FRIDAY BONUS POST!
I’m a big superhero fan, which is why it might be surprising to know that I hate Superman. I do however love Batman, which is why despite the films countless flaws which included but are not limited to plot, re-shoots, and Zack Snyder, I did loved watching Batman kick the crap out of Superman in Batman V. Superman (If you want a good Batman versus Superman movie give “The Dark Knight Returns Part 2” a watch. Fantastic movie).
Many have asked me “Why do you hate Superman so much? He stands for hope truth justice and the American way!” but to me that’s all crap. The whole appeal of superheroes, or any character in any work, is the fact that despite all their strength and power they are vulnerable in a way. A good character needs to have flaws. They’re supposed to have problems and obstacles that they overcome, that’s what makes a story interesting. Furthermore, heroes are people that put the safety of others before their own. People who protect the lives of others while risking their own. Superman does not meet that standard.
Superman is some alien who just naturally has powers and suffered no real tragedy. He is never risking his own life to save others because he is invincible. There is never an instance where there is an actual threat to Superman’s life. Batman says to Superman “You’re not brave, men are brave.” That quote is right on the money.
Bravery isn’t about being fearlessly jumping into battle. It’s about taking the leap despite being afraid. Fear is natural. We’re all scared of something. Whether it’s heights, loneliness, death, spiders, bats, or failure we all fear something and that’s okay. It’s natural and it just means that we have to deal with it. Brave people persevere and work to not let that fear control you. Being brave means cliff diving despite your fear of heights. Taking the next step in a relationship despite your fear of commitments.
The same is true of being heroic. It’s not heroic for a father to beat up his son’s bully because there is no real threat for the father. That’s just child abuse. What’s heroic is a regular woman running into a burning building and risking her life to save a baby. She’s not only brave. She’s a hero. Soldiers are heroes. Firemen are heroes.
There’s nothing brave or heroic about an indestructible alien who literally can’t die saving a baby from a fire. Real heroes know that there’s a risk of failure but they fight that fear and take the leap of faith. Superman is almost never in a situation where he’s risking death or failure because the guy is invincible, super fast, super strong, and has some bonus plot armor when necessary. He’s not brave because there are no stakes.
What I’m trying to get at here is that our fears and vulnerabilities and the way we handle them define our character. Bravery is doing something despite being scared and despite the fear of failure. A lot of people let their fears and vulnerabilities control them which is a huge issue. I know people who won’t go to parties out of fear of embarrassing themselves and that’s not okay. It’s okay to feel awkward and scared when at a big social gathering. What’s not okay is staying home and missing out on life because of your fears. To put it eloquently, you can’t let the fear of death stop you from living.
There’s something to be said for living ones life as the heroes of your own story. Rise above yours, do the right thing, and strive to become a person that you’d be proud of
P.S – Superman sucks. I got a bit side tracked there but he does suck. None of his story lines are interesting or compelling because of his lack of vulnerability. Characters need flaws. They need obstacles. Superman has none of those things. Also, glasses and an occasional hat are not a disguise.
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