Does Superman Deserve A Statue After The Events Of Man Of Steel?
Spoilers For Man Of Steel and The Dark Knight Trilogy are present throughout this piece. Read at your own risk.
Superman has always been a hero that people have seen as a paragon of "truth, justice, and the American way." Some even call him "the big blue boy scout," or at least they used to before Zack Snyder's Man of Steel made fans question the motives and actions of one of their favorite superheroes. Those questions have reignited anew as recent reports from the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice set have reported that a statue in the honor of Superman is being erected in Metropolis. IO9 even ran a story about the statue with the headline, "Metropolis Is Cool With All Of that Super Murder In Batman v. Superman." Considering the snarky headline's point of the mass casualties in the finale to Man of Steel and how many of them Superman may have been responsible for through action and/or inaction of his own, this does ask a very important moral question: why would Metropolis erect a statue to Zack Snyder's Superman?
The answer, of course, is because he ultimately saved them. The city was ravaged not because of Superman's existence, which was already being investigated by Lois Lane throughout Man Of Steel, and yielded several "guardian angel" human interest stories. It was ravaged because General Zod, upon finding a planet where one of his own species was thriving, decided to attempt to terraform Earth into a New Krypton. (It always comes down to land in this series, doesn't it?) Hell, Superman even killed the last known living member of his race so he could save humanity at large. If he didn't reluctantly kill Zod, the human race would have been paved over for a New Kryptonian utopia.
Was there mass property destruction? Yes. Did countless people die during the battle of Metropolis? Unfortunately, yes. But does this unfortunately high amount of collateral damage completely detract from Superman's actual feats of bravery? No, it doesn't. Of course, there's one more question that needs to be asked of audiences who feel that this Man Of Steel statue controversy really holds up: how did you guys feel about the statue reveal at the end of The Dark Knight Rises?
Ignoring the obvious fact that Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy takes place in its own bubble universe, let's look at what Bruce Wayne did in his time as a costumed vigilante to earn himself a statue. He averted total disaster after a chemical attack by the League of Shadows, had faith in the city's own citizens to save themselves from a Joker puzzler, and prevented a gigantic meltdown from occurring within Gotham City itself. Of course, he beat and maimed countless thugs, kingpins, and baddies along the way, accidentally lead to the love of his life's death and a friend's facial disfigurement/mental anguish, and fired his life long friend and father figure after he burned a love letter... but hey, that's statue worthy! Much like Batman before him, Superman had a mission to accomplish, and the scale of that mission meant there was going to be a level of collateral damage incurred. This wasn't because of Superman's actions, this was because of his adversary's actions, which would have been even more devastating if he hadn't intervened with equal and superior levels of force.
So why does the Man of Steel era Superman deserve a statue? Because instead of giving into the selfish impulse of bringing back his long dead race, and having super friends to play with, he protected the foster species that showed him kindness and compassion. Superman repaid the debt to Earth that Clark Kent incurred the day he landed in Smallville, and he did so as effectively as possible. While the results were messy and reminiscent of an actual tragedy ripped from our modern history, the end game still saw humanity survive to face another threat. Our greatest protector forging his legacy of being our super savior by being the guy who reluctantly gave up any chance of a future with his own people, so that we could live. If you're ok with a masked vigilante that had a statue unveiled in his name, despite the unholy amounts of ass he's kicked and/or sent to the hospital without due legal process, you should be able to buy a superpowered being sacrificing his people to save our cosmically puny asses.
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