Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > General Discussions > Other Talk
Reload this Page >

'Anyone could be...'

Other Talk "Otterville"

'Anyone could be...'

Old 02-21-21, 02:05 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
L Everett Scott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: The Cosmopolis of Barrie
Posts: 384
Received 28 Likes on 27 Posts
'Anyone could be...'

Earlier this evening, my wife and I watched a news segment where a TV critic was discussing the new Superman and Lois show. The critic mentioned at one point that he grew up reading comic books and that when he was a kid, he really believed that anyone could be Superman.

I commented that that was an odd thing to take away from Superman comics because the point was that Kal-El was born a Kryptonian, so he had genetic advantages that allowed him to develop super powers on Earth. In short, the idea that 'anyone could be Superman' is incorrect because you had to be born that way.

My wife argued that wasn't what the critic was saying. She interpreted the phrase 'anyone could be Superman' as anybody you meet could secretly be a superhero. In other words, you could run into a Clark Kent, a Peter Parker, a Diana Prince, etc. and not know you were dealing with someone with super powers unless they actually reveal that in front of you.

What does everyone else think? What does 'anyone could be Superman' mean to you? I'm also curious to find out if anyone grew up thinking what my wife said, that when you read about superheroes, you thought they could be people secretly walking among us, not that you imagined yourself being one of them.
Old 02-21-21, 04:04 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Josh-da-man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The Bible Belt
Posts: 35,089
Received 497 Likes on 364 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

What do I think?

I think it sounds like a scene from Seinfeld.

When someone says "Anyone could be Superman," it could go either way, meaning "Everyone can aspire to be Superman," or "Anybody you meet could secretly be a superhero." It's a vague statement that could have multiple meanings.

I remember an old Saturday Night Live sketch from when I was kid that stuck with me, and taught me a lesson about being concise when I'm giving instructions...

The boss at a nuclear power plant is going away on vacation and before he leaves he tells the employees "Remember, you can't add too much water to the reactor." And after he leaves an argument breaks about what he meant when he said that. Whether it was okay too add as much water to the reactor as you wanted to, or that if added too much water to the reactor it would cause a disaster.
The following users liked this post:
Bandoman (02-22-21)
Old 02-21-21, 04:39 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
tanman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Gator Nation
Posts: 7,429
Received 234 Likes on 169 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Interesting as discussing with someone about Wandavision they commented on how Marvel does such a good job of making their characters relatable. Even Wanda an orphaned girl from a fictional country with unbelievable super powers is struggling with grief and facing reality. Something everyone can relate too. That always has been the distinction between Marvel and DC hasn't it? Superman is the last son of Krypton from Metropolis. Spider-Man is a kid from Brooklyn.

I would like to know what the critic meant by that. Maybe he had similar musings to Anton Ego in Ratatouille:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.
But does that hold true if you're talking about Superman? He has to have special abilities doesn't he? But I guess you can make the argument that a great artist has to have special abilities as well. I'm not sure if the comparison holds. Personally I agree with you that Superman is more about the fantastical and an unattainable strength. There's no way you can be Superman and that's what makes him so unique and intriguing.
The following users liked this post:
John Pannozzi (03-20-21)
Old 02-21-21, 07:06 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,879
Likes: 0
Received 37 Likes on 26 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Who's more of a superhero? A person bullets bounce off of, or a teacher who takes a bullet to protect a kid. Which is more deserving of the title "Superman"?
The following users liked this post:
John Pannozzi (03-20-21)
Old 02-21-21, 07:17 AM
  #5  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Toddarino's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Northeastern Wisconsin
Posts: 2,406
Received 165 Likes on 116 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

A person bullets bounce off of for sure.
The following 3 users liked this post by Toddarino:
Ash Ketchum (02-22-21), Kurt D (02-21-21), The Questyen (02-21-21)
Old 02-21-21, 07:38 AM
  #6  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 34,665
Received 553 Likes on 431 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

I would also say that the phrase (to me) means that "you don't need superpowers to be a superhero" kind of thing.

Because "anyone could be the secret identify of Superman" does not ring true, unless Superman was also magically able to change his ethnicity and sex. And it's not like there were a plethora of minority superheroes back in the day (heck, it's a struggle to find some even now). I never once thought "hey, that guy could be Sunfire. Or that's Shang Chi."

But I did imagine myself to be Superman, Spider-man, etc, when I played with friends.
Old 02-21-21, 08:29 AM
  #7  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Mrs. Danger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: With Nick Danger
Posts: 18,527
Likes: 0
Received 221 Likes on 128 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

When I was a kid, I frequently heard "Anyone could grow up to be President." It was said proudly, as a good thing about America. The phrase was usually used to encourage achievement in young people, "It could be YOU!".

