With so many superhero characters across multiple universes in comics, film, and TV, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But if there’s one superhero that would make it to the top, it would be Superman. There’s just something about him that makes him the greatest superhero ever. Fine, that’s probably debatable, but you have to admit that he’s still the most iconic. So here are 5 of the reasons why Superman is the best superhero (and 5 why he’s the worst)!
Best: He’s always been himself
One of the things you can give him credit for is the fact that everything that makes him great comes from him. He doesn’t rely on fancy gadgets (unlike some billionaire superheroes out there *ehem* Batman and Iron Man), heavy tools (like Thor), or self-enhancing experiments (Wolverine) to draw his powers from. All he needs is a flashy suit and cape, and off he goes fighting off the bad guys.
Worst: We hated the movie franchise
While this one is bound to stir up a lot of strong opinions from fans, there is actually a study that looked at the average critical response to various superhero franchises. Apparently, Superman movies ranked the lowest among them with an average rating of 48 percent. Yes, there were great films such as Superman: The Movie. However, films like Superman IV: Quest for Peace definitely pulled down the overall score.
Best: The dictionary says so
“A superhero is a character in a cartoon or film who has special powers and fights against evil… superheroes like Batman and Superman.” – Collins Dictionary
Even the dictionary puts Superman’s name under the very definition of superhero. How can you ever refute that?
Worst: Superman respects authority too much
When you’re a superhero, you’re expected to work with the authorities to catch bad guys. But when you respect authority too much to the point of blindly following them, then that’s Superman’s blind spot. An example is Superman: Red Son where Superman crash lands in the Soviet Union and nearly imposes communism onto the world. Another is in The Dark Knight Returns where Superman became a puppet to a fascist government. Yikes!
Best: Superman’s evolution throughout the years
Superman dates back to 1938 which makes him around 79 years old! Throughout the years, Superman has grown from the dark and moody teenager that he was. Now, he’s certainly more mature and wiser than ever. This is why his character is often used as a symbol of truth, justice, and peace.
Worst: He’s not so good with the ladies
Superman just can’t seem to make up his mind and go for it when it comes to the women in his life. First, there’s Lana Lang, his first love whom he should have moved on from decades ago. Next is Wonder Woman, his superhero crush that never blossomed into something more. Saving the best for last is Lois Lane, his colleague, girlfriend, and wife. Of course, we all know Lois Lane is the endgame, but it took some time for him to make it happen.
Best: He tackles current events
Since his first appearance in the 1930s, Superman’s adventures always represented current events happening at the time. From fighting crime, selling war bonds, rescuing the wrongly accused, facing personal battles, to going up against powerful villains. Superman’s exploits all reveal a little something about the times.
Worst: He profits from his own exploits
As a reporter for the Daily Prophet, Clark Kent profited off of the Superman articles he wrote which is super unfair for all the other reporters. He even won a Pulitzer Prize for writing about his own achievements. Given the fact that he’s Superman, he basically cheated by writing these articles. Investigative reporter, my ass!
Best: He’s relatable
He’s the most powerful superhero in his world, but the writers never failed to show his human side. No, I don’t mean his alter ego, Clark Kent, because even as the superhero, he faced and overcame a lot of personal struggles. He struggled with the fear of exposing his secret identity, the disappointment in losing his best friend, the heartbreak from losing his loved ones. All this made him relatable, and ultimately well-loved.
Worst: He doesn’t care about collateral damage
All superheroes probably have this annoying quality. They don’t mean to do it on purpose, but sometimes when you’re chasing down a supervillain, things can get pretty chaotic and messy. They don’t show the superheroes dealing with the aftermath (or damage) of their adventures. But if they were to make superheroes accountable, Superman would definitely be one of the most guilty ones.