Man of Steel v Winter Soldier: Changing an Icon (Video Essay)

  • Published on May 13, 2018
  • In this Video Essay we discuss the idea of changing an icon like Superman or Captain America and how Man of Steel and The Winter Soldier both change aspects of their respective characters.
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Comments • 3 635

  • HiTop Films
    HiTop Films  Year ago +1326

    1. "You didn't understand Zack's Vision!" Yes I did. Man of Steel is the origin of Superman, by killing Zod and cutting ties to Krypton he becomes the Superman we all know and love. Yeah guys that's great on paper, and I really enjoy the last 3 minutes. "General I grew up in Kansas." and the Daily Planet scene. BUT all that takes place after an hour of CG destruction, bad dialogue and an entire film with an underdeveloped protagonist. Also BVS came out three years later and once again Snyder claimed it was part of a series of arcs planned for Superman. Clark needed to do the most human thing (to Snyder) to become Superman, which is die. Then he comes back, just like any messianic figure, and is THE REAL SUPERMAN. That's not good filmmaking guys. You can't take multiple 3 hour movies to make the most iconic hero in the world, an actual hero.
    Look at the Nolan trilogy, each movie contains an arc for Bruce Wayne. By the end of Begins he is Batman, the hero we all love. By the end of The Dark Knight, he is broken down to his core. By the end of Rises, he is able to be Bruce Wayne again. Now Bruce's entire character arc takes place over 3 movies, but what works there is that Bruce has an important arc in each of his movies.
    2. "How dare you compare Bucky to Zod!" I never compared the actual characters, I compared what they mean to our protagonist. Both characters are, once again, on paper, the protagonist's last tie to their home. A lot of you have complained about the fact I pointed out that Clark never tries to empathize with Zod because Zod's sole purpose is to protect his people and he simply cannot be reached, where Bucky can be. It doesn't matter that he can't be reached, Superman, or just any well written hero, should always try to empathize with the villain. Try to stop him by using words instead of throwing punches that cause the deaths of over 10,000 innocent civilians. It's that simple.
    3. "You're a Marvel Fan Boy!" No, I really enjoy a lot of their movies, but I'm not solely a Marvel Fanboy, I love DC. Look at my channel. What I do have a biased against is underwritten heroes, horrible pacing, and misunderstanding what you are trying to adapt.
    4. "You're doing this for Money and Views!" I don't make ad revenue off any of my videos, yet. I'm doing this because I want to be doing this.
    5. "You're a hack with no talent!" Agreed.
    Anyways thanks for all the love guys, I'm glad a lot of you enjoyed the video, and I'm sorry a vocal minority of you didn't.

    • kazuma Jay
      kazuma Jay Month ago

      @HiTopFilms I know you're not the biggest fan of the MCU. But I would love to see more essays about MCU Captain America. This character means alot to me and I hope you would see more, just like this.

    • WWobbles
      WWobbles 2 months ago

      Your response to #5 complaint is great

    • Edox the Infinite
      Edox the Infinite 4 months ago +1

      John Wonder HAHAHAHA.... I knew some idiot is gonna make this argument. And I honestly hoped it would be you.
      So, retard, just to let you know, Captain America is a FUCKING SOLIDER. OF COURSE he’s going to end up killing people. He may not like it, but it happens. Superman’s situation is different.

    • John Wonder
      John Wonder 4 months ago

      Captain America has a HUGE direct kill count..some boy scout ...fucking hypocrites

  • Michael Hinojosa
    Michael Hinojosa 4 days ago

    Being a Boy Scout and kryptonite

  • Jake Nelson
    Jake Nelson 8 days ago +2

    Superman’s weakness is waiting for Rami part 3 scene

  • BootySnatcher 420
    BootySnatcher 420 8 days ago +1

    Fuckin nailed it!

