Brooding Superman, Where’s Your Smile?

Warner Bros and DC Comics have given us our first look at Superman in the 2016 Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, while the picture highlighted a few tweaks made to the costume. The focus for most people were on the “brooding” Superman who was missing his trademark smile. Just to give you an idea of some of the remarks:

  • Dark, brooding, and joyless. The way Superman was always meant to be.
  • Came to mind after seeing the new Superman image. Nothing says Superman like brooding in the rain!
  • I don’t like dark, gritty, and brooding Superman. That’s perfect for Batman, but not Superman.
  • Remember when you fell in love with Superman b/c he was such a dark & brooding badass? Wait, where are you going?
  • Dark and brooding and joyless. The super hero he was always meant to be.
  • The latest Superman image from SvB again shows a joyless Superman in rain and dark clouds.
  • The only thing that screams “Superman” more than “putting thousands of people at risk through reckless property damage” is “standing in the rain, staring into the middle distance.” Thankfully, Zac Snyder and Warner Brothers know exactly what the fans want and have given us the angst-ridden, full-of-feelings Superman we’ve always wanted…
  • Hey! Look how VeRy SeRiOuS we’ve made Superman. We threw out all those childish colors, taken away his smile, and thrown him in Gotham where it rains and is cool and dark and gritty and Batman lives there. 

You get the idea!

First off, I think people have an odd defintiion of brooding. If anything, it would seem more like pensive than brooding really.

Second off, and this is what really caught me, someone noted that Superman isn’t usually depicted as smiling in other mediums and I thought that was strange. So the first thing I looked up was Reeve pictures on Google, and was surprised by the results.


And that wasn’t the only one. Almost every image of Superman shows him not smiling. Almost… “Brooding”

The same actually remains true for his successor, Brandon Routh.


His predecessor, George Reeves.


Though to be fair to Reeves, there are pictures of him smiling as Superman.

Even the animated Superman isn’t immune to his smileless posing.




supermanbrainiacattacksrHell even when Superman isn’t Superman and is Clark Kent, he still seems to lack that sparkle in his eyes.


The only Superman who was portrayed smiling more often than not, was actually Dean Cain from Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.


I’m not saying people are wrong in wanting a smiling Superman or one filled with joy, but I am curious as to why folks pick on the Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice reveal as it seems more in-line with the character than him actually smiling in these things.

As for it being dark and gritty, it is Gotham City. And while some may hate the contrast, I thought it was a cool way to introduce the character. Placing Superman in Gotham, was very much like putting Batman with the Batmobile,  it allows them to reveal two things at once while still focusing on the characters.



Earl Rufus

The owner of this little chunk of the internet. Enjoys having a good time and being rather snarky!

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