going to lie it sounds awesome however it doesn’t sound like it takes many risks which is a problem for me. Still the whole CW does the BVS formula better is nonsense since they are polar opposites.

          The only thing BVS and CW have in common is it involves heroes fighting other than that they’re completely different movies with completely different themes and meanings. The hero vs conflict could not be more different. One is a clash of friends which is very personal, their ideals play a part but it’s way more about Bucky than the accords the conflict is personal. It’s not an ideological struggle despite what no doubt everyone will say, the ending fight has nothing ideological about it the fight is purely personal on both sides, not that this is bad quite the opposite a clash of friends should be personal. It’s not about whose right though people will certainly debate it’s about how far will these friends go, will they kill each other? That’s the personal stake will these friends kill each other over their view of Bucky? The BVS clash could not be more different.

          The other clash is between two people who are directly against each other. They don’t know each other they are not friends. Their clash is completely ideological their is nothing personal about it. It’s entirely about their beliefs and different views. Superman is conflicted between his morals and personal emotion will he hold onto his ideals or will he abandon them to save his mom. Batman’s ideals are also challenged will he finally cross that line or will he remember why he fights in the first place they’re morals win through the same idea.

          They are world’s apart with completely different meanings behind them both the conflicts and the movies themselves. One leads to the beginnings of a friendship and the foundation of a team, the other is the splintering of a friendship and the decimation of a team. So critics saying CW is a better BVS are only focusing on the heroes fighting not the reason behind it, the movies have almost nothing in common and are in fact polar opposites.

        • Heart of Steel

          “It is really laughable when critics claim that civil war improve batman v superman formula when the civil war to me is not really that any ground-breaking or any risk taker at all. Is just like any typical marvel movies.”

          I’m planning on watching CW one of this days, however while I have 0 intentions of bothering to read/watch critical opinion, I always knew that they would do something ridiculous like that. Specially considering how the idea to turn “Captain America 3” into “Civil War” was coincidentally revealed some time after the “Batman v Superman” announcement.

          If DC does it before, they say Marvel improved it, if DC does it after, they say they’re copying Marvel. Laughable indeed.

          • I too hate the double standard especially considering that the Russo’s admitted that the only reason we got CW was because of BVS it inspired them to do CW and go a different path and I applaud them for having the courage to admit that.

            I’m not surprised by the critic response though the constant praise marvel gets is annoying. I still cannot fandom how WS is actually considered on the level of TDK or BVS. Everyone says that movie explored deep and meaningful themes and I’ve tried to see how any of them were actually explored and can’t find it fans of the movie can’t actually answer this either yet it’s deeper than the BVS how?

            (On a different note this is directed to dr awkward but others can answer it too what did you think of my brief comparison of BVS and CW and how I showed that they were opposites, I could go much deeper if I wanted to but wanted to keep the length reasonable.)

          • [redacted for spoilers / moderator comment]

            I’m glad this is a safe space for DC fans, but it’s not meant to be hostile towards other fans in the process. It’s okay to discuss other films in context, but please respect fans anticipating other films who haven’t had an opportunity to see it yet. Thank you for your consideration.


          • @Doc Your site could use a spoiler button.
            I stayed away from going over specific details and the 2nd half. Oh well. I DO like Cap3 in the end but it´s still not out in the US and that´s what did me in. (I haven´t attacked anyone btw.). I still have the post, maybe in a month.

  9. Is Synder´s take on Clark X Lois the first long form life-action Superhero romance that works and evolves?
    The Crow or Deadpool (a film original btw.) have good ones and i like both Catwoman relationships but all of these are single vision films.
    Spiderman 3 and Amazing 2 derailed pretty hard, Ironman´s goes nowhere (i like the new film -7,5/10- but i have HUGE problem with the script and ret-cons of Cap: CW). So did the first cinematic Superman romance, due to the creepy mind wipe. The X-men never got one going and neither did the Nolan films. I could go on. The only other one i remember is Hellboy X Liz, which only lasted 2 films and thus forever lacks payoff. (They never dated in the comics btw.) I was pretty bummed out when DC decided to take THE superhero romance out of the New52 but it is back already and Rebirth starts next month. Superman X Wonderwoman was ok btw. but it did derail her narrative. To a crazy degree even…
    We always get to hear how nihilistic or objections (WTF?) Synder films are but all, with the exception of the Owls (?), have positive takes on romantic relationships. Even Dawn of the Dead! That very human Snyder touch tends to be overlooked but it´s borderline new for the cinematic side of comics. His sex scenes are a bit crazy though.

