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Are we cynical about superheroes?

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Ikedatakeshi God of Worf from singapore Relationship Status: Singularity
God of Worf
Jan 6th 2018 at 6:02:50 AM

"Far as I'm concerned" directly implies you don't care about what their opinions are and that this your interpretation of their arguments, rather than an objective display. Might want to change that?

Nikkolas Politically Confused from Texas Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
Politically Confused
Jan 6th 2018 at 6:11:46 AM

You just implied some people disliked the film but can't express it so they fixate on the Zod scene. That's a decent theory and I was offering my own.

People don't just criticize MOS, they hate it with a violent and religious fervor. Yet most of them are totally unaware that Superman has killed in the comics before.

They are not attacking the movie, they are attacking what they see as an affront to the ideal Superman they hold in their head.

Ikedatakeshi God of Worf from singapore Relationship Status: Singularity
God of Worf
Jan 6th 2018 at 6:21:03 AM

Again, generalization. I admit to doing the same, but my experience is quite different due to discussing it with people who also dislike the movie but has more valid and structured arguments beyond "Not MUH SUPAHMAN!". I don't think it's fair to group people with valid concerns with those more extreme fans. Also, in case you bring up that those who criticize the film doing the same with those who like the film, I will make it clear that they are also in the wrong for doing so, but two wrongs don't make a right.

Luminosity ahuhuhuhuhu from the mother of all drills Relationship Status: Lovey-Dovey
ahuhuhuhuhu
Jan 6th 2018 at 6:46:40 AM

People have every right to hate Man of Steel.

There's a time and place to question Superman. That time and place is not in his first flagship movie under a new studio, that's supposed to define him and start a new line of his adventures on-screen. You don't go for a deconstruction of the mythos you didn't yet fucking establish. But this movie rushed to be "deep", and in the process deconstructed something it never got to actually construct.

Fuck the Zod scene. There's plenty of total nonsense in Man of Steel besides that. The Pa Kent "helping people is wrong" scene. A Superman movie tells you that helping people is wrong. The "Krypton had its chance" scene, the creationist overtones of the movie(besides the usual Jesus symbolism, the evil Kryptonians are following "evilution"). Everything is wrong with Man of Steel, its own concept is wrong with Man of Steel.

Jan 6th 2018 at 7:09:13 AM

That time and place is not in his first flagship movie under a new studio, that's supposed to define him and start a new line of his adventures on-screen. You don't go for a deconstruction of the mythos you didn't yet fucking establish.

This is not a hard and fast rule. Plenty of deconstructions are of mythos that aren't really established. And with Superman, the idea of the character is well known any way.

The Pa Kent "helping people is wrong" scene. A Superman movie tells you that helping people is wrong.

That is not what the scene says. Never once is this ever claimed in the movie. What the movie does argue with that scene is to think before you leap, a lesson a lot of superheroes could actually stand to learn. Like a certain flag-wearing captain who tells 117 nations to go screw themselves when they ask for him to respect their border laws.

The "Krypton had its chance" scene,

What about it?

the creationist overtones of the movie(besides the usual Jesus symbolism, the evil Kryptonians are following "evilution").

Actually, the evil Kryptonians aren't evolving but stagnating. They think they're evolving but they aren't

edited 6th Jan '18 7:11:49 AM by windleopard

Ikedatakeshi God of Worf from singapore Relationship Status: Singularity
God of Worf
Jan 6th 2018 at 7:13:05 AM

We're going off-topic so let's stop before the mods arrive and move this to the MOS thread if you want to continue.

edited 6th Jan '18 7:13:51 AM by Ikedatakeshi

Jan 6th 2018 at 3:08:09 PM

I think the Pa Kent scene might be better described as "There are (theoretically) things more important than helping people" - though YMMV on whether that's just "Helping people is wrong" with some Weasel Words on top. After all, a lot of real-life bureaucracies and institutions use similar face-saving measures when they "explain" why they're sitting on their thumbs while X community burns.

Anyways, to (hopefully) get things more on-topic, lately I've been getting cynical about the very existence of live-action superhero movies. IMO, the list of things a live-action blockbuster can do that a well-funded cartoon can't pretty much all boil down to Money, Dear Boy - live-action stuff moves more merchandise, has a better chance of snagging Oscars, etc.

But with a cartoon, the Willing Suspension of Disbelief is inherently higher, and you can cheat physics and visuals in a hundred ways the best live-action SFX artist never could. No-one in real life could ever move the way, say, TAS Batman does, but isn't that why we watch Batman? To see things that could never happen in real life?

The visuals of a cartoon also, IMO, lend themselves better to the melodrama that superheroes love so much. I dunno about y'all, but if I ever saw the graveyard scene from Mask of the Phantasm being done by a flesh-and-blood actor, I'd laugh my ass off.

VampireBuddha Hungry dinosaur from Ireland Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
Hungry dinosaur
Jan 7th 2018 at 12:50:41 PM

I think that's part of why live-action is more respected - a decent animator can draw (or, nowadays, render) a character doing anything using the same methods, but it takes skill and creativity to do the same thing in live action. It's the exact same reason practical effects are considered superior to CGI - animation can do anything, but doing the same thing with physical matter is just more impressive.

(Heck, Terry Pratchett alluded to something similar with the magicians of Discworld - the fact that they do their tricks without resorting to actual magic makes them more interesting than wizards and witches).

But yes, it would be remiss to completely ignore the animation age ghetto.

