Monday, 25 October 2010

The Man of Steel

Last week, my script tutor said something that I've thought for a long time, and without any prompting from me.

"Superman is the most boring character ever because he's too fucking strong!"

Yep, that about sums it up. Superman never interested me comic book-wise as a kid. He really is too powerful to be a decent character. The clue's in the name - Man of Steel. So anything less than steel is useless. If Superman's going up against a gang of gun-toting maniacs, do we ever worry about him? No, because bullets do jack shit to Mr Clark Kent. And I know what you're saying:

"Ah, but if they have kryptonite, he's in serious trouble!"

Yes, right you are. So the only way to battle Superman is with a piece of green rock? How exciting!

Any bad guy that squares up to Superman has to have a certain amount of power behind him to even stand a chance -

a) He must be fucking strong
b) He must be fucking fast
c) He must fucking fly

This makes every bad guy the same as Superman. So what's the point? I'm never convinced Superman is really in any danger since he can always just fly away at the speed of light. Problem solved.

Yes, I know Supes' biggest foe was Mr Lex Luthor - brains vs brawl and all that. But if he wanted to, Superman could just pop his head like a balloon and it's game over.

So yes, Superman is horrendously boring. Like all little boys, when I saw those movies, I was running round with a home-made cape with one arm out. But I wasn't doing much. Just flying really. Was I fighting bad guys? Nope, cos that got boring since every bad guy I dreamt up was the same. And that wasn't 8-year-old Me's fault. It was Superman's.

Characters are only interesting if they're in real jeopardy. Spiderman isn't that strong. Yes, he can probably lift a car, but if a tank falls on his head, he's in trouble. Whereas Supes just flicks it away. So when Spiderman is in danger, I'm worried. If he gets shot, he dies. The bullet would just bounce off The Man of Fucking Steel. This is a hero in trouble:

Right, rant over. All I'm asking is - please, please, please refrain from making your characters so powerful that nothing can stop them. It makes writing their obstacles so much more straightforward!

Over and out.


Manda said...

Oh my God, yes! I've always been bored to death by the man of steel. The movies are always such a snore because he's as bland as Ben Affleck.

rose said...

just discovered your blog, made me laugh :) that's why Batman's so watchable, because ooh, he's troubled...and when you've got a cracking baddie like The Joker, you're onto a winner...

halojones-fan said...

He isn't all-powerful. He's just *very* powerful. It seems like a minor difference but the easiest thing to do is just distract him; give him a big problem that needs an immediate solution, while you quietly do whatever you wanted. This has been used many times (notably the first Superman movie, albeit by accident.)