Though Batman rules the box office right now, some new trailers are out for Man of Steel for us to take a look at.
There’s this thing about Batman and Superman, being two sides of the same coin. Neither will kill, both have strong morals. One is more brains than brawn, while the other is simply an unstoppable force. Where they differ is in their “normal” selves.
Quentin Tarantino got it right in Kill Bill – Superman is not the disguise, Clark Kent is. Where the symbol of Superman is who he is, Batman actually has to don a cape and mask to get the point across. The sense of purity, of greatness, of infallibility is what makes Superman a superhero. Though his actions speak loudly, who he is as a person is what people aspire to be. He is truly a symbol of all that is good.
Batman differs in that his “normal” persona is actually nicer than his caped version. A multi-billionaire philanthropist, Bruce Wayne is himself a beacon of good. Batman, as a persona, is a vigilante, skirting the law in order to provide justice to the whole. There is a darkness in that aspect, one that humans can relate to much more easily than they can Superman. I suppose that’s why one is an alien and one is human.
In my off-line time, I have discussed these points for near on 20 years now with friends on late nights. Comics on the whole are simply a social examination of the times and that today’s reflection of Batman is so dark (Dark Knight after all) is quite fitting. Where the recent Superman film failed was in it’s approach to overall story and setting. I do hope that Man of Steel can find the right social resonance to not only make Superman a hero once again but to make him relevant as well. We, as a people, need that symbol.