Man, Woman and Superman



After watching the new Superman movie, a lot of the guys I know are very disappointed. They will give you a lot of reasons: the movie was more of a melodrama than a superhero movie, the new guy is not as broad and Superman-like as Reeve was, etc., etc. Got me wondering why, since I loved the movie as well as the new guy (I have said as much in my last post). So here I present my analysis (hah!) of why a generation of people who had seen the first set of Superman movies in the childhood or early teens would show such a marked difference in the reception of the new movie, based on their gender.


Why women loved it:

There is an alien superhero who has human emotions, who empathises with the pain of others. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he has the most dreamy eyes and incredibly pouty lips that are begging to be kissed! And the love of his life has hurt him, so it's perfect timing for her to step in and take over!

Why men hated it:

Superman was always larger than life. He was the superhero of all superheroes, invincible and indestructible. He was the superlative of "man". And then, in this movie, he cries! I am sure this has caused him to fall from the exalted position in many a male heart. It's fine for him to take his gal out for a spin in the stratosphere, to romance her in his icy Arctic castle, but to cry because she has moved on? That is unforgiveable in any man, let alone the superhero.

And why does he fly around the world doing good deeds anyway? Because he can hear the cries of the people! Sheesh! What a ninny! The male viewer would have thought that he did it because he could! I mean of course he would want to fly around pulling airplanes out of the air and rescuing maidens from runaway cars! He has all this power, I would do it too, if I had the powers!

And then there is the relativity factor. When the male viewer saw Reeve as Superman for the first time, he in all likelyhood was a tiny tot, all of three feet tall. And someone of Reeve's stature would have seemed like a towering giant! But now, he is not all that little himself, and the new fella doesn't seem to be as big, broad and brawny as the male viewer's mental image of what Superman should look like.

So I guess, for them, Superman doesn't seem all that super anymore.

8 comments:

KoPoS said...

Though I agree to some extent on the cry part and also on the cries of people(?, yet to see the movie), but i have a thought of my own.

!!!Superman is a MAN, not a Krypton Adolescent!!!
Reeves was the quintessential man. He was a man in the age group ( 25 ish thirties). This one barely looks he grew his moustache once in his life and a beard, out of question. Also Reeves has that mischievous grin to that bumbling Kent side of his. Routh takes the Kent side far too seriously. Sheesh!

Superman is a man in control of things. Inspite of many other things crashing on him with the personal life (ref the Tom Welling Supe in Smallville), it is the growing up pains. A man cannot still deal with his growing up pains even when he is out to save the world. Of course, the human aspect is a true dimension to it; but we already have many heroes who have a dark side to deal with: Batman, Hulk, XMen. We dont need one more guy to add to the already growing list of dark, vulnerable sides.

Superman by definition goes by what he is: a complete man, impossible to exist but a part of figment of everyone's imagination.

spiralarchitect said...

i would have to say yes to the last point. Superman is and will be a character based on idealism and not on actual humans...to make him cry, to make him look like a teen freak is injustice to the character...in the age when the place was full of half human heros and heroines Superman was someone from the other world who was perfect in everything...its not about reeves towering over the tiny tots, nor is it about his ability to do only good deeds...its about the character...i still feel its just a way of the director cashing in on some easy moolah

Bald Monkey said...

Allow me to introduce another very pertinent angle. This comes from a person whose brushes with any sort of literature have been to a large degree, limited to DC and Marvel comics. I must admit that it does result in a markedly stunted intellect, but it does leave one with a rather complete view of the comic book universe. In that universe, every superhero has a designated role and character.
Spiderman is the confused teenager/young man trying to come in terms with life, The Incredible Hulk is really really pissed off with the system, Wonder Woman is embodiment of female strength, Captain America is the well.. american hero, Batman the man suffering from anguish and guilt, and so on and so forth.
Superman in comparision, is a rather simple character by definition. He is the all powerful, perfect, err... Superman ! He goes about doing truly stupendous stuff without any qualms, inner struggle or crying whatsover. He is the Laloo Prasad Yadav of the superhero universe. That is his place.
Just because sony did so well with spiderman, Warner brothers decided to go in with all that melodrama for superman also. That dilutes the essence of the character. It is like Arthur Dent beating the crap out of Zaphod because he does not like the way Zaphod treats Trillian. Some people might think that Arthur Dent should do it, but Ford Prefect and me disagree !

Aparna said...

I agree with SA and BM on this one...that's what hubby told me too.
But otherwise, for me, he is droolworthy...

Mithun Kumar said...

Now, should I call that a 'super'Blog?

Nice analysis, though, a bit too much analysis I guess...

Although, I don't completely disagree with ur views, but (typically ofcourse) I'd tend to agree more with BM's reasoning...

Tanu, ur reasoning probably stands more true in case of some less known super hero whose characters are not already 'defined'. Ppl'd just go to see him with some assumed characteristics, but find some totally different ones...
But in superman's case (not the actor, the character), showing something which deviates from the age old defined characteristics of the well known character, would surely disappoint.

Mithun Kumar said...

And I guess, that's the same reason why the Indian superhero 'Krrish' became such a hit in the market...
The movie actually followed (more or less) the same assumptions of a new superhero...
Had the film makers deviated from that assumption of the 'characteristics' of the character, I'm sure, it'd have been superflop...

spiralarchitect said...

mithun ur right...change is hardly acceptable, but after reading superman for 20+ years i cannot believe change can be so drastic...its like a catharsis hit superman and DC...as for Krissh...well pish pash...

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keep it up