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All-Star Superman (2011)

out of all of the mainstream DC superheroes, Superman has always been my least favorite. In most of the stuff that i've ever seen or read, he's always come off as too much of a boy scout, doing the right thing for such pure and patriotic reasons and he doesn't have to be clever or inventive in the same way as Batman or Green Lantern other than how he portrays his fumbling counterpart of Clark Kent.

Some of Bruce Timm's earlier treatments of Superman from the animated series and the Justice League were able to change that, partially because Timm generally does a great job in adapting the comic books and showing that Superman can actually have more depth and some degree of vulnerability, particularly in how he relates to Batman (although it must be noted that for the most part i found the recent Superman/Batman movies he did to be disappointments), and also how he relates to his other superhero peers, as well as Lex Luthor, Brainiac, &c. Even so, i've always favored many of the other superheros over him, so when i hit play to watch All-Star Superman for the first time, i didn't set my expectations too high.

And was pleasantly surprised. This film wasn't perfect, but it was incredibly strong because of how well it portrayed its characters. Lex Luthor was outstanding as an antagonist in this one. The relationship between Superman and Lois Lane reached a height that i've never seen portrayed before. And there was a wonderful depth to Superman/Clark, particularly a sense of vulnerability and tragedy that is not typically associated with his character that he overcomes by simply continuing to be the strong role model and superhero that he is.

That last bit is what sticks out to me more than anything; the whole thing teetered on morbidity and could have gone down a dark and depressed path, yet it failed to do that because of his strength of character and the strength of his and Lois's love. In that way it reminded me of [Now and Then, Here and There], which is set in such a brutal and depressing dystopia that is saved from being a tragedy by the seemingly naive but ultimately strong-willed protagonist boy who despite the world collapsing around him demands of himself and those around him that there is always hope and happiness in a way that is impossible to ignore or defeat. And i think that in most cases that's what you're supposed to feel with Superman also, but not until this film did it really develop in a way that convinced me and moved me.

Of course, Superman still is on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to my favorite superheros. nothing will ever replace Green Lantern as my number one or Batman as my number 2 (but the batman from the comics and the animated series, not the batman from any of the live movies even the Chris Nolan ones). But at least with this movie he's been redeemed in my eyes as not sucking and i can see him in a somewhat different light when i go back and watch some of the Justice League movies and animated series, and when Justice League: Doom comes out.

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March 2017