  • Sarlacc Breath
    Sarlacc Breath 9 days ago

    Great video man- but respectfully disagree. I thought MoS was great because they did compromise his character- he didn’t enjoy snapping that neck to save lives- but made a choice. It was more fun to watch than another typical Donner or Donner rip off. Cool that you compared 2 of my favourite hero movies though. Now please feel free to take a hot steaming shit on Justice League. 💩 🔥 Don’t hold back- bite down and let it all go on that one

  • Bryan Seaw
    Bryan Seaw 10 days ago +1


  • L
    L 11 days ago +1


  • Kevin D. Najera
    Kevin D. Najera 16 days ago

    I loved Man of Steel cuz... DBZ

  • TheFanRift
    TheFanRift 17 days ago +1

    I feel like comparing Superman to the classic Superman is a very bad way to do it...
    Man of Steel is a much more realistic interpretation of how Superman would interact with the modern world... It's not just some flashy perfect world where everything goes well like the original comics...
    If your gonna compare Man of Steel to the comics it should be the modern take

  • Isaiah Pedraza
    Isaiah Pedraza 19 days ago

    Life love Kryptonite

  • Basti Pasia
    Basti Pasia 20 days ago

    I agree with everything you said
    Letting Superman be reckless and making Batman kill is dumb and let’s us know you don’t care about the characters

    • zhengyingli
      zhengyingli 17 days ago

      @Basti Pasia Superman has made out with Lois during a crisis in the comics before. Batman murdered no-one in BvS.

    • Basti Pasia
      Basti Pasia 18 days ago

      zhengyingli if he really understood Batman and Superman which he claims he does they should be totally different Superman made out with Lois Lane while citizens were dying and Batman decided to murder tons of goons but let Lex Luther, the man behind Superman’s death and doomsday’s creation’ live

    • zhengyingli
      zhengyingli 19 days ago

      How was Superman reckless in Snyder's movies? Batman has killed many times in the comics and other movies.

  • Saladriel Amrael
    Saladriel Amrael 20 days ago

    Kudos... I'm a big Zack Snyder fan, but having said that I'm well aware that MoS and BvS had something not wordkin.
    Well, you're the first one that rationalizes it in a good manner and does a well done comparison about what worked in MCU and what didn't in DCEU

    Internet needs more videos like this

  • TheN1ghtwalker
    TheN1ghtwalker 20 days ago +1

    Those two are some of the best comic book movies ever made and you don't have a right to even talk about any of them.

  • Digital Place
    Digital Place 23 days ago +1

    Captain America Wins

  • SaiyanWarrior50
    SaiyanWarrior50 24 days ago


  • pjshutout
    pjshutout 24 days ago

    MoS could've been better, but I generally liked it. Oddly though, the video reminded me why I really hated The Last Jedi.

  • Dani BOI
    Dani BOI 24 days ago +2

    There was no stopping Zod. No reaching out to him. No compromise. The movie brings this up a lot. So don't compare the two when you can't

  • MG23
    MG23 26 days ago +1

    Weakness is his strength. His strength is his concern for human life.

  • kelly williamson
    kelly williamson 26 days ago


  • KageTrauma
    KageTrauma 28 days ago

    Just make a Superboy Prime movie...we want to see him run the DC Universe...

  • NolanEP
    NolanEP Month ago +1

    I don't see it as "they changed Superman." What they really did was put him in a "real world" and in a real world you aren't just magically the old Superman character you're talking about. Instead, you become that character by going through the trials of life. That's how things actually work. A great man isn't great the day he's born. There's a process. MoS actually does show his weakness for human life from an early age with the bus accident, but he's not perfect and he's zero experience against enemies, not even mentioning one of Zod's caliber. He's never been in the line of fire, never felt threatened in any real way and never had to push his limits. He's basically a beginner. It's showing that there's a learning curve to becoming who you are. Put all that with an alien trying to fit in and live with humans with all this potential and ability that they'll never understand. He has a burden that no other character has, especially not Cap(who is prly my favorite MCU character). Cap is out of time, but Superman is out of place entirely, both in time and in stature. Cap is human, Superman is not. The problem with trying to compare them is that they're not the same, even if they do carry similar values when they are who they could be. In MoS, Superman is not that person yet and so when a threat comes, he's not prepared for it and how could he be?. Steve is ready and prepared, then he's given the opportunity to show it. They're at different places as a character, just like people would be in different places.

  • Charlie Andrews
    Charlie Andrews Month ago

    I found the first bit of winter soldier sorta weird cause you saw Steve in normal life wich I found a bit weird. This line somes it up pretty well, tho."You can't live without a war, Captain."

  • Team Connor
    Team Connor Month ago

    Wait the guy who got killed was Jimmy?

    • zhengyingli
      zhengyingli 17 days ago +1

      No, it was a CIA agent using the same name.