Actually, thinking about the ghetto, you ever notice that American TV has a weird aversion to targeting teenagers? Even when something is nominally aimed at teens, it's even more squeeky-clean than even some of the action and adventure series aimed at a supposedly younger audience. Indeed, outside of superhero adaptations, TV series geared for teens mostly seem to come from Japan (and we all remember how they used to be hacked up to make them suitable for American children).

Superhero comics, in contrast, really are aimed at adolescents. I don't mean that in an insulting way, just in a neutral way. They've got action, drama, violence, and sexual content beyond what most of us would be comfortable with showing to children, but it's still done in a very fantastical way in a heightened reality. Even anti-heroes like the Punisher are done in an exaggerated manner against equally exaggerated antagonists, compared to the more low-key, realistic content in the likes of Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy.

RavenWilder Raven Wilder
Raven Wilder
Jan 8th 2018 at 10:23:47 AM

General audiences seem to want a greater deal of visual realism from their mostly-serious stories than animated works can usually provide. They want the stuff they see on screen to look like it's really happening, not like an artist's rendition of what's happening.

The popularity of superhero movies coincides with CGI technology advancing to the point where they can use animation to portray the various out-there aspects of superhero stories without them looking any less real than the live action bits.

"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
Jan 31st 2018 at 7:24:17 AM

I stumbled upon this comment regarding DC's penchant for classism and what I might call birthright fetishism, and I'd say it touched upon a vital aspect as to why people tend to become skeptical or outright cynical regarding superheroes, particularly as the heroes where this tendency is most pervasive are also among the most influential, both in-universe and culture-wise. For all its other faults, Marvel is considerably more even-handed when it comes to heroes of diverse origins, goals and methodologies. The Avengers may be considered its premier heroes, but even they usually don't exercise any imposing authority over others, even wildcards like Wolverine and Deadpool or brutalizers like the Punisher.

Factor in the X-Men and the mutant mythos, and you get even greater diversity, where no single team can be considered dominant. More often than not, they even operate in the same city with no particular jurisdiction friction. Even civil organizations like S.H.I.E.L.D. often get a fair share in the hero business. In this sense, the setting is a lot more egalitarian and accepting of newcomers or popularity shifts.

To contrast, DC is somewhat more possessive regarding its staple capes, often gushing in-story about how grand and important they are, and being dismissive or outright hostile to trends and attitudes that may threaten their status. Factor in the Justice League being unambiguously presented as the superhero team of the world, often with physical authority over others, an aversion to both democratic institutions and public scrutiny (while outright featuring hereditary monarchs in its ranks), and a very "my way or the highway" attitude even in global affairs, and you really get a veritable neo-feudalist setting that's rather off-putting unless one very strictly projects onto the heroes, and nobody else.

To that effect, I reckon the overzealous fanon discontinuity of various interpretations of Batman, Superman etc. stems precisely from how they're so glorified, even a slight misstep affects the whole world. Contrast with how when Marvel capes start doing something really stupid, the overall fan reaction is to the effect of "yeah, they're doing something stupid", rather than "not muh Iron Man". These heroes are already written as flawed and far from omnipotent, so when they're acting up, this can be considered in-character, rather than as a grand heresy committed by the writers; and in-universe, it doesn't affect the whole setting. For instance, sticking to Deadpool, I pretty much slept through the entire Civil War, safely focusing on a guy who simply wasn't affected by it.

All in all, you can see why exaggerating heroes' power, status, moral influence etc. tends to backfire, while keeping them down to earth and not perpetually concerned with exporting their vision of justice to the wider world, actually makes for a more inviting setting. A setting where people don't need to belong to one of the Great Houses to have any agency, but can do their own thing and make a difference their own way. It's a bit of a "duh" moment when put like that, but the overall idea that more kinds of people can be heroes in a fictional setting, tends to be appealing to more kinds of people in real life.

Jan 31st 2018 at 8:21:16 AM

In regards to Jason, I think it's worth noting the initial batch of writers (Max Allan Collins, Mike W. Barr) mostly treated his street-punk background as an added wrinkle in his backstory, not a sign he was Doomed to Fail or even a subpar Robin. It's not until Jim Starlin that you start seeing that line of thinking, and Starlin's gone on record as actively trying to sabotage Jason because he hated the general idea of kid sidekicks.

Also, if I remember right plenty of fans came out of One More Day going "NOT MUH SPIDER-MAN" specifically because of the depth of immorality it plunged the central hero into, and the depth of uselessness it plunged every other hero in the Marvel Universe into - and come to think of it, I'm not so sure Civil War didn't sour a whole batch of fans on Marvel entirely. I know it's the reason I probably won't bother with any Marvel books published after 2006.

VampireBuddha Hungry dinosaur from Ireland Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
Hungry dinosaur
Jan 31st 2018 at 8:52:05 AM

Also, if I remember right plenty of fans came out of One More Day going "NOT MUH SPIDER-MAN" specifically because of the depth of immorality it plunged the central hero into

There's a difference between a character making a mistake and literally making a deal with the actual devil.

Luminosity ahuhuhuhuhu from the mother of all drills Relationship Status: Lovey-Dovey
ahuhuhuhuhu
Jan 31st 2018 at 9:42:09 AM

I wish there was a proper take at Jason as Robin that didn't condemn him as the "soon-to-be-evil-one" right off the bat. He's one of my favourite DC characters for his, although unintentional as it is, tragic character progression.

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