Blockbuster movie Man of Steel is based of the legendary comic superhero, superman which centres on how the hero came to life.
The superhero was first introduced during a time of great fear and depression as a result of the Adolf Hitler era and the world war.
Man of steel depicts the great notions of equity in contemporary American society.(Should superman kill, 2013). America has experienced many threats to society, from communism, the 9/11 to the Cold War, thus why whole context of of killing and death worthy(Should superman kill, 2013) discourse raises the questions to power, the rule of law and the struggles of balancing public safety.
Moreover Man of steel portrays how vulnerable the ideological union of conventional American culture, though there’s a countless attempt at right wing ideological unity in the George Bush epoch. Back when the superhero character was first release in the year 1938 the representation of superman was not fundermentally centred on depicting the truth about American society but a metaphor for Jewish immigrants during the 1930s. Being created by two Jewish men, the character superman was a reference to Jewish faith; however as the years have gone on the character known as Kal-El has been converted to an imagery of Jesus Christ as there’s various allusions to him such as the birth of the hero. His father Jor-El suggests that the birth of his son is the first natural birth in centuries as all the children in Krypton are artificially inseminated. Furthermore Kal-El’s main focus in life is to sacrifice his life to save many in the world, and finally, though he was disinclined to the option of revealing his real identity and powerful abilities he eventually reveals himself to Zod, a character in the movies in order to save humanity from destruction.
Superman is a clear reflection of how a typical white heterosexual man should be like. The American way. However saying this, the reduction of Superman’s powers in the Man of Steel perhaps emasculated him,this typically shows that his powers are his ‘defining trait’ (Darwoski J (2012) p129), which furthermore makes the assumption that the decrease of his power jeopardises his characters and in some way American values as he is seen an illustration of it .
Meanwhile man of steel both defies the stereotypical discourse of women but then undermines this representation. Lois, superman’s love interest, although is a powerful independent feminist who’s a prize winning journalist is surrounded by sexism. And although all these reflections of lois disregards many portrayals of the protagonist’s love interest, there are certain aspects of the film that diminishes the positive portrayal of women; one example being in her first scene during some banter with other characters she says ‘Now we’re done having a d**k measuring contest…’ which continues to defy the stereotype, however as the film goes on, the scene where she’s shown her quarters at a military boundary she asks ‘ where do I tinkle’. This is a clear juxtaposition between the two sentences which skilfully illustrated the typical view in society of women being feeble and constantly needing amenities (Women of Man of Steel, 2013). Another way in which the movies defied stereotypical aspects is having the first coloured person to play the role of the editor Perry white which has never happened throughout the history of all the superman movies.
Darwoski Joseph J (2012) The Ages of Superman: Essays on the Man of Steel in Changing Times. McFarland
Phillips D. N (2013) Should Superman Kill? [Online] 1 July. Available from: http://m.wsj.com/articles/BL-SEB-75511 [Accessed 17th November 2014]
Kearns. M (2013) women of man of steel and the toxicity of hyper masculinity [online] 18th June. Available from: http://www.btchflcks.com/2013/06/the-women-of-man-of-steel-and-the-toxicity-of-hyper-masculinity.html [Accessed 17th November 2014]