By In Movies

Superman v.

On the way out of “Batman v. Superman: No Idea Why They’re Fighting,” I saw a boy, probably 9 or 10 years old, walking with his mother. Like everyone else in the theater after the initial shock had faded, he had this baffled look on his face. Finally, as he approached the door, he turned to his mother and said, “So, wait, like, nobody won?”

I suppose that’s as good a summation of the facacta movie as any though I’m not here to add to Ben Affleck’s sadness or Anthony Lane’s brilliance. It has all been said about “Batman v. Superman.” What I do want to talk about for a minute is Superman, and why it is ceaselessly depressing to me what director Zack Snyder and others are doing to him.

I have never been a huge comic book guy, but I have always loved Superman. When I was a kid, there was a half-hour animated superhero show after school on Channel 43 in Cleveland. It was called “Superman and Friends” (I think).  I never missed it. The showed featured three mini-cartoons. The first cartoon always featured Superman. The second one usually was just Superman Part II, though every now and againt it featured Superboy (and Superdog). The third cartoon was another hero, usually Aquaman but on special days, it might feature the Flash or Wonder Woman or someone like that.

Through the years, I never grew tired of these Superman cartoons, even though the plotlines were the same. Superman would run into some master villain and, in about seven minutes (all the time they had) crack the case and save the world. There never was much drama. The villain would invent some robot that was just as strong as Superman (not), or some monster would be released, or Bizarro Superman would show up for a fight or, mainly, Lex Luthor would get hold of kyrptonite. It would look dim for Superman for about 21 seconds, and then he would figure out some fairly obvious solution (send Bizarro back to his dimension!) and save the day just in time for him to turn back into Clark Kent and have some witty banter with Lois Lane.

LOIS: “Where have you been all this time?”

CLARK KENT: “Gee Lois, I got locked in the bathroom.”

LOIS: “It’s OK Clark, we can’t all be Superman!”

I loved Superman then and love him now . My office overflows with Superman stuff my family has bought for me through the years (they always buy me Superman stuff). And I’m only now coming to grips with why I so thoroughly loathed the last Superman movie (“Man of Steel Destroys Things”) and, even more, loathed “Batman v. Superman.”

Superman has too many powers. This is the complaint that my buddy Michael Schur always airs. Superman can go as fast as the speed of light. He is strong enough, essentially, to do anything. He is impervious to pain, and his body cannot be pierced by bullets. He can see through stuff (though not lead, a plot device often used) and he can burn things with his eyes, and he can blow a wind so cold it will form ice and, at the end of Superman II, he kissed Lois Lane and made her forget that he was Clark Kent. There’s a decadence here — does this guy REALLY need to be able to see through walls? — but that’s Superman.

Superman’s only physical obstacle, of course, is kryptonite, which –fortunately for hackneyed comic book writers everywhere — is readily available at every corner villain store or at a museum with one mopey security guard. It goes without saying that kryptonite plays the key role in “Batman v. Superman” because BvS is the sort of dull, uninspired movie that needs kryptonite.

I would not argue with Michael’s complaints about Superman except to say that I think it misses the point about Superman: He is not like other superheroes. Others, like Iron Man and Batman and Wonder Woman and Spiderman especially, the thrill is in the escape and the capure. They have limited powers and, so, are often in real danger. Their plight seems hopeless. They somehow find a way.

Superman is not like that. He cannot be defeated. He is never the underdog. If some new thing came along that could crush Superman, he would undoubtedly discover a new superpower to counter it (“Hey, look, I can go inside the computer and defeat the virus! I had no idea!”). This is the part that “Man of Steel” and, especially, BvS get so, so, so, so wrong. They treat Superman like he’s just a strong superhero who can fly and shoot heat lasers from his eyes.

But he’s not. He’s Superman.

And in missing that, they they miss the part that has always made Superman so compelling to many of us: He’s good. That’s his real superpower. He does not have delusions of grandeur, does not long for revenge, does not feel underappreciated. He’s Superman. He’s utterly incorruptible, thoroughly kind, intensely decent. Those seemingly silly gags of Superman coming down and saving a cat from a tree are important because that’s Superman — his singular purpose is to help people. He will use his Superpowers to save a cat so that a little boy or girl will be happy. That goodness is wired into his kryptonian DNA. The world’s problems, every one of them, are his problems.

