In the steamy midst of Furst’s chaos is Batman’s spotlight symbol, which the police calls the city’s guardian. When Batman’s symbol is projected into the sky, a watchful spotlight illuminating and observing the city, he becomes more than an inhabitant, he is in fact part of the city. It is Batman who gives life to this urban dystopia. At the end of The Dark Knight, Batman takes upon himself the crimes committed by Harvey Dent to save the reputation of the popular hero with a face. “Im whatever Gotham needs me to be.” Batman said to Lt.Gordon. Batman made his sacrifice to Gotham and let himself be condemned and hunted as if Gotham is personified. The caped vigilante is no longer an urban hero but a protector of the night. The 8
dark side of hope in Gotham is crystallized with its dependence on the Dark Knight demonized.The Psychology of SupermanIf you look beneath the “S” on his chest from a psychological perspective, you’ll see that Superman is more human than superhuman, withthe same sort of conflicts, crises and identity issues as the rest of us.Witnessing the destruction of your entire planet might be one of the most traumatic experiences imaginable, Surely the impact of such a cataclysmic event could cause PTSD. So, assuming his Kryptonian neurochemistry is similar to ours, how come Superman doesn’t have PTSD?As part of their search for identity, adolescents naturally want to fit in and belong to a group.Indeed, Clark Kent faces many universal challenges in finding his adolescent identity while he navigates the stage of human development, But Clark’s adolescence is a bit more complicated than that of the typical teenager. First,he’s adopted. As adopted children go through puberty, not only their bodies resemble their biological parents more, but they become capable of being parents themselves. This transformation raises questions about their own identity and can spur them to search for their parents. Also, as Clark’s body changes, he discovers emerging powers that are not only super-human, but also super-scary.In Man of Steel, Jonathan Kent’s impact on Clark is somewhat more conflicted. On one hand, Jonathan instructs Clark to keep his Kryptonian side a secret. It’s possible that internalizing his father’s concerns leads Clark to 9
defer his own desires – and his destiny – to find his place in the universe. Unlike other depictions, Clark waits until later in life (a very symbolic 33 years of age) to adopt the Superman identity. At the end of the day, Superman’s greatest power may not be a power at all, but rather, a very human quality: restraint. If Superman were to behave recklessly, the consequences could literally be earth-shattering. Superman’s self-proclaimed never-ending battle for Truth, Justice, and the ever-changing “American Way” seems to sum up his pursuit of self-actualization.This experience isn’t unique to Superman; we are all works in progress. Whether Superman, at least, illustrates that despite the numerous challenges along the way, a path towards realizing one’s full potential exists.