I think we all remember that final speech from the fourth Superman movie, the one even I agree is bad (and I liked the third one and Supergirl). If not, here you go.
“There will be peace when the world wants it so badly that the governments will have to give it to them.” Yeah, I’ve seen total pacifists that have a better understanding of how war works than this movie. Remember, the nations of the world happily gave him their nukes to toss into the sun so the nuke makers got Luthor to create Nuclear Man. Very long story, and a disappointing one at that. Why bring this all up?
In the Superman comic I reviewed earlier today, Superman gets asked the obligatory “why can’t you get rid of the atomic bomb and stop all wars forever and ever and ever?”, and Superman’s response makes a lot more sense than it did in the “no nukes” movie.
It starts with our psychic kid who can pull people into other people’s dreams. He did this with Superman at the beginning of the story and Clark Kent later saw him in Mr. Kling’s classroom when he came to talk. So Superman drops in on him outside during lunch break. Chris Parker Hunt, the grandson of police chief Parker (one of Jonathan’s friends and no, I don’t know why Chris has “Hunt” in his last name in this case) and they Chris offers him half of his peanut butter sandwich. No doubt made with Superman Peanut Butter. Yes, that actually existed.
Superman takes Chris to a room where the security cameras are monitored. However, nobody taught the students how to use this set-up, put in by the A/V department….wait. Why is the A/V department setting up security cameras? Because the only other option is that Superman set up a regular closed-circuit camera (what they had before wifi, kids) for the express purpose of answering a question he didn’t know he’d get and to show video of Kling’s resignation on the desk of the principal’s secretary falling into the trash. I know Clark wants to help his friend AND his old school out but that seems like a lot of work.
Superman uses Chris’s question as part of trying to get him to use his dream powers to help convince the teacher to stay on doing what he still loves, but he also gives a better answer, or at least a clarification that makes more sense than “we don’t want it enough”.
“I can put a stop to the fighting, but that doesn’t do anything about the cause of the war.” Had Christopher Reeve been given that to say instead of “when people want it bad enough”, it would have sounded a lot less condescending, wouldn’t it? Superman can only stop people from acting on their hatred by taking over the world and even that’s debatable. He can stop the fighting, take away their weapons, and all that stuff, but the reasons for war (property disputes, wanting to build an empire, negotiation failure, misunderstandings, fanaticism) are things he can’t simply toss into the sun. So there are limits to what Superman can do without becoming…