This rather generic description of the plot of Zack Snyder’s Superman has some folks in the Internet perturbed that we’re going to get Smallville rather than an original story:
In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time. Clark Kent/Kal-El (Cavill) is a young twentysomething journalist who feels alienated by powers beyond anyone’s imagination. Transported to Earth years ago from Krypton, an advanced alien planet, Clark struggles with the ultimate question – Why am I here? Shaped by the values of his adoptive parents Martha (Lane) and Jonathan Kent (Costner), Clark soon discovers that having super abilities means making very difficult decisions. But when the world needs stability the most, it comes under attack. Will his abilities be used to maintain peace or ultimately used to divide and conquer? Clark must become the hero known as “Superman,” not only to shine as the world’s last beacon of hope but to protect the ones he loves.
If I have one wish for the movie that is unlikely to be fulfilled, it’s that Clark Kent’s journalism career be something other than background noise, an excuse to be in and out of the office. One assumes that Lois Lane’s Pulitzer in Superman Returns was for commentary, rather than investigative journalism, given that she’s writing about why Superman’s unnecessary, but who knows? If this is a story about Superman’s journey from neutrality to partisanship, from working as a mild-mannered journalist to joining forces with the U.S. Army against the forces of General Zod, journalism might actually be a decent way for Clark to work through who he wants to be.
The idea that journalism is, or should be, a purely neutral exercise is a silly one, and overemphasized in our current discourse. Reporting out a story generally leads you to a conclusion, and good journalism doesn’t just mean presenting both sides in equal measure—it means explaining why that conclusion is true, and hopefully, to action by the people who can take it. It’d be nice to see Clark’s reporting lead him to a conclusion that triggers his decision to put on the cape and tights, to see an actual interaction between the alter-ego and the superhero.