- Albus: Dad, I’m…gay.
- Harry: Albus Severus Potter. You were named after two Headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was gay and he was the wisest man I’ve ever known.
- Albus: Dad, you say this every time I tell you something. Stop. Just stop.
- Albus: Dad, would you mind buying some conditioner? I think we’re out.
- Harry: Albus Severus Potter. You were named for two Headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them never used conditioner and he was probably the greasiest man I ever knew.
- Albus: Dad, this response is really getting old.
- Harry: TWO HEADMASTERS.
- Albus: Yes, I get it, two hea—
- Harry: BRAVEST AND WISEST MEN.
- Albus: Da—
- Harry: THAT I EVER KNEW, BRAVEST AND WISEST, TWO OF THEM.
Brandon Routh on “Superman Retruns” (via fybrandonrouth)
It does help that so far Man of Steel has 59% on Rotten Tomatoes as of 6-13-2013, with many reviews indicating that it’s surprisingly not fun to watch. People are getting tired of Nolan-style grit, and it’s particularly unpleasant in a franchise that isn’t suited to it. Superman Returns had some plot holes and some terrible implications owing to its dovetail with “Superman 2,” but it got the message right.
People don’t go to see a Superman film to see him tussle and sigh about moral obligations and conflict with his adoptive father*, not for more than a bit of the first act. They go to see Superman save planes and space shuttles and whole cities and the whole wide world, because he’s not a Jesus allegory. That’s the lazy way to look at Superman. He’s the answer to every time we’ve been hurt and bruised and nothing seems right, that “what if” - what if someone special had been there? What if someone far stronger and tougher had run into that burning building? What if someone really could swoop in and stop a runaway train or deflect a missile? What if someone could have caught the jumpers on 9/11?
A lazy Jesus allegory is the answer to our prayers, the spoken ones, the wishes for order and understanding and acceptance. “Salvation” comes later, if at all, suspended either at the point of death or in the afterlife. Superman is the answer to our most desperate hopes and the age-old expression ‘If only I’d been faster/better/smarter/smarter—” because that’s what he is. We aren’t asking the Divine for help, we want someone, anybody. When someone says “save me, Superman!” it means they want to keep living and please please please someone help me.
When Nolan’s Superman starts bouting with what it “means” to be Superman or to be a superhero, it doesn’t come across as a great humanization. It jars with everything we’ve known about Superman in previous iterations, and not in a good way. In the back of our minds we know that Superman has always known (to some extent) he should be using his powers for good. When Nolan’s Superman weighs the question “should I be a hero,” it appears as though that Superman, the one we’ve all known, is withholding rescue from countless thousands or millions of people.
If isn’t seen as initial character development it’s seen as a lapse. Even when taken as initial character development as an origin story, it’s a moral failing. The man who could save a child from a burning building is navel-gazing. The child is burning and so is screen time, and most viewers aren’t going to be thrilled about either.
The movie ponders at length what it’s like to step among humans with the powers of a god, paralleling Clark’s position with General Zod’s. But if Superman is able and unwilling, why call him a god?
If he’s able and hesitant, why call him Superman?
* Which is something which has happened by degrees in several versions of Clark’s origin story, but most closely resembles the family conflict seen in Superman: Birthright in 2003, with parallels strong enough to suggest it was the basis for the film’s dynamic between John and Clark.
(via Still Vapors)