Zack Snyder took this goodness away from Superman, and in doing so he took away everything that was ever interesting about the Man of Steel. He and actor Henry Cavill gave us a muscular vacant lot, a brooding Superman who will do a few good things if the mood strikes him, but feels put upon for even that.

“You don’t owe this world anything … you never did,” his earth mother tells Superman in BvS, in one of the worst and most depressing bits of advice a mother has EVER given their child. I cannot imagine what was happening in the writer’s heads when they wrote that line.

I don’t want to get into the BvS plot (in part because I still don’t understand it) but I do need to say: Snyder pulls off a bit of movie jujitsu so horrifying that he should be forced to answer for it in front of some sort of movie tribunal.

In “Man of Steel.” he has Superman fight General Zod in Metropolis, destroying countless buildings and killing however many people happened to be in those buildings. It was so un-Superman, that it made me want to throw up. Superman would sooner GIVE UP than allow all those people to die; that’s what made him Superman. He doesn’t make the sort of cynical calculations that others have to make (a few thousand die now so millions don’t die later). He saves EVERYONE.

So that was bad enough. But then, Snyder started off BvS with that very same fight, only this time from the perspective of Batman, who now sees the destruction caused by Superman and it (I guess) plants in him the rage that will lead to their battle.

That takes some real gall there, to first give us a grotesque version of Superman and then to build a whole second movie around his grotesqueness.


As mentioned, I’m no comic book expert and so I cannot say what true fans think of Superman. Maybe they are thrilled to see him go a little bit dark. Maybe they enjoy seeing him conflicted. Maybe they want him wearing deeper blue and red colors and fighting a lot at night.

I want a Superman in bright blue and red who wants to not only catch the bad guy but one who will do everything he can to make sure no one gets hurt along the way. I want a Superman who laments every loss, even among the so-called bad guys. I want a Superman who loves Lois Lane, sure, but one who knows that his greater purpose will prevent him from ever fully embracing that love. I want a Superman who realizes that his greatest weakness is not kryptonite, but that he is only one man and cannot be everywhere, and so has to inspire others to be their own heroes too.

I suppose that’s corny and childlike, and maybe comic book heroes are not like that anymore. I also suppose that’s a harder story to tell than one with kryptonite and bad guys kidnapping someone Superman loves. I despised Batman v. Superman, of course, because it’s a terrible movie, but mroe than that I mourn for the Superman I grew up with.

And don’t even get me started on Affleck as Batman. He didn’t “Kapow!” even one henchman.

53 Responses to Superman v.

  1. Jake Bucsko says:

    “so I cannot say what true fans think of Superman. Maybe they are thrilled to see him go a little bit dark.”

    Pro tip: people who are thrilled to see Superman go dark are people who never actually liked Superman to begin with, like Zack Snyder. They think he needed to be changed/updated/grown up for today’s audience, as opposed to thinking about what it means to be a morally good, all powerful hero in today’s world. This is what you get when you are embarrassed by your character instead of embracing him.

  2. Frank says:

    Spot on.

  3. mjames1229 says:

    It’s possible that Richard Pryor put a little TOO MUCH tar in the synthetic Kryptonite and it is really manifesting itself poorly 33 years later.

    I mean, it could happen, right?

  4. Jimmy Allen says:

    In other words, you want the same boring story that has been done 50 times before. Why did you even watch it? You knew what you were getting into.

    • Sometimes new ideas add a little depth to the character and it works. Some times they flat out suck. But based on the box office numbers, they’ll be counting their money just the same. Because everybody went to see it. Yeah, everyone is universally hating it, but they still plunked down their cash.

    • judgeknott says:

      In three small sentences, you say so many stupid things.
      First, Joe didn’t say he wanted the same boring story; he said he wants the same character, in a new story that doesn’t rely on lazy thinking (like making the “good guy” conflicted or bad).
      Second, no one knows exactly what a movie will be like before they watch it. They may have some idea, but your comment relies on the same thinking as those people who condemn books without reading them.
      And finally, Joe watched a movie, didn’t like it, and commented on it. So, in your world he should only comment on movies he likes? Or make comments that you agree with?
      I know the comments on Joe’s blog are unusually civil so I am conflicted about pointing this out, but in the future you might want to limit yourself to commenting when you actually have something useful to say.