  • RhinoBandit akaWings

    Shit! But nobody can denied that the fight with zod it was truly awesome it was one if the best fights I’ve ever seen in any superhero movie that DBZ fight style was truly amazing I really enjoyed that.

  • Edwin Johnson
    Edwin Johnson Month ago

    Love all your video essays and as always the effort you put into this topic is top notch. From watching all your videos I have noticed that you are someone who consumes media of all types in the superhero genre because of which your view is fixated on the perfect interpretation of any given character. So for you Superman = Idealistic Perfect Superhero , Batman = Symbolic No Kills Superhero , Spiderman = Struggling Good Hearted Superhero which is fair by all means because those are the major traits of these characters which should be respected by all means. This is the same reason why none of these superheroes will never satisfy you in their future film outings because you got what you wanted through films such as "Superman (1978)", "The Dark Knight (2008)" and "Spider-Man 2 (2004).". These movies are the perfect interpretations of their respective superheroes which can never be dethroned unfortunately and also being cinematic masterpieces does help them a lot.

    But here is where Man of Steel surprised me. Zack Snyder is definitely a director with a strong vision in his mind. Now whether you like his vision or not is entirely up to you but lets just ponder upon his vision. Snyder wanted to interpret Superman in a realistic world where cause and effect plays a major role. The most controversial scene to me is when Jonathan Kent suggests to his son (Clark Kent) that maybe he should have done nothing instead of saving those kids on the bus. People went nuts saying how Zack Snyder was a hack who didn't understand a thing about Superman's origins and interpreted everything purely based on shock value and surprise. But lets just calm down a bit and dwell upon that scene. Have you ever thought about what Jonathan Kent went through when he spoke those lines?

    The Kents are farmers by profession and to my knowledge farmers in general have undue faith to Gods they worship. This is because their day to day livelihood is so intertwined with nature itself that they tend to believe in the presence of God. So we can say that the Kents prayed to God day and night for a child and their prayers get answered when a child literally comes down to them from the skies as if God had sent him directly to them. This must have made their faith in God even stronger but to their surprise this child turns out to be the literal embodiment of the God that they worship. Now comes the question of how the Kents react to this predicament to which I can answer by using this excerpt from the animated movie "All-Star Superman (2011) "

    Martha Kent (while meeting her son after a long time) : You look thin. Are you sick?
    Clark Kent : Ma....I am Superman.
    Martha Kent : And I am your mother.

    Like everyone else the Kents became concerned only about their son's well being and nothing else. For example if the city where your child lives gets attacked and several people die but somehow your child is safe. How will you feel ? You will definitely feel happy while also mourning the loss of others. We are all, in the end, selfish people and the Kents were no better than us. That's why the Kents was more concerned about their son's well being more than anything else. They didn't have a child for so long that they were willing to do everything to keep him safe because they knew as soon as he becomes a person of national interest the government by all means will try to lock him up and try to perform experiments on him. But Clark Kent being a scared teenager with indestructible strength will literally start killing people who threaten him and will become evil personified . Jonathan Kent knew this from the very beginning and he just wanted his son to have a normal life until he can figure things out on his own. That why he utters those lines to his kid about not doing anything to save others. According to Jonathan Kent it wasn't his son's time yet to unveil his true self. That line has so much more meaning to it than its face value just like every other moment in "Man of Steel".

    Now I have to defend the Kents after talking so much slack about them. We have to agree that they where one of the main reasons why Clark Kent went onto become Superman. They gave him a loving and nurturing environment to grow which in turn made him an upstanding citizen of this world. They never gave up on their son no matter what and cared for him till the very end. Jonathan Kent hoped to see his son become a beacon of light for others just like his biological father Jor-El hoped his son will be able to do greater things for the betterment of others and Clark Kent finally took the leap of faith and became Superman making his biological and foster parents wishes true.

    Zack Snyder's execution of Superman's Origins maybe flawed but his vision was pure. Man of Steel plays with such themes of "Hope" and "Faith" to varying degrees of success but to me and many others it is what made Superman relevant and interesting and arguably gave the best interpretation of Superman. If you personally didn't like Zack's take on the subject matter its your opinion and I respect that but don't expect everyone to adhere to a single interpretation of a superhero. That will make the genre become stale real fast.

    P.S. : If you can agree upon Iron Man saying to Captain America in Civil War "I don't care. He killed my Mom." you can also agree upon.........................