    I 100% fail to understand why “critics” (you can´t criticize without an analysis and too few did) decided to crucify him after he made the 1 to 1 adaptation of 300. That comic is a classic! Actors, producers and business partners hold him in high regard. He even has his children’s names tattooed on his arms. Look, i may agree with the low-ish quality of Sucker Punch but most directors produced a dud or two. Spielberg´s 1941comes to mind, but nope, a Hack Snyder he shall remain. No seriously. The top 20 google search results for his name are now all misreported “news”, unethical character assassinations from April fools and multiple (talented) comic writers are now after him too. Or have been for years. The films certainly has its fans, a HUGE amount even, but the trolls and click-bait journalists now found their next big thing for the coming years. Sigh.
    MoS´s reception was picnic by comparison and that one was graded on preconceived notions from the TRAILERS. Poor Jonathan…

    Here is the best (positive) insight piece on the director i read so far. I never knew about the dyslexia and the tale about his student films is very impressive. The man knows how to get shit done!

  10. Great work as always doc. I’m a big fan, and I also defend the DCEU a LOT, and there are a lot of times when I just get a link from articles that defend MoS and BvS (some of course being yours). Recently HISHE made a BvS video, you countered the arguments of the MoS one so will you the same for BvS? Even though their review was positive, most of their criticisms in the video were very unjust. I just hope one day this movie will finally get the respect it deserves.

    • HISHE is just poking fun at any movie and the point of the videos is to not take it as if they are fixing plot holes. There arguments relies on coincidences and that it self creates another plot hole after trying to fix one.

  11. Thanks, Doc, for another great episode. In seeing the movie several times, I had gotten a lot out of Clark’s character arc and Lois’s contributions to the movie, but I hadn’t put together that it was a new take on the traditional love triangle Lois-Clark-Superman. Here in BvS, it’s not about physical attraction but about who Lois thinks should ultimately be active in the world, Superman or Lois/Clark.

    I also agree with @DNNO1 that we can all look for a few people to encourage to see BvS before it leaves theaters. I know I want to see it one more time, and I just talked to a couple of friends who were not planning to see it because of the negative word of mouth, but me and another BvS fan pointed out that it’s a great movie and has a lot of psychological depth. They seemed surprised to hear that the word of mouth may not have been totally representative, so hopefully they go to see it.

  12. Great Podcast Doc, I follow your site and I think is extraordinary!
    I’m glad that you analyze this movies with passion and honesty.
    I love Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is my favorite adaptation and I think is a Masterpiece. I also love Man of Steel and I’m looking forward to the next DC Movies.
    Batman v Superman has so many deep themes, that we could write books about it. Superman is my favorite fictional character and I think that Zack Snyder understands very well the core of Superman. He creates a real journey, from the birth on Krypton to the ultimate sacrifice on Earth. Even if in Justice League we will have more superheroes, I believe that Superman will remain the center of the team, the inspiration and the light of hope.
    Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) a lot of people didn’t see the movie (BvS) in the same way we have saw it, and they are thinking in different ways, even if in some circumstances, they aren’t thinking at all.
    We live in the social network society, where for the majority of the people is more important what someone else thinks of he/she, rather than what the person think of itself. Is a society where the opinions are moves like sheeps by a shepherd, where if there are good words, everyone repeat the good words, but if there are bad words, everyone repeat the bad words. Sometimes, I have the impression that the people say something because they have to, and not because they want to. Sometimes, no one say anything against some kinds of movies, but almost everyone say something negative against other kinds of movies. Are the people really express their opinions? Are they honest when they say something? Or they just trying to be part of the chorus? One of the greatest fear of the human (especially when we are young) is to be alone. Some people are so afraid to be alone, that they follow whoever they can follow. This kind of behavior leads insecure people to a (fake) secure place and when people are too much insecure, they do what someone else (that they think is more secure of itself) is doing. Personally, I don’t mind if people are criticizing a movie that I like, I care about what I think of a movie, because I’m the one who pay the ticket and watch the movie. Hatred and prejudices influence the analysis of many people and thinking to believe blindly in some reviews, it is not at all wise.
    Moreover, many people are no longer really criticizing a product for what is, in reality a lot of criticism are complaints about the lack of items that they would have liked. Analysis should not be based on non-existent things, but on the product ratings. How can we trust critics that they aren’t even able to be honest with themselves? When we lie to someone, it is as if we were lying to ourselves.
    Unfortunately is easy to influence the point of view of other people, especially when the other people are insecure and thy need to be a part of a “group”, and especially if the influence came from a “trusted source” or a big name.
    We live in the same World where every year many companies pay almost 4 million dollars for a tv ad of 30 seconds that airs during the Super Bowl, because a lot of people watch that event, and the companies knows that an ad can influence people and can induce them to buy a product.
    I live my life for me, and if seems ironic to say this, I have the impression that a lot of people are living the life for someone else. They care about what someone else say about a movie, they care about almost everything someone else have to say. Art proves itself and if is real art, will be remembered. The biggest filmmakers of the history, where criticized a lot back then, but today seems hard to believe, and today, even if they aren’t alive anymore, their movies are considered art.
    Art doesn’t needs critics. Art needs an artist. In the first place.

