This is Patrick Gerard's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Patrick Gerard's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Patrick Gerard
Recent Activity
Also, Bar-El and Lilo were poisoned and did not have mastery yet of their senses. It's not so much that Zod should have had this knowledge after a few days as it is that Superman should have acquired this knowledge of super-senses' impact on empathy over a lifetime and therefore been able to overwhelm Zod with the cosmic empathy that super-senses seem to bring. Now, from there, it's possible that Zod would kill himself in shame once confronted with the value of life but even that is a more morally congruent ending when compared with the sources.
Professor Mark... I'd like to steer this conversation just a bit because I've wanted to discuss the movie somewhere but feel that most forums I take this to are populated by people who see Superman's killing act as a vindication of their own moral code, which is typically utilitarian. As such, any attempt to disagree results in rather strong disagreement as utilitarians feel the need to defend the scene because they feel it did what was necessary to secure Superman a 21st century audience by transferring ownership of the character over TO utilitarians. Now... All that said, here's the philosophically interesting wrinkle that cropped up for me: the film generously "quotes" All-Star Superman and Superman: Birthright in terms of dialogue and plot. But there's a key distinction here and the more interesting moral statement here rests not on Superman's morality but Zod's. Both Birthright and All-Star Superman postulate that Superman's superior senses provide him with enhanced empathy. Birthright's Superman is just a bit sad when even flowers die and is a vegetarian. Reinforcing his ethics (both his uprbinging and his heritage) is a superior objective knowledge of reality given to him by his powers. While All-Star Superman is not explicitly a vegetarian and is considerably less moody (self-assured with a hint of melancholy in the face of death, actually), the book's climax hinges on the notion that Luthor, when in possession of Superman's powers, is psychologically transformed by them into a person who devotes his life to the service of his fellow man. In both instances (and arguably going back to the character's inception), the notion is laid out that power does not actually corrupt. Those with power who are corrupt lack mastery and once they achieve mastery are unable to function as corrupt. The idea is never really broached in Man of Steel with Zod. He acquires the power and uses it to destroy. It's a key part of the moral framework of All-Star and Birthright and is omitted here. Moreover, it must be a deliberate omission on some level because the screenplay has a clear awareness of Birthright and All-Star. The clear answer from the sources is that if there were a Zod, he could not have the kind of anger or sociopathy presented here. This is especially true not just with Luthor in All-Star but with Bar-El and Lilo who could be seen as very direct analogies for Zod. The ultimate reversal of the story with them is that Superman shows his worth to them by showing them compassion and thus perhaps illustrating the worth of things which they had considered beneath them. I think it's worth regarding the ending of Man of Steel not as a thoughtless change or even one without satisfying alternatives but a deliberate deviation from and rebuttal to All-Star and Birthright. It acknowledges them both and then rejects their morality and their solutions.
Patrick Gerard is now following The Typepad Team
Jun 30, 2013