Superman Rebirth Review

If you read my Batman v. Superman Review, you’ll notice the that I love these characters. I love all superheroes in fact. The movie disappointed me mainly because it didn’t remind me of the characters I’ve known and loved over the years. That being said, the movie was dark because it represented something real. Superman is an alien. Today, in America, we use that same word to describe illegal immigrants who come to our country. The reasons they come to our country never cross our mind. All that matters is they aren’t from America. We want them gone so we can continue our American way of life (I don’t believe that, but it is a narrative being thrown around nowadays in midst of the 2016 election.) The same attitudes are applied to Muslims. With terrorism a real threat to the world now, people are fearful of anyone who believes in the Islamic religion. Whether that’s fair or not is for others to debate, but the point I’m making is, that’s how Superman is viewed in this movie. My main problem with the movie is the sudden appearances of Batman and Wonder Woman. I explained in my review of the movie that Batman takes over whenever he’s mentioned or on screen or in a comic panel. Too much is focused on the hate between these two characters and not enough on their respect they have for one another. It takes Superman saying Martha and him dying for Batman to realize that maybe this guy isn’t so bad after all.

Recently, DC did a “reorganizing” if you will of their current lines of comics. This new vision is called Rebirth. The New 52 had issues and I think DC recognized it. I never get to upset about changes in these comics, because the heroes, especially the main heroes, are all over 50 years old. Rebirth is DC’s attempt to get back to their original way of storytelling. The Rebirth special talks a lot about what was missing from Wally West’s past as he’s trying to figure out how to come back. He says, “Seeing everything…I realize it wasn’t ten years that was stolen from us. It was love.” Love is the main word. We see images of Green Arrow and Black Canary possibly rekindling their love. We also see Aquaman proposing to Mera on the beach. Wally then tries to rekindle his love with his girlfriend from his time, Linda Park. He fails but not before seeing Barry Allen one last time. Barry remembers him and he and Wally share one of the best moments I’ve recently seen in a comic. DC is clearly trying to change the storytelling that the New 52 lacked.

 

So, this brings us to the rebirth titles. They are starting to release special rebirth one shots of their heroes. I read Batman and Green Lanterns first. I liked Batman but Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz have me extremely excited for their run as partners. As I opened the Superman comic, I was nervous. I was mainly nervous because of how Superman is looked at in our culture. I hear too often that Superman is too “gay” or too “corny” and that he needs some kind of edge to him. We have television shows in society today like Breaking Bad and House of Cards. Movies in society like Deadpool and Suicide Squad. Society is becoming edgier. Characters like Superman aren’t cool anymore. Comic book readers love him, but he isn’t relatable like the flawed antiheroes of today. Personally, I think Superman is one of the coolest superheroes for how genuine and kind he is. If Lex Luthor’s cat was stuck in a tree, he’d probably save the furry thing. After Man of Steel, I felt that sense of heroic duty in Superman. The movie was crafted well enough so the audience could understand why Clark does what he does. I didn’t mind the destruction or the violence of the movie because I felt as if people were just looking to complain. Critics or fans didn’t say a word about Hulk and Iron Man blowing through Wakanda. There’s no way multiple people weren’t killed during their fight. It could be argued that Civil War could have started there, but instead they went “into hiding.”

Batman v. Superman decided to make the story more about Batman. That’s fine, but the film was too dark. Snyder said many times that this film was meant to be a Man of Steel sequel. The only time it felt like that was when we saw the flashback at the very beginning and Clark talking to his father. I wanted to feel great about Superman at the end of the film. I wanted everyone, or at least most people, to feel great about him. I didn’t and the ending felt extremely pushed. We could have gotten Superman’s finale with Doomsday without Batman and Wonder Woman. It might have meant more then. The movie tried too hard to force the v. in their title. My review went into detail about why I think Batman and Superman would never fight to the death like that, but it was the downfall of the movie. The realism of their characters were lost trying to portray a “real” world. It’s okay to for Batman to be angry and hostile I guess, but Superman should have been the understanding one here. Going off of DC’s whole realism thing, how would the movie had turned out if Lex left Martha Kent alone? Would Superman seriously have tried to kill Batman? And for what, because he disagrees with vigilante justice? He disagreed with Zod murdering people in Man of Steel, but still snapped his neck because it was the right thing to do. Even after that Superman’s anguish over taking a life was palpable. His pain in BvS was real enough, but there weren’t enough moments where he expressed himself. He didn’t express himself to Batman, to Lois, to his mom, and they cut his speech to Congress short. When he did speak, the lines were dry. It didn’t feel real. So all of this is going through my head going into this new comic.

Comics are always doing weird stuff like I said earlier, and the Superman story is no different. So basically, the Superman from the New 52 has died. The original Superman that married Lois Lane and died fighting Doomsday is the focus now with their son, Johnathan. The rebirth issue starts with Superman talking about the death of New 52 Superman. He says, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. I live and breathe that quote every day.” From the moment this issue starts, I see DC is showing us an emotional Superman. One who has been through a great deal. The next couple of panels show the tragic battle they went through in the last couple of issues. Next, we get to see Lana Lang trying to break into Clark’s tomb so she can move him back home to Kansas. Superman approaches her and we see a touching moment between the two as they remember their fallen hero. He then goes on to talk about how he originally died at the hands of Doomsday. This is the Superman I remember. In the comics and cartoon shows, Superman has always been a well-spoken and eloquent hero. BvS took that away with the dry writing and there is no excuse for that. The style of the movie/comic should never take away from who a character is (which is why Captain America’s reveal broke the internet.) Superman goes into detail about how he remembered the fight with Doomsday. He says, “And every second that passed made me realize this thing was different than any creature I’d ever faced before. And worst of all, it seemed to have a one-track mind to kill and destroy anything within reach. For the first time I felt fear and dread in the deepest parts of my soul as I imagined a world without my wife, Lois, at my side,” he continues to talk but I was beyond excited at what I just read. A Superman who could voice his emotions. The writing here was supreme. I love this reflection by Superman as he reflects on what it feels like to be vulnerable. That didn’t come across when he sacrificed himself in BvS. It felt rushed. I’m not expecting Superman to go on a soliloquy about how he loves mankind in that moment as he’s struggling to stand because of the kyrptonite, but the movie didn’t give any indication prior, that Superman would risk his life like that. Man of Steel was building to that. But not BvS with their focus on the v. in their title. The issue concludes with Lana and Superman going to the Fortress of Solitude only to realize that New 52 Superman cannot be revived. They bury him in Kansas and Superman realizes that he needs to take up the mantle once again. It was a very short issue, but it seems as though, we’re going to get a ton of emotion from this Superman in the rebirth issues. It has me excited to see where DC will take this. And maybe with the darkness that was BvS, maybe when Superman comes back in Justice League, everyone has a full understanding of who he is. With Geoff Johns being directly involved in these movies now, Superman’s dialogue should be on point.

Maybe I’m completely wrong about the direction in which DC is headed with their universe in the movies. Batman v. Superman might have been an aberration when it comes to how the rest of their movies are going to feel. Maybe we got DC’s Civil War first and the aftermath after is the setup to bigger things. Whatever the future holds, I want a Superman who is eloquent and selfless, not one who’s motives are confusing from movie to movie.

 

Hope you enjoyed the review! Please make sure to follow me on Twitter @Hero_Review where I retweet current news about upcoming superhero films. Until Next time! My next review will be one of the greatest graphic novels ever. Watchmen

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