  • Jonathan Edwards
    Jonathan Edwards Month ago +3

    HiTop: "No movie should end in a fistfight"
    Civil War: "Um..."

    • sanjay gupta
      sanjay gupta Month ago +1

      Wow u clearly weren't paying attention to the film and the video

    • Kjameson_32 Art
      Kjameson_32 Art Month ago

      Um, I don’t wanna be that person, but civil war actually ended with that letter from Steve to Tony. Plus the “mY fAThEr MADe tHat SHield” bit. Not with the fight.

  • icable
    icable Month ago

    After watching your Batman commentaries and this video, I just wanted you to know it was a breath of fresh air to encounter another person who sees these characters I love in the same light I do. While I often tell others they don't have to like the characters for the same reasons I do, it gets old to be so close to sharing something with someone and realize you don't share it at all.

  • schnubbel76
    schnubbel76 Month ago

    3:45 is it just me or does it look as if Cap is not even there and Sam is looking into a far distance, not focusing on Steve?!? Weird.

  • schnubbel76
    schnubbel76 Month ago +1

    I am not holding on to an icon to waste my time about bitching around how that icon was destroyed. I thankfully am able to enjoy a good entertaining movie going new directions. There is no time for hate and frustration. Life is too short.

  • Jay Lee
    Jay Lee Month ago +1

    Man of Steel is the best Superman movie ever. Superman Returns makes him look like a deadbeat dad and Christopher Reeves Superman is out dated.

  • Jonathan Rhode
    Jonathan Rhode Month ago

    He's too powerful

  • Richard Metclaf
    Richard Metclaf Month ago

    I’m pretty sure Zach Snyder hasn’t ever read a comic that wasn’t written by Frank Miller. Which would explain why he’s such an edgy hack.

    • zhengyingli
      zhengyingli Month ago

      And yet Zack Snyder made MoS and BvS very hopeful. He even changed the ending to Watchmen to be more hopeful than the original.

  • recoil816
    recoil816 Month ago

    I like your style.

  • General Battlefront
    General Battlefront Month ago +3

    I'm probably going to be killed in the comments for saying this, but I think man of steel is an absolutely fantastic film! The dialog is truly amazing. The cinematography and color correction is stunning. And the movie is able to have a dark tone and maintain it. They dont throw dusins of jokes that doesn't fit it just to make it entertaining. They made a creative choice and stuck to it and the result was an emotional moving movie that was able to keep hope as the theme of the movie.
    And no, it wasn't a traditional Superman adoption, but we've seen so much of the traditional superman that we needed something new. Zack Snyder was able to touch the thing that lacked from superman comic and movie adoption: psychological problems. Because when you have an unstoppable alien as the protagonist, you can't have an antagonist that's stronger physically. That is something a lot of directors don't understand! That's why you can't just have the perfect superman, cause it's simply not interesting. And let's face it, after everything superman has been through, he should have alot of mental scars.
    But then again, this is just my opinion.

  • Campoo Macko
    Campoo Macko Month ago

    I’m happy u said that Superman wants to protect us... u should vent about the fact that BvS is more of a movie than the CRITICS paint it out to be... no Batman movie made me fair Batman more than BvS did and to think they only did that in a few minutes... people suck because marvel has painted such a ridiculous expectation of what a super hero movie should be... and that’s why we got SUICIDE SQUAD

  • kevin.
    kevin. Month ago


  • Cyroos
    Cyroos Month ago

    Really wish somebody can make a decent Superman movie nowadays.

  • Jayce Konopka
    Jayce Konopka Month ago

    You know, I greatly enjoyed this and had greatly like MOS, more than the winter soldier anyways

  • Dustin Dziembala
    Dustin Dziembala Month ago +10

    "You've lost your way when the super becomes more important than the man." Mark Waid - Kingdom Come

  • Arjun Sidhan
    Arjun Sidhan Month ago +1

    Supes in man of steel is not an experienced hero.
    He has his first fight in this movie so it can be understood that he isn't able to save everyone

  • The Lupinator
    The Lupinator Month ago

    I feel like Snyder noticed that he needed to change his Superman, which is why he killed him and was going to bring him back a changed man. It stinks that we’ll never get to see what he was going to do after.

