Randomly Related Slightly Salient Stuff 13

Not sure when I’ll have time to record next.  It would be thematic to do a Martha episode for Mother’s Day but I’ve other commitments the next few weeks.  I have a bunch of notes about Lara and Martha but not compiled enough for an episode yet.

Though Lara is only in the Krypton sequence, she’s given more to do with more significance than you might initially think.  Even as she expresses doubt and fear, she’s ultimately the one who makes the active decision to launch Kal-El after bravely completing the first natural birth on Krypton in centuries.  Lara is the one that faces her husband’s killer and his threats at sentencing and has to face the end of Krypton a widow and without her child.  Some interesting stuff in that before and after when you unpack it.  Martha, meanwhile, is a strong and nurturing mother who eventually needs an episode because there’s so much to say.  For now, simply:

Happy Mother’s Day!

So until next time, an extra helping of RRSSS to help tide you over.  (Also be sure to check out all the other great DC podcasts out there!)

Superman – Character Development, Approach, Psychology, etc.

Appreciating DC Films through Science, History, Philosophy, Film, etc.


Overcoming Bad Inner Voices | School of Life

This 5-minute video talks about how we overcome criticism and unfair accusations by learning the wisdom of replacing them with more benevolent guides.  We are assaulted by and internalize negative views and need the support of maternal voices who reaffirm our worth independently of our achievement and success.  It concludes on the wisdom of culling the unhelpful voices and focusing on the ones we really need.

You can practically chart Clark’s character journey through this video point by point, again, showing the valuable applicability of his story.

Be sure to celebrate the mothers in your life this Sunday.  Be sure to moderate the voices you listen to.  There is cause to be hopeful and optimistic.

The Key to Success? Grit – Angela Duckworth | TED

Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, came out this month.  She’s been on the press and podcast circuit promoting the premise that genius is more-often-than-not the product of grit (hard work, persistence, perseverance, passion, and a stick-to-it ethos) more so than just talent or being gifted.  We raised this last RRSSS with the Hidden Brain episode, The Power And Problem Of Grit.  She elaborates in a recent episode of Freakonomics, How to Get More Grit in Your Life.

Grit serves as an interesting lens with which to view Clark’s journey as Superman.  In our last episode, I emphasized the point that the superhero doesn’t exist in this universe.  Clark is creating the position without knowing exactly what it is.  Where does Clark fall on the metrics as a “paragon of grit”?  You can take the assessment in her book or in her published materials linked in the Freakonomics show notes and applied to Clark he definitely appears to be someone who is in the upper percentile- a true outlier- of someone who is persistent and perseveres.

The book lays out four stages, traits, or components to the development of true grit: Interest, Practice, Purpose, Hope.

This relates to a well-developed, cultivated desire, interest, and passion for something.  It isn’t something that comes fully formed, but must be fostered and may require an early exploration to find.  Once found, however, gritty people will stick to that interest by substituting nuance for novelty.  Instead of bouncing from one interest to another, they seek depth and complexity inside their interest, rewarded by different facets rather than craving something else.

Applied to Clark, he was raised to help people, but that grew into an interest in rescuing them.  Even after his father’s tragic sacrifice, he structured his new wandering life around being able to provide people with impossible supernatural rescue should it be required (even at the cost of permanence or prominence).  When called upon, he willingly rescues despite the sacrifice, and when he starts his civilian life in Metropolis, he finds another facet on how he can help rescue with his writing.  He stubbornly refuses to drop a story despite the admonitions of his editor because he’s interested in how stopping the Bat might help the people.  For Clark, rescuing people has been a life-long pursuit and he’s stuck with the Superman role for about 2 years, whereas non-gritty interests typically fade in under a few months.

Then, even as his role expands beyond simply silent rescuer, instead of abandoning the role, he agrees to explore this next facet with the U.S. Senate Committee.  He’s definitely interested.

Is the deliberate exercise of improving ones self in their interest.  It is summed up by the 10,000-hour rule (or 10-year rule) somewhat unintentionally popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success.  The public perception is that is a threshold amount of practice to enter the realm of genius and that amount of practice makes you a genius.  Gladwell has repeatedly refuted that causal link, stating that it is a necessary but not sufficient condition, and that the purpose of the 10,000-hour rule in his book was never to prescribe a formula for genius but to heavily emphasize the external support necessary to allow someone to reach their 10,000 hours.  Gladwell repeated this in a recent Freakonomics episode, Being Malcolm Gladwell.

This is the area where Superman falls down some and much of my main apologetic for the discrepancy between expectations and execution.  Clark is on his way, but he’s well short of 10-years of experience because he can’t deliberately exercise without either deliberate catastrophe or sophisticated simulation.  We see Superman learning from the past and applying his experience.  He just needs more of it.  Incidentally, the time between the Man of Steel reboot and The Death of Superman?  About seven years.  The time between The Death of Superman and All-Star Superman which started to deified him as a paragon?  About fourteen years.  Does this doom Superman to never be the one we think we know?  No, that’s why the Justice League serve such a vital function!

When the superhero concept exists, accepted, and formalized, it creates an avenue for Superman to gain his deliberate practice faster and more efficiently.  It’s why the concept can’t take off alone but arises in other universes under the guise of other institutions.  The X-Men follow a school model and have Xavier’s like Potter has Hogwarts.  The Avengers are, for nearly all intents and purposes, government-sanctioned spec-op soldiers, who make superhero-ing daft outside their purview.  Note, however, that the superhero concept is still contained in those universes whereas the one makes it a possibility for anyone in the public to embrace, albeit with the same costs and consequences as Superman, but better to weed out only those truly committed.  If the concept is open and crowd sourced in such a way, we get a more plausible freedom for the heroes who spring up while also the benefit of their cooperative level-up.

The Justice League provide Superman the external support necessary such that he can achieve success, just like all outliers have uncommon support to allow their success to flourish.

Is the extension of the interest beyond one’s self, how it interacts with the world and other people.  Essentially exactly what Batman v. Superman was about.  Clark is entirely satisfied on his end to follow his passion and rescue people.  It’s only in interacting with the world’s reaction or rejection of that (as prompted by Lex) where he starts to question his purpose and ultimately finds it because he has….

The quality that allows the gritty to overcome the detours, disappointments, delays, etc. which challenges everything else.  Those with true grit believe that if they keep to everything above, that they’ll eventually overcome the issue and reap the reward.  Although Clark goes through the struggles he overcomes them because he has hope.

Two cautionary footnotes: First, social science has to be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism, which even Duckworth acknowledges and refuses to allow her research be used as a metric of achievement in schools at this nascent stage.  Second, not to forget that this isn’t to say success is deserved in the sense that those without it lack grit or hard work necessarily.  It’s all too easy to reduce the premise of these books to sound bites, slogans, and unintended algorithms which the authors themselves end up railing against for years afterwards.  Be careful about your conclusions!

Early Christian Schisms – I: Before Imperium – Extra History | Extra Credits

This video concisely describes two early Church controversies which ultimately presented the opportunity for Christianity to flourish and which, perhaps, parallels the present approach to Superman in some ways.  The two controversies are: Circumcision and the Docetists.

With respect to Circumcision, the question was whether mosaic law had to be maintained and to what degree.  Was Christianity all-inclusive of Judaism or something else?  The founders fought it out and the controversy was resolved in favor of “circumcision of the heart”, something which made Christianity inclusive of gentiles (non-Jews), a broader “market” of prospective believers.

With the Docetists, they believed Christ was a pure spirit and never really a human man in our realm (in reverence of his purity and deity) irrespective of the historical account.  The expulsion of the Docetists was an affirmation of Christ’s humanity “in the flesh” because of the sacrifice, suffering, pathos, and resurrection.  This allowed early Christians to identify with his suffering especially during persecution, making martyrdom a powerful symbol ingrained into Christianity.  God as relatable, human, and sympathetic set Christianity to grow.

In sum, one controversy was resolved to make the religion accessible to all, not just those already entrenched in highly technical and structured belief system with rigid requirements.  The second controversy was resolved to avoid idealized imaginations of the central figure but rather reinforce real relatability, humanity, and sympathy even for a deity.

Accessible Reality
The doctrine debate seems applicable to the modern approach towards Superman.  We start with a set of already devout fans completely versed-in comic book superhero culture, genre conventions, tropes, continuity, and expectations.  Not unlike the rigid rules of Judaism (only for the sake of the narrative of this discussion, I know scholars debate just how flexible mosaic law really was and is, to this day), fans may establish internal rules like, “Heroes never kill”, “Continuity dictates this”, etc.  However, it wasn’t even twenty years ago where society was skeptical of superheroes.  The rules which suspended the reality of superheroes were arcane and inaccessible to outsiders unless prepared in more palatable preexisting packages (as action movies, which didn’t have “no kill” rules for cinematic Batman to follow, for example).

