It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Not-all-that-super-man!

A classic depiction by Alex Ross
A classic depiction by Alex Ross

I love the classic Superman, the story of a just-about all-powerful visitor to our planet who decides to use his immense abilities for good, who is all too human in wrestling with the challenge of bearing up under the great weight of responsibility he has takenĀ upon himself, and superhuman in his unfailing desire and ability to do so. He is a purely inspirational character with no neuroses or inescapable past tragedy rendering him “complicated” or dark. There is plenty of that in the world already; Superman stands apart from all that, in the world but not of the world, a shining light. It is hard to talk about him without relying onĀ Messianic imagery, because something akin to that is very much what was in the minds of Siegel and Shuster when they created him back in the ’30s. For me, Superman has always been primarily a great moral character.

So it is with some sadness that I have finally conceded that Hollywood either cannot or will not write this sort of Superman into the current spate of superhero movies.

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