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Man of Steel > Iron Man

Discussion in 'Film & Television' started by Mindfire, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    There is almost no correlation between what I would consider the primordial inception of the character Superman and the mythological figure of Thor. Superman was always written, to the best of his ability, as a force for good - this is not something that we ever saw of Thor in the Norse myths, where he runs around like a madman murdering anyone anyone who vaguely ticks him off.

    Marvel Thor and Norse Thor are very, very different creatures.

    That said, Joe Schuster was very good at chronicling what was going through his head and what he was doing when he created a character. We not only have fairly elaborate backstories on Superman's creation, but lesser characters like the Specter as well. As I recall, he took the name straight from Nietzsche - he had composed a story a few years earlier where someone named 'Superman' was the bad guy, and that just carried over. In addition he had been reading a hack sci-fi novel called 'Gladiator,' and that's where Superman's powers derived from.

    As to the actual mythic essence that is Superman, I'd say he's fairly close to the Golem. They're very similar in their abilities and nature, and Schuster never concealed that the Golem was an influence and that the entire Kryptonian origin was supposed to be a reference to his own Jewish-in-America experiences.
     
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  2. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    He did indeed take it from Nietzsche's Ãœbermensch theory. Which is really ironic considering that the Austrian nutjob Hitler and his goosesteppin' pals wanted to wipe out the Jews and create a race of supermen. Does no one else find this ironic that Superman, a character created by two Jewish men, is the Nazi's (completely flawed, historically inaccurate) Aryan ideal?
     
  3. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    Well, in all fairness Nietzsche had no love for anti-semites, nationalists or even Germans (despite being German).

    That a Jewish writer and his artist pal could draw inspiration from Nietzsche is not surprising, nor is it surprising that a bunch of frustrated Germans could draw inspiration from the same source. I am perhaps prone to superlatives, but Nietzsche might very well have been the single most influential philosopher after Socrates and Aristotle.
     
  4. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    Commentators often point out that comics' punch-the-world-to-goodness has a lot of totalitarian feel. (Superman himself was a serious bully in his early issues.)

    Of course, there was that "what if" issue Siegel & Schuster did when Superman flew in and hauled Hitler into international court, war over. Hitler actually responded to that, and among other things, called Superman a Jew.

    Oy...
     
  5. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    There are a few great comics (Watchmen, Kingdom Come, OMAC Project) that really delve into how vigilantism and fascism tend to overlap in a lot of ways, and point out that a lot of good people can become monsters if they feel that it is necessary.
     
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I just watched Justice League: Doom, the only "Justice League" title available on Netflix.

    The first half was awesome, but the second half jumped the shark. And there were questions I couldn't get past, like the credibility of the way they use (or forget to use) their tremendously-too-powerful powers. Aside from Batman, and just a little with Wonder Woman, I didn't sympathize with any of the heroes. On top of which, the ending - that is, the resolution of the "team conflict" - came across as far too forced and flat to do justice to the change in roster which took place. The characters are just too predictable.


    Again, that goes towards the point I was making earlier. The Justice League was done by Warner Bros., an experienced animation studio. Marvel did their animations in-house. I credit that one difference with DC's success in animation. Both Spiderman and X-Men did about as well, ratings-wise, but Warner Bros. had better animators and more connections, which I think helped take DC to the Cartoon Network.
     
  7. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    I had an eloquent reply, but i accidentally hit back on the browser and lost it. So, bullets then.

    -JL Doom has NOTHING to do with the JL TV series I've been advocating for. It's an adaptation of a comic book called Tower of Babel. A very loose adaptation at that. A lot was changed or cut.

    -This: Justice League (TV series) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia is the series I've been advocating. Find episodes. Watch them. Be amazed. Season 2 is considered the best by many. Me, I like them all.

    -Don't dismiss the success of DC's series as simply the result of WB pulling strings. Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League/JLU, Teen Titans, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Young Justice were and are excellent shows in their own right. Good writing, great animation, interesting characters, great action, everything you could want in a kids any show.

    As far as the movie goes, I don't particularly care if characters are overpowered or predictable. I just want to watch them be awesome. Justice League Doom delivers on that. But it's not one the better DC animated movies. Batman: Under the Red Hood is much better writing-wise even though if you have any Batman knowledge (and even if you don't) you can see the twist ending from a mile away. The Wonder Woman movie is good. There's also one called Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths which is really good. The villain Owlman is a particularly chilling nihilist type and nearly steals the show.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2013
  8. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    DC's had of lot of great stuff; even the neglected Legion of Superheroes had its moments.