    • Heart of Steel

      Allow me to say, what an extraordinary comment. You took the words out of my mind, you just summarized all of my (and I’m certain that also many of us’) thoughts regarding the current situation around the superhero films.

      “for the majority of the people is more important what someone else thinks of he/she, rather than what the person think of itself”

      “I have the impression that a lot of people are living the life for someone else. They care about what someone else say about a movie, they care about almost everything someone else have to say”

      Quoted for truth. A very ‘ugly truth’.

  13. Hey Dr.Awkward, I have a question that I think you could answer. What do you think Lex meant by “All powerful”, does he really believe in an omnipotent being or is it just a term for the most powerful being although not omnipotent? If he didn’t believe in omnipotence then why does he expect the “god figure” to get rid of evil? If he did believe in omnipotence why does he push this against superman who is not omnipotent?

    • @Havs, I subscribe to C.S. Lewis’s interpretation of omnipotence as “all powers that exist” not “all powers that can be conceived of” or “all powers that can be spoken”. The first means all powers that are known and which actually exist. The second mean any logically consistent power you can imagine but which may not actually exist. The last means anything you can write down even if it’s nonsense like contradictory powers.

      The problem of evil is particularly stark with an omnipotent being in the context of the second definition, but it’s not necessary to raise or explore the issue. The idea of corrupting power certainly existed before and without absolute power. It’s clear that Lex doesn’t care about omnipotence in the second sense because he repeatedly raises deities that don’t meet that definition and he knows- in fact- that Clark doesn’t meet this definition (which is the very reason he’s able to make Clark kneel before him). So any critic raising it as an issue essentially misunderstands Lex’s issue and intention. It isn’t an exercise of the problem of evil against the second definition but more the corrupting influence of power he experienced under his father and how that gets projected onto all power henceforth… the ultimate example of that being gods, monsters, and Superman.

      Prior to Superman, Lex doesn’t have an existential crisis with the problem of evil because he basically doesn’t believe the omnipotent God exists (based on his experience). So he doesn’t care if people bow and worship a figment in his estimation. However, if people start to do that to something real with real power, then he has a problem and he has to promote his perspective. The problem of evil gives him a framework to describe his position, but it isn’t literally applicable.

      • I took Lex’s line that “If God is all-powerful, then He cannot be all-good. And if He’s all-good, then he cannont be all-powerful” to refer specifically to the abuse he suffered by his father. If God were all good then God would want to save Lex from abuse. But since God didn’t save Lex, it means he COULDN’T save him, which means He is NOT all-powerful. If, however, God IS all-powerful, and COULD have stopped the abuse, then He is NOT all-good, because He allowed it to happen under His watch.

        I got the impression that this was likely a childhood realization based on childish beliefs, but by adulthood Lex had twisted this into basically “The good are not powerful, and the powerful are not good.” Confronted by Superman, a being who is superhumanly powerful and clearly exceptionally good, he simply couldn’t reconcile this with his belief system. Whereas Batman was paranoid that Superman “might” go bad, I believe Lex knew that he wouldn’t – thus the frame jobs and smear campaigns and assassinations-by-proxy. He knew that Superman WAS “all-good,” so he had to show that he was truly NOT all-powerful – that he could be destroyed, demoralized, discredited and defeated.

        But I didn’t get the sense that Lex truly believed in an all-powerful (or all-good) God, or that he truly thought Superman was all-powerful. I think, like a lot of his dialogue, he was simply using colorful language to make his point.

  14. Hi.

    All the marvel fans always keep on saying that marvel character are much more relatable than DC. To be honest I felt like superman and batman portrayal in BvS is much more relatable than any of the marvel character I have seen as they are the real character with real struggle. But even so, they still keep on pointing out that marvel character are more human and more easier to relate to than the GOD like DC character. What do you think?

    • Sorry I’m not Dr awkward but I do have an answer to that.

      I for one believe an unrelatable or unlikable character shouldn’t exist. The key to relate to someone isn’t the movie all but telling you to no the key is to understand them. People these days will connect to a character only if they are likable if a character is being a jerk they just dismiss them and call it bad writing. Instead of going that character is mean he sucks they should instead ask themselves why he is being mean why is he doing that, what drives his actions. They should ask themselves if that were me would I be acting similar how would I feel.

