comic book movies

Is the DCEU (and Snyder) handling Superman right? (Discussion)

is dceu snyder handling superman right

Does Zack Snyder hate Superman? Did Batman v Superman and the DCEU as a whole ruin Superman? These are the questions spreading around the internet right now after the events of Batman v Superman. Now as a Superman lover I have a lot to say about this, so let’s discuss the state of Superman in the DCEU right now!

Spoilers for Batman v Superman follow.

Superman has been having a hard time lately in the movie universe. On his first day on the job he gets attacked by a group of crazy aliens from his home world. Then he spends months copping hate from the public. Then some guy in a bat suit decides to pick a fight with him. After he finally resolves that he finds out that some other crazy billionaire is trying to pick a fight with him, this time he comes with a giant ugly creature. Then Supes gets killed by said giant ugly creature. Yeah it’s been a hard life, and Superman fans aren’t happy.

Man of Steel was a divisive movie (surprisingly not as divisive as Batman v Superman). Personally, I loved the movie, and loved what they did with the character. The movie was about showing that Superman doesn’t just become the hero we know because he was born perfect and always knows what to do.

It showed that he was just Clark Kent, a humble farm boy who was told he was going to be one of the greatest figures in the world but didn’t really know if he could be that person. It was a learning curve for him, but eventually he did suit up to try to do the right thing. Maybe it didn’t go as well as he hoped, but this was the start of his journey.

man of steel martha kent

It’s clear that the DCEU didn’t want to just give us our heroes as we are used to seeing them, they wanted to give us these characters in their early form, give them a journey before they got to their destination. And that journey continued in Batman v Superman.

Clark is still figuring out how to be Superman in Batman v Superman. Everyone has their own perspective and expectations of Superman, but it’s up to Clark to figure out himself who Superman is. That’s not easy when the world is quick to constantly criticise you, when everything you try to do backfires.

So throughout the course of Batman v Superman, Clark stops believing in Superman. He doesn’t believe that he can be this figure, when he can’t even figure out what it all means and how to do it without pissing everyone off. But at the end of the day Superman is a guy who loves humanity and aims to show the best in humanity, to inspire others. Lois reminded him of that and so we finally saw our Superman during the Doomsday battle.

But then he was killed, and the journey was over? Frustrating yes.

Now a lot of people have been saying that Superman really wasn’t very Superman like during Batman v Superman. Like I said earlier it’s not about presenting the characters as we expect them to be presented as, it’s about showing how they get to be there. However, the core of who Superman is was shown throughout Batman v Superman.

is snyder dceu handling superman right

Instead of writing fluff pieces Clark wanted to report on things that matter, on things that are affecting real people. Instead of wanting to fight Batman he wanted to talk to him. Instead of getting distracted by the world around him he remained focused on the women in his life even when his life was in danger. Instead of being corrupted by pure power and a cynical world, he remained a hero.

My hope was that at the end of Batman v Superman Clark would make his proper transition to being the Superman we know so that he could lead the Justice League, so they could finally join him in the sun. But that’s not what we got.

Right now I’m of two minds regarding the death of Superman. As Alfred said, it’s the feeling of powerlessness that turns good men cruel. The cruel Batman is back to being good, because he was inspired by Superman. I like that. I like that he’s so inspired that he feels the need to form this team, so that Bruce won’t fail Clark in death. Maybe before Superman’s return, the Justice League are struggling to really be a unified team, but it’s not until Superman comes back that they find their groove and really become the Justice League. And so Superman’s return is triumphant and beautiful, he becomes the glue the team needs, the soul they need. That I like.

But if that’s not what we get, then maybe we have a problem here. Overall I like Zack Snyder, I don’t think Snyder hates Superman, but his comments are a little worrying to me. In interviews Snyder has discussed the decision to kill Superman. He said that it was done because he wanted Batman to be the one who formed the Justice League.

batman v superman handle superman right

The rationale that the end result wanted was for Batman to form the Justice League, therefore we need to get rid of Superman, therefore we should just kill him, that’s frustrating. Producers Deborah Snyder and Charles Roven said the decision was more about inspiring Batman, so maybe it was just Snyder’s poor choice in words.

But another thing Snyder said was that we do know Superman is coming back, but we don’t know what he’s coming back as. Now the Superman fan in me starts to get worried again. One of the most overdone tropes in comic books is brainwashing/mind-controlling etc. Superman, turning him evil so that Batman and/or the League have to stop him.

What’s frustrating about this trope is that it means Superman is denied any chance for character development and exploration because instead we see this corrupted version of him.

From those comments the working theory right now is that Superman will be resurrected by Darkseid and will be used as an agent of Darkseid and the Justice League forms to stop the threat of Superman. Now this would be a slap in the face to Superman fans. Because it really does hinder any possible real character exploration for Superman, and instead degrades Superman in order to basically propel Batman.

batman v superman superman character handled right

So essentially the answer to, does Zack Snyder hate Superman? Did the DCEU ruin Superman? This comes from how they handle Superman moving forward. Superman’s return should inspire good, make the world feel whole again, give the League and society hope again. Now that the world has finally accepted Superman, have found purpose in themselves from him “If you seek his monument look around you”, now is not the time to give the world a corrupted Superman.

