The Death of Superman : Loïs Perfectly Knows That Clark Is Superman, Part 5 (2900 words)
-----------------The Justice League Gets Its Ass Kicked-----------------
I said earlier that the order according to which the members of the Justice League attack Doomsday could bear a metaphorical meaning on a sexual level. From that point of view, it’s no coincidence that Wonder Woman should be the last one to appear, even though it is clear that she’s already been fighting the monster.
Her being buried under a collapsed building when they all get their ass handed to them is, in my opinion, due to the fact that Wonder Woman loves men and that it is too painful for her to watch them getting emasculated by Doomsday.
Wonder Woman is developed as a woman who truly loves men for what they are, in the 2017 movie too. Actually, she loves men like a woman who would have spent her whole youth deprived of any of them. She craves for men’s presence.
And so, witnessing them getting humiliated by Doomsday is something she doesn’t want to see. Once the beating is over she reappears and grunts a ferocious: “Where is that monstrosity ?” Her rage is fuelled by her love for men.
I love her heroic intervention in Metropolis. By facing Doomsday on her own, she makes the fight a fight to the death. She won’t have any means to escape him if she finds herself not strong enough. This makes her sentence “I call you out monster” resonates as very courageous and quite epic.
Also, if “to call out” means “to challenge” it also can signify “to criticize.” Doomsday is Kal El’s frustration at not being loved after all the things he’s done in order to be. Loïs pretends to love Clark but she makes him reject his Superman side, while Wonder Woman doesn’t understand his desire to be loved as a human being and not a super being.
The creature is also possibly an alienation, in that being Superman has made Kal El arrogant. When you can’t look for people’s love, you look for their admiration. And now, a part of him is convinced that human are meaningless in front of his desires. They have “accepted” to abandon any autonomy to him, they’ve put their lives between his hands, now he can snap their neck by a twist of a finger if he decides that they’re not worthy of living.
Coming back to “Monster”: Monster can refer to a vicious being, or to an aberration, but it also is often used to refer to a being that cannot be loved and that you can only destroy. Wonder Woman is an incarnation of love, but facing Doomsday all that she can say is “monster.” If she puts all her energy and skills into destroying him and still fails, on a metaphorical level it is because she feels responsible for its existence. Only now does she understand that Clark needed a special treatment. She was jealous of Loïs and didn’t understand that her own love couldn’t be enough for the kryptonian. He needs the love of an earthling to feel accepted by them, Wonder Woman is too special to give him that feeling.
And so, she cannot destroy Doomsday because she failed at loving Clark for who he truly was and pressured him into revealing his true identity when she wouldn’t have done that if she had not been jealous of Loïs. That’s sad.
Wonder Woman is the better choice on every level while Loïs is the inferior one, she is a liar and a manipulator. However, it is still understandable that Clark should choose Loïs because he needs something. He has a weakness. And he believes she can soothe his pain.
Wonder Woman’s fight with Doomsday represents her fight with Clark’s need to be acknowledged by Loïs as a legitimate human man. All the strength that she puts in it is her desire to be with him. She wishes that that problem didn’t exist and they could be together. The serious beating she takes -Doomsday leaves her nearly dead- represents the way she feels at losing him. It is an evolution from the training scene at the beginning of the movie. They’re not trying to find a way to behave according to their sexual attraction anymore, Wonder Woman’s love for him as become an obstacle to his development as an individual. She fights as hard as she wants to be loved by Clark. And so, as soon as she falls, Superman prevents Doomsday from killing her. Doomsday cannot kill Superman or Wonder Woman. (Unless one day Kal El wants to see Wonder Woman die).
When Superman finds her, he states: “Diana, I should have gotten here sooner” and she answers “not your fault.” For the first time she accepts the division that there is between Clark and Superman. It’s important because it gives her following assertion that Doomsday needs to die a lot more weight. She’s been asking him to give up on his desire of being loved as a human being since the beginning, asking him to kill Doomsday is the same thing. Except that now, she understands that she was wrong until that point and Clark can at least have the consolation that she truly loves him for who he is now.
He faces Doomsday and voices the ambiguity of the character: “I don’t know what hole you crawled out of or where you came from, but I’m sending you back.”
Hole you crawled out of = who gave you birth.
Where you came from = Alien/No sexuated birth.
Doomsday encompasses both Clark and Superman sides of Kal El.
The problem that there is with Wonder Woman’s request of killing Doomsday is that, it also means that Kal El should renounce his desire to be loved or admired by earthlings. It would destroy him.
-----------------The Final Fight Part 1: The Street-----------------
Very early in the confrontation between Superman and Doomsday, Clark is wounded and starts bleeding.
People are going to learn that he is no god but a superstrong guy who takes upon his time and puts himself at risk each time he intervenes for them.
At that point, Loïs is at her most immoral and dislikeable. First, she revels into what’s happening because it’s a scoop, and second she strengthens Superman’s mythology by giving Doomsday this flashy name, she already named Superman, and by presenting things under a sensational light (She doesn't realise that Superman could lose the fight). Even Kat is wiser than her:
-We need a new page one.