      It’s all about empathy emotionally connecting to and understanding something studying the characters reactions and putting yourself in their shoes and asking if you would feel the same in that situation. That’s all there really is to it an unrelatable character should be near impossible so long as they have real emotions. An all powerful god can be more relatable than the average man if their emotions are shown which is exactly what I thought happened Batman was awesome and very deep but it was Superman I related to.

      I do however find Steve and Tony very relatable because of the human challenges they face. Powers gods and men do not dictate how relatable a character is the emotions they show do, it’s not the god, or the vigilante, the super soldier, or the suit of armor we relate to it’s the human inside it or beneath it.

      • The Marvel characters were deigned to be more “relatable” during the reboot in the 60s. We could talk about the lower/more personal stakes of their universe, power levels and so on all day but they are the “Heroes Next Door” while the Marvel-esque Batman (a hard luck hero) lives in Gotham.
        The Golden Age Cap is occasionally called a very DC character on the other hand and even he has been humanized to a stronger degree by Ed Brubaker´s run and is now less of an Icon for “Truth, Justice and…” and a highly conflicted soldier in a turbulent time.

        Read the well done JLA/Avengers to see this very theme explored more and the cinematic MCU heroes are less powerful than the comic versions (Scarlet Witch/Vison), just as in the highly influential Ultimates. Both approaches work and are valid. NEEDED even and I always preferred DC´s pantheon of gods. My favorite Marvel property are the X-men who borderline need their own universe, so I am fine with the Fox divide.

      • This is something I’ve been mulling over ever since reading Kevin Smith’s comment about how he couldn’t find the “heart” in the movie. I surprised myself with my initial response to that, which wasn’t a defensive “Of course it has heart!” but instead I thought aloud “What is this, ‘Rudy’?” Why do movies, especially superhero movies, need to have “heart” these days? This has become another lazy groupthink “criticism” of anything that doesn’t hew to the expected, almost programmed, formula.

        That formula, of course, is the Hero’s Journey. There’s nothing wrong with this formula in and of itself and a movie using it can of course be terrific. But that doesn’t mean that every Hero’s Journey movie is good, nor does it mean that a movie that doesn’t use that formula is bad. But it’s become so ubiquitous in superhero movies, that to not use that formula can be jarring to people.

        And by design, the Hero’s Journey has heart – it’s about an “ordinary person” (you) who is thrust into “extraordinary circumstances” (adulthood), and, though given “guidance” (education), overcomes the odds and “defeats the villain” (moves away from your parents) due to that “special something” (heart) that makes them actually a “hero” (grown up who can buy their own clothes now). It can be a thrilling story, but at it’s core it is a metaphor for something very routine – everybody has heart and is a hero, ultimately, because we all grow up (mostly).

        But just because it’s about heroes and adventure, doesn’t mean every genre movie has to be a Hero’s Journey story, and thus, needn’t be defined by how much “heart” it has. It’s funny, the examples that have been floating around about movies that were critically trashed when they came out yet are considered masterpieces now (“Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “2001: A Space Odyssey”), are not Hero’s Journey movies and are not exactly known for their “heart.” They are appreciated for the boundaries they pushed and the philosophical nature of their narratives, the allusions, the allegories – for what their directors were trying to say about the nature of humanity, mortality, gods, and devils as opposed to how good they are trying to make you to feel about yourself.

        Here are some quotes from the critics:

        “Suffering from delusions of grandeur, it is a profoundly anticlimactic intellectual muddle”.

        “While much of the footage is breathtaking, it is emotionally obtuse and intellectually empty.”

        “Not so much an epic account of a grueling fight as an incongruous, extravagant monument to artistic self-defeat.”

        Sound familiar? Well, those aren’t reviews of BvS, those are reviews of “Apocalypse Now.” Yeah, that movie was “divisive” when it came out in 1979, yet it is a classic today. Here’s what Dale Pollock at Variety said of Coppola’s film at the time: “It’s a complex, demanding, highly intelligent piece of work, but it’s coming into a marketplace that does not always embrace those qualities.” That was nearly 40 years ago, and it seems the marketplace hasn’t exactly grown up.

        It’s sad that people, especially critics who are expected to have such high standards, can’t appreciate this movie for trying something other than the underdog formula and going for the head instead of the heart. It’s sad that people can’t give this movie credit for being complex and challenging, instead of bashing it because they didn’t get it right away.

        There’s another cheap catchphrase that people use to bash stories these days, which is when someone will say the movie didn’t “earn” a specific moment. That expression has been bugging me for a long time and I haven’t been able to put my finger on it until now, but the use of that against the “Martha” scene in BvS I think clarified it for me – the movie didn’t “earn” that moment because it didn’t telegraph it, set it up in the audience’s expectations, and spell out its meaning clearly.

