MBTI: Man of Steel’s INFJ Versus the Comics’ ESFJ


If you can’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s Man of Steel. Is it Dark Knight good? Nah. But what is?

And though I’ve argued with several of you about most characters that are brought to film from their respective source retaining the same personality if the writer had any sense, Man of Steel’s Superman does seem to be an exception. Last year we typed the overall character of Superman as being an ESFJ but the movie does have some different elements to it that differ from the comics.

So how does this change the character of Superman? Well, Supergeeks, let’s have a look-see.Many of the complaints of Man of Steel centered around Superman being something of a blank slate. He had no personality so they claimed and a lot of this was covered in the Defense of Man of Steel you can read in the link. Much of what was mentioned in that post relates to the change in Superman’s character from comics to film and as far as I’m concerned, they were necessary ones.

So how is the comics Superman an ESFJ?

"What is that? A cat, a kid, or a balloon? Whatever, I'm saving it."

“What is that? A cat, a kid, or a balloon? Whatever, I’m saving it.”

Something else we’ve discussed in the typing of the comics’ Superman involves him being just an everyday guy. At this point, nobody that Clark Kent doesn’t want to know who he is ain’t gonna figure it out. Superman comes and goes as he pleases, doing what he wants while everybody approves.

And why wouldn’t they? Superman is a great guy whose objectives are simple as are his actions. He fights monsters that want to destroy the city, he stops kids from smoking (Gotta love that) and still makes it home to his wonderful wife that more-or-less runs the show.

Superman’s world is a good one and the only problems that enter into it are people/aliens/beings that want to mess with his life. He doesn’t go out of his way to make trouble and his only real flaws are being too good. Because when you’re too likable, people want to know what secrets you’re hiding.

"Did you tell Diana my SECRET, Clark?! I know you did, you GOSSIPER."

“Everybody thinks you’re SOoO perfect, Clark! But I know better!”

How does all this relate to the ESFJ?

You already know how. ESFJs live in a world surrounded by people they care about and they don’t really want to know much else.

A patriotic friend that’s ready to die for the military doesn’t care so much about seeing the world as he does having a job and forming a bond with his fellow soldiers. A helpful family member wants to be a nurse because hey, it’s a job, and you help people. Intellectual pursuits isn’t what they’re after so much as it is their security and the security of others.

While Superman performs the impossible feats he does so with the simplicity of the ESFJ you know.

*Superman saves Metropolis*

“No Problem citizens! It’s just my job!”

*WHOOSH! Flies off, never realizing it’s not actually his job*

I bet those birds don't even poop on him.

I bet those birds don’t even poop on him.

I hardly even need to mention that just about every superhero parody ever created is made after Superman; underwear, spit curl, glistening smile and all. He is the ultimate superhero as ESFJ is the model whatever-they-choose-to-be.

Notice that Superman gets outsmarted by those around him and that’s really the only way he can be beaten. Because when it comes to strength, speed, and any other ability he has, he’ll always win. Sure he died, but that didn’t last long, now did it?

So how is the Man of Steel Superman different?

"Do you 'Murica?"

“Do you ‘Murica?”

I just posted the Silver Surfer INFJ article and we already understand the basics of the INFJ anyway, don’t we? No, because you’ll never understand the INFJ. They’re so…misunderstood.

Deep, introverted (Maybe the most! No? Fine), and full of thoughts that will never cross your mind until they let you in, the INFJ is a rarity you may not have even met in your life. And if you have, you probably just passed them off as another ISFJ because that’s how they seem. On the surface, they appear timid, mild and all other adjectives that fall in line with those. In their head however, is one imaginative individual.

Jesus is often thought to have been this type if you can type him at all. Director Zack Snyder didn’t really try to downplay the connection he was making between Christ and the only guy on the planet who could save us from death with powers no one else on the planet has. You know the deal.

