I originally published this article to coincide with the movie Man Of Steel but considering Batman v. Superman is coming out in 2016 and the first trailer was just released, I figure its a good time to revisit the scenario since the film echoes the theme of how the world reacts to Superman's presence.
We fear what we do not understand
We hate what is different
We destroy what we cannot control
- The nature of man
I was watching Henry Cavill in an interview this morning and he was promoting Man of Steel, he explained the premise of the movie with a what if. He said, what if we discovered that an alien was living among us for 33 years and we couldn't hurt it and it was more powerful than we were, how would we deal with it? How would it deal with us? Over the decades Superman has dealt with many foes and villains, some of them human but I haven't run across a story that was given a more contemporary spin where Kal-El had to deal only with humans. If Superman really existed, would the world really accept him? The one story to come closest that I know of was the 1987 film Superman: Quest For Peace, the suckiest of the Christopher Reeves franchise. QFP touched lightly on the hero directly involving himself in the affairs of man on a global scale by getting rid of all the nuclear missiles every country owned (in the lamest manner possible). But then it stops there and goes into the typical super hero vs super villain trope.
I thought about the scenario of how the world would actually react to a super powered being using both ancient and recent history of how people have usually dealt with an exceptional person in their midst. By the way if you know of any comic book or graphic novel story that actually did a scenario like this please drop the info in the comments section, I'd love to check it out.
We're all familiar with the story of Superman, Krypton destroyed, last surviving child, crash lands on Earth, raised by John and Martha Kent, love affair with Lois Lane, fights for truth and justice. Kal-El was raised as Clark Kent and lucky for us the Kents instilled in him a strong sense of upright morality. But its that upright morality that would put him in direct conflict with his host planet in a real life scenario.
Throughout the decades of the comic its been depicted that Superman has a degree of conflict within himself about his place in world as well as who and what he is. It's the main reason why he built the Fortress of Solitude, the interior of which is a recreation of his home world, so that he can gain some idea of what his people were about and how he's suppose to conduct his life. And after obtaining that knowledge of self, coupled with the foundation of christian/judeo values via the Kents, I would imagine Kal-El coming back to society reinvigorated and excited to share his goodwill and news of justice and fair play.
If that sounds familiar to you its because we've heard this story before. If you believe the Bible it played out some 3000 years ago. A being not of this world was born to an upright family, grew up and after some time isolated away from people came back to tell and demonstrate to all who would listen about a better way of living.
Zack Snyder, David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan may be dipping a bit deeper in the religious parallels of the Superman and Jesus Christ more than any other film director whose tackled the story so far but its really interesting to me how that would play out if that being really existed (I'm talking about Superman). And I imagine it would end in a similar sad way.