The aim of verisimilitude is the abandonment of the strict and expected genre conventions, in favor for more accessible reality which may nonetheless arrive at desired genre expectations.  Honoring the principle of the thing rather than rigid adoption of the literal thing: “circumcision of the heart” versus mandating literal physical circumcision of the foreskin.  This opens the superhero to people outside the genre and sets it up to grow.

Accessible Relatability
In parallel with the second controversy, you have those who so idealized Superman, they’re divorced from historical reality and possibly undermine his broad appeal.  In historical reality, Superman was rarely the perfect paragon of universal inspiration, hope, and power.  He simply wasn’t that powerful or pure in the Golden Age.  He wasn’t that serious or sincere in the Silver Age.  And he always had a human psychology in the Bronze Age and beyond.

I’m not denying there are points where he’s elevated and held up as the example by other heroes, but those incidents are really the exception rather than the rule.  Far more of the time, Superman is a character in the comics and across media, more than he’s an icon or an ideal.

Nonetheless, there are those who love Superman, but so heavily emphasize the latter they reject the bulk of history, the bulk of comics, the bulk of media, and are infuriated at any slight to their pure spirit of Superman.  I’m not questioning their love any devotion (any more than the Docetists), but I do critique the reality of the view and the limited appeal of the view towards a comic book character, when those standards exceed those of an actual deity for a two-thousand year-old religion.

Instead, consistent throughout Superman’s history was his humanity.  His weaker powers in the Golden Age meant he could proactively pursue human desires and fight injustices in a way which would be horrifying if he had Silver Age powers.  His Silver Age persona was impish and petty and funny and fallible as a little kid with god-like powers would be in a fairy-tale reality without real continuity or consequences, identifying fully with our childlike wish-fulfillment.  His cinematic debut was similar but with more romantic notions of humanity.  His Modern Age renditions have more grounded reality and psychology while growing power and thus the responsibility which comes with that.  Each time his humanity is being explored much more than his perfection or placement on a pedestal.

Character Complexity
The current renditions are simply following the guidelines of good writing of any character, by relying on relatability, humanity, and sympathy instead of a perfect spirit.  It’s a strange belief that Superman should somehow be immune to the requirements of a good character simply by virtue of being virtuous.

It’s easy to say, “Everyone loves superheroes right now!” and take it for granted that all are going to excuse those requirements by way of genre conventions, but even if that’s a circumstantial truth now, it’s not a timeless truth.  Superman was insanely popular and universal in the Golden Age, that didn’t mean that’s all it takes for him to be popular for all time.  Even if you can get away with genre conventions now because of the popularity of superhero media now, doesn’t mean it’s wrong to take a more timeless approach which might reach skeptics who don’t know or adopt those genre conventions at all.

Who IS Sherlock Holmes? – Neil McCaw | TED Ed

As a counter-point to the above, consider this video illustrating that most of the trappings that come to mind with respect to Sherlock Holmes do not actually come from original source material.  When a character enters our collective consciousness, perhaps its less important what the source material actually says about the character versus what we all think it says?

Certainly, this tends to be the view of people who say, “Superman never kills!” and the like.  Even if you can supply canonical counter examples or show how content across the great arc of history doesn’t support their view of Superman, they feel entitled to their interpretation of Superman and they are.  However, then they aren’t entitled to tell you that your interpretation is wrong or a misunderstanding.  You may feel that a character is more than just a feeling or sensation you get, but something grounded in more history, reality, and psychology.  Reasonable minds will differ.

If anything, the video shows that the endurance comes from continual adaptation and evolution, not rigid adherence to any one portrayal as the one-and-only way in which the character may be depicted.  As shown, the affectations come from a diversity of sources and times, which coalesce into a greater whole larger than any one execution.  This means one shouldn’t stress out over any single interpretation or depiction and that generally only the most resonant aspects continue to get carried forwards into the future.

With respect to Superman, the larger-than-life icon is somewhat lacking in humanity, humility, and reality, so it’s reasonable for a modern mainstream adaptations to attempt course corrections which get layered with the icon, diversifying its facets and strength and endurance.

Myths and Truths About Tornadoes | Stuff You Should Know

I’ve talked enough about the tornado in Man of Steel, but here’s Stuff You Should Know on some prevalent myths about tornadoes.  Stuff You Should Know is a pleasant low-key science and knowledge oriented podcast by laymen who have recently covered other topics with perhaps tangential ties to DC Films.

For example, Operation Plowshare, comments on the history behind America’s nuclear arsenal and capability (to understand their exclusion or use in DC Films).  We’ve talked about altruism in the past and they talk about the Kin Selection theory.  Additionally, they take on John Hodgman’s assertion that “nostalgia is the most toxic impulse” which we’ve discussed in the past before as well (they intend to debate the topic in an upcoming meet-up and I can’t wait if it is anything like Hodgman taking on Pashman on whether hotdogs are sandwiches).

The hosts are reasonable-minds that I differ-with a fair bit, but fun to listen to regardless with good attitudes.  Basically, if I’ve warned you that someone specialized in a field and who has dedicated her life and reputation on something, in Duckworth, I extend that same disclaimer doubly to this podcast.  They do their research but double-check before you rely upon it!

Last tangent on the topic of tornadoes, This American Life recently rebroadcast an episode about a prom in the aftermath of a tornado.  It helps you appreciate the uncertainty of these situations.

Lightning round these links:

Should We Give Homeless People Homes | The Inquiry – Example of a “solved” policy problem (with examples) which still requires political will to execute and which took collective conversations to arrive at.  This ties into two points from our last episode: 1) Conversation is necessary to bring about even ideal policy; 2) It takes time and cooperation to arrive at these solutions… it’s unrealistic to expect Clark to know how to address policy-level problems like this after less than two years on the job.

World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements | John Hunter – Similar to the above, how cooperative and iterative learning and experimentation with a game set kids up to problem-solve some of the world’s toughest problems.

How To Understand A Picasso | Evan Puschak

I’m always excited by the possibility of extending an elemental analysis to something and Puschak proposes an approach to understanding the easily misunderstood, extracting much more meaning than what is explicitly on or clearly depicted in the painting.  That approach greatly extends one’s ability to appreciate a work and it is a pity that many are not willing to extend that opportunity more works.

Should you trust unanimous decisions? – Derek Abbott | TED-Ed – Not intended to relate to unanimity of critical response, but a check on whether or when we should be skeptical of it.

.44 An Unusual Pattern | What’s The Point – Presents a similar example of when our intuition may be led astray.  When extremely unusual circumstances occur, we intuitively want to ascribe intention, not recognizing that from a statistical point of view, outliers are likely and expected to occur.  The most elegant illustration is that it is unlikely that any one individual will win the lotto, however, it is extremely likely and expected that someone will.  Somehow we see this with lotteries and understand that, but in many other arenas we fail to.

Do Invincible Creatures Exist? | Completely Optional Knowledge – Even without listening to the episode I knew this would end up being about tardigrades or water bears.  The related line?  Weaknesses: Cosmic radiation and tearing; essentially the main weaknesses of a Kryptonian on Earth!

Episode 29: Traffic | Hidden Brain – Cultural differences in expectations and unintended consequences.  The first half is a modern real-world example of The Miller, His Son, and Their Donkey and the latter reemphasizes the point that Clark isn’t equipped to make state-level interventions when policy-makers who focus on this very thing fail.

Episode 12: Omnibot | Flash Forward – Universal translator.

Does grammar matter? – Andreea S. Calude | TED-Ed – Prescriptive vs. Descriptive philosophies… infinitely applicable… but just one for now: if we have this kind of fundamental divergence of views here, why would we expect everyone’s understanding of Superman to be uniform rather than debatable?

“You’re quoting Shakespeare” – Rob Brydon | Telegraph – I know it’s “sea change” (as first coined by Shakespeare) and not “seed change”… just a slip of the tongue.

Vigilantism and Lynching | Engaging Etymology – How the origins of the words come from the same point in history and confluence of events.  The quasi-legitimate nature of vigilantism in American history.

Masked Vigilantes: Heroes or Hoaxsters? | ABC News – On the other hand, how the modern world views superhero-styled vigilantes with skepticism and the self-justification of those involved.

Why is being scared so fun? – Margee Kerr | TED-Ed – Fight or flight responses, how it compromises judgment (why we don’t operate like this all the time) making it unfair to judge people under stress from the comfort of a couch, and also how embracing overcoming builds you up.

How To Fake Your Own Death – EPIC HOW TO | AWE Me – I still need to do research, but I’m surprised at how many people are so sure Clark Kent can’t return because of how his death was handled in Batman v. Superman.  While WitSec isn’t about to help you fake your own death, people have done it before and gotten away with it. It’s possible Clark Kent comes back because he was hot on the tail of Intergang and used the Doomsday incident to fake his own death (a surprising number of individuals use disaster to fake their deaths) and go into deep cover to finalize his story.  As long as those attending the private ceremony are on-board with and know Clark’s secret, it isn’t too hard to bring Clark back.  As he was obviously not actually working on the story, the research can come from Batman or Lois, who were already working on the matter, simply allowing him to take the byline to support his cover story.  There are other ways to bring him back too….

