Superman is not one to deal with a lot of evil. His specialties are natural disasters, instilling hope and patriotism, and the occasional fight with someone really strong, really stupid, possibly related, and definitely just misunderstood. Things like “distrust” and “malicious intent” don’t quite exist in his realm.
This has been generally established, but it has never been more apparent than in the third Superman movie with Christopher Reeve, and, Superman’s new best friend, Richard Pryor. I have decided to watch all of Superman movies. This theme, that only well-meaning mistakes and natural problems exist for Superman to fix, has been running through the movies from the beginning, but by the third one it just gets ridiculous. The opening credits do not start out with the usual space background and disappearing letters. Clark Kent is walking to work. While he walks, he does/does not notice the various serendipitous acts the happen in normal Metropolis life. A man falls into a man hole, a blind man who lost his dog steps on his head. A man walks through a painting, a person receives a pie in the face. Under the guise of Clark Kent, Superman ends some problems, but then creates others. They all string together in a very cute, slap-sticky way. It’s all very hilarious.
The problem is that there is no Lex Luthor in this movie, no Kryptonians wanting to take over the world. It’s just some rich guy who, surprise, wants more money, and oddly, Richard Pryor, playing a down-on-his-luck Metropolis citizen who stumbles upon his ability to control computers. While we watch Richard fumble around mundanely, Clark goes back to Smallville. There, he uses his superpowers to stop a fire at a chemical plant, and give a kid a strike in bowling. So far we have Superman using his powers to blow out a fire on a mechanical penguin, stop a chemical fire, win at bowling, and oh, stop a combine that almost runs over a child. Yes, he is helping the world enormously.
The party doesn’t start until Richard Pryor tries to make kryptonite. He tells the computer to find out it’s main components and there’s one unknown element. He puts in tar. It doesn’t kill superman, but it has a different affect on him. Now, you may be thinking that since Superman is so good, maybe this new kryptonite will make him evil. Before we jump to any conclusions, however, lets tally what he does under the influence of this new kryptonite: he straightens the leaning tower of Pisa, blows out the eternal flame at the Olympics right when the runner comes up to the brazier, has sex with a strange woman (!), then gets drunk and shoots peanuts into the bottles behind the counter, breaking them. Though annoying, these acts aren’t very evil; they are hardly misdemeanors. They’re funny, but is that all? An other worldly material induces you to create an alternate, opposite personality, and you, a superpowered alien with the world as your oyster, decide to play a few pranks? Tomfoolery. That’s all it leads up to.
I always make the mistake of thinking that red kryptonite (or, I guess, kryptonite with tar substituted for the unknown element) makes Superman evil. In Smallville, red kryptonite “releases his inhibitions” which gets you Clark having sex with a woman AFTER they are married. Wow, Clark. You really let yourself go. I just find it so hard to believe that someone masquerades as a helpless human every day of his life, who even has to restrain himself as Superman, can think of nothing better to do when he is finally lost all sense of morality than to shoot peanuts at whiskey bottles. Superman, what a lack of imagination.
In that lead lined gallery of all colored kryptonites, what does label beside the red kryptonite REALLY say? “Green Kryptonite: Warning! Makes Superman feel woozy” “Red Kryptonite: Warning! Induces belligerence, and all around tomfoolery.” Is there a color out there that makes Superman feel slightly disgusted, or more than usually giggly? “Warning: Orange Kryptonite makes Superman love the Marx brothers, and he will eat ice cream until he feels sick.”
In modern comics, Superman is funny because he has retained this innocence while everything else around him has hardened. Batman makes fun of him constantly. There are so many times where Superman believes the best of people, and is just crushed when his trust is lost. One of his superpowers, in fact, is that crushed look that makes any well-meaning yet fallible friend of Superman’s just feel awful that they have not met Superman’s high expectations. Supergirl’s a little unstable from it. The contrast between how Superman thinks people are, and how they really are is constantly drawn: Superman, at the end of battle over the world’s supply of kryptonite, gives Batman a small piece. “I know we have had problems in past, but I want to show you that I trust you. I know that you would do the right thing, if it ever came down to it.” Batman thanks him, then takes the piece and throws it into a large lead lined vault filled with mounds of different colors of kryptonite. It’s like a piece of straw thrown onto a haystack.
