What’s The Point?
Well, if you watched the video above, you may understand now. If not, allow me to explain in written form. Man Of Steel is the perfect Superman film to show to young children. It teaches them to question choices, to stand up for themselves, and how important getting advice is. This version of Superman helps people because that’s who he is.
He looks out for others before himself and sees it as his obligation. Even if that means exposing himself to the world. But even with his own father heeding advice to use caution with his powers, there’s no other option to hide who he truly is anymore. And every action comes with consequences which cloud the right and wrong paradigm even more.
This is when we’re first introduced to the ‘HOW’ of Clark choosing his own morality and is the defining feature that makes this version of Superman relatable. In our life, we experience certain events that create the depths and darkness of our moral development. To use one of my favorite quotes “We are today what we were when”. That means that we continuously learn from our mistakes.
Now imagine you having Super abilities. You wouldn’t know exactly how powerful you are or have the option to learn from certain mistakes. Experimental Psychologist Stephen Pinker said:
“The human moral sense turns out to be an organ of considerable complexity, with quirks that reflect its evolutionary history and its neurobiological foundations.”
In other words, our sense of morality is more complex than we realize. Think Ozymandias in Watchmen.
What’s A Hero?
When American soldiers go to war, they do what’s necessary to complete their mission. Yet we honor those in our armed forces who serve in the military and celebrate their return home in victory. Without going into a political shift, we know their tours of duty encompass the taking of lives. Their actions are seen as heroic because they put themselves in harm’s way and came out victorious.
They protected themselves and are the very reason for our freedom here in America. But we don’t greet them with hostility. Why would we? Their bravery is the sole reason I’m able to create this article in the first place. And our soldiers killed for this freedom.
Right v Wrong
Is it wrong to believe that Superman’s moral code might adapt to the historical and political atmosphere? The story of Superman: Red Son, delves into what would happen if Clark Kent landed in Soviet Russia and NOT Kansas. That take on Kal-El shows what would happen if a Superman was raised differently in this world. And from his point of view, he’s shown to be helping. From ours, he’s viewed as the enemy.
In a world of a post 9/11, saving lives becomes amorally accepted. Killing a few, to save millions to protect American citizens is routine. Look at what happened with Osama Bin Laden. We don’t hear about politicians calling for Seal Team 6 to show up to Capitol Hill. But what about a Mass Murdering General with the same powers as Superman? Would you have taken his life if you were the only one capable of it? And not just any life; The life of your last living related species to save Mankind. An adopted race that has known about you and your existence for a day and a half. I wouldn’t be able to answer right away, I’d have to pause. Just for a moment to think about it.
A Big Thank You to Andrea who inspired me to create this. Her analysis on Man Of Steel when it first premiered is a Gem that needs to be read by any and all Superman fans. I used some of her points to highlight my thesis.