Many people complain about the nihilistic nature of the DCEU, which right now I think is a completely wrong interpretation. Batman v Superman’s ending was optimistic and turned the cruel man good again. When Superman said “No one stays good in this world” he was saying it because he stopped believing in himself, the ending of the movie showed that this isn’t the case, men are still good. But if we bring in a corrupted Superman, then yeah maybe the DCEU is too cynical and nihilistic, then it becomes a problem.

I’m hoping this isn’t the case, and with Justice League starting production in under two weeks, we will soon find out more details about the story and Superman’s role in the next slate of movies!

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22 replies »

  1. Great article! I think Clark Kent should come back to life early in the movie but with no super powers. A new big threat arrives and no hero can defeat it alone, so the Justice League is formed…. and Superman’s journey should be about finding a way to regain his powers…
    I think that would be the best thing they could come up from this scenerio. Keeping him dead for too long or turning him evil would be terrible… This will be the first Justice League movie ever, it should be about all the heroes – including Superman – fighting together.

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    • Yeah that would be cool. I don’t want him to be absent for most of the movie or come back evil, it would be such a waste. He’s such an integral part of the JL to not use him properly would make a lot of people angry

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  2. I don’t think that he hates supes, but i believe he feels the character needs to be altered. I believe that he’s trying to get rid of the mystique that superman has of being lame. I still believe the characters biggest issue is his power level, it makes him dull. After man of steel and this film where jimmy olsen is a cia agent and then killed off, I’m now sure that snyder and goyer thinks that a lot of the superman lore is in fact lame. But it doesn’t mean that they hate him, they just feel he needs to be reinvented. Truthfully, i share they’re sentiment.

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  3. Synder wanted batman to start the Justice League??? Everyone knows Batman at his best works alone and while a foundering member he had sereve reservations about all of them going rogue especially Supes and had Kryptonite in his poessesion…just in case. I am not sure if Synder understands either Batman or Superman at their core…both are good guys who fight to protect others Batman’s methods are not Superman’s methods but they both achieve the same results and both respect the other.

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    • I can see Batman starting a team like this, but I can’t see him leading it the way Superman does. They need Supes’ presence there, he’s the one that aspires and helps keep them altogether. They can’t replace that with Batman

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  4. Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t think that Snyder hates Supes – I don’t think that’s fair to Snyder. But what bothers me is that Snyder has been championing these characters as icons, but I don’t think he has treated what-should-be the centerpiece of the DC-CU as an icon, but an icon-to-be instead. In a time where DC/WB has been criticized for rushing to get to Justice League, I think you could argue that Snyder has been dragging Kal El’s character development. And he has left the character in a tough position. If you know what I mean.

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    • I don’t mind the slow character building, but now is the time to give us Superman as we normally know him. Which is going to be a little hard after what happened. I really hope they handle that aspect right

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      • I think they really should make his return triumphant, but not necessarily shocking. When Banner turns around to punch the leviathan – when he gives the I’m always angry-line – it wasn’t a surprise that he was going to join the battle. It was just this really great character moment. Superman needs that kind of shining moment. A light in the darkness.

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  5. Superman turned evil in Superman III: The Search for Dignity so we should blame Richard Lester for that one not Snyder. I’d love to Superman: the dark side or Injustice Superman in any film, and it kind looks like the direction Snyder is going in. And why not, we’ve had 7 films of Superman being good Superman, it won’t kill him to go evil for a bit. He’ll get better again and inevitably return to his do folder ways.

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    • Nope. Hope they don’t do that. Supes lacks serious character development all the time, they shouldn’t waste the opportunity just so they can have Batman look super awesome and stop evil Superman, which happens all the time!

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      • Whether he’s good or evil I don’t care either way, I just like seeing something different. But yeah they need better writing and better character development / arc is they don’t want to piss off even more people with JLA and any other films Supes appears in.

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  6. Great article! I like that you are clearly a huge Superman fan who keeps an open mind, even when a film goes in a different direction than what you may have expected. This to me is a big part of what’s lacking in the Superman fanbase lately, an open mind. So kudos to you 🙂
    And in my opinion, Superman’s death serves as the ultimate catalyst for Batman to redeem himself and to find it within himself to form the Justice League, much in the same way Christ’s death inspires the Apostles to form Christianity, so I find it to actually be a very spiritual and beautiful way to honor Superman on-film. I agree with you that Superman’s resurrection should inspire goodness, and that he should NOT be a “corrupted” or “brainwashed” Superman. I think the ultimate Act III moment would be to have Superman just show up, completely resurrected, right when the League is in danger and he saves them, and inspires them to continue fighting the good fight. Of course an explanation would follow, but I’d love to just get a really great “hell yeah! he’s back!” moment in the film too.
    So yeah, in my opinion, not only does Snyder truly respect Superman, but he will continue to do so moving forward…

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