-Yeah, if there’s anyone left to read it.
These two lines uttered at The Daily Planet presents things as if there were the sole outcome of Loïs manipulation. She went as far as creating a fight between a super defenser of humanity and a super destroyer, she named them both, and she now is on the frontline to tell the story, only to make the page one.
I’m not saying it’s all her fault or that everything was under her control, but more that it’s exactly what her psychology creates. There were forces in action and she, amongst other variables, oriented them in that specific direction. She could have failed, but it worked.
The first character to be given an opportunity to comment on her newsflash is Lex Luthor, and what does he say ? “Ho please, cry me a river.” He doesn’t buy into her dramatization. He believes that Doomsday is an "apex predator" only here to kill another Apex predator, that is to say, if Doomsday managed to kill Superman, he could stop murdering people. On a literal level, Doomsday comes from space. He has a spaceship and his armour is a spacesuit. He could very well have been sent by a benevolent alien race who observed Superman's catastrophic impact on the human race and decided to get rid of the kryptonian.
Now, Superman is fighting Doomsday, it’s an improvement over letting people die. The problem is that he only intervened in order to save Wonder Woman and for the Justice League, his friends. (He leaves the restaurant before they call for help). The fact that the Justine League should manage to destroy Doomsday's armour represents how close their love is to be enough for Kal El to accept his fate. Wonder Woman thus comes very close to "be enough" and once she's beaten she accepts that they will never be together.
I like Batman’s “We need you Clark” line because after all they’ve been through fighting Doomsday, they deserve to call him for help as a friend. Bruce Wayne understands the difficulties of being two persons. When he calls Clark for help it is with the utmost respect for the difference there is between Superman and Clark.
But he does this after Wonder Woman left. She's not calling Clark for help.
-----------------The Final Fight Part 2: The Bridge-----------------
I must say, this fight gets me quite emotional as it is pretty intense but also because it allows us to witness the repairing of everything that Superman undid since his arrival on earth.
The main dynamic behind it is that Doomsday represents such a gigantic threat, that it shakes people out of their apathy. It brings the idea of death back in their psyche, and death is what makes everything meaningful in our lives. (And it is quite interesting that death should also represent Clark's need for love).
A woman is stuck in a traffic jam with her son, she is listening to the news and hears this message: “The United States of metahuman adviser department is recommending all civilians head to safety zones.”
On the dashboard, there’s a little superman flying figurine on a spring. She trusts the superhero, however, the radio warning makes her react when she hears echoes of the fight between Clark and Doomsday. She quickly jumps out of the car, circles around it and gets her son out of it just in time to save his life. A single second of blind trust in Superman would have killed her son.
Then, there’s that woman who remains stuck in her car because of her seatbelt. I talked about the fact that Superman mainly saved young woman whom he fancied. As usual, his intervention is a metaphor for her sexual readiness. Superman opens a vagina shaped hole in the roof of her car (No other man could have aroused her). However, this time, he is not here to flirt. It’s truly about saving her life from something really threatening, Doomsday grabs Superman through a car and starts pummeling him like bread daw. You're not going to hear him spout stupid on-liners like "If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a bully" this time.
When Doomsday makes a huge jump, people understand that the fight could make the bridge collapse and kill all of them in one instant. Chaos reminds them of their mortality and they recover autonomy.
Suddenly, as Doomsday is about to free himself from his shackles a woman shouts “Somebody help my child.” She doesn’t call for Superman. I find that very moving. Whoever saves her child is a hero. Whether it is a normal person or the super strong alien, what matters is that someone does it.
The previous dynamic made every normal people useless while depriving Superman of the credit of his interventions, because as a god, it costed him nothing. Now, Superman can save the kid as somebody who saves a kid. And somebody else could show greatness by saving the kid. The child gives him a hug for his act. Clark finally obtains what he’s been looking for: love.
During the fight on the bridge, we’re shown a few men recording the action on their phone. Since the beginning of the fight, we’ve only seen women reacting to what was happening. They wake up first, men are still apathetic, they remain stuck in the passive attitude in which Superman has forced them.
One guy uses a spyglass to observe the fight and nearly gets hit by Superman who is sent flying towards him by a huge punch. The man is given to see what he has to see: Superman is getting beaten up and it is time for men to wake up.
At this point both men and women have been showed something that should allow them to escape the dynamic inside of which Superman had entrapped them.
(It has to be noted that men and women are put back in their more traditional roles in this scene: Women should run away and protect the children while men take part into the fight).
-----------------The Final Fight Part 3: Times Square-----------------
Now that he’s sorted out his problem with Wonder Woman.
Now that he’s partially healed the wounds he had inflicted to men and women.
It’s time to teach Mrs Lane a little lesson and earn her love.
Expectedly, Loïs' helicopter gets hit because she’s obsessed with filming the fight. She braces herself for a deathly impact that doesn’t happen, Superman saved them. She should learn something from that. Does she ? Maybe. She shows herself quite worried at the idea of seeing Clark go back into the fight. “You can’t it’s suicide.”