Frozen Faith: Cryonics and The Quest to Cheat Death | Motherboard – Haven’t watched it yet, but may relate to stasis in MOS or Superman’s death in BvS or an out there way of returning Clark! 😉

The Science of Rendering Photorealistic CGI | Filmmaker IQ – What goes into movie CGI.

Humans: New & Improved | Imaginary Worlds – Trans-humanism, relate it to Cyborg, etc.

Speed of sound in movies | Lindybeige – Generally accurate observation which BvS fumbles a few times.

The Great War | The Great War – A channel following the history of World War I in parallel with today’s day and date; give yourself context for Wonder Woman.

BATLEXANDER MANILTON (Hamilton + Batman Parody) | Turtle Cameron – I’ve got Hamilton stuck in my head on repeat and it’s driving me crazy even if I love it.  There was a fun May The Fourth tribute by LMM with J.J. Abrams and I found myself on a first draft of an Alexander Hamilton / Man of Steel parody.

DC Legion of Collectors: DC TV Teaser | DC Entertainment – Just have to say I’ve been extremely satisfied with the two boxes I’ve gotten so far and I’m pretty skeptical of these subscription services generally.  I definitely feel like I’m getting valuable exclusives rather than just the scraps of overstock.  It’s not for everyone, but if you like the kinds of trinkets, toys, and t-shirts included, you may want to check it out.

Sneak Peek at DC Universe: The Exhibit | WB Studio Tour – I’m going to be out in Burbank in August and excited I might get to do one of these tours.

MasterChef Australia | Ten – One of my family’s favorite Summer series is back.  It is an example of grit and the transformation of amateur cooks into professional level chefs.

Triangle of Power | 3Blue1Brown – Just a neat notation.

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  1. And here I was going to ask if you were planning on making a “Martha Scene” Episode, from I’ve seen so far that scene is just as, if not more, misunderstood than the “Tornado Scene” (and that’s saying something!).

    Also, I can’t help but feel that the “Overcoming Bad Inner Voices” mini-film was made by people that watched and understood the “Dawn of Justice” movie and the role of Superman in it. It’s just so identifiable with him, it cannot be a coincidence.

  2. The film is indeed about mothers and sons (or female lovers) in the same way MoS was about living up to a Father´s legacy. There is even more mirror imagery with Clark dying in the same way at the end of BvS as Jor-El did in the opening of MoS (through a concealed blade by Zod).

    @Doc I have read every page of Conan Doyle´s Sherlock Holmes and its indeed interesting how different he is always allowed to be with zero fuss.
    Snyder (and apparently David Ayer!) though decided to double down on the source material and we suddenly have the reverse of one would expect, with even comic sites pulling out the daggers.
    I on the other hand can have a franchise that will continue to costs 150-200+ a film yet still stand for everything my Wednesday Heroes do. But i do find it a bit sad that one isn´t allowed to feel for Henry Cavill´s Superman or believe in him on the web or even dedicated comic pages. A lot of people are missing out due to the toxicity, yet Superman endures… as he did in the films and will continue to.

    • Heart of Steel

      “-i do find it a bit sad that one isn´t allowed to feel for Henry Cavill´s Superman or believe in him on the web or even dedicated comic pages.”

      One of the reasons why I abandoned some of the comicbook websites I used to frequent. It’s indeed a bit saddening when even after 2 films of development and humanization that is capable of inspiring, Superman is still taken for granted by many people. But there is good.

      “Superman endures… as he did in the films and will continue to.”

      Quoted for truth.

      • I totally agree. I really liked that Superman was very human in BvS with doubts and pressures like a normal person would. And I liked his journey to overcome all that and in turn inspire others.

        I did the same thing as you with websites a long time ago, because of the same reasons you did. And I became more aware of certain websites’ biases as well. I also dropped quite a few podcasts as well. The biases just became really glaring and the amount of hatred they’d spew kicking down Man of Steel while raising other movies up (“it should’ve been like this!”) that were clearly not that great to begin with.

        I think my favorite element of BvS is how meta Superman’s storyline is to how he’s perceived in the real world. Especially how people reacted to MOS and BvS. But even with the commentary plainly in their faces, critics still didn’t understand it… or maybe they did, and that’s why they hate it even more?

        • Heart of Steel

          “I really liked that Superman was very human in BvS with doubts and pressures like a normal person would.”

          If anything, both films did a very good job at making Superman a very relatable character, and that’s something me and many people really appreciate so far.

          However, looks like I’ll have to drop yet another website of my frequent list. I won’t name it, but for some reason it looks like it too is becoming a bit bias against DC’s take. Not because of what it states, but what it repeats, a Vulture article that was shameless enough to state the following:

          “DC’s nascent cinematic universe has so far depicted Superman as an angry god; a violent, alien entity that needs to be kept in check. This morning, Johns offered a vastly different take on the character’s archetype. “I think people make a mistake when they say, ‘Superman’s not relatable because he’s so powerful,'” he said. “I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? He’s a farmboy from Kansas who moves to the city and just wants to do the best he can with what he’s got.’ That’s the most relatable character in the world.””

          You have NO idea how much I’ll love to rip apart the Vulture reporter’s words. Not only because both Snyder’s and Johns’ take on Superman is virtually the same, but also because how openly it contradicts and twists the message both MoS and BvS sent. I will follow the Doctor’s advice and control my temper, but I’m quitting the website that gladly reposted such thing. It’s not the first time it shares and supports statements like that, and I have a feeling it won’t be the last.

          The amount of websites free of Anti-DC toxicity is becoming smaller, but at least I can be certain this website will remain a safe place for fans, and some users tend to share the latest news here so I guess I could settle for this one.

          • Like the two of you I simply stopped giving clicks to cancerous websites, it is indeed way better when I don’t have to write apologetics to those that are no different from Wallace Keefe.


            I feel that another meta aspect of the film is Keefe himself, representing those who see how good this Superman is yet they only choose to hate such incarnation; People complaining that he is too relatable, the more relatable he is the less inspiring he becomes. People complaining that he is not relatable, a not relatable Superman is a bad Superman. When complainers start to contradict each other you know there’s something off with them.

            And now that Vulture stuff, the person who wrote that stated that Superman was what Batman feared Superman for being, not for what Batman at the end realized Superman was. It sympathizes with the Batman that had a deranged vision, but contradicts the Batman that had a clear vision. If Batman was indeed the “eyes of the audience” then those who left the theaters thinking like that about Superman failed to truly connect to Batman.

            Yet another meta aspect! Batman was going to connect with those who thought that Superman was indeed misrepresented in “Man of Steel”, and throughout the “Dawn of Justice” film they would see through Batman how human, pure and good-hearted Superman is. They would see that Superman was indeed a real superhero all along, and that they were wrong in bad judging Superman, just like Batman. This film is so complex and deep.

            How some people choose to side with Batman as the enemy of Superman but totally disconnect from Batman when he becomes the friend of Superman is really, really crazy.

          • @MEGASTEEL: “How some people choose to side with Batman as the enemy of Superman but totally disconnect from Batman when he becomes the friend of Superman is really, really crazy.”

            The irony of that is that people complain about how paranoid, violent, unhinged, and unreasonable Batman is throughout the film – and then mirror his exact sentiments! It’s almost like a litmus test – you can side with Superman as the set-upon good-intentioned hero, who’s trying to sift through the muck of opinion for a kernel of hope, or side with Batman as the virulent, angry pitchfork-weilder, trying to tear down something he doesn’t understand. The difference, of course, is that Batman sees the light by the end, gives Superman hope, and is inspired by Superman’s example. The reviewers prove they are far more closed-minded than the character they are criticizing as a lunatic extremist. Hilarious.

            Of course, I realize that I’m conflating two possibly separate criticisms and that I’m sure there are people who would argue one but not the other, and of course not EVERY detractor fell into this trap, but I’m guessing a lot of them really did.

            I feel like they really should have prepared critics and audiences for the experience of this movie better. They gave tons of pre-release interviews and I watched quite a few, and I feel like it would have been wise to prep people for the revenge tragedy/passion play aspect of this movie. Let folks know that is designed to evoke a strong reaction in the audience, and not necessarily a happy one. It’s possible people would have gone in a little more open-minded. Who knows.

        • “But even with the commentary plainly in their faces, critics still didn’t understand it… or maybe they did, and that’s why they hate it even more?”

          I don’t necessarily agree with your theory, but here’s a post that proposed the same idea: https://writheinflame.wordpress.com/2016/03/28/batman-v-superman-an-indictment-of-the-media/

          Again, I’m not sold on the idea, but I wouldn’t rule it out completely since I’ve heard at least one podcast and several youtubers that ridiculed the two Snyder DC movies for their portrayal of humanity. (i.e. Pa Kent’s fear of Clark’s secrets being exposed, Finch wanting to hold Superman accountable, etc.)

          Maybe people with this mindset wanted pure escapism out of Superman movies or they’re uncomfortable with realistic portrayals of humanity in terms of how we would’ve treated Superman in real life? Who knows.

