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 • 3 649

  • HiTop Films
    HiTop Films  Year ago +1365

    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.

    • Diego De la Fuente
      Diego De la Fuente 18 days ago

      You don't deserve this mistreatment alex!😔

    • Julian Seguin
      Julian Seguin 23 days ago

      @12th Dragon How many of those world threats did he face when he was in his first year and how many of those stories were in a grounded universe?

      It's not a shitty point, and you clearly read it, or you wouldn't have even mentioned it.

    • kazuma Jay
      kazuma Jay 4 months 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 5 months ago

      Your response to #5 complaint is great

  • Jerry Young
    Jerry Young 19 hours ago


  • Arthur Teixeira
    Arthur Teixeira Day ago

    F**k it

  • Arthur Teixeira
    Arthur Teixeira Day ago

    I feel like if i say kriptonite its gonna be wrong

  • Dead Memes
    Dead Memes 14 days ago

    Lois Lane

  • Greater Gatsby
    Greater Gatsby 15 days ago

    Watching these videos makes me realize more and more why I analyze these movies. Superman is my childhood hero and Snyder changed him. Superman saves cat out of trees and people. He’d never kill Zod.

  • Timothy Sherman
    Timothy Sherman 16 days ago

    Lol you can not compare Bucky to zod sorry it don’t work that way. Bucky is caps friend where zod is not a friend but the evil side of a world Clark was exhalted from. Man of steel has way more depth then you give it credit for. This was a young incarnation of Superman and is not the Superman that YOU “wanted” YET. Zack even said he would’ve given us a definitive Superman down the line. That’s the problem is no one would let dc be different then marvel for the past 10 years but thank god the tune is finally changing now. Superman may not of saved every civilian in the movie but he did save civilization so really I think you just misunderstood the film but that happens and I didn’t get man of steel at first either

  • BASIL!!!!! The pumpin' Seagull

    Snyder's Superman only cares about Lois, and then he only cares about her because VAGINA!!!

  • Nerd Alert!
    Nerd Alert! 26 days ago +1


  • Tazio LeVeque
    Tazio LeVeque 28 days ago

    I haven’t read Superman comics. I haven’t seen smallville. I don’t remember much about the old Superman movies. So to me, Superman is a boring, stale character with lots of powers but little humanity. That’s what Snyder’s version of Superman is. I really need to check out that other stuff so that I can see Superman as an interesting character.

  • Standard Yip
    Standard Yip Month ago

    I thought his weakness was liking the video

  • Lokkki
    Lokkki Month ago


  • Andrew J
    Andrew J Month ago


  • Jacob Gaul
    Jacob Gaul Month ago +1

    His weakness is Zach Snyder

  • cill521
    cill521 Month ago +2

    Man of Steel and BvS ask the question, "Why should Superman like humanity?" Honestly just reading through (any) comment section that is not a bad question. Minorities are bullied. Opinions are claimed as fact. Superman was bullied, he was scrutinized, he was humiliated. Is that not how we would treat him in the real world?

    Mankind is rotten to the core. All of us. Me you, everyone. Zack puts that on the screen. And you bitch and moan, because you want to look in the mirror and see a superhero. You do not want to hear how you suck in so many different ways. But you do.

    And you don't. There is potential for good in everyone. Which is the fundamental believe of the house of El. That's what Superman is striving towards. Just like all of us. He is flawed, like we are flawed. About time we open our eyes to our dirty habits and instincts. About time we get honest.

    And stop whining and bitching about movies you don't understand.

  • Gio rgi
    Gio rgi Month ago +2

    Man of steel was masterpiece !

  • Loxob ole
    Loxob ole Month ago

    NOOOOOO zack change our boyscout and boring patriot Yeah I prefer the captain (the most moraly boring charachter of the all mcu )

  • Vibhav Saraf
    Vibhav Saraf Month ago

    Putting his life up for someone else in danger

  • sean jaszczur
    sean jaszczur Month ago

    Nah mane we got a thing called talk no jutsu in naruto where Naruto just talks the bad guys out of being bad instead of beating them straight up

  • sean jaszczur
    sean jaszczur Month ago

    Human life

  • the insulting channel
    the insulting channel Month ago +2

    I don't agree about superman ..cuz he is superman not captain America...he is not the guy how know what is right or wrong even he doesn't have super soldier serum ..he is just a guy with a lot of super power who is clueless about his destiny...and through the origins and after the first flight superman when fighting the zod is fighting him to save humanity that's what you didn't get
    2) and you fucking comparing winter soldier from
    3)watch this why man of steel is different than winter soldier