Strangely enough though, as soon as the fight restarts, she carries on commenting. So maybe her evolution is only about realising that Clark is truly risking his life. I’m at loss here.
Superman is knocked out and allows active manliness to reappear under the shape of Lex Luthor. There’s no doubt about the fact that Lex Luthor is pathologically confident in his capacities, he is a delusional egotist.
I love how Lex Luthor looks impressive and ridiculous at the same time. His intervention is very funny.
However, after everything that men have been through because of Superman, it’s normal that their strongest representative should be a madman.
When he sarcastically states: “You think taking down the Justice League is supposed to scare us ? That happens once a week” he brings manliness back to life. He is facing Doomsday on his own and showing guts and skills. He also states that Metropolis has and always will be under the protection of Lex Luthor. Everything he manages to achieve in this fight is the best that humanity can do without Superman. The truth being that, actually, humanity can do without superman because Luthor only loses the fight because of his obsession with “taking a sample.”
Luthor is vanquished and Superman arrives just in time to save him. What different does it make with the emasculating savings of the beginning of the movie ? The difference is that Clark wouldn’t have saved Luthor at the beginning of the movie. If he saves him now, it’s because he has become truly heroic, he is not only showing off. He saves Luthor as a fellow warrior in this fight. As a rival, he would have let him die.
As expected, the outcome of the final confrontation rests upon Loïs’ confession that she loves Clark.
She provokes Doomsday by throwing rocks at him so that he leaves Clark alone. The creature approaches her with the firm intention of impaling her with newly appeared giant spikes on his arms. Obviously, there’s something sexual going on… again. As Loïs confesses her feelings, Kal El’s next logical desire is to have sex with her. However, this he cannot do for fear of killing her if he lets himself go. I suppose they already had sex together, but Clark remained in his persona/control of himself.
And so, as Clark now finally obtained what he wanted, the love of humans, he is ready to make a sacrifice for them. He can now give up on everything that Doomsday stands for and kill the creature. Here, he is being naïve as when he breaks Doomsday’s neck, Kal El destroys his own deeper self. He is trying to truly get rid of everything that isn’t human in him, that which is impossible.
This sacrifice is far too big and Kal El couldn’t possibly escape this unharmed. And indeed he gets impaled by Doomsday’s spike. This double kill is a “mirror kill.” The wound that he receives from Doomsday is the wound that Kal El inflicts himself. (Even if it’s not a lethal wound at the end of the day, it still means that Kal El will be alienated by it).
Clark and Doomsday are shown to be doubles of one another quite a few times during the fight. It's Loïs' love that will allow Clark to differenciate himself from the monster... and attack him by surprise.
Clark's tears are not a matter of course. It's only because they've both evolved that this can happen.
Everybody cries, token of love. I’d like to be entirely convinced that Loïs is honest this time, sadly, I’m not sure about that. I’m ready to believe it, but the camera that Jimmy Olsen is pointing at her and the fact that Superman’s girlfriend cries of sadness should be broadcasted all over the world is pretty suspicious. However, she’s shown visiting Clark’s parents after his death and crying with them. The intimacy of her feelings is acknowledged, this is more convincing. Also, she roams around his desk at the office, and is even heard say “Jimmy, I’m in no mood to chase a scoop right now.”
But yeah, everybody cries, soldiers, citizens, parents. They are sad because they are moved by what the guy did for them, and they now know that he was a mortal and as such, one of them.
Lex Luthor lies about how bellicose his relationship with Superman was, but at the same time, they truly fought side by side and the end of his discourse is “for Superman, always in our hearts.” Even his worst enemy can now pronounce this sentence without stuttering. Clark won.
Strangely enough, Wonder Woman finds herself incapable of looking at his dead body or at his coffin. Does she feel responsible for his death ? She played a role in it for sure but she also loved him more and more humbly than Loïs.
It frustrates me quite a lot that although both Loïs and Clark seem to have undergone a serious evolution, they're still offered a possible negative ending. Loïs tells Clark "you've saved everyone" and that's true, every single human being now owes his life to Superman. That's not good. And when it comes to Loïs, yes, she seems to have learnt that she cannot toy with Clark anyway she wants in order to make herself look good, but she still gets what she's been looking for all along: everybody learns that she was Superman's girlfriend at the exact moment where it looks the coolest.
Now that Superman has died and Luthor has proved that humans could be comparably strong, some people starts emulating these two, either in order to protect humanity (I doubt that) or to copy their former godlike Superhero in order to boost their ego.
After a few days (maybe a month ?) Superman’s coffin is found empty and a figure is seen flying away. The messiah has resurrected.
The last shot of the movie shows us a half-man half-machine Superman that incarnates perfectly the wound that Clark has inflicted himself. He is now like Cyborg, incapable of following is deeper drives. His body is a tool and he is a slave.
I suppose it’s not Superman that we see though.
Anyway, that’s all for The Death of Superman. The Reign of Supermen is to be released really soon. I can't wait to see who will be lucky enough to heal Wonder Woman's wounded heart.
Bye bye. Ciao.