        I wonder if you were posting comments at superman homepage some time ago. Your nickname and way of thinking reminds me of somebody I liked very much there:)

        • Heart of Steel

          Ah yes, the Homepage. Is one of the sites I still frequent, its runner Steve Younis is a very nice person that isn’t bias against DC nor Snyder, so the news and articles he posts are mostly hate-free.

          What I avoid for the time being is the comment section, if you do frequent that section maybe you’ll remember that I made a pseudo-farewell few days before BvS’s debut letting everyone know that I would keep my distance from it during the following days. If there’s anything I’ve learned is that there are more than a few “Wallace Keefe”s roaming around there that have nothing better to do.

          For the moment I limit myself to the news only, maybe one day the circlejerk will cease and that website can be a place for civilized conversations, but until then I will save my time and words for our fellows here in MOSAIC.

          • It’s nice to meet you here, I missed your comments 🙂
            I remember your farewell and I remember you commented a little after the premeiere but disappeared again. I have the same problem with the comment section – fortunately it is free of trolls but not of haters (Wallace Keefe type). I sometimes read comments but skip some names (unfortunately too many) I can savely bet I know the content of the comment 🙁
            I do not discuss BvS there anymore after a discussion with a guy who believed that people can love this film only because of blind “fanboyism” while his hate is fully justfied. I presented my arguments and was convinced our debate could be rational. To make it short – he admitted in other thread he has not seen the movie! It has not prevented him from hating BvS with passion – on the basis of his deep hatred for MoS and conviction what Superman should be.
            It is ironic that one of the main themes of BvS is the necessity to change our perceptions/notions/ attitude in order to make our world a better place (sigh).

  3. About yesterday´s Batflack as executive producer news: Great but expected!
    All of Afflecks´s directorial efforts are good, with my favorite being the Town, and he has his OWN Batman series after JL, so we do need his hands on deck as he will be the “human face” of the universe.
    I would prefer a higher position that a mere “executive” though, eh next time. He further worked well with Snyder on BvS and was very supportive during the backlash. Read /watch a few interviews and you will notice right away. Wan also stood behind Zack but that´s not how that one was reported… Ben also said that he learned from Snyder in regards to the big budget and effects. Don´t panic and don´t let any of the unfounded WB is fighting Zack rumors unnerve you. This actually puts Snyder in a more secrete position. Let´s put a smile on that face!

    Should be worthy everyone time and I will write a bit on the historical DC/Marvel divide we are currently facing in our next thread. No nothing cynical, I do LOVE Marvel after all, and my favorite comic is the manga Berserk, as my pull list is an international one, but we have been here before and even high level executive are flaming the “war”. We will be here again… The endless delays of Ms. Marvel and the frustrating derailing of the Black Widow film may have helped WW btw. -view it as a small miracle- and i lastly recommend Daredevil by Netflix (10/10). The show properly explores the same themes Snyder continues to. I view it as the best life action adaptation of a comic to date!

  4. Hey, Doc, I wanted to know if you’ve given any thought to the complaints about the editing in BvS. (Apologies if you covered this in last week’s episode, I haven’t finiished it yet!) First time I saw it I had no problems whatsoever with the editing or the pacing – nothing jumped out at me as rushed, lagging, disjointed, discordant, whatever. I was whisked along for the ride the whole time.

    Before I went the second time I had read many people complaining about how the editing is choppy and the pacing is horrible, so I tried to notice anything that might be the basis of these complaints. The only thing that stuck out for me was one scene where I think Lois is investigating the bullet and the scene seemed to end abruptly and jump to another scene quickly. I can’t remember the actual scenes involed, but as I recall there may have been a few of these “leave one scene early, enter next scene late” in a row. Now, I didn’t ntoice this the first time, and it’s only because I was looking that I noticed the second time.

    Watching these scenes together had the effect of a montage, except instead of wordless images or moments, they used what I’m calling “vignettes,” small scenes that don’t necessarily begin and end completely. This is not the first time I’ve seen this technique used but for the life of me I can’t think of another memorable example – I suspect they’re almost as ubiquitous as montages, which is why they didn’t stand out to me.

    It seems to me that these “vignette montages” (vign-tages?) happen routinely in movies like thrillers, procedurals, or any kind of invention/innovation story (I just watched “The Martian” and I’m pretty sure they used it in that as well, as he’s trying to create water, etc.)

    I’m wondering if a) you happen to know if there’s a name for this technique (beyond just “montage”) and b) if you think this is what people were likely referring to with the editing. It seems to me that, much like the act structure, the characterizations, the dialogue, the (lack of) humor or “FUN!”, if someone is not expecting that kind of a technique to be used in this kind of movie that there may be some cognitive dissonance happening which is negatively impacting their responses.

    Anyway, that’s my theory on it, just wondering if you (or anyone here) had given it any thought. Thanks!

    • I re-read DKR a few days after seeing the film and the “dreamlike” editing is also preset there and all sorts of other comics. His Watchmen used similar techniques and was then accused of being hard to get… Ebert though gave the cinema cut a 4/4.) I would deduct 1 point there.)
      What i noticed is that the camera occasionally jumped or swept, as with panels! Hulk 2003 (6/10) took that one to the utter extreme. A few blatant mistakes are certainly present as of now (the email scene can´t be in the right place) but most of the editing made perfect sense to me.
      I further loved how the dreams and visions appeared to be “real” to out protagonists. You and them always had to do a double take. Just as in real life.

      Try out “The Tree of Life” to see such editing taken to the (somewhat logical) conclusion.

    • The editing was different from most superhero movies, but, like you, I had no problems with it. For many people, however, especially those who are used to a certain way of storytelling it can be incomprehensible. The story was not told in a linear fashion – with Clark theme followed by Bruce theme etc., all interlaced with Lex scenes. Many people perceive it as a comic book-type narrative with panels. This quality is discussed in a personal way by one of comic book fans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61VQ-S8MtyI
      There is also an article about BvS as a comic book movie experimentation: http://www.audienceseverywhere.net/batman-v-superman-dawn-justice-peak-comic-book-movie-experimentation/

    • “it’s only because I was looking that I noticed”

      I’m inclined to think that that sums pretty much the main and most likely only reason people really complained about the film. Many went into the film actively looking for reasons to criticize it, ignoring any good and focusing only on the flaws they found and nothing else.

      “if someone is not expecting that kind of a technique to be used in this kind of movie that there may be some cognitive dissonance happening”

      Pretty much. Considering that this was only Snyder’s 3rd superhero film, is possible that a good portion of the mass audience just wasn’t accustomed to his style. Here’s me hoping that they eventually get used to it, especially if Snyder is given any more DC films after “Justice League Part Two”.

      • I agree with @BEA. The editing was just different and different doesn’t mean wrong. A real artist, a real filmmaker, a real director needs to have his own style and Snyder shows his own style. I’m honestly tired of the same old film, with the same old editing and with the same old story and I’m glad that Snyder is brave enough, as a filmmaker and a artist, to take risk and try something different. I’ve read the MTV article of Snyder and he says something very interesting about movies and audience:

        Too often I think studios and filmmakers have a preconceived notion of what audiences’ expectations will be based on a film’s genre. I believe this approach often sets a course that funnels many projects down a familiar pathway with comfortable choices and safe decisions. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes this actually works, creating cinematic “comfort food” that delivers and satisfies. But more often than not, it leaves me as a viewer dissatisfied, wanting more and wishing I didn’t know what was waiting for me around every corner. That is why I like creating projects that are self-aware. In my opinion, the trick is being self-aware without becoming self-conscious, having an awareness of a project’s roots, but not being stifled by the typical genre pre-conceptions. I always say it was important to me while making “Dawn of the Dead” to “have fun with,” but not “make fun of,” the zombie and horror genres.

        We need, as audience, different storylines, different approach, not the same old soup. We must remember that the cult movies and the iconic movies, are definable so because they were something different and unique. Also, I agree with @HEART OF STEEL, a lot of people went into the theaters searching for something to hate. There is to much blind hate around some projects and this is why is better to stay away from some sort of criticism or reviews. Too many critics are influenced and they behave accordingly. In my opinion, the DCEU is in good hands. We already have Zack Snyder, David Ayer, Patty Jenkins, Ben Affleck and James Wan. I want to remember that Ben Affleck is an Oscar winning filmmaker, he won for the best screenplay (Good Will Hunting) and best film (Argo). The Dark Knight is in good hands.
        The great aspect is that all of this filmmakers have different styles, the DCEU will be connected but we’ll also have different kinds of movies, unique movies in the same big universe.

        • @ GAB: That’s a great quote from Snyder, thanks. It’s obvious he’s trying to make these movies with an eye to pushing the limits of the genre – visually, intellectually, philosophically – and it’s nice to have confirmation of that from the man himself. I give WB a lot of credit for allowing him to make a movie that he knew was going to be divisive, challenging to audiences and critics, and rub a lot of them the wrong way. May not be the best commercial decision, but it’s a great artistic one.

