Why We Hate Superman
A lot of people hate Superman. What was once an icon for the American Dream, a believer in truth and justice an the American way, is now looked at as a boy scout out of touch with humanity. Countless internet comments I’ve read over the past few years celebrate the humanity of Batman and despise the bland character of Superman. Why is this?
Superman isn’t Realistic or Relatable
Superman comes from another planet. His parents are aliens. He can throw cars into the air like you and I would throw groceries into our trunk. His assortment of super powers is a list so vast it becomes laughable.
Batman on the other hand is a regular man. He has no super powers, just relying on his knowledge and ability to get the job done.
Of course, people like to forget that Bruce Wayne was born into money, the son of a billionaire family. I would say I have much easier time relating to a guy who grew up on a farm in a small town than I do with a wealthy socialite who watched his parents get murdered.
It’s too easy to be Superman
Superman has it so easy. He has all these powers and really no equal on this planet. So therefore it must be easy to be him.
That’s why I liked the recent Man of Steel film because it showed the scope of Superman’s problems. Batman has to protect Gotham from the criminal element within. Superman has to protect the planet from itself and external threats. And in many instances of the canon, he has to do this while people distrust and even hate him. Superman is an alien, so not only are his problems global in scale, he also is the last of his kind and lonely because of it. Lois Lane, or no Lois Lane, no one can really understand how he feels. He is the Last Son of Krypton.
Superman is a Religious Metaphor
Superman is a metaphor of the messiah in Judeo-Christian terms: The only son of a ‘distant father’ sent to earth to protect, defend and save it from itself. Even in the comics he lays down his life to save the world from Doomsday, then resurrects later.
Just listen to this voice over by Jor-El (Marlon Brando’s Jor-El of course) in this teaser trailer for Superman Returns. It feels to me like it could’ve been pulled out of a passage from the New Testament.
I think in this day and time, earnestness and hope are not admired qualities. People would prefer the cynical, truthless choices of Batman than the vision of Hope and attainable peace that Superman endeavors to offer. What it comes down to is that Superman hasn’t changed with our culture, but Batman has. Superman feels like a relic of American exceptional-ism and less like the new post modern dichotomy between right and wrong that Batman embraces.
But Superman offers us a goal to strive for, a hope to grab onto and a peace that could be attainable if we were to accept our own idealism and exceptional quality.