  • Duch ess
    Duch ess Month ago

    "But captain America: the winter solider changes America". I literally came for this line

  • Shutter Eff3ct
    Shutter Eff3ct Month ago +1

    Good movie, bad rant. You should remember that he's not a human

  • Lita Zo
    Lita Zo Month ago

    DC logic : We are gonna make DCEU - kills Superman in the first movie itself . LMAO

  • Gebrael93
    Gebrael93 Month ago +1

    Man of steel worked for me 👌

  • Richie Kongwang
    Richie Kongwang Month ago

    Hmm personally, I liked Man of Steel a lot but i can 100% understand peoples problems with the movie.
    My gripe is that by putting Superman into the position of killing Zod AND making him kill, it makes him altered for the worst in what he stands for. The whole movie, Clark's good nature and kindness to others is shown as he grows up and develops his moral compass which means that wrong doings such as killing, violence, neglect, etc, to him is something he is against while things like kindness, helping others, protecting life, etc, are things he must employ. Then he kills Zod at the end.
    The neck cracking scene is a good way to dive into morals in general and asks the question of: "Is killing a right or justified option for a hero to save others or is there a line not to be crossed?" Which is fine because The Dark Knight explored this very well but here, beside execution of themes, it's a problem because Superman makes a choice that sacrifices his purity WHILE contradicting himself at the same time. Ive seen many people explain his choice was in order to protect the lives of the innocent from a unrelenting force. While that's 100% true and i agree, this indisputably corrupts the morals that were established as part of Clark's core values, especially not killing. Superman in this movie does take the hard road which is the right road but having that all come undone because he kills someone out of a degradation of morals instead of defending and abiding by morals and his established character. Clark/Superman with those good core values shouldve (throughout the movie) been more expressive of these values to strengthen his character but also to make his opposition with Zod more meaningful by having an incredible backbone in what he believes in and how he has backbone. I know that it seems like im saying "let those people die from Zod's laser eyes" but it's not relating to that at all its far beyond that, its about having a consistent character that has meaning in what he does. Does Superman regret killing Zod? Yes. He screams, i know, that had an impact on me of course, but hurts more having Superman not stay true to what he defends.
    But keep in mind, this revolves around other flaws of the movie too such as a the writing and other things.

    • Richie Kongwang
      Richie Kongwang Month ago

      @zhengyingli so your asking me my personal moral beliefs about killing?

    • zhengyingli
      zhengyingli Month ago

      @Richie Kongwang You explained why it was wrong for Superman to do so. I was asking why you think killing to protect is wrong in and of itself.

    • Richie Kongwang
      Richie Kongwang Month ago

      @zhengyingli I literally explained my reasoning LOL

    • zhengyingli
      zhengyingli Month ago

      What's wrong with killing to protect others?

  • realsmashmouth
    realsmashmouth Month ago

    is iit... Human Life

  • Turkish
    Turkish Month ago


    HARLEM HEFNER Month ago +2

    I loved man of steel such a great film they didn't change superman this was a realistic take on a outdated character

    • Flash2x
      Flash2x Day ago

      I feel the same exact way.

  • Ruthless Savage Hatred

    The way I've interpreted Zach Snyder's DCEU films is that he was trying to tell us about a universe, not necessarily the characters in it. I know this might not be what the casual crowd wants or what film students think is the correct way to tell a story but I feel like if Snyder was given the chance to complete his story that it would have been something beautiful.

  • The Flash Is Boss
    The Flash Is Boss 2 months ago

    Other people/kryptonite

  • Bruce WhoCares
    Bruce WhoCares 2 months ago


  • Kylar Perkins
    Kylar Perkins 2 months ago

    The people

  • Jack Robinson
    Jack Robinson 2 months ago


  • Charlie Andrews
    Charlie Andrews 2 months ago

    Edit: oof :(

  • pjamese3
    pjamese3 2 months ago

    I read comics since the '79s and later read the comics from Action Comics #1 on up. Zach Snyder changed Superman for his own fever dream version. Same with Batman.

  • gato p99
    gato p99 2 months ago +1

    Kriptonite and magic

  • Zoinks
    Zoinks 2 months ago

    Superman fear of not being able to save everyone

  • Jose Reyes Lopez
    Jose Reyes Lopez 2 months ago

    Song? When he’s breaking it down?

  • Udy Kumra
    Udy Kumra 2 months ago +4

    I haven't grown up reading comics, so when I think of who Superman is, I think of Smallville.