    Marvel's been good too. Its animation isn't usually equal, and it doesn't have the sheer legendariness of the DC characters (watch the theme sequence of the first Justice League season and tell me those aren't gods), but it was the first to get into continued storylines and take things up several notches. (And if you think Spectacular Spider-Man had the worst animation in years, they saved all their money for the fight scenes. Watch and goggle.)

    But right now, it's Young Justice in the lead, for looks and story and the Big Boys just far enough in the background to keep things extra-cool.
     
  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I didn't. I credited WB for the reason Marvel didn't move on. You're the one who was dismissing Marvel's success. I've said nothing about JLA except why I don't like them.


    I've seen Crisis on Two Earths, and several episodes of the Justice League and Team Titans, and all of the Batman Animated Series (and Batman Beyond). Aside from Batman, I find all of the DC heroes to be nearly unwatchable. I don't care that they're overpowered, I care that they are so overpowered that they have to resort to gimmicks to create a sense of challenge (what shape will the Kryptonite come in today?). I don't care that the characters are predictable, I care that the characters are flat and stale.

    And shark jumping? In Doom, they used a technology that phased the entire Earth so that a solar flare would pass through it. As I remember the episodes I've seen, that kind of thing is pretty much par for the course with JLA.

    Now, compare that with Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. The characters are so strong that just from the trailer, you get a feel for who they are as people. None are anywhere near as overpowered as even JLA's Martian (Shapechanging? Mind reading? Invisibility? Wow.) And you get a feel for some of the real issues that can come up when you throw together a team of people who have been through the issues they have.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  10. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Are we arguing about the quality of the show or your like/dislike for the characters? Because that's two different issues. If you don't like the Justice League, I can't help you there. But failing to recognize the quality of the show is another matter entirely. The Cadmus arc from Justice League Unlimited alone was one of the best stories ever to grace television. Ever. I disagree with you that the League was stale and flat however. Superman, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl all had interesting and satisfying character arcs. Flash was a great comic relief, but he also showed he could be taken seriously as a hero. Wonder Woman's character was good, though not as strong as the others. Batman was Batman. Only Martian Manhunter came close to being boring, but even he had his moments. Kryptonite was hardly ever used in the series because their version of Superman is actually weaker than most.

    Even if you don't care for the Big Seven, Justice League Unlimited did a great job of introducing smaller name heroes and making them interesting characters: Green Arrow, Black Canary, Huntress, Booster Gold, Vixen, The Question. OMG the Question. And if that's not enough, the villains were always spectacular and fun to watch. Lex Luthor's feud with Gorilla Grodd and the episode where the Joker takes on the entire League all by himself (and of all the villains they've faced, he's come the closest to beating them). The tension between the Justice League and the US Government, who see them as a threat and a loose cannon. All of these things were memorable and great. You didn't need gimmicks to challenge the Justice League, you just needed clever, well written villains. Justice League had those in spades.

    I haven't watched Avengers, but I doubt it has story arcs that can stand up to the pure epicness of Justice League and Justice League unlimited. The worst show DC has put out in recent times is The Batman, and even it was good. Meanwhile, Marvel has put out Super Hero Squad and Iron Man Armored Adventures.

    Also, you contradict yourself. If something is par for the course, then it is by definition not shark jumping. The term "shark jumping" is only appropriate when a show does something that not only strains suspension of disbelief, but is a sudden and unexpected divergence from the show's basic premise. The phase device in JL Doom does neither. By your own admission this is par for the course for the Justice League, so the second accusation is void. And how this kind of device could strain SOD while telepathic shapeshifters, immortal warlords, mutant cat-women, cyborgs, and solar powered flying aliens allergic to radioactive rock are perfectly acceptable is beyond me. If the phase device is shark jumping, so is the Chitauri portal from Avengers.

    And you're wrong about that trailer btw. I watched it. The characters are no stronger than any in Justice League. The trailer was good, don't get me wrong. But it doesn't have as much impact as you say it does. At least not for me. Now, the Justice League intro on the other hand...



    This is awesome. It introduces all the characters, defines their major abilities, establishes them as equal parts of a formidable team, all with zero dialogue and the epic level is over 9000.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2017
  11. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    The Justice League Unlimited intro is equally good:



    In 60 seconds, it establishes the whole premise of the sequel: the Justice League has expanded. The Big Seven are still around, but they've taken lesser heroes under their auspices to form an even more powerful team, a veritable army of heroes each more capable than the last. As a bonus, it also includes clips from the episode you're about to watch to give you an idea of what the episode's premise will be.