        The fact that the filmmakers expect you to think about what that means is completely lost on an audience that expects to have these things delivered to them at predictable intervals, befitting the formula to which they have become accustomed.

        So all the qualms about “relatable characters”, “heart”, and “earned” moments are really all just code for wanting things to be delivered as expected, spelled out, explained in full, and being made to feel good about yourself at the end. But sometimes movies make you feel bad or sad or mad and those are valid responses to art as well. Perhaps moreso since they’re challenging your expectations and getting you to consider those emotions instead of just reinforcing your assumptions.

        I’m going to end this post with Roger Ebert’s review of “Apocalypse Now” which I only hope will also be true for BvS: “Years and years from now, when Coppola’s budget and his problems have long been forgotten, Apocalypse will still stand, I think, as a grand and grave and insanely inspired gesture of filmmaking.”

        • @Phil I have listed to all but 2 eps. of Kevin Smith´s Fatman on Batman podcast and i wouldn´t take the “lack of heart” comment too deeply. His Daredevil and Green Arrow comics started of good and ended up being only OK (the art was great though), while all his later comic works are some of the worst US comics of the 00s. To an infamous degree even and he may own a comic shop and like the Superheroes characters but he doesn´t continuously read them and ends up having a less than ideal views on the podcast. I find it hard to listen to at times but i follow along due to the amazing guests. He liked BvS more on 2nd viewing and most of his criticism (why is Supermen treated as Jesus, why did we have to see Thomas/Martha´s death and so on) came from a fundamental misunderstanding of the script. He couldn´t get behind it as they weren´t “his” characters.
          The same can be said about a number of level headed detractors but i will again mention that the film coudn´t have been closer to the comics. Key DC writers DO believe in Snyder´s direction too.

          To each his or her own and Apocalypse Now, Fight Club (Ebert wasn´t a fan btw.), Psycho, Peeping Tom and so on were torn apart because the audience just “didn´t get” the films on first try.
          Even Star Wars V got a mixed reception due to the tone!
          Ultimate Cut Watchmen is starting to get a critical reappraisal, so i would just wait till further films will reveal a more complete picture to the general audience. They may than start to step away from pre-conceived notions but i fully expect the next 3 films to get rotten ratings, or at least not-certified ones, even if they turn out good. MoS´s RT score even dropped by 1% this week…
          BvS also suffered a bit as we all knew that we would get an incomplete cut. WB should have keep silent about for a bit longer.

          But again. Good things come to those who wait and the A level / Academy Winning personal behind the DCEU has to have a reason to sign up. None of US, or Doc, would be here if we couldn´t see true greatness so just wait. And remember. Synder and so. are currently hard at work to continue our journey. We are not alone!

          • Heart of Steel

            “They may than start to step away from pre-conceived notions but i fully expect the next 3 films to get rotten ratings, or at least not-certified ones, even if they turn out good.”

            Me too. Not saying that because I’m pessimist or because I ’want’ that to happen, but because even though Snyder isn’t behind those films, the fact alone that they expand upon the universe created by Snyder’s films may be enough for “professional” critics to rip them apart to no end. There isn’t 100% chances of it to happen though, but the chances of that are still very high.

            “MoS´s RT score even dropped by 1% this week…”

            Wow, OK just let me say first that for one side I’m glad that BvS could bring people that never saw MoS to watch it, but for the other…wow, just wow. In all seriousness, I’m really not surprised at all.

            But I share your faith that good things will come to us who wait, having hope against all odds is one of the things that BvS teaches us, and I have all intentions to follow Superman’s example and believe that the good qualities of people will eventually triumph.

          • I couldn’t imagine a more accurate portrayal of Clark’s journey to be Superman. I guess I don’t have a preconceived notion of who or what he is, though I have a very long history of his lore and stories. The story tellers are telling us a story that over time (once people let go of their biases) will be revered. Man of Steel has been gathering that momentum over the last 3 years, even though many of us recognised it after the first viewing.