"Is there anywhere to sneak a slow motion punch in there somewhere? No? Dang." -Zack Snyder

“Is there anywhere to sneak a slow motion punch in there somewhere? No? Dang.” -Zack Snyder

But saying that Jesus was probably INFJ and Superman bares a resemblance doesn’t really cut the cheese(!), does it? Nope. But notice that Superman isn’t the same happy-go-lucky guy he is in the comics. In the books, he’s just another guy trying to make it in his life as Clark Kent and hoping to protect Metropolis from the next wannabe supervillain. And it’s normal for some big alien freak to show up and try to kill everybody.

But in Man of Steel, all of this is new to the world. People fear Superman and he’s afraid of doing the tiniest thing to set off their fears. Like sneezing and blowing someone’s head off. This is very similar to the INFJ’s outlook on the world.

"Dear diary, will I have an entry for YOU!"

“Dear diary, will I have an entry for YOU!”

Not that they’re physically powerful enough to rip your car door off while trying to open it, but they’re so emotionally cautious (and hopefully, aware) of everyone’s affect on each other that they may take a while to live up to their potential while trying to figure out just what in the hell they’re doing here.

Superman is trying to come off like a normal guy and not cause widespread panic but eventually knows that if he doesn’t take things into his own hands, bad things are-a-comin’. INFJs themselves don’t necessarily have more problems than other people (Who’s counting, amirite? HAW), they’re just much more aware of the consequences that come with theirs and others decisions. So making that decision can be hard when the impending result could be awful.

Clark Kent in Man of Steel has that whole sorrowful look of introspection the entire movie, much like a real INFJ will have. They’re not saying anything, but if you’re paying any attention at all, you can see it. Will they tell you? No, probably not, but you know something’s up.

That face looks like his back is killing him.

That face looks like his back is killing him.

As I’ve said, if a character represents anything in their film like their original counterpart, they should be the same thing. Take Loki for example, a character that seems to get argued more so than any other character. In the comics, he is what he is; but after being portrayed by that oh-so-handsome Tom Fiddleysticks, he’s viewed as a butthurt daddy’s boy that just wants to be loved. No, he’s still the same ol’ magnificent bastard that he is in the comics, sorry to tell ya.

"AlakaZAM! You're self-respect, humility, and underwear have now vanished."

“Alakazam! Your self-respect, humility, and underwear have now vanished.”

But Clark’s world is changed from the comics, where flying around with your underwear on the outside of your pants is normal to the “real” world, where nobody else can do with the man of steel does. He’s a loner, a freak, and they make a point to mention that in reality- he would be kind of scary.

ESFJ Superman probably wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to conceal himself, attempting to live his normal life rather than becoming a vagabond.

Let’s hear it! I want opinions!

20 Responses to “MBTI: Man of Steel’s INFJ Versus the Comics’ ESFJ”

  1. Which Superman do you prefer, Taylor? ESFJ or INFJ?

    • Taylor Says:

      Never been a Superman guy really, but I liked Man of Steel so I guess I’d go with INFJ. Though a real-life ESFJ superhero would be interesting…

      • I’ve never been much of a Superman guy either. But Man of Steel was good.

        Now, what about Ben Affleck as Batman? Do you think we’ll get the Nolan ISTJ Batman? Or the INTJ Batman?

        • Taylor Says:

          Oy…As long as we don’t get Affman, I’ll be fine with either. Though the bigger scale story leads me to think INTJ would be more appropriate.

  2. I have an idea for a post. Type Green Lantern. If not all the 4 big ones, then just Hal Jordan, since he’s my favorite Green Lantern.

    • Taylor Says:

      They’d be interesting to do but I think I’ve read maybe one Green Lantern comic in my entire life. Don’t think that’s enough to qualify me as the man to type them. What do you think?

  3. I’ve never gotten the privilege to read any comic book. Just movies. Animated & live action. Hal seems ESFP to me. John Stewart is ISTJ. But I don’t know about the other two.

    • Taylor Says:

      Never read a comic book? What would our location be?

