Supergirl Radio Season 1.5 – Dragon Con 2016
07 Sep. 2016

Supergirl Radio Season 1.5 – Dragon Con 2016

In this episode of Supergirl Radio, you’ll hear the full panel Rebecca Johnson participated in at Dragon Con 2016.

Panel Description“The past year has seen great success and ridicule for the DC Media Verse. Batman v. Superman brings up a lot of strong reactions. What makes so many of the small screen versions work, but their heroes struggle in the theater? And will Wonder Woman fall victim to this as well?

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2 Responses

  1. Kevin says:

    Great panel. The segment I’ve found to be the most interesting was the humor discussion insofar as any attempt made to talk about the humor in the DCEU films feels like an exercise in nailing jello to the wall; it’s difficult to have the topic stay in one place. Full props to Rebecca starting the conversation well by asking about what people find humorous/funny, but where it became messy is when multiple panelists started to correlate everything they feel lacking in Snyder’s films such as levity and Superman’s humanity with humor.

    In my opinion, the very fact that they correlate humor with levity and Superman’s humanity reveals the possibility that the lack of humor wasn’t as much of an issue affecting their enjoyment of Snyder’s films as much as their narrow expectation of how any story featuring Superman, or superheroes in general, should be done. One can achieve levity without humor, as BvS’s bathtub scene or the scene where Clark returned home after learning how to fly greatly demonstrated, for example. Think of any thoroughly humorless/depressing/dark movie, and moments of levity could still be found without the use of comedic relief.

    As for the charge that Superman somehow lacked humanity due to the lack of him using humor or jokes as a coping mechanism, I genuinely wonder how these Superman fans dealt with highly acclaimed Superman stories like Kingdom Come where he barely cracked any joke or rarely smiled; the levity and Superman’s humanity didn’t need humor in order to shine through in KC. You wouldn’t accuse people of lacking humanity due to their shortage of wisecracks in real life, why do the same to Superman?

    Sorry for the long post, but its length only proves that this topic is far more complicated than Snyder’s dissenters’ “humor = humanity = levity” mantra makes it out to be, which is a shame because their mindset prohibits them from discussing what these films actually are instead of simply deeming their failure for not adhering to certain subjective values.

  2. It is difficult to have a really nuanced discussion in an hour when you’re trying to cover so many other topics.

    Humor, like most aspects of art, is subjective. You and I won’t find the same things funny, but I think what we can recognize is when the attempt at levity and comedic relief is being made. Personally, I think it’s a false assertion to say there is absolutely NO humor in the DCEU when there are many moments that have brought either a smile to my face or a chuckle come out of my mouth. Now, maybe others don’t find Perry White’s sarcastic comments or Alfred’s dry wit funny, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t hilarious to someone else. That’s the thing about comedy. Not every joke is going to land with absolutely everyone.

    I also think the comedy in the DCEU movies is structured differently than humor you might find in say, the MCU. The DCEU’s humor comes from character traits or situational beats. You have to pay attention in order to get the joke. For example, in Batman v. Superman, Lex’s “Mother of GOD, look at the time!” makes me laugh because right before that, Lex Luthor has spent a whole scene explaining why he hates Superman and why he has kidnapped Martha Kent. He equates Superman to God and then delivers the “mother of God” line. It’s an intellectual use of comedic relief, but not everyone is going to pick up on why that’s funny if they haven’t focused in on the scene.

    I like your point, Kevin, that you can achieve levity without comedy. Levity can just be about giving the audience a chance to breathe or relax and your examples of the BvS bathtub scene or Clark’s return to Smallville do a wonderful job of that. They are light-hearted without having to set up a punchline.

    I do often wonder how much of Superman some people truly know because there are lots of variations on the character and some that are more serious than others. You don’t have to read Kingdom Come in order to be a Superman fan or talk about the character, but I think it’s important to realize that different incarnations have brought out different elements of his characterization and that’s a subject worth bringing to the table.

    Very often, I get frustrated that some folks only want to talk about the “lack of jokes” in these movies instead of the meaty content of their messages. There are many meaningful discussions to be had, but in some of these forums, unfortunately, we aren’t presented with opportunities to have them. So thank you for your fantastic comment, Kevin!