        • @Phil Dunlap
          My jaw dropped when I read the quotes you provided were not for BvS, they are so similar. I still cannot comprehend how so-called professional critics could be so un-professional. They should recognize art even if this is not their “cup of tea”. I even suspected they recognized it as art but decided to destroy it because they do not want to see the comic book genre (especially superhero) to be elevated to the level of art. As long as it stays within its bounaries and provides superficial entertainment they will support it, because the genre should not be treated seriously, but with disdain or condescending tolerance at best. I think now, that I have given the critics too much credit, assuming they are professionals, but it still bugs me.
          What angered me most, was the cruelty and viciousness of some comments. It reminded me of Anton Ego, the critic from the animated movie “Ratatouille” who summarized the problem accurately. “Critics love to criticize the work of other people and revel in their witty words, but they risk nothing because they create nothing” (sorry if you do not recognize the quote because I translated it from my native language back to English, but I think it has not lost its meaning).
          I have been visiting this site for some time and decided to join as it is free of trolls that make any discussion impossible.
          I can also provide links to some reviews written by critics/journalists who perceived the movie differently than most critics (sometimes even criticized their coleagues for their unfair and superficial attitude).

          • @Bea
            “I even suspected they recognized it as art but decided to destroy it because they do not want to see the comic book genre (especially superhero) to be elevated to the level of art. As long as it stays within its bounaries and provides superficial entertainment they will support it, because the genre should not be treated seriously, but with disdain or condescending tolerance at best.”

            Thank you, I’ve been trying to crystallize this thought for some time, but you got it I think. I’ve been trying to come up with an answer for why most critics accept the superhero movies they do, yet are so hard on Snyder’s films. I mean, critics loved Nolan’s TDK films, so clearly they apprecaite quality, right? Clearly they can appreciate a film that attempts to elevate the genre, correct? So why be so closed-minded about MoS and BvS?

            All this time it seemed like TDK was treated as a “real” movie by critics, but I think now that it really wasn’t. I think it was just treated as a “quality genre movie,” like a Michael Mann or James Cameron film – one that might even get Oscar nominations or awards, but really only because it was just done so well. But it wasn’t really moving or touching or thought-provoking in the way that “real” movies are (dramas, art films, black comedies, satires, etc).

            Now, TDK is a fantastic movie, and still probably the best of the genre, and it’s full of actions and motivations that are open to interpretation, but it’s also very “surface” – what you see is what you get (mostly), like a thriller or action film. Man of Steel and BvS really go that extra step and include allegories and motifs and themes and threads that speak to much larger questions than what is presented in the text – subtext, and, certainly in the case of BvS, metatext (the controvery over Superman mirrors that over MoS), more like a drama or an art film.

            And I think that’s the heart of it, for critics, that they can praise a “quality” example of a genre film, beause it is still a genre film. But this movie aims to be so much more. The more I think about it “Apocalypse Now” is a pretty good parallel – a genre film that drew inspiration from unklikely sources and aimed to say and mean more than is typically covered by the genre. Before Apocalypse Now, war movies were basically action films. Now, they can be seen as real dramas or art films. Josie Wales did something similar for the Western and 2001 did it for Science Fiction. (Interestingly, those three movies came out within a 10-year period of each other). So perhaps BvS will do that for the Superhero movie. Eventually.

          • @PHIL DUNLAP
            I am glad you see some sense in my conclusions, I thought I was seeing ghosts – like our “two Hamlets” in BvS 🙂
            I haven’t thought about it that way, but now I think you are right about differences in reception of TDK and BvS. Yes, this movie is so much more than a good genre film. I have seen BvS eight times and it has been an amazing experience – every time it touched me deeply, stunned and surprised me with something, made me sad or happy and inspired me. I think about this movie almost constantly and try not to pester my family too much with my thoughts, which is extremely difficult – they just think I am a little bit crazy 🙂
            As a real art the movie is not for everybody – you must open your mind and heart and allow it to resonate with you. People who do not experience this “resonance” may see BvS as ridculous, pompous and uncomprehensible. I have witnessed people eating popcorn during opening sequence (!!) or laughing and talking during the roof scene between Lex and Superman (my favourite scene, one of the most powerful scenes I have ever seen).

          • Your memory and grasp of that part of “Ratatouille” is very good, @Bea. 🙂 Here’s the full monologue/article, from IMDB Quotes:

            Anton Ego: In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.

          • @VERMOUTH1991
            Thank you for the full monologue, it is great and very accurate 🙂

  15. Here is my favorite review of BvS by bleedingcool´s ownder/head writer. Their earlier and also positive review was pinned on a DC executive’s facebook page during the week of release (which takes a lot of desperation but still). Here is my favorite bit form the conclusion:
    “This is not a perfect film. There are plenty of clunky inconsistencies and missing motivation. In fact a considerable amount of working out why what Lex Luthor is doing what he does demands comic book knowledge that explain Batman’s dreams, Luthor’s painting and he obsession with people’s roles. I’ll write more about that when the film opens. But in the grand scheme these are details that annoy but don’t detract. This is a sold superhero film, thats closer to the likes of X-Men: First Class without the gags than anything else.
    But coming out of the film, a head filled with gods, man and mythology, I realise that this film – in many ways about the Messiah with plenty of references and allusions towards that nature, especially the temptations in the desert, is being released for Easter Weekend. If you really want a protest against this film, that’s where I’d look… and there’s a ready made sign from the crowd in the movie – You Can’t Be A Christian And Believe In Superman.”

