“The newest incarnation of Superman isn’t so much a betrayal of the character’s origins as it is a perhaps unwitting return to them,” The Atlantic’s Charles Moss writes in an essay that brings some historical perspective to the backlash against the character’s “brooding” depiction in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
I think this article misses it’s own point.
Early Superman championed the oppressed. He didn’t leave until he was sure the weak and victimised were safe and empowered, and their opressors suitably cowed and unable to continue their crimes. Zack Snyder’s Superman doesn’t do this. He just beats up aliens and US military drones. The closest he comes to championing the oppressed is when he stands up to the bullies in the bar - but instead of protecting the innocent and getting those bullies to change their ways, he engages a petty revenge and leaves behind the vulnerable humans to continue to be targets of those bullies’ wrath.
Later Superman used absurd creativity to win the day, despite having the power to juggle planets. He used trickery and wit instead of his unparalleled might. Zack Snyder’s Superman just hits the problem until it falls.
The grimness of Snyder’s portrayal is not a return to the original Superman. It only shows that Snyder misses the point of both incarnations of the character.