"Truth, Justice, and....All that stuff!?!?"
"I don't think 'The American Way' means what it meant in 1945. He's an alien from krypton...and he has no papers."
-Dan Harris, screenwriter
The new movie, "Superman Returns", drew in $21.04 million dollars on its opening day, Friday.
I grew up on comic book superheroes. As a very young child, I remember watching the old tv series, "The Adventures of Superman" every day after school. I remember a time when comic books were 35 cents. I think I began collecting them when they were at 50 cents, spending money on plastic bags and cardboard backings, specially coated, so as to keep the comics in mint condition; and if you wanted to actually read the comic again, you were supposed to buy a second issue, rather than get your corrosively oily fingers to risk damaging the value of the comic.
By the time I was in college, I had begun weening myself off of comic collecting. I had been a longtime reader of Marvel; but as time wore on, and I missed issue after issue of my favorites, it got easier to save my money. The only two comics I followed as a mature college student, were the Japanese translation, "Lonewolf and Cub", and a surprisingly well-written comic series about a samurai rabbit bodyguard, called "Usagi Yojimbo" (yeah, I know...that's what I said, until I took the time to read it).
In 2003, Captain America, a character whose very name should evoke flag-waving and who is the symbol and star-spangled epitomy of the best in American patriotism, turned into a guilt-ridden, Patriot Act-Bush-bashing, card-carrying Howard Zinn liberal. Thanks a lot Marvel. This is how our youth becomes indoctrinated into liberalism. Popular culture is the playground of liberal ideology, and even comic books are not spared. I guess they really aren't made for children, anymore and we should call them the more mature, meant-to-be-taken seriously, term: "graphic novel". The Captain America of the WWII era would have seen him punching out Osama bin Laden, the way he punched Adolf Hitler on the cover of one issue. Now, Captain America sees America as the problem, and our leadership as the real enemy; not the terrorists who want to kill us and destroy the freedoms that we enjoy.
Going back to the Superman TV series, the introduction of it is seared into my memory...including these famous words to describe the invincible hero: "[Who] fights a neverending battle for Truth...Justice...and the American Way."
This brings us to the new movie, where that last part is purposefully left out. I'm not going to blame it on liberal Hollywood elitism...but wtf(rak)? I realize that in the current world clime, where anti-American sentiments are running high, the part about fighting for "the American Way" grates on the nerves of the politically correct; and that the intentional decision to have those lines removed and make Superman a citizen-hero for the world, rather than a strictly American one, might be a purely business, monetary decision; but still, there's just something not right about it...to remove the "American" from an icon and symbol of America and American culture.
Like Captain America, his character in comics, traditionally, has always been identified with and fought for, America. And now it appears the Kryptonite known as "liberal sensibilities", have neutered him of any sense of nationalism. I think this goes back to the self-loathing, blame and bash America sentiments that so many of our fellow blue Americans feel. The ones who always wring their hands over how "the rest of the world hates us". I am proud of our "American Way". And I will always regard Superman as an American hero.
I suppose I should see it first. I have no doubt that the absence of saying "...and the American way" is such a minor mole-hill, that I'm getting my underoos all bundled in a wad over nothing. Only a conservative like Sean Hannity and myself (yes, I happened to catch him review it on Hannity and Colmes...also "Your World with Cavuto") would even notice and be irked by such a subtle absence of the patriotic-stirring phrase.
Superman is now a global superhero; an international man of mystery, savior, and citizen of the world, fighting for all mankind. But isn't that really an "American" thing to do? Us "saving" the rest of the world, time and time again? Fighting global evil, helping foreign nations, etc.?
The Superman expression, "...and the American Way" should be something both liberal and conservative Americans can be proud of. The kind of stirring of pride and patriotism that is above partisan politics such as we experienced on 9/12/01.
As far as I know it's gotten mixed reviews. Still, because it is Superman, I'm sure it will do extremely well at the box office. Growing wealth, after all, is part of "the American way", if that was Hollywood's sole intent in eradicating "Americanism" from the content.
Hat tip to Kyrie, who provided a link in the comments section to her friend Tallguy. The photo is shamelessly stolen from his post (click on it to be led to it), and here is an excerpt:
So if Superman "belongs to the world", why isn't he fighting for communism? Why didn't he fight for the Axis, just to keep a level playing field? Why doesn't he seem like he'd be particularly pro-North Korea? In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Superman gets rid of all of the world nukes, which plays into Lex Luthor's diabolical scheme. I'd like to have seen what happened when the world devolved back into full scale conventional warfare, myself. Germany could have been reunited in 1987! Maybe not how we had liked, but what can you do?
You can also read Tallguy's movie review of it here.
Another interesting movie review.
Also an interview with Bryan Singer. Both of these last two links touches upon Superman as a Christ-like savior.