    Basically what enough of us have been saying. The ambition, continued follow-through from MoS, the lack of any handholding (locations are established exactly once and then repeated without a re-explanation) and the deep connection to the DC mythos made the film unapproachable to many on first viewing and that´s when all sorts of “tastemakers” grabbed the touches after either misunderstanding the film or just being reaffirm in preconceived notions. Jonathan is evil, Clark is a brooding asshole who can´t relate to humanity, humanity hates Superman, Superman will actually turn evil and on it goes, Batman is always right and so on. Don´t forget: MoS broke the internet in half and is supposed to be a “wrong” movie. Doubling down on it is thus twice as “wrong”.
    The tone was set and “The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered Down” so all who later had a middle of the road opinion or just didn´t have the character to admit that they didn´t get the film followed suit. All of this is still 100% fine with me but the reporting that followed after the reviews was often unethical or sometimes even abhorred. I am genially staring to feel for Snyder. Type in his name into google and see the top 20 results. The toxicity is mindboggling and don´t get me started on the way his Watchmen interview (he only said that the films is fundamental darker than Batman Begins due to the reality of sexual violence and so on) is being misconstrued. Starting multiple public smear campaigns against the director,based on hot air, that´s something else entirely. Some industry insiders apparently learned from flops as FF 2015 how much power they have, or feel that they have (!!!), and they decided to aim higher. WB though looked at their bank account after BvS and decided to give us 2 more films by 2020! “Well, once there was only dark. You ask me, the light’s winning” from True Detective.

  16. “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” (Malcolm X)
    People are obsessed by what critics say about a product. But critics are just people who express a simple subjective opinion. They aren’t really different from us. Maybe they have studied the field, but there are other people who have studied that field, too. Maybe they have seen a lot of movies, but there are people who have seen a lot of movies, too. What’s the real difference? Their position. They can spread what they want to spread or what they think because they have the power and the instruments to do that. Are all the people in this world really honest? Our history have answered this question.
    The opinion of critics has the same value than mine and yours, the only difference is that they can spread their message in a loud voice, they have power and the position and there are people that they want to listen them. We, as simple fans and ordinary guys, don’t have the same opportunities to ensure that everyone can hear. The power can seduce the weak and may push them to do what they have to do, so they can keep that power. People often say what others want to hear, after the ground for such words has already been built.
    I love BvS, this the only thing that matter for me. If other people don’t like the movie, I don’t care. We have to care about what we like and about what we don’t like. We live our lives for us.

    • @GAB
      You are 100% right and everyone here has made his/her own decision independently. It is very sad, however, that those critics with too much power can hurt people who put their hearts and souls into the movie. I know it is the way our world works but it still angers me.

  17. Speaking of truths, @DrAwkward, I think its time to do a piece defending Zack Snyder again. Recently there was a Screerant blog post (I won’t even givet the decency to call it an article) by Brit Hayes (http://screencrush.com/zack-snyder-watchmen-interview-batman-superman/) and the misquotes he cited are from an Entertainment Weekly (http://www.ew.com/article/2008/07/17/watchmen-chat-director-zack-snyder/3) are a perfect example of irresponsible journalism.
    To do a take on Jessie Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, The most common lie told by journalists is the falsehood of omission. If a critical fact is left out of a story and the listener/reader subconsciously fills in the details from their imagination, the story has a whole new and false meaning. A similar issue is taking things out of context. It is really sad that even though this has been a problem wit news reporting, with the advent of the Internet and social media, it has gotten worse and not better.

    • I think that at this point there’s no need for apologetics for Snyder nor WB. We all know what they’re doing and that they will continue to do it, they have nothing to prove. If people likes it or not is each to their own. People who likes it can praise and defend it to their hearts’ content, and the opposite is also true to the ones who don’t, but it’s like the Doctor recently stated;

      [quote]I make it a point not to get entangled in internet debates… while seeking good is a conversation, internet debate rarely really is. Some people came away with a feeling and then waste countless hours, life, and words framing their bitterness so that anything is fuel for their pointless pain. I warned of this using the example of Wallace Keefe who has a literal wall of Superman’s good deeds which serve only to infuriate him further. Engaging that kind of person is an exercise in wasted words.[unquote]

      Just like how 1,000 negative posts will never diminish our appreciation towards the “DC Films Universe”, their characters, and those behind it, no amount of well thought analysis and positive highlights will make those who dislike it with a passion suddenly appreciate it, let alone make them stop their endless complaints.

