DISCLAIMER: Because it is human nature for many people to jump to conclusions before listening to an entire argument or suggestion, I want to make a few things clear:
- Superman has a no-kill code. In my opinion, it is a very good thing that he has that code. I hope he never loses it. I do not believe Superman should kill. Please don't read a few of my words and then make the unwarranted extrapolation that I believe Superman should kill.... He shouldn't kill.
- I believe 'heroes' should kill ONLY when absolutely necessary and there, quite simply, is no other option.
Now, about the movie "Superman vs. The Elite" I liked it. I recommend it, even though I disagree with the final conclusion.
I want to warn you that, even though I will try to avoid giving away spoilers, you might want to wait until you've seen the movie before your read this...
I'll just give some basic details about the story:
- Superman is your basic Superman, AND yet, he and Lois are together. That's nice...
- The Elite are a group of four people with powers who came together to stop 'evil wankers.' They're actually very interesting characters both individually and as a group.
- The Elite, unlike Superman, believe that is not only acceptable to kill 'evil wankers' in order to protect the innocent, but that it is sometimes necessary. This is the major point of contention in the story. Superman is the ultimate boy-scout with the no-kill code (and I don't mean that in a bad way.) The Elite have more of a Punisher mentality.
Now, it's a Superman movie so you know going in that Superman wins. That's a given... And it turns out that the Elite have a bit of Evil Wanker in each of them. It's a necessary plot device.
BUT.... Let's change things just a bit. Let's make it so that The Elite have No 'evil wanker' in them... Let's imagine that they are people with super powers that simply believe there is a time and a place to kill evil wankers in order to protect the world... Basically, they believe it is right and necessary to kill terrorists. This point is made in the movie...
So...Were they right? Is it sometimes right and necessary to kill terrorists? When Osama Bin Laden was killed, many people in the world celebrated. They saw his being killed as a good thing. And it wasn't just Bin Laden who was killed but many of his 'associates.' Was it right to kill them? If he could have been captured and put into prison, would that have been the right thing to do?
Now, let's imagine that the world had a "Superman." Would it have been appropriate for HIM to kill Ben Laden? A part of me thinks 'yes' and a bigger part of me thinks, "Hell no. He's Superman. Superman doesn't kill. He's better than that." But I think the catch here is that he is SUPERMAN. He's SUPERMAN, so yes, he is better than that. But the rest of us. We're NOT Superman. Superman wants to lead by example. He wants to show the world that it is possible to stop evil without the loss of a single life. I think one of the problems here is that Superman has the belief that everyone can be like him...Unfortunately, he doesn't get that the rest of the universe is NOT like him...
In the movie, Superman shows that there is 'always a way to stop evil without killing.' But then, he's Superman. He can easily fly at Mach 7 (and faster), he is bulletproof, fire-proof, radiation-proof. He is about the strongest being the universe (let's not argue over who is stronger or whose is bigger...) HE...IS...SUPERMAN and so HE absolutely CAN always find a way to stop evil without killing.... But, the rest of the universe ISN'T Superman and sometimes there simply is no other way... That's what I think...
On the other hand.... Does Superman ever REALLY stop evil without the loss of a single life. Mathematically, the answer is, not only no but HELL NO...
- Think of a villain that Superman has captured.
- Did that villain kill before he was captured?
- Did that villain escape and kill again? Did Superman stop the villain, AGAIN?
We can all think of villains that Superman has stopped, who later escaped and killed again, only to be stopped again by the Man of Steel... Consider what happens in the movie:
Later, the Skull escapes AGAIN and goes on another killing spree. Superman, with the help of The Elite, stop the Skull a second time. But this time, as Superman stands over the just defeated Skull, a boy is on his knees only a few feet away, holding the body of his dead father. The Skull had just killed the boy's father ( a long with many other people.)
So, did Superman stop evil without the loss of a single life? Not only no, but hell no... Many people were killed in that scene. Just not the villain.
Rather than saying, "It's possible to stop evil without the loss of a single life," A more accurate saying (for Superman) would be, "It's possible to capture the villains and stop their current reign of terror without killing THEM."
So, what's my point? What am I getting at? Well...
I think it is good that heroes such as Superman have a no-kill code and they do not put themselves above the law... But he has such power that he is able to hold to that no--kill code. Unfortunately, it is not a perfect system and he cannot truly STOP the evil; he can only detain or delay them.
I DO believe that there is a point at which a villain cannot be reformed and they cannot be stopped. Not completely. I would prefer we not drag the Joker into this discussion as he would SEEM like the logical example, but he isn't. He's insane. That's a discussion for another time. But let's consider villains who, quite simply, are evil. Let's think about villains who honestly believe it is their right to kill. Is it good, is it right, is it acceptable, is it practical to simply capture and detain these villains when, in all likelihood, they will escape and kill again.
- How many innocents does a villain get to kill before it is right to kill the villain?
- What is an acceptable number of lives that can be destroyed by paralysis, dismemberment, or loss of all property?
Superman and Spider-Man have a no-kill code. I'm glad they do and I hope they never change... But, honestly, I think they are only a 'partial solution.' Some people are simply evil. I do believe there is a time to kill... ( a principle of Biblical proportion.) I do not believe all heroes should do it, but I do believe some not only should, but must; in both the comic book universe and in the real world.