    • PaulB Says:

      Yup, Hal Jordan is ESFP. This is how I would type the primary Justice League:

      Superman: INFJ (at least, when they do him well, and give him some depth)
      Batman: INTJ. I’ve wanted to say INFJ at times, but INTJ is most fitting.
      Wonder Woman: ENFJ – strong, protective, and vocal
      Green Lantern (Hal): ESFP
      Flash (Barry Allen): INFP
      Aquaman: ENTJ
      Martian Manhunter: INTP

  4. I’m much more of a DC fan than Marvel. Batman being my all time favorite superhero.

  5. I’ve read this article several times, and Taylor, you’ve done an excellent job. As an INFJ, it’s always interesting to understand how we’re viewed. I think you are spot on with this judgement.
    I do have issues with how Goyer & Snyder fleshed out Clark’s character, mainly in that they didn’t do all that much. I think they wanted to drive home the fact that he’s “just an average guy” – he drinks beer, watches football, and (as Snyder puts in an interview, which shocked MANY Superman fans) not a virgin (I mean, any other hero, sure, but Superman? He’s supposed to be THE prude!).
    But like you point out, you need to just look at Clark and the subtle things he does – looks down (sort of inwardly), looks up at the sky, always has this look that suggests there’s more going on inside than you can know. He also shows a great curiosity and need to find meaning.

    I think we can see Superman as similar to Captain America in some ways, but while Cap is a do-gooder just because it’s the American way, Superman (when done right) is a more complex and abstract thinker, acting out of morality because, as you so brilliantly pointed out, he sees clearly what consequences may result from his action and/or inaction, and cares enough to act in order to produce positive effects. That’s the difference between a Guardian and Idealist hero. Waid’s “Birthright” does this depth of character justice.

    I understand now why my best friend sees me as very similar to Superman.

    Do you like either version (ESFJ or INFJ) of Superman better? Do you think either captures more of the “essence” of who the character is?

    • And since you’re a fellow superhero nerd (Rightly so!), which superhero do you feel most similar to? I’m going to guess Invincible?

  6. Taylor Says:

    Kind of funny, I’m actually watching Man of Steel right now. I appreciate the comment. It’s cool that anybody reads this, much less more than once. It’s difficult to say which Superman I favor as I love the movie and I’m not a big fan of the comics.

    But to sum it up, they both do what they’re meant to do as well as they could do it. I don’t mean to repeat myself if I said this in the post but I haven’t read it in a while. INFJ Superman is something of a reflection of the entire character, with his uniqueness weighing down on him while also being his strength. ESFJ Superman does the right thing because it’s the right thing. There’s nothing weighted about it. Both have their place because to focus on your place in the universe and do the right thing isn’t better or worse than to just do the right thing.

    So for MOS Clark to figure himself out as the only one of his kind (or rather regrettably making himself the only one of his kind) and for comic Superman to just be happy in the act of helping are both pretty admirable. MOS Superman is Superman as a whole but comics Superman IS Superman. So I couldn’t decide, though MOS is what made me respect Superman as a comic book character.

    Tough to say with the superheroes. I would put him up there but he’s so powerful I’m hesitant to go with him. Multiple Man is probably my guy. Not a superhero per se, not any more than the other X-Men but I’d still count him. Plus his powers aren’t nearly as powerful as invincible but he still gets creative with them.

  7. You are so on point with all of these articles. DAMN!

  8. John Swartz Says:

    I’m an INFJ. Your article really helps me understand myself! a

  9. franzkfk Says:

    It is truth. I know because I felt it. And yes…I am an INFJ.

  10. I am an INFJ and have the same traits as Superman from Man of Steel. I can even fly too as I am pilot, but I need an aeroplane to do it. I love to help people to achieve positive results without much fanfare in return. (Its a “you’re welcome, glad to help” modest kind of response).. I am usually the quiet reflective one in the room getting a situational awareness of things to come and how I can better people’s lives all around. I am fully on the premise that if I am not doing something to make someone’s / anyone’s life better than I am wasting my time. I think Henry Cavill’s character in Man of Steel’s spot on INFJ.

    No one reading this obvious has super powers as Superman does, but IMHO the “alien”character of Superman from Man of Steel is the epitome of how we all should be. If this was the case, the world would be a much better place for everyone.

    The irony as Bruce Wayne said in “Justice League”, Superman was more human than he was because how he lived and treated people.

    Have a great day all!


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