      As I see it, the wisest choice would be to simply ignore non-constructive criticism and focus in what can and will spread good word of mouth, not in the sense of “defending”, but in the sense of “celebrating”. Those of us who like these films are getting more, we won, we don’t have anything to prove either.

      • @Megasteel, I have to disagree with you comment that the WB should simply ignore any non-constructive criticism (i.e. bad publicity). There was a study done by Jonah Berger, Alan T. Sorensen, and Scott J. Rasmussen, that showed that negative publicity can decrease the sales of a product by anywhere from %15-%25 (this was published in an article in Marketing Science Vol. 29, No. 5, September–October 2010, pp. 815–827 – look for Positive Effects of Negative Publicity: When Negative Reviews Increase Sales). In the report they cited that the film “Mission Impossible 3” lost $100 million in ticket sales due to bad publicity and their academic research corroborated that theory. Bad buzz like the poor RottenTomatoes score from the critics may have cost BvS $130 to $200 million at the box office (which could have put the film close to or over $1 billion). I don’t think they can afford to let that happen with Justice League (presuming that film will have an even larger budget). I am not saying that they should produce a film for critics, but they need to market moves in a way that will control the media and the message. They might want to assign a political strategist to their projects to ensure that happens (I don’t know if that’s what they need, but it seems like it). I hear that Dee Dee Myers is head of Worldwide Corporate Communications and Public Affairs over at WB Entertainment. Maybe she might know of someone who could take on that task.

        • I see. You make valid points, however while I’m in the same page as you, I just wanna state that, as you said, such thing rests in the shoulders of WB’s Marketing Department, regardless of how many well-made posts defending DC and Snyder the good Doctor (or any other website) makes, at the end we are still only websites.

          Things that really influence the largest chunk of the general audience are out of our grasp, and while they are some critics like Mark Hughes that fully support WB, for some reason they’re still the minority. So, in my opinion, what I think we (the common folk) should do is spread positivity as much as we can, both in and out of the internet, letting everyone know that the “DC Films Universe” is something that is worth giving a chance. At least that’s how I see it.

          • @Megasteel, yes, the message does lie in the hands of the marketing department, but we as followers and fans who “love DC films and love to chew their food” (should they choose to accept it) have a role in this as well, and that is to spread the message, defend it, and call those out who are either misinformed or misleading about the message for what they are. I would not be afraid to criticize the critics since, consistent with social responsibility theory, they (being part of the media) should be willing to accept any “obligation from public interference or professional self regulations or both” (see http://communicationtheory.org/social-responsibility-theory/). Yes, we should keep doing what we are doing, and step it up a notch going forward. The next film coming up is “Suicide Squad” and expect that to be harshly criticized. It is beginning to look pretty obvious that Marvel doesn’t want any other film studio to have comic book films as good as theirs (not to mention that they are willing to do anything to get their IP’s back). Be on the ready to defend that film this summer.

          • I agree wholeheartedly.

  18. Hi Doc how are you? i’m a fan of your podcast since some time now and i wanted to ask you something. I was in a debate with a guy that was telling that Superman isn’t humble because he wants that everyone stop hating him and that he always needs to go with someone to tell him what to do according to the challenging situation that he’s facing; that the movie never adress what Clark wants. I wanted to respond him that he’s totally lost because he never in his life had the responsability of being a super hero so he doesn’t know what attitudes and methods use; he’s just a guy trying to do the right thing and according to the other subject he feels responsible because he feels that the world is paying a price too big for Superman existing in their world; everytime he intervines in some way he brings repercutions upon the world and if he doesn’t his presence unleashed conflicts in every aspect of society for example idealistic, political, religious and the fact that the world was in relative peace before he showed up. I wanted to know your opinion; i’m sorry for my lack of english domain if i made a mistake.

    • Thanks for listening. I generally avoid internet debates, but thank you for the question. I think being open to the opinion and views of others is humility. If you’re 100% certain of your path without an ounce of doubt, questioning, or consultation… unless you’re infallible, that seems to be supremely arrogant. Especially, when dealing with completely novel issues (new problems no one in this world has faced before) or moral dilemmas or “wicked problems” for which there is no right, correct, or absolute answer. Assuming that there is makes for a very simplistic worldview without nuance, complexity, or compassion for others. This Superman was raised his entire life to be careful about his impact on the world, so he’s naturally cautious and seeks wisdom. That doesn’t mean he isn’t principled and doesn’t fight for his values, but it’s absurd to think he should stand stock still on uncertain things that no one has universal agreement on.

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