Of course, at the time, it was not true.

Either interpretation of "Anyone could be Superman" is also not true. But, both interpretations are still cool to think about, and could be used to encourage a sense of wonder and self esteem.
Old 02-21-21, 08:33 AM
  #8  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Nick Danger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 25,462
Received 267 Likes on 200 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Every child has pretended to be a hero. I was the Six Million Dollar Man. I think that you're taking the statement "anyone could be Superman" too literally. No we can't actually lift a car, or stomp on buildings, or have big claws and teeth and rahrr, but we like to imagine we can.
Old 02-21-21, 08:35 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 542
Likes: 0
Received 13 Likes on 9 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

I'd take it as, anyone could be superman to mean, anyone that is an adult man, could be superman, because no one knows his true identity, other than he's a dude. You could also make the argument it could be a woman in drag, with a binder/no chest too. So technically, it could be any adult human being that fits that description which is likely millions and millions of people.
Old 02-21-21, 11:12 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Reviewer
 
Kurt D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,912
Received 105 Likes on 84 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

I take it to mean that Superman is such a sucky, ridiculous character that anyone could be him, even an unconscious, puking transient in the gutter.

JK, the critic probably meant "all can aspire to help others, and should."
Old 02-21-21, 11:51 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
L Everett Scott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: The Cosmopolis of Barrie
Posts: 384
Received 28 Likes on 27 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Thanks to everyone who's responded so far. If my question has proven anything, it's not just that a simple phrase can be really ambiguous but that a question involving secret identities and super powers can really take on a life of its own.

Just to give my OP a bit more perspective, my wife vehemently insisted that my interpretation was wrong because the critic said '"anyone could be Superman" not "anyone could become Superman".' If you think my wife sounds like a nitpicker when it comes to language, I'm not going argue too hard with you.

If we're looking beyond the grammatical issue with the phrase and focusing on the idea of being/becoming Superman or any superhero, I will openly admit that I'm actually a big fan of the idea of heroism being something more than the superficial theatrics in DC and Marvel Comics. IMHO some of the best Superman stories are the ones that emphasize his sense of morality as being his greatest power, which is indeed something that anyone can aspire to have. The notion that we're all capable of acts of heroism in our own way is a sentiment that I'll going to bat for until my final day on this planet.

Having said all that, I don't really believe the TV critic was equating everyday acts to superheroic achievements. I'm of the opinion that he, like others have mentioned in this thread, was one of those kids who tied his jacket around his neck and ran around the playground with arms outstretched pretending to fly. God knows I was one of those kids. When I was growing up, it was all about pretending to be Superman, Spider-Man, the Six Million Dollar Man, and Bruce Lee.

What I don't recall is ever saying to myself 'I wonder if Mrs. Donnelly has a magic lasso in her desk and flew to work in an invisible jet?' I certainly never heard other kids ask that sort of question. Nor did I ever come across anybody saying, 'That new kid Michael Chan--do you think he's secretly a kung fu master?'

I find questions like these rather bizarre because it was always about being the superhero/world-class fighter/whatever your fantasy was, not if someone else secretly had those abilities. That's why I asked the question at the end of my OP about whether or not anyone actually thought this when they were younger. To my way of thinking, the only reason a child (or adult for that matter) would believe someone else to have superhuman abilities is if they witnessed somebody lifting a car or something along those lines.

Of course, an individual believing that someone out in the world has super powers is the basis of an M. Night Shyamalan film, so maybe he actually thought that at some point.

Old 02-21-21, 12:06 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Legend
 
GoldenJCJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Colorado
Posts: 17,207
Received 473 Likes on 341 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
Who's more of a superhero? A person bullets bounce off of, or a teacher who takes a bullet to protect a kid. Which is more deserving of the title "Superman"?
Originally Posted by Toddarino View Post
A person bullets bounce off of for sure.
Right. A teacher who takes a bullet for a student is a hero. If the bullet bounces off, they’re a superhero.
Old 02-21-21, 02:08 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
danwiz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Posts: 1,956
Received 22 Likes on 17 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

My take on it is that it's not worth a thread that already contains 12 opinions!
Old 02-21-21, 04:06 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Bronkster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: AnaheimLand, SoCal
Posts: 18,201
Received 85 Likes on 55 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Originally Posted by tanman View Post
Interesting as discussing with someone about Wandavision they commented on how Marvel does such a good job of making their characters relatable. Even Wanda an orphaned girl from a fictional country with unbelievable super powers is struggling with grief and facing reality. Something everyone can relate too. That always has been the distinction between Marvel and DC hasn't it? Superman is the last son of Krypton from Metropolis. Spider-Man is a kid from Brooklyn.