          @BEA: Thanks for the link to the “In the gutters” article/review. That guy brings up some great points about the way it was filmed. I personally didn’t get that either time I saw it, but I’ve seen/read others bringing up the same point. I’ll have to keep that in mind next time I see it.

          Although I thought it was strange that he praised it so highly and then only gave it a “B.” I tend to grade on a curve for risk-taking and envelope-pushing, and the sheer amount of artistic balls that Snyder showed in this movie is enough to bump it up an entire letter grade for me. Although I don’t tend to grade or rate movies even for myself. When I rank them in my mind I use something like a “tier” system, where often disparate bunches of films coalesce together in groups based on how much I enjoyed/respected/got out of them. I would certainly rank this one as “Top Tier” for me.

          • @PHIL
            I am glad you found the review interesting, like me. I was also surprised he gave the movie a “B”, but he acknowledged its flaws and I think it kept him from higher grade. I was especially happy he stated clearly we need such directors like Snyder to challenge and shake us a bit. I do not know if you checked the other link I provided (fan video), but I particularly liked that he called BvS “a real movie, made by real person”, not a committee.
            I like your “grading system” – the movie was “Top Tier” for me, too 🙂

    • @Phil, I’m stepping lightly with commenting on the editing until the ultimate cut, because it’s not completely clear whether something is intentionally and creatively driven or a necessary compromise in some cases. So I’m mostly holding off for now. If you want to listen to some analysis on it, though, Sam Otten’s scene by scene analysis podcast has some justifications for why scenes are tied together and edited they way they are.

      I will say that the theatrical cut is going to be tough to fully get in a single casual sitting. That’s arguably a weakness in terms of first impressions and box office, but a strength in terms of long term viability. The density / outline quality makes it ripe for revisiting and maybe more rewarding to rewatch than more straight forwards films.

      FYI, Tony just put out another video essay on editing which I’ll be watching later: https://youtu.be/3Q3eITC01Fg

  5. I wonder why there is a faked death link? Did anyone fake their death? And does Superman have more lives than the proverbial cat?

    • @Amy, I put it there to posit a possibility for Clark’s return, since many think he only can return if the paper says his body was never found. As a corollary, this means of return also mitigates the timing issue since Clark only has to return when / if his story is ready, not just when Superman reappears, so Clark could come back on a later or different date without issue.

      In the comics and tradition, Superman’s died a lot, though I’m not sure if it’s up to nine times yet!

      • I guess Batman would have no way of realizing that Superman isn’t quite fully dead. What does it take to actually kill a kryptonian under yellow sunlight so they don’t come back? Because if Clark can recover, what will happen with Doomsday?

        • @Amy, “If” is the operative word. We don’t know that Clark can recover on his own. Yes, the dirt rose. However, Zod’s body maintained some degree of invulnerability such that they were excited to find something which would cause cellular degradation… so it’s possible Kryptonians are expected to maintain certain traits even after death, which might include the field which enables flight. I’m getting off track. The point is, if Clark needs outside intervention to come back, then that scenario doesn’t apply to Zod or Doomsday.

          Alternatively, if Clark CAN come back on his own, then you run down the list of things that distinguish him from Zod or Doomsday to establish why he can come back and they couldn’t. Clark was natural born, raised in Earth’s environment, and has the Kryptonian Codex bonded to his cells. Then by process of elimination you ask whether these traits could contribute to his return. Natural birth seems unlikely. Raised on Earth doesn’t really relate to resurrection. However, the Kryptonian Codex is a mystery. Who knows what subroutines it may have to maintain its own integrity? It is, after all, essentially a living database which is of little use if its memory medium dies and decays… so it may include instructions to ensure its continuation which support resurrection. Maybe? We don’t know.

          • I guess they didn’t try to resuscitate Clark because they knew that they couldn’t? Would it be accurate to say that Clark would rather lose a fight than accidentally kill his opponent?

  6. Okay first I love BvS Dawn of Justice it’s by far my favorite super hero movie. I saw it a 5 times.

    But there is a scene that really bothered me and I’d like to get some input. After the fight scene when Batman decides to go save Martha Kent he tells Superman to go to alien ship where Luthor’s at.

    I estimate the time it took Batman to jump in the Batwing locate the warehouse (which I guess Alfred was able to do in minutes some how) and then to show up take out all of the bad guys was probably around 5 -10 mins tops. The real time was five minutes, I timed it last time I watched. The movie timer Kgbeast had in front of Martha showed 10 mins.

    So my question what was Superman doing while Batman was going after Martha?

    Superman flew at super sonic speed across Gotham to Metropolis, remember he broke the sound barrier that’s about 767 miles per hour. So Gotham would have to be 65 miles away from Metropolis for this to match Superman’s arrival at the ship. (Going super sonic he’d get there in about 5 minutes) Remember Lex only waits about 30 seconds to check on Martha Kent. I was under the impression the cities were much closer. What am I missing? Did Superman have to recharge because of the kryptonite? Was he flying slow at first? Did he go soak up some yellow sun?

    If anyone can help me figure this out I would appreciate it. Please don’t tell me I should just forget about it. I did enjoy the movie but I have a feeling this was a serious over site.

    • @Shane, as an attorney, timelines are incredibly important to us… not only for our own filings and hearings but especially in putting together the stories of our clients, the allegations, the witnesses, etc. the evidence provides. So I’m particularly sensitive to this and spotted it in my first viewing. It is the closest thing to a legitimate plot hole in the theatrical cut, in my estimation at this time. That isn’t to say there aren’t apologetics.

      Those apologetics would center mostly around the fact that Superman is confident that his mother is safe before he runs out the clock and before he confronts Lex. Batman’s voice on the other end of the line isn’t an unexpected surprise to Superman, it’s his expectation. Once you have that piece of the puzzle, you can put together a set of choices which create the result we see, but it definitely isn’t elegant. That said, an “Aha!” might come to me at a later time, so I’m not putting the inelegant answer out there yet based on lessons learned.

      With Man of Steel it took me a few tries and iterations to get to my final theory about the powers which (in my mind) was elegant… but putting all the “work” out there seemed to cause more confusion than clarity. When I have something which feels like an inescapable conclusion when all the pieces are put in the right light, I’ll put it forth… but at this point it can be reconciled but not as a necessary conclusion.

      • Yeah, I think the simplest explanation is that he listened in on Batman’s progress and timed his arrival at the Scout Ship to ensure that Lex couldn’t pull a fast one. This of course raises the question if Superman was going to wait to confront Lex until after his mother was safe, why didn’t he just save her himself? Well, he clearly wasn’t in any shape to speed off and find his mother at that moment – he weakly asks Bruce to save her for him. And if he was in no shape to speed off to save his mom, then he certainly wasn’t in any shape to speed off and confront Lex and whatever he had up his sleeve in the Scout Ship.

        Aside from the fact that Snyder clearly didn’t want to break the flow of the Warehouse scene with a cutaway of Superman dawdling just to explain every last thing, I just assumed when watching it that he was taking a breather to get his strength back up. I mean, his cheek is still cut when he gets to Lex, meaning he still wasn’t fully healed from his fight with Batman – I sort of took that to mean he took as much time as he could.

        Honestly, though, I never noticed it when watching it, which to me means that it used the vocabulary of movies well enough to defend any “cheat” going on. It took me 20 years to realize there are weird time gaps in Empire Strikes Back. A well-crafted movie can make you forget there are seams everywhere.

  7. Hi dr Awakward and everyone.

    I’m having a conversation with one guy who have some problem with superman portrayal in BvS.

    He said that he really hated the implied meaning of hallucination Jonathan’s story because Martha is NOT a solution to an ethical dilemma. He said that It’s a cheap escape for characters who never really navigate their way through ethical dilemmas. Superman never determines how to do good while limiting the negative consequences of his interventions. Batman never actually addresses Clark’s issue with his “reign of terror”

    So I reply to him telling him that It’s not that Martha was a solution to an ethical dilemma for Jonathan. She just helped him live with the choice he made. She loved him and that was enough for Jonathan. There’s no solutions to ethical dilemmas. Snyder doesn’t offer one. He merely gives Superman the very real moment where even when we do our best, when we act according to our best principles, things still go wrong. It’s a very human thing to grapple with

    But he later on replied me back this following statement:

    “”Ethical dilemmas may not have neat solutions, but they do have solutions. Since they are unavoidable, anyone caught in such a situation has to make a choice to do what s/he thinks is the right thing, while also trying to mitigate negative consequences. Simply accepting that bad things happen simply ignores the problem. What does Jonathan do the next time his horses are in danger? Let another farm be destroyed? Would he warn them? Try to find a different way? If your good actions also cause bad things to happen, you might become despondent and think that you can’t do any good. But to overcome that, you have to determine that you’ll also try to mitigate the bad. Superman makes no such determination. He doesn’t resolve that he’ll continue to do good while also responding to the negative effects of his actions. No, he just concludes that he’ll focus solely on Lois.””

    So what do you think about this?

