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I was thinking about something in light of the new movie coming out, the various cartoons with the same plot over the years, and something my sister said when Batman/Superman movies started to be made again in the first place. She said, in relation to the armored looks, that it made sense for Batman, who she’d assume would wear whatever made sense in what he was going in to, but for Superman it didn’t work as he could be stark naked in the fight and still be Superman.

It’s an interesting point, and I got to thinking: You can tell who is the ‘most human’ based on just their tool use. Humans are a tool using species, fundamentally. If you give a person a task they will often look around briefly just out of instinct, to see if there’s something that can help. We do it all the time without thinking. Thousands of tools, from a sharp rock to an airplane, all of which are made by people to be used by people for different jobs. Batman takes this and makes it a part of his whole character, as the gadgets are just about integral to the whole myth. Superman, though, tends to skip tools and runs around in a very simple costume. He uses his own body, and in those situations where that’s not a viable option for some reason, he usually does very badly. His method of handling things is actually more similar to what you’d see in an animal, using those aspects of his biology that are useful and hoping nothing comes up that would make those adaptations useless.

So if we see the movie later and one just lunges while the other reaches for a tool, I think we can guess who’s actually human even if the movie uses the shaky cameras that make me hate most recent movies, because I can’t ever seem to see what’s going on.

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December 2016

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