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YMMV / Superman: Red Son

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From the comic

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Invoked by Superman himself about Bizarro in-story. The creature's actions end up being food for thought for the remainder of Superman's life as he ponders why he performed his Heroic Sacrifice. Did he actually know what he was doing? Did he inherit Superman's ideals and belief that all life was sacred? Or did he accurately predict Superman's coming regime and the sacrifice doubled as intentional suicide to prevent himself from ever witnessing a Bad Future from coming true? The nature of how Bizarro speaks also throws some wrinkles in. Were his last words ("Hello, everybody. Me very pleased to meet you.") Exactly What It Says on the Tin or, considering the opposite mindset Bizarro is usually hit with, a spiteful goodbye to the people who just begged Superman to kill him?
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    • Another one that's invoked by Roslov onto the Lana Lang counterpart Lana Lazarenko. In part 2, she is shown to have been rescued from poverty and given a well-paid job as a guide in the Superman Museum. But is this Superman helping out a childhood friend out from a bad spot and giving her a job outside of government or, as Roslov believes, Superman essentially bribing Lana with a nice cushy life to prevent her from spilling anything about his classified childhood?
  • Broken Aesop: While the story is clearly intended as a Take That! to Stalinist communism, a reader could easily conclude that Communism and Fascism are only superficially similar, because apparently Fascism is a utopia if the dictator is just really, really smart like Lex. Since all real-life tyrants claim to be geniuses (since none dare contradict them), this may not be the best idea to be tossing around.
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  • Complete Monster: This version of Brainiac allies himself with Lex Luthor until he is seemingly reprogrammed by Superman to become the USSR's chief scientist, and comes up with the diabolical idea to lobotomize all those who oppose the misguided Superman's rule. Attempting to push for nuclear war with America, Brainiac cares nothing for the millions of deaths, and when Luthor comes to negotiate, has him roboticized to prevent questioning. When Superman calls off the attack, Brainiac attacks him, revealing he simply pretended to be reprogrammed to serve his own purposes and plans to conquer the world and then galaxy after killing Superman, and rigs his ship to explode and wipe out humanity out of spite when beaten.
  • Funny Moment: When Superman asks Lex how he managed to circumvent the Fortress' defences.
    Defences? Oh, I just thought they were decorations for some cheap Russian folk festival.
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  • Genius Bonus: The eagle motif on Wonder Woman's chestplate has two heads, not one. The double-headed eagle is one of the most important symbols of Russia, and, as it happens, was drawn from The Byzantine Empire (the Greek speaking and Greek/Turkey based continuation of the Roman Empire), where it was a sign of imperial power: fitting for an ancient Greek heroine who became a Russian citizen.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Lex Luthor is a brilliant scientist at S.T.A.R labs seeking to defeat Superman, the "alien", to prove himself and humanity superior to all others. Having the satellite Sputnik plummet to Metropolis to trick Superman into saving the city, Luthor harvests his genetic material to create a clone he then unleashes for his plans, later assisting the Russian Batman against Superman from the shadows. Later becoming President and saving America from ruin and continuing to plot against Superman, Luthor eventually breaks the would-be benevolent dictator with the phrase "Why don't you just put the whole WORLD in a BOTTLE, Superman?" This triggers Superman into giving his life to stop Brainiac, allowing Luthor to craft a "Global United States" with an unparalleled era of peace and prosperity.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: Luthor is portrayed as being a Jerkass, but basically an Unscrupulous Hero... right up until he murders all his lab personnel because they know too much about the creation of Bizarro.
  • Obvious Judas: Why is Superman so shocked when he finds out from Batman before his suicide that Pyotr betrayed him? He made no secret whatsoever of his hatred of him, and even drunkenly admitted that he poisoned Stalin.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: A lot of scenes show the canon Superman characters doing random things to show how their lives are different without Superman, even though they have zero connection to the plot. Examples: the Kents, Lois Lane and the Daily Planet staff, etc.
  • What an Idiot!: Pyotr is totally confident of his ability to defeat Batman once their plan to overthrow Superman is complete, right after Bats kidnapped him from his own private car.

From the movie

  • Accidental Aesop: Wonder Woman deeming man's world beyond saving after witnessing the Soviet Union under Superman, and America's response to that, shows how quickly and irreversibly someone's opinion of an entire group can be cemented based on the actions of a few.
    • Her saying this as a woman, to men, after being mislead or mistreated by few male characters, does more to separate her from them and add to this idea.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Amazons always use the term "Man" as a description of mankind as a whole, but the way Wonder Woman describes mankind gives off misandrist vibes. At the very least, she puts extra emphasis on the "Man" in mankind when she criticizes human nature.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Lex becoming horrified by what he's done and voluntarily giving up power nearly avoids the Broken Aesop.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Batman crosses it when he blows up a museum with a lot of innocents inside.
  • Narm
    • "Me no feel so good!"
    • "Think Green thoughts!"
    • "Not all men."
  • Nightmare Fuel: Brainiac's voice.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Superman discovers that Lana, his childhood friend, was sentenced to a secret gulag by Stalin and arrives way too late to save her — she was already dying of disease and passes away in his arms. At the very least Supes did not let it go unavenged.
    • Superior Man's death: While he wasn't as nice as the comic's Bizarro Superman, he's reduced to impotently crawling and mumbling about truth, justice and the American way, completely ignorant of why is he dying and reduced to a childlike behavior and speech. However, in his last moments, he does notice he's in a lot of pain and doesn't know why.
    • Wonder Woman cuts ties with Superman once and for all, after he rejects her peace offering and tries resorting to violence when she doesn't join his side. Not only does she make it clear their friendship is over, she also tells him they will never meet again, and that the world of man will be cut off from Themyscira for all eternity. A continuity where our world and Superman fall so short in the eyes of Themyscira and Wonder Woman that they wash their hands of us for good is just tragic. Now they'll never know that the conflict is over.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Of all the negative things Superman had to say against America and capitalism, he's a bit too silent about the rampant Civil Rights protests in response to discrimination and genocides against Blacks, Native Americans, Asians, and "Foreign" whites that were just as bad as anything he's seen the USSR do.

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