    • The fellow you converse with seems to think people should always find solutions to dilemmas, and that’s true, but there’s also the fact that the solutions to some dilemmas are out of a person’s reach and capabilities.

      Jonathan did what he could with what he had, but there was no way to know what would’ve happened next. We never know if there was another flood, nor what Jonathan did if there was another, but none of the choices the fellow proposed would guarantee that no bad would happen. Even if he warned another farm, there’s no guarantee that they would listen, if they ignore his warnings, would it be Jonathan’s fault? And even if they do, did they had the necessary tools and resources to defend themselves and their livestock? The only possible solution that would completely “fix everything” is if somehow Jonathan prevents the floods from happening. But that’s impossible.

      And there’s also the dilemma Superman faces: the distrust of a portion of the populace (I presume that’s the “bad thing that happens” the fellow is referencing”). Can Superman change the minds of people at his will? Is their free will under his control? No. He only does good and nothing else, yet if people hates him for things he can’t control (the fact that he’s alien, that he’s powerful) how is that his fault? What can Superman do to “mitigate” something like that?

      If the fellow references the bombing, then that is an honestly ridiculous and shortsighted thing to point the finger at Superman. Are people seriously implying that Superman is to blame for Luthor’s actions? He didn’t actively looked for the bomb because he only waited for the good in people and trusted them, you saying Superman shouldn’t do that? And even afterwards there was nothing Superman could do to “mitigate” the fact that someone was out there trying to hurt him and those around him, he can’t control the actions of those that wish him harm, that’s impossible, and stating Superman should be capable of doing so is ridiculous and unfair.

      Superman focused in the people that loved him because there was nothing that could control his circumstances, but he could always control his attitude. Superman should find ways to mitigate the fact people hated him for no reason? How? Should find ways to mitigate the fact that even if he stops the one that wished him harm they would always be others that do? How? If the fellow you are conversing with where Superman, what would the fellow do? Did the fellow even bothered to place itself in Superman’s shoes?

    • @Leon, 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.

      The holes in the argument are kind of obvious and ridiculous, which is why I won’t raise them… you’d just end up going in circles with someone intending evil regardless your response. I want to rebut, badly, because of easy the error, but it’s a waste of time so I’m exercising self-control.

    • @LEON
      It is true everybody (including Superman) has to find a solution to any moral dilemma according to his/her principles/beliefs/values and knowledge about circumstances/possible consequences. However, I think the fellow you mentioned has completely missed the point. It is not true that Jonathan tells Clark to simply accept bad things and do nothing or that Clark does not make the decision to do good “while also responding to the negative effects of his actions”. It was not spelled out (or explained in the typical inspiring Superman-like speech), but the fact that he returned proves it (as Doc pointed out in the last podcast – “You came back. You came back”). I am not sure what your friend means saying: “No, he just concludes that he’ll focus solely on Lois.” Does he really think that Clark is going to ignore all people that need him just to live in a sort of “love bubble”? I wonder if the reason of such strange conclusions is what Clark says to Lois: “This is my world. You are my world.” If this is the case, the fellow takes everything literally. Lois is his anchor to this world, their love gives him strength to do what should be done and bear the pain caused by inevitable consequences of not-so-good decisions. In fact, it helps him to fight despondency (“that you can’t do any good”) your friend mentioned.
      This is how I see the problem 🙂

  8. Hi Dr Awakward and everyone,

    We all know of the complaint of superman having only 43 lines of dialogue in BvS. This can be easily addresses by saying that prefer more relying on visual to tell a story rather then being rely more in heavy dialogue exposition. I’m also aware that Dr Awkward also already addresses of this lack of dialogue, stated that this is to to prevent superman words and his ideals from becoming an absolute ideals that telling everyone that this must be uphold. Because in real life we do not have the answer for everything, so superman in BvS are much more inspiring to overcome the uncertainty.

    However there is this conversation I’m having with this guy who are totally so against all of this. He thinks that superman lack of dialogue totally betrayed all the themes in man of steel when Jor El stated to superman on how he can inspired humanity. Yes he acknowledge that Actions justify, actions exemplify, actions realize, but they are insufficient to inspire change. Not without explanation. Not without declared meaning. Beliefs and ideals are expressed through words, not just actions. It’d be very hard for Superman to demonstrate the belief that every person can be a force for good without words. It’d be equally hard for Superman to guide humanity away from Krypton’s mistakes without words.

    So what do you think?

    • @Leon, same disclaimer from my last reply, but I will forward this point: What exactly did Superman say in Superman ’78 to the public which was so affirmative or inspiring? Literally nothing. His single public assertion is his mantra which Lois immediately denigrates. Words are cheap. Moreover, they’ve never been the point of Superman. It’s why he gets away with citing safety statistics instead of moral sayings. People conflate Superman as a source of creative inspiration- a spark which set off the entire superhero genre- and equivocate it with moral inspiration, something he basically never really endeavored to do beyond the boundaries of any other contemporary character or hero.

      He has many of the same struggles as a Christ figure but he’s not intended to be an actual Christ unless you’re ready and willing to accept comic book writers as writing scripture for your daily life.

      Superman, by his very nature, can’t- and isn’t supposed to- change the world… the stronger and greater his powers, the more he fights for the status quo because world-rending power transforms it into something beyond the world that we know and outside of sustainable contemporary comic genre. Anyone who actually knows Superman and not just a False God they’ve constructed for themselves knows that’s the case, which makes condemning BvS based in idolatry rather than sincere adherence to the actual traditional character. We don’t read comic book worlds where all disease, poverty, crime, etc. have been eliminated even if the heroes’ combined effort has that ability. The genre takes its cues from the godfather, Superman, who even with his populist beginnings didn’t actually fell corrupt government officials, jail wifebeaters, save innocents from death row, or beat slum lords. That’s an absurd expectation and strawman to place on the film. They engage those things, they don’t actually literally change them.

      I know the KKK will be brought up… without getting into it that much, let’s just say Superman was a useful tool for an existing trend rather than the actual impetus for the entire thing. Even in that case, you’re talking about one case in 78 years of history. While Superman is a religion for a limited few, doubtlessly devoted, most engage with him as an icon, a character, and as entertainment and that’s where his greatest “ministry” is, if any. The issues with the icon are things MOS and BVS are addressing. I personally don’t have any issue with the character across media and mediums. And reasonable minds will differ on the entertainment value… but given everything that’s already been tried over 78 years and which I already have and already enjoy, I fully embrace new takes which nonetheless find their roots and inspiration in tradition.

      The quasi-religious False God Superman, seems to be something which exists mostly in the minds of some fans, but not really borne out in the bulk of the comics. Despite many insisting that Superman is (and always was) an inspiration and the most moral hero… how often is that ever acknowledged or actually in the comics? Definitely not the Golden Age, Silver Age, or Bronze Age. In most of the Modern Age he had a human psychology and for almost all of the Post-Modern Age people have complained about him having feet-of-clay… so if he wasn’t this perfect paragon in the beginning or end of the Modern Age, when did this perfect Superman ever exist? It seems like a figment assembled from a few panels and arcs here and there, loads of out-of-continuity claims, and worlds without any other heroes to be in awe of… instead of what has actually been true of the character throughout tradition… he’s just a really good and compelling character without having to be made out to be this icon of perfection.

      It’s on that very human, very real, very relatable level where Superman is most effective and meaningful and impactful in the real world and beyond the page… and where I’m not expecting a figure to advise all of mankind, but someone who does his best. Tied to Man of Steel, I tend to reject and denigrate Jor-El because he wanted Kal to be a god. He literally says that in the movie (“He’ll be a god to them.”) and Crowe, properly, calls that out as crazy in an interview about his approach to playing the character. BvS is very much about killing the False God and letting the character return. You note that upon reflection, humanity didn’t REBUILD their idol to Superman the God, but instead memorialized and acknowledged his death… a monument to his mortality and humanity.

  9. @LEON”: This is certainly a generalization, but it seems to me the same type of person who is upset at the amount of Superman’s lines is the same type of person who is upset that the themes and motivations in the movie aren’t clearly spelled out. Your cohort’s suggestion that Superman needs to clarify his actions with words sort of clicked that switch on in my head for me. In all of Superman lore it seems like his inspiration is historically based on his feats, abilities, actions, choices, etc, and less on his exposition and rhetorical flourish. (He did debut in “Action Comics,” after all, not “Motivational Speaker Monthly.”)

    The fact that Superman in the movie lets his actions speak for themselves and lets humanity judge him for them individually, be it a judgment he agrees with or not, seems to be the point of this character and the lessons imparted upon him by his (many) parents – the freedom to make one’s own choices is always ranked higher than submitting to someone else’s power or control. (Now that I’ve typed that it feels like a very Libertarian notion, but it’s one I agree with in a First Amendment sort of way.)

    For Superman to literally spell out his motivations and intentions and desires for the world to follow would not only run counter to the lessons taught to Clark/Kal by his parents, but it would run counter to the narrative that Snyder et al are trying to tell. They want you to think about this stuff and make up your own mind, or change your mind, or never make up your mind and keep thinking about it. There’s not (necessarily) one right answer – it’s whatever it means to you.