I would like to know what the critic meant by that. Maybe he had similar musings to Anton Ego in Ratatouille:



But does that hold true if you're talking about Superman? He has to have special abilities doesn't he? But I guess you can make the argument that a great artist has to have special abilities as well. I'm not sure if the comparison holds. Personally I agree with you that Superman is more about the fantastical and an unattainable strength. There's no way you can be Superman and that's what makes him so unique and intriguing.
Spider-man grew up in Queens!
Old 02-21-21, 05:07 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Legend
 
kenbuzz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Bloomington, IN
Posts: 21,837
Received 126 Likes on 90 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Fuck Superman.

I'm Spartacus!
Old 02-21-21, 06:09 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Nick Danger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 25,462
Received 267 Likes on 200 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Originally Posted by danwiz View Post
My take on it is that it's not worth a thread that already contains 12 opinions!
Counting your opinion, thirteen!
Old 02-21-21, 06:15 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Cardsfan111's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 17,683
Likes: 0
Received 67 Likes on 49 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

If I ran into someone who was morbidly obese or 94 years old, I'd have a hard time believing that they could be a superhero.
Old 02-21-21, 07:40 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Reviewer
 
Kurt D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,912
Received 105 Likes on 84 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Originally Posted by L Everett Scott View Post

What I don't recall is ever saying to myself 'I wonder if Mrs. Donnelly has a magic lasso in her desk?'
You didn't?
Old 02-21-21, 08:34 PM
  #19  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
tanman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Gator Nation
Posts: 7,429
Received 234 Likes on 169 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Originally Posted by Bronkster View Post
Spider-man grew up in Queens!


Whatever Batman from Gotham could totally kick his ass anyways.
Old 02-22-21, 07:03 AM
  #20  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Toddarino's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Northeastern Wisconsin
Posts: 2,406
Received 165 Likes on 116 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Originally Posted by Cardsfan111 View Post
If I ran into someone who was morbidly obese or 94 years old, I'd have a hard time believing that they could be a superhero.

Old 02-22-21, 07:04 AM
  #21  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ash Ketchum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 12,053
Received 77 Likes on 57 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Originally Posted by kenbuzz View Post
Fuck Superman.

I'm Spartacus!
And how well did that work out, Sparky?



Old 02-22-21, 08:10 AM
  #22  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,879
Likes: 0
Received 37 Likes on 26 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ View Post
Right. A teacher who takes a bullet for a student is a hero. If the bullet bounces off, they’re a superhero.
Super villains have powers too.
What differentiates a super villain from superhero? Morality?
You can't be a hero, super or otherwise without morality. You're just somebody whose bulletproof.
When Spider-Man let the thief escape because he couldn't be bothered he wasn't a superhero. He was just some guy with spider powers.
It takes a non super power to be a superhero. The other powers don't mean anything without it.
Everyday people have that power.
There's nothing heroic about putting yourself in the path of bullets knowing they can't hurt you. Knowing they can hurt you is heroic.
If "super" is short for "superior". Wouldn't the risk of death be "superior" heroism to using a power that prevents you from harm.

Last edited by rw2516; 02-22-21 at 08:34 AM.
Old 02-22-21, 08:46 AM
  #23  
Moderator
 
story's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Hope.
Posts: 10,310
Received 360 Likes on 219 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Superman isn't what he does.

Superman isn't how he does it.

Superman is why he does it.

Superman is hope, justice, and responsibility.

Anybody can be Superman.
The following users liked this post:
stingermck (02-22-21)
Old 02-22-21, 11:04 AM
  #24  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Bronkster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: AnaheimLand, SoCal
Posts: 18,201
Received 85 Likes on 55 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Originally Posted by story View Post
Superman isn't what he does.

Superman isn't how he does it.

Superman is why he does it.

Superman is hope, justice, and responsibility.

Anybody can be Superman.
Even a banana!

Old 02-22-21, 11:08 AM
  #25  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Josh-da-man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The Bible Belt
Posts: 35,089
Received 497 Likes on 364 Posts
Re: 'Anyone could be...'

Originally Posted by story View Post
Superman isn't what he does.

Superman isn't how he does it.

Superman is why he does it.

Superman is hope, justice, and responsibility.

Anybody can be Superman.
That's really inspiring.

I'm going to pin a towel to the back of my shirt and take a running jump off of my roof!


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.