Why the World Needs Superman

I recently watched the third trailer for Man of Steel. It sent shivers down my spine. While I had certainly been looking forward to the latest incarnation of Superman, I was unsure what sort of arc they would take or if it would live up to expectations. This trailer finally gives us a real idea of what the movie is going to be about. It seems to very much be about the journey Kal-El goes through before he dons the famous costume and becomes Superman. A simple man from the country with extraordinary gifts who drifts from one place to the next just trying to help people, just trying to do good.

The last decade and a half really hasn’t been a great one. Terrorist attacks. Genocide. Two major conflicts in the Middle East. A global financial meltdown. The list goes on and on, and unfortunately on a bit more.

There are a lot of people hurting out there. I read articles about people going through immense pain and struggle, and then I see Kim Kardashian has been given another few million for yet again doing nothing of consequence. The same executives that caused the GFC being given bonuses of millions with the people’s money given to bail out the company. It stopped making my blood boil a long time ago because it seems to happen all the time.

And now we have a reboot of the Superman franchise. We have a movie that, I think, will actually inspire people again. It will make them feel like there is the possibility of good in a world that lately has seemed pretty damn harsh and terrible. I’ve been a cynical person for a very long time, and if I had read what I am writing right now a couple of years ago I would have said something to the effect of “what a load of crap, movies aren’t going to help people”. On some level, that is still right. In the long run a movie won’t help people. But you know what? I’m ready to put the cynicism away. Films are and always were meant to be an escape from reality, and it’s going to be fantastic to sit down and be shown the fantasy of what the world would be like if it had someone like Superman in it. I will enjoy the fact that there is a being with great power that does not even contemplate using it for his own ends, but to help people. That a small town country boy grows up to make the world tremble not with his power, but with his kindness and the will to always do the right thing. In fact, in Superman/Batman #3 Batman says

“It is a remarkable dichotomy. In many ways, Clark is the most human of us all. Then…he shoots fire from the skies, and it is difficult not to think of him as a god. And how fortunate we all are that it does not occur to him.”

It does not even occur to Superman to use his abilities for any reason but to do good. This is what we need more of in the world right now; from politicians to company executives and anyone else who has power in the world. To eschew the choice that might mean profit at another person’s expense, to actually have a real moral compass that features solid knowledge of what right and wrong is.

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