    DC characters have presence. These shows know that and take advantage of it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2017
  12. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I don't mean to brag about the trailer - it was just something I found quickly on youtube. But I've been saying that I find the members of the Justice League flat as characters, with too few personal weaknesses. The Marvel trailer was able to show us the human side of several of the Avengers very quickly. The JLA trailers don't really address who they are as characters.

    I don't mean to bash. I respect the production value of the show, I do like Batman, and Superman is good for a movie or two. I can respect that they're employing long-term story arcs effectively. But overall, I find their powers to be excessive, and with their lack of personal weaknesses, I think that causes their enemies to rely too often on gimmicks or else escalate to a scale that's hard for me to accept. A phase shifter works for me, but a phase shifter that's immediately adapted to phase out the entire planet breaks my suspension of disbelief. And I find myself questioning why they don't use their powers at points when they aren't.

    Those are the things which make me not want to watch.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2017
  13. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    I think you're exaggerating the power level's of the characters actually. Superman, especially in season 1, was a huge victim of the Worf effect. He got knocked out about once per episode. As for gimmicky, I guess it depends on how you define gimmicky? What is your definition of gimmicky?

    And if I recall, the phase shifter was only designed to shift a localized area. The managed to use it to shield the earth by boosting the power and flying it into earth orbit, which makes sense in a way. It's like a shadow. The closer you move something to the light, the bigger the shadow gets. So the closer the phase shifter gets to the sun, the more radiation it can block? But I do see what you mean. The writers obviously wrote themselves into a corner. But I'd say that's a result of adaptation decay, not overpowered or gimmicky characters.
     
  14. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Admittedly, I'm speaking pretty broadly about the characters, and it's come down to a series I've only seen a few episodes of, and only the movie was recent. I've heard others talk about the series highly as well, so I may not be doing it justice. But these are problems I've had with these characters from seeing them in a number of sources - those few episodes of the show, but also movies, comics, other TV shows, and wherever else. But I know Batman gets a lot of play in the series, and he gains the power of "Manipulative Bastard," which sounds pretty cool. So if it comes available on Netflix I would give it another try.

    But if the movie was any indication, I'm not optimistic it'll change my opinion of the characters.

    I wouldn't, at all, begrudge someone for enjoying it, though. I wouldn't even criticize, except that we're on a writing site, and perceived story weaknesses are worth pointing out and learning from.


    I'm trying to think of a way to define gimmicky as it applies to these situations, and I'm not sure I can hit the nail quite on the head. I don't even mind Kryptonite, if it's used well (I would say the Doom movie did that well). I guess it's gimmicky when the conflict or the resolution are too far outside the natural story structure. "You can't stop me, because you have to be on the other side of the planet saving someone else. Right now." In the Doom movie, the phase shfiter had little to no role to play in the plotline, and its presence when it does come up makes little sense, but it ended up being the crux of the conflict's resolution.

    I don't really want to defend that definition. I don't know if that definition works well or not, or if I can quite articulate what I'm trying to get at. But there you go.
     
  15. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    In one sense, Justice League has to be gimmicky. They're still partly defined by the days of their highest level of power (the apex of their tall tale-esque escalations) plus their old-school morality, and the Unstoppable Machine Of The Month's Battle of Wits To Bypass It-- even though the most rarified of those days are long gone. DC still wants to have it both ways, play them as sometime gods that Marvel can't match but mostly play the simpler fights and the darker stories too. Sometimes they pull it off.

    (I keep thinking I can only rationalize "okay, Supes is invulnerable but human-weight enough to be knocked flying by the opening barrage" so often-- and then he goes and does something cool anyway. Even at their best, nothing makes superheroes stay consistent for too long.)
     
  16. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    Well, we're judging a children's tv show guys. It's not like this was made for people in their 20s and 30s - they just happen to enjoy it.
     
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  17. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    You sure you've seen them? :)

    --Okay, sort of. But not quite.
     
  18. Wanara009

    Wanara009 Troubadour

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    BGY-11 "Big Guy" > Man of Steel AND Iron Man :p

    You cannot resist the allure of the Elbow Gun. Hollywood need to make a live-action of this or somebody will be a ghost.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2017
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