A lot of people were disappointed with Zack Snyder's bleak interpretation of Superman in Man of Steel. This bleakness only got worse with the release of Batman v. Superman, as even the contrast of a much darker adversary could not lighten up the last son of Krypton. Now, with Tyler Hoechlin flawlessly pulling off an optimistic, hopeful and likeable Supes, Snyder's misunderstanding of the character has been made very clear. But at least he isn't the only visually oriented, violence loving director to completely misunderstand anything and everything about the Man of Tomorrow. I'm talking about Quentin Tarantino.

At the end of Kill Bill Vol. 2, the Bride finally meets Bill, who she has spent the better part of two movies trying to kill (it's a very creative title.) He shoots her up with truth serum and goes on a classic Tarantino pop culture monologue, explaining how Superman was born Superman and is only disguising himself as Clark Kent, and that Clark Kent's nerdiness somehow reflects how he views humanity, as a race of weak, clumsy idiots and that this proves that he views himself as superior. It's an interesting speech. It's also utterly and completely wrong.

Besides Bill's weird pronunciation of the word Superhero (he puts the stress on the word "hero," making him sound like a 104-year-old man who's never seen a comic book before,) and his assertion that a franchise that has run for nearly 80 years and has gone through hundreds of artists isn't drawn very well, what's most irritating about this monologue is that the mistake made by the speech's big thesis is so glaringly obvious. Tarantino isn't getting some obscure factoid wrong, he's wildly misinterpreting the very essence of the character. Because what defines Superman, what makes him who he is, is that despite his alien origins, he's human.

Clark Kent is not a reflection of how Superman sees humanity because he isn't a disguise. While he may play up his clumsy mannerisms and meek personality, Clark Kent is who Superman is. Superman did not descend to Earth as a fully grown God, ready to whip humanity into shape (well he did in an early radio show, but that's beside the point.) He landed, with no fanfare whatsoever, in Kansas as an infant. He was adopted and raised by a human couple. It was from Jor-el and Lara that he inherited the limitless powers that make him super, but it was from the Kents that Clark inherited the altruism, patience, and selflessness that make him Superman. His kryptonianity and his humanity are equally vital to his acts of heroism. And while it is his superhuman nature that catches the eyes of young readers, it is human nature that makes the stories work. Across nearly 80 years of comic books we've seen him defuse situations with words and kindness as many times as he does with force.

Though Superman may speed toward danger while Clark Kent makes a show of cowering in fear, their core personalities are practically identical. The politeness, the midwestern charm, the outdated slang, the goodwill toward their fellow man, the unwavering faith in humanity all carry over between these identities. Superman isn't plagued by the duality that tortures Batman or Spider-Man. He doesn't lie awake at night wondering which identity is really him and which is an act because while both have elements of theatrics to them, they are both, at their cores, genuine. Superman isn't disguised as Clark Kent, he is Clark Kent, and vice versa. Both are dorky, idealistic, and most importantly, human. This is highlighted in a story in which the Eradicator, an alien device with the essence of a nationalistic Kryptonian imprinted on it, tries to convince Superman to abandon humanity, strip himself of human influence, and embrace only his Kryptonian heritage. It repeatedly calls him Kal-el, his given Kryptonian name. Superman responds, in uncharacteristically harsh tones:

"My name is Clark Kent. Get out of my home. Get off my planet."

The same inhuman interpretation of Superman that Tarantino put forth reared its head more prominently a decade later with Zack Snyder, this time in more than just a brief line of dialogue. And while we now have a brighter, more accurate alternative in Tyler Hoechlin, the fact that the big budget cinematic tentpole version of this character is the way he is is troubling. I'm not just miffed that they got one of my favorite characters wrong, I'm worried because that character is so important. Superman isn't just a heroic flight of fancy, (he's literally saved lives.) He inspires, he lifts up, he winks at us through the fourth wall. And I feel that now, more than ever, we need heroes.

We currently have access, as average, ordinary citizens, to an unprecedented wealth of information. The grim realities of the future, the unfair influences plaguing our own governments, the true culprits behind recent economic crises are laid bare and visible in front of us, and while this transparency is inherently a good thing, it can inspire cynicism just as easily as it inspires change. More and more people seem convinced that their life, their government, their world is completely out of their control, and are responding to this rash conclusion with uncaring apathy towards the very real problems that lead to it in the first place. It is now, more than ever, that we need a hero whose X-Ray vision reveals everything; the darkness, the violence, the looming destruction on the horizon, but who responds to these revelations not with angst and despair, but with hope. A hero who doesn't assume that there is good in everyone, but knows it. This world needs superheroes, not for their strength or speed or washboard abs, but for their humanity. This is why I believe that Zack Snyder needs to do some soul-searching, and Tarantino needs to read more comic books.