    • OleLefthander says:

      But, aside from Wonder Woman, THIS movie was so incredibly boring. There was way too much brooding and not a moment of joy to be found. (Again, other than the joy of seeing Wonder Woman somehow, miraculously, handled very effectively.

  5. mrh says:

    ” I cannot imagine what was happening in the writer’s heads when they wrote that line.”

    Spring, 1982, somewhere in (then) West Germany. A field artillery battery’s Executive Officer (2nd-in-command) and driver are stuck in a busted jeep along the side of the road. Their radio also doesn’t work so they can’t call for help. Newly assigned 2nd Lieutenant Davis comes by in another jeep and keeps going. Later, when the details come out, the battery First Sergeant, in the voice 20-year-veteran non-commissioned officers use with wayward nine-months-in-the-Army second lieutenants, asks,

    “Lieutenant Davis, kindly tell me, what was running through your mind when you passed the XO’s broken down vehicle without stopping?”

    I* think the 1SG would like to ask that writer a similar question.

    *Neither the XO nor LT Davis but still friend to both.

  6. When Superman first came out, he was conceived as a revenge fantasy for put upon schnooks everywhere. Clark Kent might be a wimpy guy who gets insulted by Alpha female Lois Lane, but LITTLE DID SHE KNOW, he was really the mightiest man in the world, always saving her ass in some spectacular fashion and then spurning her advances. My favorite story of his initial run concerned a time when Clark and Lois went to the county fair, and Lois asked Clark to try his hand at knocking down milk bottles with a baseball to win her a kewpie doll. As Superman, he could have just blown them away, but he knows the game is rigged against regular Joes, so Clark fails pathetically, much to Lois’s disgust. Later, he comes back as Superman, and starts pelting the carnival owner with baseballs. Then he removes the man’s wallet, GETS HIS MONEY BACK, and throws him a country mile to his inevitable death.

    That Superman really got off on being the top dog, but alas, with great popularity comes great responsibility, and as Superman became an icon, and his powers kept increasing exponentially, his character was whitewashed to become the squeaky clean avatar of truth, justice and the American way. Superman became boring and frankly a bit lame. He was overdue for a bit of a shake up.

    But rather than return to the original’s wisecracking roots, to the fun that the filmmaker’s could have had with a fantasy character who can do almost anything, Snyder and company turn Superman into a ponderous meditation on the burden’s of godhood. He’s no fun at all. In Superman vs Batman, it’s Batman who wins, not via a slugfest, but by making Superman into a Kryptonian version of himself, dark, brooding and angst-ridden.

  7. invitro says:

    Brilliant article, Joe. Just brilliant. I might say though that if you’re looking for moral nuances, today’s Hollywood movies are a rotten place to look.

  8. drpaulsem says:


    I’m not a big superhero fan, but, like you, I do (or did) love Superman. I loved all the Super Friends.

    I loved the Superman as portrayed in those cartoons and in the first two Superman movies in the 1970’s.

    I didn’t enjoy any of the updates. I have also felt like the Batman I loved as a kid – again from Super Friends and the 1960’s TV show – has never appeared in the movies.

    You are the first person to reference the fact that the Batman we’ve seen in the movies isn’t anything like the Batman we originally knew.

  9. GJ says:

    The current film with the most inspiring superheroes is Spotlight.

  10. NevadaMark says:

    Assuming no kryptonite, how can Batman, a mere mortal, POSSIBLY fight Superman, an invulnerable alien? The mere premise is ridiculous.

    • So was Godzilla vs. Rodan. They only do this stuff to make money, not to make some coherent point. They made their money by putting Batman AND Superman in the title. The plot and premise was almost irrelevant to the film makers. They needed another Ferrari and perhaps a private island. That’s about as deep as this goes.

    • forsch31 says:

      Actually, the whole “Batman fights Superman” goes back Frank Miller’s acclaimed and classic The Dark Knight Returns. As that story shows, it’s not ridiculous. Superman relies on his physical gifts, while Batman, as he always does, relies on his technology and intelligence to make himself Superman’s physical equal. Remember, Superman’s most worthy adversary is Lex Luther, who is no where near Batman in the physicality and fighting department. And Superman *can* die. He’s a not-quite-mere mortal.

  11. Chris says:

    Joe, I love your baseball writing (and the Bruce stuff), but I’m a little confused about this particular piece.

