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Intellectual comparison between superhero movies

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by KaineDamo, Aug 12, 2002.

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  1. KaineDamo

    KaineDamo Jedi Youngling star 5

    Mar 6, 2002
    With the success and world wide recognition of past superhero movies, and the current and future flood of superhero movies, this thread has been created for intellectual comparison between superhero's, and superhero movies.

    I would like to start off by commenting on the big 3. Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man (the most succsesful to date). While it is clear to Superman that his purpose on Earth is to be a saviour, he still has a need to be tied down into the "real" world with his Clark Kent persona. It is hard for me to say why this is. Maybe someone could say? Anyway, it is clear that he had known about his powers since probably childhood.

    Batman is a much darker, more introverted and obsessed character. We often get the impression from the comics and movie that Batman doesn't really need or care for his Bruce Wayne ego, and i guess the only reason he keeps mingling in the real world as Bruce is to keep money flowing into his buisness, therefore he can afford the Batcave and all those handy gadgets. There is no one really besides Alfred that ties him into the real world.

    With Spider-Man, it is clear from the very beginning that first and foremost, he is Peter Parker. Unlike Superman, he hasn't lived with his powers his whole life. Unlike Batman, Peter hasn't been living with grief and vengeance since childhood. The original issues of Amazing Spider-Man, and the movie, are about i guess you could say, growing up. Peter is a boy at the start, and threw trials and tribulations, he becomes a man. With the advice of his Uncle Ben, he decides very carefully the kind of man he wants to be. Unlike Superman, even with all his amazing abilities, Spider-Man is still risking his life every time he goes out to fight crime. Unlike Batman, Spider-Man's human ego is an average teenage high school nerd.
  2. AgentCoop

    AgentCoop Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 16, 2002
    This is a very interesting topic to me, as it adresses the characters and their motivations both in the films and in the comics. I've been a comic book fan nearly all my life and I am interested in the possiblity of working in the comics industry (I'm an illustrator and have done some writing), so I have given a lot of thought to what makes these characters tick. I'll go through them one at a time.

    Superman: Superman has become such an international icon that very few people even question anymore why he does what he does. What makes him a hero?

    In my opinion, it's all about his Kansas upbringing. His adoptive parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, instilled in him a strong set of values. Values which, as his abilities developed from a young age, would not allow him to use his abilities to do anything other than defend those who cannot defend themselves. You could actually say that Superman is three people: He is Superman, the iconic hero who fights for truth and justice. He is Kal-El, the last son of Krypton, and his alien heritage is very important to him. But I think that it is Clark Kent that defines who he really is.

    Batman: My favorite comics character is also the most complex. Where Superman is the Icon, you could say that Batman is the Anti-Icon. He is the lurker in the dark. He is driven not by revenge, as it would seem on the surface, but by a need for justice. He is forever scarred, both mentally and emotionally, by the spectre of his parents' brutal murder by a petty thug. He witnessed this event as a child and it is what drives him to this day. It is a pain that will follow him to his grave. He is not a healthy man, and while his methods may differ from Superman's they are both intent on the same goal.

    Your insight that the Bruce Wayne persona is not important to him is a keen one. Many Superheroes don a disguise to protect their true identities. But Batman is the true identity. It is Bruce Wayne that is the disguise.

    Spider-Man: With Spider-Man we have an example of what can happen when great power is bestowed upon someone who is too young and inexperienced to handle it. When he first gains his powers, Peter Parker does what any of us would do: He attempts to exploit them for profit. But his selfishness winds up costing him dearly. His beloved Uncle Ben is murdered by a man that Peter could have apprehended but didn't. It is not until the ramifications of his inaction become aparrent to him that he heeds his uncle's advice: "With great power comes great responsibilty" From that point on, it is Peter Parker's character that informs Spider-Man's actions.

    I think the films are a mixed bag concerning how well they have portrayed each character. Christopher Reeves' performance as Superman was spot-on, but I think the screenwriters could have done a better job of conveying his motivations. They also made Clark Kent far too bufoonish and took a few too many liberties with the source material.

    Though many disagree with the casting, I thought Tim Burton's original Batman film did a better job of getting the essence of Batman across. Still too many liberties taken with the original material and Batman would never allow an outsider into the Cave so casually. But I think Michael Keaton did an admirable job of portraying both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Something about the eyes, you can see things going on behind them.

    The most recent example is the Spider-Man film, which I think has been the most faithful comics-to-screen adaptation to date. Silly things like organic web-shooters and the Green Goblin's costume aside, I felt the characterizations were dead-on. Particularly in the most important places.

    Of course it goes without saying that all of the above is purely my opinion. ;)
  3. weezer

    weezer Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 16, 2001
    As you mentioned, to me one of the main diffrences between Batman and Superman were how they viewed their "secret identies".

    Batman in comparison to all other heros is first and formost Batman. There was an excelent Batman beyond episode that mentioned that. Bruce was hearing voices but he knew they couldn't be real because in his head he isn't Bruce Wayne.

    There is also a major diffrence between Marvel and DC's take on "secret identies". Lee was always very careful about giving them some kind of human flaw.
  4. DarthPhelps

    DarthPhelps Jedi Master star 5

    Jan 31, 2002
    I could swear that I proposed this thread title once, in another thread where people were bickering. I can't find it now, of course.

    Good thread. Keep it up. Unfortunately, I have nothing to contribute at this time but if I may, since this wasn't answered in a different thread today I would like to have a question answered:

    People gripe about Batman & Robin, although I personally see little difference in that movie compared to Batman Returns and Batman Forever.

    What exactly seperates the fourth film from the other three in terms of enjoyment? In what ways am I too lenient?

    Although I have essentially out of comics for the past 10 years, I do know of the Bane story, and how they ruined it in that movie. I doubt that is what annoys people, though.
  5. Mastadge

    Mastadge Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 4, 1999

    That was in the Spider-Man movie discussion.
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