The DC Extended Universe has turned Superman’s life into a Shakespearean tragedy thanks to Zack Snyder’s unique storytelling choices.
Snyder’s Superman has been heavily criticized by DC fans over the years due to its strikingly dark and realistic tone compared to previous versions of the hero. But the changes Snyder made to Clark Kent make him look remarkably similar to the famous villain from “Star Wars” – that the director proved it in the film “Justice League”.
“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” followed the events of Superman’s origin in “Man of Steel” and his death in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”. In the DCEU crossover, a group of superheroes were able to resurrect Superman to protect Earth from the invasion of Steppenwolf and Darkseid. Although the heroes prevailed, the film also showed glimpses of Superman’s ominous future and cast a dark shadow over his origins in the DCEU.
Snyder’s Superman became an evil and tragic hero
Superman had a heroic destiny in “Man of Steel”, which later turned out to be untrue. Clark learned of what had happened when he found a Kryptonian ship with a hologram of the artificial intelligence of his deceased father, Jor-El, who told him about the collapse of Krypton. Jor-El explained that Clark was the first naturally born on Krypton in centuries, and Clark’s special DNA contained the last remnants of Krypton’s genetic heritage – the Codex. Jor-El believed that Clark was destined to be the savior of all humanity, and Clark appears to have fulfilled that destiny by saving Earth from a Kryptonian invasion.
However “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” also showed a future in which Clark had conquered Earth. This timeline occurred after Darkseid killed Clark’s lover, Lois Lane, and manipulated the Kryptonian into betraying humanity and his fellow superheroes. Snyder’s interpretation of Superman was unique in that it borrowed Shakespearean narrative elements from the fall of Anakin Skywalker. In the prequel trilogy “Star Wars”» Anakin was a famous hero of the Clone Wars, and was considered the prophesied Chosen One by the Jedi Order.
But Palpatine ultimately manipulated Anakin Skywalker into betraying the Jedi Order after watching his wife die. Anakin’s fall made him a tragic Shakespearean hero, and he shared many narrative parallels with Snyder’s Superman – they were noble heroes and the Chosen One of their universes. Jor-El also believed that Clark’s unique DNA gave him a special destiny to become Earth’s protector, however Clark ultimately refuted this destiny by turning evil after the death of his lover.
DCEU Superman’s adoption of the “fallen hero” motifs from “Star Wars” successfully turned him into Shakespeare’s tragic hero and turned Superman into Anakin Skywalker. Unlike the uplifting stories featured in previous Man of Steel films, Superman’s story in the DCEU is a Shakespearean tragedy thanks to Snyder’s bold creative choices.
DCEU Superman couldn’t save his future wife
This version of Superman became a villain after the death of his future wife. Clark’s relationship with Lois was important to him as his early years were a difficult experience despite his incredible abilities. When he was 17 years old, he witnessed the tragic death of his adoptive father in a tornado. As a result, he spent many years as a wanderer and outcast. Yet Clark found his life’s purpose in becoming a superhero and protecting his girlfriend, Lois Lane, whose love motivated him to fight for the safety of Earth.
Clark even had plans to propose to Lois and build a future life as a married couple. But “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” revealed that this happy future would never come due to Lois’ death and Clark’s subsequent betrayal of Earth. Snyder cemented his Superman’s transformation into Darth Vader primarily by re-enacting Anakin’s doomed romance with Padmé.
Anakin, a former slave who saw his mother die at the hands of Tusken raiders, led a troubled life before marrying Padmé. Anakin and Clark recovered from their tumultuous histories by finding peace in their romantic relationship. But, as in Shakespeare’s tragedy “Romeo and Juliet”, Anakin and Padmé’s relationship was doomed. Padme’s death led to Anakin taking on the identity of Darth Vader.
Lois’ death also affected Clark, who took on the extremely evil persona of the Earth’s destroyer. Clark could have had the family life he always dreamed of if Lois had lived. However, Clark’s failure to protect her effectively destroyed the future, and he turned to evil as a result of his lack of purpose.
Zack Snyder’s Superman was unique due to the Shakespearean influences the character shared with Anakin Skywalker. Snyder used the narrative aspects of Anakin’s fall to turn Clark Kent into a tragic hero.