The more I hear people wishing Batman would take down Superman, the more I believe it comes from a greater hatred of power than of its abuse. The current popular iterations of Batman are of a tyrant building his kingdom, an autocrat ruling Gotham with an iron fist, an angry billionaire of unchecked privilege and brutality. Somehow Superman is the one labeled overpowered and unrelatable.
People keep saying he's invincible and therefore a bad character. But Superman's weakness isn't just Kryptonite. In the biggest comic event of all time, the mofo was straight-up beaten to death in a fist fight.
His weaknesses include magic, mind-control, various diseases, other Kryptonians, and the bajillion other aliens that are just as powerful, or more powerful, but are dicks about it. He's vulnerable to super-sharp weapons, the light of a red sun, pretty much every energy weapon I've ever seen. He can be out-smarted, caught by Green Lantern rings, or Black Lantern rings. And there are always nuclear weapons. If he has a greatest weakness, it's probably the emergencies of normal people who he constantly puts his own life on hold to assist. That's why I like him better than Batman. Increasingly, Batman is a fantasy of punishing someone, where Superman is a fantasy of helping someone.
The best Superman stories pit him in conflicts of morality. In "For the Man Who Has Everything," he has to give up an illusion of the life he wants in order to return to reality and save us. It's haunted me ever since - the idea that the guy we take for granted to help us actually doesn't want us. In "Kingdom Come," he returns from retirement to try to change the course of a culture that's gone so violent he can barely stand to look at it. In recent comics he's been marching alongside Black Lives Matter protesters to protect them and signal-boost their message, but you probably didn't read that comic because you've decided his stories always suck. It seems the only people who read it were bigots who were upset he'd "betray his race".
And then there's this. The page below has helped multiple friends of mine who were struggling with severe depression.
I will take this one Superman page over pretty much anything else in comic book history. It's from Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman, which I can't recommend highly enough.
Superman's biggest weakness is bad writing, and he's endured hundreds of "bad guy needs punching" stories. But it's not like Spider-Man and Furiosa haven't plot-armored their way to victory before. Tony Stark is beloved despite constantly creating a gadget that lets him win. The dark truth is that we like Stark because he's an asshole. Superman dares be compassionate and powerful.
I hated Superman when I was a kid, rebelling against the image of the guy who could do anything and did the moral thing rather than what he wanted. That made sense. It was the mentality of a child. I was uncomfortable with how many things society wanted me to feel.
As an adult, people have tried to keep me hating Superman out of a notion of him being overpowered, which exposes an ignorance of how his stories actually go. Even in Zach Snyder's deeply flawed Man of Steel, Superman loses more fist fights than he wins.
It's unfortunate to define him by the trite stories about him being so powerful that he can only win the battle. Consider instead that the greatness of a paragon emerges, not from defeating someone, but in using power with compassion for those who don't have it. Especially in an expanded universe, it's greatly helpful to have characters that exist on the ends of spectrums. A character whose "Must" is to do right, and who is untethered from inability to do so, instead restrained by morality and emotion, shouldn't be so easily rejected. Rejecting such an idea is particularly sad today, when it seems everyone is terrified of real Lex Luthors.
If Superman is outdated, then we need to remix his themes into our work. Modern Fantasy and Science Fiction has an alarming paucity of characters whose prime motivation is to help.