    That’s obviously something that a lot of moviegoers are not comfortable with, but interestingly, people being presented with something uncomfortable and being forced to make up their own mind about it is something that every character in the movie is faced with as well. (Again, there’s that metatext!) I don’t know if it was to this point that Superman got so few lines, but I would guess that it was to this point that he never stood up and gave a rousing speech to the people, to inspire them with rhetoric, instead of letting his actions speak for themselves, even if the meaning of those actions weren’t easily explained and were open to interpretation.

  10. Superman (and the JLA) will need to conduct a public speech at some point, let´s say at the end of Snyder´s swansong in JL2, but he was never Monologue-man in the comics. He actually is more famous for inspiring one on one conversations (read All Star Superman) and he technically does have such in the films. Their scope is limited to his immediate family at this point but the universe is growing and Clark only started to “open up” to the world. Going all out now would just invalidate his characterization in MoS and his journalism may fulfil the speech role.
    Does Perry actually know that Clark is Superman? I have no specific scene to go on but i felt that he was in the know. His scenes just felt so ambiguous…

    I suspect that someone will abduct his corpse and try to do something to Clark, as with Batman in Final Crisis, or maybe just try to get his unenviably unique DNA, but fail and kick-start his vitality functions. Having him be a pure immortal or puling a Kryptonian Matrix stunt will over-convolute the universe in my eyes, at this point, and somewhat dehumanize him. I also don´t understand what evil Superman would accomplish besides invalidating BvS in every way. We will see but the rumor mill needs to chill for a while. It´s getting crazier by the day…

    • “Does Perry actually know that Clark is Superman? I have no specific scene to go on but i felt that he was in the know. His scenes just felt so ambiguous…”

      I wondered the same thing. Throughout the film, Perry doesn’t seem to let on that he knows at all. One of his funniest lines is “Where does he go? Does he just click his heels three times and go back to Kansas?” That seemed to be genuine puzzlement at his ability to disappear.

      However, at the end, when Lois asks for the helicopter to Gotham, there’s a knowing exchange where he understands it’s about Superman. After all, Perry, Jenny and Steve all see Superman save Lois at the end of Man of Steel and exchange a kiss. In this movie, no one seems at all surprised that he flew all the way to Africa to save her. And yet she is also apparently in an open co-habitational relationship with her co-worker, Clark Kent. I would assume that Perry could put two-and-two together, but again, there’s a real cognitive dissonance where you just can’t accept something like that, even when it’s right in your face.

      So, yeah, ambiguous is a good word for it, I suppose. None of that bothered me of course, and there is likely an explanation, it just didn’t matter to this film is all.

    • After giving a hard thought about it, I’m thinking that maybe there’s the possibility that “Evil Superman” may not refer to Superman returning as an evil being, but maybe that he’s somehow revived and brainwashed by Darkseid himself as a “Champion” for Apokolips.

      It wouldn’t be far-fetched nor unfaithful to the source material, considering the amount of times Superman has been momentary brainwashed by the likes of Darkseid or Brainiac in the many forms of media he has been represented over the decades, most prominently in the “Superman: The Animated Series” Episode “Legacy”.

      Honestly, I’m not so interested about HOW he will be revived, I’m more curious about WHEN he will return to the picture. Will he revive at an early stage of the film? The middle? Near the end? I’m certain Superman’s presence/legacy will be extremely prominent from start to finish, and as inspiring as it is to see how his example encourages others to follow his steps (as the name of Superman should do), the moment he returns in all his glory as the good-hearted hero he is will most likely be my favorite moment of the film.

  11. It is ironic that only those who understand or been through the experience of PTSD can truly appreciate the MARTHA scene presented in BvS. This is a written article from those who been through the experience of PTSD and how it relates to batman in BvS:


  12. Dear community: The wiki article for BvS is first of all locked but secondly a highly on-sided minefield that constantly grows worse. It basically present the films as a historic flop on all fronts (including the finances, which is ludicrous!), so i will assume that a few wiki editors just despise the film. Nothing new for us but does anyone of you know someone with a privileged wiki account who can bring a bit of neutrality / professional language into the picture? I am a librarian and thus have a bit of invested interest in seeing fact based reporting, regardless of the subject matter.

    All this circle jerk “cynicism” and the rumor mill lies of the last few years have finally started to tire me out.
    I also 100% don´t believe that Singer´s new “off-brand” X-men can suck. Me and critics are starting to have vastly diverting opinions on the genre… Well, at least i am having fun.

    • Heart of Steel

      “All this circle jerk “cynicism” and the rumor mill lies of the last few years have finally started to tire me out.”

      You and me both. I’m sorry to state that I have no knowledge of any high-ranked editor of Wikipedia, but I hope such thing is fixed soon. Of all places in the internet, I had hope that Wikipedia itself would add some professionalism and neutrality in the matter, for the moment looks like my hopes were unfounded.

    • It kinda sadden me that the BvS movie is keep on getting misunderstand and unfairly scrutinised. I hope BvS can stand the test of time and will truly be appreciated when looked back

  13. The (31 min. longer) Ultimate Cut of BvS just got a rating in Germany and it will retain a 12+. So don´t expect too much from the R, in terms of “visuals”, gang. WB´s R-rated cut of Hobbit 3 (urgh) is also a 12+ in Germany and i am curios what will happen to SS. Heaps of gun violence usually lead to a (justifiable) 16+.
    The Dark Knight (but somehow not Rises), Deadpool or 300 all got a 16+ too but the Black Freighter cut of Watchmen got “upgraded” to a 18+. 300: Rise Of An Empire is also a 18+.

  14. Hey Dr. Awkward what do you think of the news that WB placed Jon Berg and Geoff Johns in charge of DC Films?

    It is also now an official division of WB.


    • Jon Berg is perfectly suited of this current role and i should have read every comic Geoff Johns wrote but what exactly does this mean. Can a comic and low budget TV writer “run” a studio? He even works on the games, so how much sleep does he get again? And more importantly. Would he disagree with the Synder-verse? Most of his comics are kind of famous for being “dark” and “his” Rebirth has parallels to the films.
      The first 4 entries of the series are further set in stone with half confirmed SS and WW sequels by the established teams in the pipe-line, so what is he supposed to realistically do? WB should also be very careful to not piss off the established audience… We all payed good money.
      The willingness to involve comic writers, unlike what they did in the 90s is highly welcome and his talent should work out great on Flash/GL but he was already incapable of saving the 2011 film. The last thing i want is to see him being used as a vapid “executive” marketing tool.

      The biggest hole in the savior narrative (be it Johns or Snydra or Afleck) is that you can only do 1 film @ a time and look how full the plate is. Snyder even looked like a corpse after that grueling grind (i am really starting to feel for him but thank Rao he persevered) and i would like to seem all of them do other things too.

      Geoff also kind of needs to fix DC comic proper, aka. the life blood of it all! Half of the New52 used to work but a lot of 2015/16 was an utter slog.

      The Vulture article about “Hope” is lastly a click bait lie. Johns only spoke about his Rebith comic and they even left of the word legacy, aka the theme of the event (!), to fit their narrative better. Urgh. “Journalism”.

      • I think that Warner Bros. wants to create a specific division for the DC Movies and is trying to give a high position to someone who knows about the comics core, like Geoff Johns. I don’t think that they will have much power on the movies, we must remember that WB is one of the only big companies who gives the creative freedom to their directors. Zack Snyder is a comic book fan and he knows the DC Universe, and WB has obvisulty gave to him creative freedom, they know Snyder better than us, they have worked with him for almost a decade, but is not the only director of the DC Films. Just because we have two movies with a certain style and tone, doesn’t necessary means that all the future movies will have the same style and tone. Obviously the clickbait is strong on internet and the non-journalists they are trying to give their opinions but they presents that as a truth, even if is not. Most of the time they tried to make money with lies and articles with fake news. The fact that other companies are making movies in a certain way, doesn’t mean that every single company has to made a movie in that way. Seems like the audience is so used to the same style, story and kind of film that his subconscious wants the some soup and is afraid of something different. DC is making the movies in his own style and this is how it works. Internet is not helping art, considering that people are hating movies even before they exists and they follow the sheeps who are saying what the people want to hear.
        The DCEU is already a success and is already a billion franchise just with a couple of movies, and Suicide Squad is coming.