    “Batman v. Superman: No Idea Why They’re Fighting”: Batman thinks Superman is an existential threat to humanity, and Superman thinks that if he doesn’t fight Batman, Lex Luthor will kill his mother. That about sums up why they’re fighting.

    As for the kid who asked, “So nobody won?” — that’s what happens when the good guys fight, whether it’s in comics or movies or TV or wherever. They eventually stop fighting each other and agree to fight the actual bad guy. It’s happened in just about every superhero crossover story ever, including the many, many times Batman and Superman have been at odds.

    Then there’s the “Man of Steel” critique: “[Snyder] has Superman fight General Zod in Metropolis, destroying countless buildings and killing however many people happened to be in those buildings. It was so un-Superman, that it made me want to throw up.” Snyder as director was telling the story, yes, but in the story it was ZOD who chose to fight in Metropolis, not Superman. And this was literally Superman’s first fight — he’s a rookie there, not some seasoned superhero, and he’s facing an incredibly powerful and experienced foe who is his only physical equal. Of course Superman wouldn’t have wanted those people to die, but he couldn’t very well have asked Zod to move things to the moon, could he? He was trying to eliminate the Zod threat before Zod turned Earth into Krypton — it’s just really hard to do and Superman is new at this. Give him a break!

    And as for the “Superman is good” thing being Superman’s defining trait: that is fully on display in Batman v Superman. He struggles with making the right choices (again, he’s still learning how to be a superhero AND to be a good man), but in the end he always does — right up until his final act against Doomsday. How’s that for “Superman would sooner GIVE UP than allow all those people to die” — he literally GIVES UP HIS OWN LIFE rather than allow anyone else to die. How’s that for someone being “utterly incorruptible, thoroughly kind [and] intensely decent”?

    If this Superman’s cape wasn’t as bright red as Christopher Reeve’s, or if this Superman didn’t do just what the Superman of your childhood cartoons did, well, that may not be what you wanted, but it certainly doesn’t make anything a travesty.

    • Richard says:

      “Of course Superman wouldn’t have wanted those people to die, but he couldn’t very well have asked Zod to move things to the moon, could he? He was trying to eliminate the Zod threat before Zod turned Earth into Krypton — it’s just really hard to do and Superman is new at this. Give him a break!”

      How “Man Of Steel” Should Have Ended –

      Problem solved. (grin)

    • Dave DeSimone says:

      Your justification of the character’s actions based on the reality he was faced is, of course, correct but what Joe and many of us are disappointed in is that Snyder chose to put him in this reality in the first place. Superman doesn’t belong in the real world. right?

  12. DjangoZ says:

    Only one actor has ever captured Superman in an interesting way: Christopher Reeve. And he did that by tapping into that goodness you’re talking about.

    Noone has ever acted as Batman in an interesting way. And many good actors have tried.

    I would argue that in the last 20 years there have only been two interesting characters in ALL the super hero movies that have been made: The Joker and Iron Man. And both of those relied on a superb actor (Health Ledger and Robert Downey Jr.) bringing something special to the screen that wasn’t necessarily on the script page.

    Am I the only person who finds most of these super hero films really bombastic and boring? Lots of special effects and explosions and very little character development or interesting plot. And I say that as someone who grew up with super hero comics in the 80s and 90s and loved them.

    The missing ingredients in all of these films is character and story, but they make alot of money, particularly overseas so I guess it doesn’t matter.

    • Ed says:

      I don’t know — I think Chris Evans has been a pretty fantastic Captain America. In fact, his Captain America is basically what Superman should be.

      • Marco says:

        This take is a correct take.

      • MCD says:

        Agree 100% on this point, Ed. I think Evans’ Captain America shows that a “goody two shoes” does not necessarily equate to “boring”, regardless of what Snyder and millions of fan-boys seem to think.

    • invitro says:

      I think I agree with this. Reeve’s Superman is perfection, though I don’t like any part of the first movie that isn’t him. Superman II is great.

      I grew up with comic books in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and yes find these movies bombastic and boring for the most part. I don’t really expect character stuff, as these are children’s stories, but I do expect some imaginative fantasy, something wondrous, and a fun plot. That’s why I like the Hellboy movies.

