In ‘Man of Steel,’ Will Superman Be Defeated By A Woman?

io9 passes along an intriguing rumor that, in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, Superman gets defeated, but by a fellow Kryptonian, Faora, rather than by Michael Shannon’s General Zod:

At first they’re not as powerful but later on as she applies her fight training and adapts them to her powers, she gives Superman one of the worst beatings a hero has faced on camera… She “Doomsdays” him… literally pulverizing him with precision and lethal strength with hitting pressure-points, nerves and even just outclasses Supes in bare knuckle and gives Supes a severe beat down…he’s total agony this entire time, bloody and broken and barely gets away. My buddy doesn’t know at all how Superman defeats these guys eventually but he did say that Superman in this film gets hurt a lot more easily than Routh’s pre-crisis Superman…the military can hurt him too but Faora pretty much nearly kills him in hand to hand.

This wouldn’t particularly surprise me, given Snyder’s interest in fighting women. Who knows what the actual execution would be like (I should here cop to my standard weakness for Sucker-Punch, and acknowledge that everyone thinks I’m insane). And I do really hope that Snyder’s version of Faora isn’t the one from Action Comics, who survived the destruction of Krypton because she was serving an off-world sentence for setting up a concentration camp where she was murdering men. Because I’m not sure the nerd community could survive the conversations about misandry and misogyny that would be the result.

But I am so, so eager to see genuinely super-powered women who aren’t providing assistants and who don’t have to be someone’s girlfriend. It’s not that Joss Whedon didn’t revitalize Black Widow in The Avengers, or that I didn’t appreciate the tremendous sexual chemistry between Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield as Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man. I like romances. Watching The Thomas Crown Affair over the weekend, I realized how desperate I am for more love stories in which the participants and the obstacles to their union are both genuinely adult. Superhero movies, despite the criticism they get for playing to childish fantasies, are actually giving us some terrific portraits of women who get to be women, rather than girls, and their spiky romances with the men they love. But I would love to see a woman’s hyper-competence separated from her interest in the physical and mental health of the man she loved, to see a story where a woman like Selina Kyle save a man like Bruce Wayne’s armored ass because she can and she wants to, but for reasons other than that she’s fallen in love with him. I don’t want to cut down on the romances. I just want more, and more kinds of stories for women within this context. If the only way we can get to watch a woman grow into her power in a superhero movie right now is as a villain, I’ll take it. And hopefully Faora can knock out some of the pigeonholing of super-powered women while she’s at it. Not to mention that in between Faora and Selina Kyle, great female characters could be a dandy way for DC to put some real daylight in between their franchise and Marvel.