  15. Hi Dr Awakward and everyone.,

    I would recommend everyone to watch this short video introduction to greek tragedy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSr6mP-zxUc

    This video will further appreciate on what MoS and BvS is trying to be. You can see in the video that MoS and BvS have almost integrate all of the tragic elements from Greek tragedy. This further prove that BvS is indeed a revenge tragedy inspired from Greek tragedy

  16. Here is my “early reaction” for the oh so “rotten” X-men Apocalypse, if anyone cares, as Germany got the film early: 9/10 A bit better than cinema-cut BvS or Deadpool and obviously better than Cap3 (a perfectly fine 2 hour toy commercial if you ask me). Only X2 is better X-men film in that series. Why should any of you DC fans care? Singer is as much a “real fan” as Snyder (on the job since 2000!) and he now delivered the most ripped from the pages Marvel adaptations this side of the new Daredevil. Only Goyer has a longer career in regards to modern comic adaptations. These 3 people are the reason we are here today and “prestigious” Germany newspapers are calling it and BvS THE reason why the genre will be dead in 10 years. Urgh. Not on my watch!
    These modern masters are giving us the adaptations film department Disney never will (poor Iron-man…) by taking risks and Apocalypse even has a (surprisingly good) female protagonist with Mystic! Support them with your money and word of mouth or don´t be surprised if the genre will be creatively bankrupt in 10 years. Bambi 2 anyone?

    • Heart of Steel

      I have heard good word of mouth about that film. One of my colleagues attended to an early screening here in my country and mentioned how good it was and recommended it to me and everyone.

      I must admit that I’m surprised the new X-Men film is recieving bad press, but I guess that pretty much all super-hero films that take risks from now on will be considered “wrong” films. I will watch the film and if I do enjoy it like I did BvS then I will do my part and spread as much positivity as I can.

    • The comic book adaptations will survive thanks to Batman v Superman and movies like this, not because of what dinsey have done. The same company who have bought the rights to Star Wars so now can make more money thanks to the property of some one else, same thing was made with pixar and other acquired companies. 6 new Star Wars movies, just for money. This is how they works. Easy for them make money thanks to someone else’s ideas, nothing new here. The so called magazine you are talking about is probably full of bias and hipocrisy, people are saying what someone else want to listen, criticize on something seems the trand of the year. Art is already dead, because of what that other company have done, like disney, ruin this kind of movies with brainless story, superficial dialogues with jokes not even funny anymore. Now days is “funny” for some people criticize DC with no reason at all, but we have to remember that the other company have ruin art and he has even mistreated artists like Edward Norton, Terrence Howard, Mickey Rourke, Jon Favreau, Edgar Wright, Natalie Portman, Joss Whedon and even Idris Elba said that he was tired of working for them. But for some strange reason, the people and the critics have justified all of that situations, but they criticize with no reason at all DC and Zack Snyder, one of the best visual filmaker out there with a background of history of art and filmmaking. If it wasn’t for Snyder and Nolan before him, this kind of movies could be already dead and buried.

    • But isn’t Mystique not like her comic book counter part?

      I have finally managed to see X-men Apocalypse (along with my kids and a friend) and we all loved it. I also find it extremely enjoyable, with heart, emotion, great characters and a good story, that balances drama and comedy very well (the scene of rescue in the academy was one of the funniest scenes I have ever seen). The movie had also more originality than most of recent MCU offerings. I have only two minor complaints. One is related to Auschwitz scene – I understand their intent but it just not felt right for me. The other problem was with some characters (including Magneto) speaking Polish. I admire they tried to use languages appropriate for the place of action, but Polish pronunciation is very difficult for English-speaking people and it sounded very funny, even if it shouldn’t (I am Polish, as you can guess). I must also add you encouraged me to watch the movie and I am grateful for it.

  17. Hi Everyone,


    I actually didn realize that. Some people would point at the use of “Martha” and paint it as illogical, easily replaceable by Mom or mother. Why does Clark use “Martha”? Because the intention was to say Martha Kent.

    • Wow, good catch!

      I had a discussion with a friend after seeing the movie and his one real issue seemed to be this fact that Superman says “Martha” instead of “My mother.” He thought it was a clunky way to deliver the information that their mothers had the same name, since that information is critical to altering the course of the fight, and they had to get it in there somehow. He felt that Superman was saying, in effect, “You’re letting them kill my mother,” and just happened to substitute “Martha” in there, as if he calls his mother “Martha” instead of “Mom.” But I told him I didn’t think Superman was saying “my mother is in danger,” I thought he was saying “a woman named Martha Kent is in danger.” He didn’t know if Batman knew his secret identity (and didn’t want him to know if he didn’t), so he said “Martha” as if Martha was just a random person to him.

      This explanation fits better with Superman’s character, too, I think. I always took from that scene that Superman was more concerned with saving Martha than himself. So if he were trying to tell Bruce “Hey, my mom’s name is Martha, too! We’re not so different you and I! So maybe please don’t kill me, huh?” that would be a much less grand motivation than saying “Go ahead and kill me if you have to but please save this woman Martha Kent because she’s in danger.”

      On a side note, another thing this scene has been criticized for is how quickly Batman shifts gears here. Superman says “Martha” and suddenly Batman stops beating on him, right? But I don’t think it’s as simple as that. I was just recently teaching a friend how to walk their dog, a young dog who constantly pulls on the leash. I told her NOT to pull back when the dog pulls – it only triggers more pulling. I told her to yank the leash sharply to one side. This snaps the dog out of the pulling reflex as well as moves its eyes off the focus of their pulling – now it’s not only not pulling but not looking at anything to pull at. The dog sort of looks around like “What just happened?” This was the first thing I thought of in this scene. Superman “yanked” Batman’s focus away with a lateral, out-of-context comment, and Batman’s focus became unmoored. The fact that the name was coincidentally a “trigger” for Bruce is why he was demanding Superman explain it, but I think that was an unintended consequence of Superman’s plea to save Martha. He was simply was trying to appeal to whatever selfless heroism he hoped Batman still possessed, but in so doing he inadvertently triggered a stronger reaction in Batman that snapped him out of his bloodlust and made him lose his obsessive focus. The subsequent questioning of why he said the name then of course leads to the revelation that it’s Superman’s mother, and I agree with all these other interpretations that Batman suddenly sees himself as a perpetrator of violence instead of the avenger of victims of violence.

      But the fact that there are so many small, subtle steps to get from “You’re letting them kill Martha” to “I won’t let Martha die” I think was just lost on a lot of people. It’s all in Affleck’s acting, and that’s not always something that can be easily interpreted, especially after only one viewing.

  18. It is really impressive that somebody has been able to catch it. I have seen the movie ten times but have not noticed this small (but important) detail 🙁
    I was also wondering if the use of Martha name by Clark was not more intentional that it seems to be. I agree with @Phil that Clark wanted to draw Batman’s attention to a human being in danger as well as hide the link between Martha Kent and himself. He knew that Batman and Bruce Wayne are the same person, he knew the family history so he was probably aware of the name of Bruce’s mother. Maybe he used the name on purpose(instead of Mrs Kent for example) in hope Bruce would be more willing to help, and the results exceeded expectations? There are so many possibilities here, the scene is just great and I hope our good DrAwkward will give us the podcast about Martha theme soon (up to four hours – hint, hint 🙂 ).

  19. Guys you know what really pisses me off about the journalisms who constantly write a negativity about BvS and comparing them unfavourably to captain america civil war. I have seen so many attempt of justifications of why civil war is better than BvS and I honestly see most of these justification I can easily counter it if I wanted to. However there is this one journalist who wrote another article on civil war comparison with BvS and guess what justification he/she is come up with?? He/she said that civil war is better than BvS is because unlike BvS, civil war never attempt at all to call into question the essential goodness of the hero character. I was like wtf!!!. So it basically said BvS is bad is because it focus too much on the flaws of the batman and superman to the point it undermine the appeal of both character. SO he basically said civil war is better is because marvel heroes morality and their ideals never have to be challenged at all and that their heroisms is the absolute good no matter what. So BvS is bad is because it try to be really thought provoking and that it really attempt to challenge the hero morality and what we expect of them. SO you telling me DC is guilty for trying to do something like this?? OMG of all the criticisms I have heard, this is easily the most stupidest one attempt by the journalist. I can’t believe it this is how low the journalist and also the critics can be this day.

    • Just look at the way mainstream press has treated video games for decades (German press loves to bring out the word “Killer Games”), how none give a shit about anime / manga (i once found an editorial how Korra is the first serious TV kids cartoon ever, even the US did these since the 90s) and how CNN eroded during the last decade, to keep up with the lass intellectual competition.
      The problem isn´t the superhero side of the press world, it´s the entire kraken. Clicks give you money, extreme opinions give you more money (and shit-storms in the comments section…) and who needs to investigate / report if you can just copy and paste. The myth that BvS is a finial flop is thus now an irreversible wiki fact, for now… Or how Geoff Johns usurped Snydra´s team, despite being a key part of the team since MoS (watch the extras) and a vocal supporter.
      The nail that sticks out get´t hammered down, so think more about what this situation says about the state of web reporting and not just DC. But it doesn´t help that Marvel heckles on form the sides. More on that later now go on and read DC´s Rebirt. 9/10

  20. It is a shame that negativity dominates the web and is so popular, even if such opinions are just copy/paste or completely ridiculous, like this BvS and CW comparison described by Leon. Different opinions seem to be buried under this mountain of negativity and ignored by most people.
    I have found a good example of the opposite opinion about BvS and CW (it is interesting to compare both reviews).


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