When it comes to the on-screen depiction of Superman, easily regarded as one of the most iconic fictional superheroes to have stepped from the world of mainstream media, many believe that the character is a symbol of hope, heroism, inspiration, and optimistic flair. However, many reiterations and deviations of the said character, in the comics and the DCEU alike, have shown a subversion of such qualities in the ever-so-famous DC superhero.
For people who keep up with mainstream media headlines, we are all aware of the hashtag #RestoreTheSnyderVerse. When it comes to Snyder’s portrayal of Superman in Man of Steel, which delves deep into darker, grittier undertones, many affirmed and echoed resonant support for Henry Cavill’s depiction of a darker, conflicted-natured Superman. In fact, it may have been monumental enough for some fans to keep coming back to it time and again.
However, a recent amount of overwhelming criticism for Snyder’s depiction surfacing on Twitter begs to differ, with many calling Cavill’s Superman, a “brooding, angry incel.” Strong choice of words there.
Fans Want To Delete Man of Steel
In a recent post on Twitter, a fan assembled four superhero movie titles and asked others to delete one of their existence. The selection included: Shazam! (2019), Man of Steel (2013), Black Panther (2018), and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). A marvelous selection indeed; merely enough to get fans riled up and pulled amid never-ending arguments. As is the case with the Internet, people started pouring out their opinions one by one. Besides Shazam!, many fans of Marvel and DC alike, advocated for the deletion of the other three titles. But the reigning winner? Man of Steel takes the cake.
Several people on the Internet had a lot to say about the Snyder-directed endeavor; many believe that his portrayal served as an antithesis of what Superman ought to be.
Here is a look at what people had to say:
You are insane if you don’t pick man of steel https://t.co/HnKVCAYIFK
— 🌺DJ Warner🌙 (@DJWarnerStage) August 27, 2022
Man of Steel.
It's just the weakest film of the bunch IMO. It has some good bits, but that last half of the film is exhausting. Just action scene after action scene…
I like it more than most on my corner of Twitter, but i could turn the film off after that SUPERB first flight https://t.co/vR11rfoyvp
— Ant 💀 Waiting for Halloween (@AGramuglia) August 28, 2022
Delete Man of Steel. Snyder and his writing team fail to understand who Superman is fundamentally, and dip way too much into the poisoned well that is Frank Miller. https://t.co/0DBzFuQYvV
— The GOP is Anti-American (@sleepykitten99) August 28, 2022
It's got an unnecessary cynicism and grittiness that has no place in a Superman movie. He was an inversion of the trope of "people with power are selfish assholes" already. Making him a cynical emo boy didn't really break any new ground.
— The GOP is Anti-American (@sleepykitten99) August 28, 2022
No modern day Superman depiction will ever hold a candle to the JLU "world of cardboard" speech Supes gave to Darkseid during the finale.
— 🏳️⚧️ Owned Unit 5513 🏳️⚧️ (@NeutrallyKaotik) August 28, 2022
As can be seen, many are affirming how Zack Snyder and his team of writers failed to grasp the mere existence of Superman/Clark Kent, especially what he’s supposed to represent. Many have called the addition of the gritty undertones in Man of Steel a case of “unnecessary cynicism”. Some believe that the modern-day portrayal of Superman and recent reiterations can be challenged by the Justice League Unlimited finale speech given by Superman while fighting Darkseid.
Undeniably so, the speech in itself is beyond commendable; showing a side to the fictional superhero that certain iterations have tried to grasp, but could not live up to – at least, not without a slice of casual edginess. In JLU Superman’s words, “I feel like I live in a world made of cardboard. Always taking constant care not to break something.”
The Extreme End Of The Argument Against Snyder’s Superman
In another post on Twitter, some fans brought up a discussion about many expressing their criticism for John William’s Superman Theme, from the 1978 Richard Donner-directed Superman: The Movie, which is the truest representation of hope, heroism, and optimism; defining the fictional superhero perfectly. Many wondered why the iconic theme is subjected to unnecessary hate. One fan had somewhat of an answer.
Because Snyder Cultists don’t actually like Superman. Superman is optimistic and heroic. Soaring and full of hope.
Snyder Cultists don’t want that. They want him to be a brooding, angry incel who nukes a city and murders a bunch of people to fulfill their revenge fantasies.
— (((The Philistine Critic))) 🎞 🔰 🇺🇦 ✡️ (@SorialofVorti) August 22, 2022
Many, however, had a strong reaction to this, claiming how Snyder’s iteration of the The Last Son of Krypton is not the only subversive take or deviation of the superhero’s usual optimistic traits. Some affirmed that people watched Man of Steel without actually watching it. While pointing out the plunge into edgy, gritty, and unnecessary cynicism, many get swayed away and misinterpret Snyder’s deconstructive attempt.
While such views are subjective, some fans of Man of Steel have felt that people are missing out on the entire point of Henry Cavill’s Superman and blowing his depiction out of proportion, with a slew of misinformation.
This is what some of the fans said, in support of Snyder’s Man of Steel:
What are you talking about? Superman did none of that in Snyder’s films.
— Kylo Ren Fanboy (@Kylorenfan94) August 27, 2022
Try again. The injustice game,comics, and animated movie portrayed a way darker version of Superman before snyder. Something tells me you were more than ok playing the games & were ok with Superman slaughtering the joker. Or do you pick & choose where to send your outrage? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/uLSBLsYcjA
— Batsquez (@batsquez) August 27, 2022
"brooding, angry incel who nukes a city and murders a bunch of people to fulfill their revenge fantasies."
What movies have you been watching? Also are you tellingme Superman is NEVER angry or upset? pic.twitter.com/3Xy0WvQ2sq
— Marv (@MarvOntheway) August 27, 2022
Very different character
— Jayden (@drsoap8) August 27, 2022
Amidst such debates of what exactly Superman stands for, it is important to recognize and understand literature, film, and media culture, and how it has been shaped for years. A trope exists for further subversion. Concepts are constantly challenged in the hopes of producing something new. At times, such deconstruction goes against the dominant archetypes.
However, that is what art tends to be — an attempt to renovate. While Superman is a symbol of hope and inspiration, he can also be, in the mind of some other interpreter, an emotionally conflicted, brooding character. It is subjective, at the end of the day.
While there are no obligations to like such subversive endeavors as everyone’s opinions dictate their own preferences, it is important to take them as they are – mere attempts.
Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder and written by David S. Goyer, is available for streaming on HBO Max.