      If a movie could capture what Lee & Ditko & Kirby put on paper with Spider-Man and the F Four in the 1960’s, I’d love it, and it shouldn’t be that hard, but I don’t think it’s been done yet.

      An adult movie could probably be made about Batman, maybe focusing on Miller’s Year One story. Anyway…

      • You didn’t like Gene Hackman and Ned Beatty? I kind of enjoyed them. It’s not like the movie was some incredible piece of art, or anything. Just something to enjoy.

        • invitro says:

          I generally love Hackman, but I don’t think Luthor would have such retarded henchmen as Beatty and that horrible woman. They were supposed to be comic relief, but I didn’t find them funny, and didn’t think the movie needed comic relief. And if it did, that role should’ve been filled by Jimmy Olsen and Perry White. Just my opinion… I want to praise Reeve much more than criticize the other fellows.

          • invitro says:

            FWIW, The Conversation is in my all time top 5 movies, and Hackman’s performance in it might be my number one.

  13. Kuz says:

    I’m sure my age influences my opinion, but Superman will always be George Reeves’ Superman in the half hour Superman TV series in the 50’s. Classic early television.

  14. MARK HUFFHINES says:

    I agree with you, Joe. Superman is the epitomy of good. A boy scout maybe on steroids with superpowers to do good things. Please people, don’t make Superman something he isn’t.

  15. Gcm says:

    Facacta should be farkakte, otherwise a fine take.

  16. Joe, I would like it if you would wrote an essay like this about every movie you saw.

  17. Marco says:

    “Superman would sooner GIVE UP than allow all those people to die; that’s what made him Superman. He doesn’t make the sort of cynical calculations that others have to make (a few thousand die now so millions don’t die later). He saves EVERYONE.”

    That’s why in this movie they told us (Twice!) that downtown was empty because everyone left.

    I did the emo teen eye roll during that one.

  18. Marco says:

    One other note:
    I saw the movie Friday night in a packed house. After the movie, 75% of the theater stayed and watched all the credits, hoping for a post credits tease. When it didn’t come, the theater boo’d and someone shouted “This is why Marvel kicks DC’s ass”

  19. invitro says:

    I’ve seen most of the Marvel comic book movies, only because they’re on TV all the freaking time, and I think they’re utterly boring. If you want a high quality comic book movie, I recommend both of the Hellboy movies. They are bursting with creativity, have a fair amount of weirdness, and have far better characters than the DC/Marvel tripe. And they’re made by a real movie director. They’re still pretty dumb, but at least they’re fun.

    • invitro says:

      I also enjoyed Scott Pilgrim.

    • Ed says:

      Guardians of the Galaxy was fantastic. I feel like the rest of their movies are hit or miss. The first Iron Man was excellent, but 2 and 3 were not especially great. Both Captain America movies are pretty good; both Thor movies are pretty bad (except for Loki). The first Avengers was a very fun blockbuster; Age of Ultron was a mess. Haven’t seen Ant-Man so can’t give an opinion on that.

  20. shagster says:

    Another one under the heading of, “nothing to see here, move along” was the DC – Marvel crossover, “Superman v Hulk”. Before getting to the story, one suspects the writers are going to say green Hulk is actually kryptonite green. Fortunately they didn’t bother. The rest was laughable. A carnival for the colorists, perhaps. But there’s no story here. Because to Joe’s point, “it’s Superman.”

  21. MikeN says:

    They should have made Shaq vs Batman.

  22. Randy says:

    I owned a successful Comic Book store for 19 years, and I’ve always have hated the way DC portrays Superman. The problem dates back to 1986 and Frank Miller’s grim portrayal of Clark as a fascist that needs to be taken down , so an elderly (or at least long in the tooth Bruce Wayne) comes out of retirement to take down Big Blue. Fanboys went wild (think of a 16-seed toppling KU or North Carolina) and this 4-issue arc that was not an actual part of DC continuity became gospel. It’s amazing that a company DC/Warners would treat an icon so cavalierly, I haven’t seen this movie or actually any Superman movie since Chris Reeve was no longer attached.

    • invitro says:

      I don’t think so… I was a teenager and an anti-fanboy in 1986 and went wild about Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. It was mainly because the art in it is awfully close to being The Best Comic Book Art Ever, but also for the wild story. Anyway, the fight with Superman is only a small part of the series, issue #4 IIRC. This series is at the heart of what I and many people believe is The Best Year For Comics Ever, along with Watchmen, the peak of Swamp Thing, Miller’s Batman: Year One, and many slightly lesser lights.