  • Jugal Yadav
    Jugal Yadav Month ago

    Superman weakness is his Kindness

  • riza VEVO
    riza VEVO Month ago


  • Ibrahima Traore
    Ibrahima Traore 2 months ago


  • Arrow
    Arrow 2 months ago

    I will literally watch any of your videos. (Except the horror ones sorry)

  • Mark Muiruri
    Mark Muiruri 2 months ago


  • Adarrie Starks
    Adarrie Starks 2 months ago

    dark magic

  • bob93
    bob93 2 months ago

    uh can i have a battle of ideologies between characters AND dragonball Z fights lol i know having to only have one or the other isn't what you meant, but i often see some people dismiss the action all together when action could really elevate a moment between characters.
    great video Alex, i always go back to this video whenever im in a superman/ captain america phase ^^

  • Itachi Uchiha
    Itachi Uchiha 2 months ago


  • Aiden Baboolal
    Aiden Baboolal 2 months ago

    Superman's weakness is his love for humanity. He would give his life for anyone, and that can be used to against him.

  • xblad3 221
    xblad3 221 2 months ago

    Its because marvel is better than dc

  • Powerwegy
    Powerwegy 2 months ago +1

    I completely disagree with you in comparing two totally different movies. Every hero has a beginning and in that beginning they make mistakes, cause they are not experienced. If you grew up without a father as a boy, you will live your whole life searching for answers to aid you in your quest to become a man, I know cause I grew up that way. Superman grew up without his own kind, and was raised by humans. They raised him with good values cause they hoped it would make him a good person, but what about his biology? He wasn't trained, confused, and was emotional, that's why he didn't know how to handle the overwhelming situation he was facing. Captain America was trained in the military amongst other humans and given the super soldier serum and by the time "the winter soldier" came, he had tons of experience and knew how to handle situations and knew to hold back against his friend. "General" Zod was not Clark's friend so Superman had no emotional connection to him. kal still had to grow into the confident, charismatic and hopeful Superman we know (that has experience) but people have no patience. In my opinion, this iteration of Superman is the most human one we have gotten since Christopher Reeves and I fear we will not get another Superman as real as this one.

  • lakhwinder virk
    lakhwinder virk 2 months ago

    superman's weakness is kryptonite and magic

  • Protocol Amazing
    Protocol Amazing 2 months ago

    He’s weakness is the fact he has to save every living being so he can’t use he’s full power because it will lead to destruction.

  • Michael Hinojosa
    Michael Hinojosa 2 months ago

    Being a Boy Scout and kryptonite

  • Jake Nelson
    Jake Nelson 3 months ago +2

    Superman’s weakness is waiting for Rami part 3 scene

  • BootySnatcher 420
    BootySnatcher 420 3 months ago +1

    Fuckin nailed it!

  • Sarlacc Breath
    Sarlacc Breath 3 months 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 3 months ago +1


  • L
    L 3 months ago +1


  • Kevin D. Najera
    Kevin D. Najera 3 months ago

    I loved Man of Steel cuz... DBZ

  • TheFanRift
    TheFanRift 3 months ago +4

    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 3 months ago

    Life love Kryptonite

  • Basti Pasia
    Basti Pasia 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months ago

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

  • Saladriel Amrael
    Saladriel Amrael 3 months 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 3 months ago +2

    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 3 months ago +1

    Captain America Wins

  • SaiyanWarrior50
    SaiyanWarrior50 3 months ago


  • pjshutout
    pjshutout 3 months 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 3 months ago +3

    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 3 months ago +1

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

  • kelly williamson
    kelly williamson 3 months ago


  • KageTrauma
    KageTrauma 3 months ago

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

  • NolanEP
    NolanEP 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months ago

    Wait the guy who got killed was Jimmy?

    • zhengyingli
      zhengyingli 3 months ago +2

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

  • RhinoBandit akaWings
    RhinoBandit akaWings 3 months ago

    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 4 months 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 4 months ago +7

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

    • sanjay gupta
      sanjay gupta 3 months ago +2

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

    • Kjameson_32 Art
      Kjameson_32 Art 3 months ago +1

      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 4 months 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.