I do have to say this about the Superman movies, however. Christopher Reeve is mighty cute as Clark Kent and Superman. I guess I’m just so used to Tom Welling doing nothing, that any effort amazes me. Also, Christopher just puts so much effort into making Clark look so awkward and uncomfortable…it’s just goddamn cute. In the second one, it’s especially interesting. He is found out by Lois, and has to own up to that he is Superman in normal clothes. Then he becomes human and has his first fight as a normal human being. Nothing is hotter than seeing Superman getting his ass handed to him in normal clothes as a normal person. I have never before been so attracted to Christopher Reeve.
I’m excited about the fourth one. This one was written by Christopher Reeve, so I’m sure that it will be awesome. Then I will watch the newest movie and get to compare them all together. So far, I think I like the Superman from Justice League show the best. I like it when Superman and Batman hang out together because for some reason, Superman is the one that comes out looking like an asshole. Batman may be crazy, he may be selfish and mean and paranoid, but at least he’s not as high and mighty as Superman. All that hope and righteousness is harder to stomach than all the awful things Batman does in the name of the mission.
sheepgrl is really into Sims 2, and I secretly love to read the bios she puts up of her characters. All that talk eventually inspired me to play a little on my own, and has now inspired me post my own little bio. So, at risk of looking like a bigger nerd than usual…
The Wayne Family: Early years
I realized I never posted about the newest Hulk Movie. As far as the movie goes I can only say it is AWESOME, and way better than the last one. Strange looking, weird-shaped head, with a oddly high voice Edward Norton has stolen my heart once again. Since I have been working really hard on not giving away everything in a movie, I’d like to bring the discussion to something slightly adjacent to–and not spoilerish in any way–the plot of the movie.
The Hulk’s Thing:
Before the movie came out, I did some flash-researching on the Hulk by watching the 1996 cartoon that must have come out at the same time as the popular X-Men cartoon. I took into account the fact that the cartoon was probably not too canon, but cross-referencing the things in the show with the things in the movie seems to suggest that the cartoon was pretty much on in general anyway. So here’s what I figured out about the Hulk.
For those of you that didn’t know, the Hulk is a different sentinent being from Bruce Banner. When Banner gets angry, or scared, or (if you go by the movie) really, if his heart rate goes above a certain point, the Hulk is brought into being with no knowledge of where he is, what’s going on, and who these people are that are shooting at him. Add his extreme confusion to the probable pain the transformation causes, and his low-level intellect, and the Hulk is one angry, scared and confused dude. Once he finally calms down, however, he turns into back into Bruce.
First of all, I have sympathy for this poor, retarded being that only exists when he is angry. He can’t even enjoy a happy moment.
The Government sees the Hulk as a threat, so there "solution" is trapping Bruce Banner, making him angry and confused, and THEN pulling out the big guns to shoot at a practically invulnerable being whose invulnerability is fueled by confusion– like "who are these people shooting at me?"–fear–"ow! that hurts"–and anger–"I told you to stop already!" When this doesn’t work, the government’s subsequent plans are using/making/inventing bigger and bigger guns to shoot at the confused and invulnerable Hulk.
It’s a little silly that this one plotline has lasted 50+ years. Seriously, guys, you need a different strategy. Maybe, just maybe, we need to start thinking about ways to NOT make him angry. I’ve been kicking around a couple ideas, and I think their worth a look.
#1. Aromatherapy smoke bombs. Comes in soothing chamomile and lavendar.
#2. New age, or smooth jazz music played at a comfortable level over the Jeep or tank intercom. Perhaps you could also play the audio book of war and peace, read by Morgan Freeman, or some old British guy.
#3. A portable food stand, offering comfort foods like strawberry shortcake and fried chicken, with the added selections of turkey and ice cream heavily laced with sedative.