  23. invitro says:

    While I’m blabbering about comics, I think my favorite Superman story may be Alan Moore’s story called “The Last Superman Story Ever Told” or something like that, back in 1986 or 1987. Moore makes Luthor and Brainiac legitimately terrifying and real threats; the story is both scary and touching. I don’t remember if Kryptonite was involved. Having longtime hack Curt Swan draw the story adds a creepy touch. It’d make a hell of a movie if made by a real director.

  24. Len says:

    I remember loving Superman as a kid as much as anyone could, but — and this is a serious puzzlement — I don’t understand why anyone over the age of fifteen watches a superhero movie. Any superhero movie. As Joe says, they are so dumb once you figure out how limited the plot possibilities are.

    All the problems of this movie go away, the straining to make something original out of a played-out formula, if the grownups just stop going to these things. Back in 1962, I saw Superman defeat General Zod and Bizarro and Brainiac and Lex Luthor and Mr. Mxyzptlk. I don’t need to see him do it again and again. Nobody does.

    Now, if you’re a kid today, by all means enjoy the great victory over General Zod. But by no means listen to what any grownup has to say about any superhero. And when you turn fifteen, give the comic books away and make friends with some girls. Give James Joyce and George Orwell a try. When you’re ready you can make the great leap to Henry Miller. Fifteen is the ideal time to look for the dirty parts of great novels.

    • invitro says:

      Joyce and Orwell are great, Miller is a mess. And some poor guys are unable to make friends with girls :(.

    • Marc Schneider says:

      I’m almost 60, read plenty of serious fiction/non fiction. I’m not a huge superhero fan anymore but I saw the first Christopher Reeve Superman when I was 23 (1979 for those counting) and thought it was great. I still watch Superman I and II when they come on TV. I watched the Agent Carter Marvel series on TV and enjoyed it, although I agree it’s hard to take seriously. (It would have been better if they had not made the potential romantic scenes so childish.) I don’t think liking superhero movies and liking serious reading/movies are mutually exclusive for adults, any more than liking sports and liking high culture is mutually exclusive or liking rock and classical music. They are just different things. Reading Crime and Punishment doesn’t mean you can’t also read the sports page.

  25. David Gardner says:

    Enjoyed this one especially, Joe. When I first heard that a movie was being made entitled “Batman versus Superman”, I remember thinking: What kinda fight is THAT going to be?

    Batman was my favorite superhero growing up…primarily just because he was NOT super. He had no special powers other the ones that he had worked his ass off…aided in no small measure by being a multi-millionaire…to develop. At least, that was the storyline. But as much as I liked Batman, he wouldn’t be able to give Superman any more of a struggle than an ant gives an anteater. If it got down to being a real fight, Superman could just give Batman a couple of seconds’ worth of heat vision…from miles away, if he wanted…and Bruce Wayne would be a bat-cinder.

    And then some friends tried to explain to me that DC had sort of “started over” with their multiverse, and in this new storyline Superman’s powers are much less impressive. He was almost killed by a nuclear blast, and his ability to fly through space is limited to how long he could hold his breath…and frankly, he was just a lot less powerful. I guess that’s more appealing to modern audiences.

    But whenever anyone asks me if I like the Superman movies, I always have to ask: You mean the ones with the REAL Superman, or the new ones with that sissy they got flitting around now?

  26. Zach Walters says:

    I’m not a comic book guy, but that’s always been my favorite part of the character, too.

    I mean, look. Clark Kent is a farm boy from Kansas with two loving parents who has his dream job in New York City and a pretty girlfriend. And that’s before he even takes his glasses off! What’s he got to be moody about? It’s kind of fun to have one superhero who saves the world because he actually likes it.

  27. David Garcia says:

    Joe and anyone else who cares about this topic must listen to the latest Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast linked here

    They explain why movies have to change characters and explain how changes to Batman are just as egregious as the changes to superman.

  28. forsch31 says:

    The best Superman story, in my mind, is still Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come, which deals directly with Superman’s idealistic outlook and manner conflicting with a violent world that has rejected it. Joe, if you haven’t read, I strongly suggest it. Even if only to rinse out the muddy grime left by Batman v. Superman.

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