Henry Cavill in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Still. Image Courtesy of Warner Bros./DC Comics
Make Superman Great Again
There are two kinds of superhero fans: those who love Superman, and those who are wrong. Okay, more like those who think Superman is boring, has too many powers and isn’t entertaining. Zach Snyder, the guy responsible for Man of Steel and the rest of the DCEU at this point, seems to be in the second camp.
Man of Steel did a lot to change the characterization of Superman and those around them. Superman didn’t seem interested in helping people a lot, mostly thanks to Pa Kent who encouraged him to let a school bus full of kids die. Most famously, the film ended with Superman killing General Zod while Metropolis was destroyed. Now, that kind of senseless, city-destroying violence is a thing in literally every big action movie, but having a Superman movie end on a bleak and senselessly violent note just felt wrong.
But there was always the chance to fix it! The sequel could show Superman realizing the error of his ways, rejecting Pa Kent’s nihilistic view of the world and becoming the morally good and just Superman we know.
Instead, Batman v Superman happened.
So now the Justice League is getting ready to kick off and we have grumpy Batman, a Wonder Woman who bailed on mankind for decades and a bloodthirsty Superman. This is obviously something that needs fixing ASAP.
Superman being a good person with awesome powers isn’t boring and we don’t need to make him into an anti-hero or a villain to make his stories interesting. Being a good and just person in a morally grey (or morally pitch black, in the DCEU’s case) world is hard and that struggle itself can be interesting – just look at Captain America! The Winter Soldier was about someone who wants to do the right thing the right way (Cap) clashing against those who want to do the right thing the wrong way (Fury’s SHIELD) just as much as it was a clash against those who want to do the wrong thing (Hydra).
Superman wants to do the right thing the right way, and he wants us to do the right thing the right way. Putting that Superman, the real Superman, at the heart of a team is where the real conflict will arise. On a Justice League where Batman brands criminals and Wonder Woman turns her back on those in need, we need the Superman who wants them, and all of us, to be better. That’s a Justice League where we have a real leader, we understand the conflict within the team and we root for the good guys to actually be the good guys. That’s the Justice League movie we need.