Just imagine: *The horrific transformation, the Hulk roars and looks around defiantly, ready to smash. Instant retreat of militia, except for a small ice cream cart with jolly man in paper hat.* *Cheerful bicycle ring* "Well, howdy there, sir! You look in need of some fudge ripple." Holds out a dripping chocolate cone to a mystified Hulk.
#4 Special ops team-leader would be Caesar Milan. Would most likely have every one on the team stand very upright and calmly, not looking at the Hulk, while Caesar sits on his shoulder and jabs him in the neck everytime he starts to rage.
#5 A delightful destraction: like a clown, or a funny tv show. Bright colors and slow movements. No balloon animals. Militia slowly slips away, and snipers move in, ready to sedate/kill Bruce Banner once he has changed back.
#6 Decoy Betsy Rosses (she’s his hottie kryptonite), cute puppies, and hm, I don’t know NOT SHOOTING AT HIM.
Also, it’s very easy to become his friend. All you have to do is save him from someone, give him some candy, or just repeat "HULK…FRIIEEEND…" enough times until it sinks in. Then, once youre in, he’ll protect you, he’ll take you on nice rides jumping around the world, he’ll do anything you say, and most importantly, the very sight of you calms him. It would be so easy to stage a fight and send in an undercover operative to get on Hulk’s good side. It could almost happen accidentally. You wouldn’t even have to kill him after that. You could just give him a picture and say, "Hulk, kill this ambassador for me because he’s baaaaadddd, and I’m your frieeeeennddd. Baaaadd. Goooddd." You’d have an invulnerable behemoth contract killer, fueled by friend love.
What was it that Yoda said about fear and anger? If we just took the time to educate the poor bastard, maybe he would be so fucking confused and angry all the time. Put the Hulk through a learning intensive program, and then just, I guess, electrocute him once he starts feeling too comfortable. But nicely. Then maybe, once he’s grasped general physics and larger vocabulary, he can find a different outlet for his anger like "i really hurts my feelings when you blast me with tank artillery. I fear that you don’t respect me" instead of the ever-popular "HULK SMASH!"
Even after all this, I still don’t have a particularly good opinion of the Hulk as a superhero. While the "always on the run" angle is strangely appealing, and the disadvantages of having such a disability is downright pitiable, Bruce Banner has at most, the personality of a dishrag, and the Hulk is in escence a large green two-year old. So, no, I will not be transferring my patronage from Batman to Hulk, no matter how many cartoon versions I tend to watch.
My thesis is on Emma, so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the whole Emma/Mr. Knightley thing. They are 16 years apart and close family friends, and though I am always the one to disagree that Knightley is only a substitute patriarchal influence to Emma, even I think it’s a little weird. Austen always make the point that you "come from" your parents; their personalities and foibles can always be found in a bastardized form in you. When I think about how much of an influence Knightley was to Emma, from the beginning, especially since he is the only right-minded person around her and she must have gotten good sense from someone, I get a little creeped out at them getting married later on. It would be like, I realized today, Batman and Robin getting married. Almost exactly like that, actually. 16 years difference, not parent but close… There’s an emphasis on learning in both relationships, and Knightley is very hard to please. I’ve got this theory that Emma is so messed BECAUSE she had Knightley to berate her all the time and tell her what’s right. That definitely sounds familiar.
Dick once said (in an audiobook, so I don’t know if it "counts") to Bruce "I may be a product of our relationship, but…" Isn’t that weird? It’s like "I am what I am, not because of you particularly, but because of how I reacted to you and visa versa" Can you imagine saying that to a person? And saying something after that is like saying, "i realize what I am saying and thinking right now is mostly because of you, but…" Does that make it less true?
Look at me analyzing Batman audiobooks. This is all because of my thesis. Thesis=thinking too much. Jane Austen=I love. I love=Batman. Therefore, Batman=Jane Austen, inevitably. They’re a likely pair.
Hm. I seem to remember a previous rant on LJ about Darcy being a Batman character. Which is true. Perhaps some day I shall find Batman characters in ALL of the Jane Austen novels.