Monday, June 17, 2013

Man of Steel: The Good, The Not-So Good and The...oh my gosh Henry Cavill is H-O-T!

I love Superman. I could watch and read about him for days. I love him as a superhero, I love him as an allegorical representation of American values and of globalization. I love him as a semiotic interpretation of what it means to be American (more on that here). He is the ultimate hero. I think that it is because of this love, not in-spite of it, that the latest incarnation of this hero leaves me wanting and yearning for a Superman who may not want to be the embodiment of a culture and who may not be the man I thought he was. I'm not sure I can exactly explain why Man of Steel doesn't have me doing cartwheels naked in the rain, but I'll try below.

Here is the requisite spoiler alert...of course, there are going to be spoilers. If you've never seen a Superman movie or watched "Smallville" or "Lois and Clark" or a Star Wars movie, or the Matrix trilogy, you might want to avert your eyes.

The Good
  1. It's Superman, how could it not be good. There are so many touching human scenes (mostly told in flashback, my favorite device) to tell us the story of Superman and, if you think you know the story think again because some aspects have been turned on their heads in surprising mostly not unpleasant ways.
  2. It would seem that everyone knows who Superman really is, as he's been traveling the world under assumed names, which I found interesting to see played out in the movie.
  3. Lois Lane is not a girly girl, although she looks like one. Because she figures out who Superman is early on, we get to see all the mushy romantic stuff and it doesn't get kissed away at the end.
  4. I love that there's so much time devoted to Krypton and Krypton is marvelous. There's some sort of flying dragon creature and tall dark buildings and pod babies (think The Matrix, not Pod people). Russell Crowe rocks as Jor-El (and, he better as we get to see a lot of him throughout the movie--another pleasant surprise) and I like the Lara is a fleshed out character who doesn't just wilt into the snowy white background.
  5. General Zod isn't just a villain he's a terrorist. And, like most terrorist he's literally been programmed to keep Krypton and his way of life safe by any means necessary. Wow, that's powerful to watch.
The Not-So Good
  1. I am tired, literally, of fight scenes that last so long that I forget who's fighting and why; I forget what I'm watching. There is a fight scene at the end of this movie that makes those long scenes in The Matrix: Reloaded and Revolutions seem short and kind of wimpy). Where are all the people? Aren't Superman and General Zod killing half of Metropolis as they throw each other into the sky to come crashing down on cars and lamp poles? Isn't Metropolis smashed into the ground, as they use each other to knock down entire buildings and turn whole entire city blocks into burning piles of debris? It feels like the filmmakers thought we'd just forget that. I can't, as that's some epic destruction that will take years to rebuild. That's a lot of trauma to the innocent lives of people we see scurrying away from the ruble and the flames.
  2. Call me a purist, but I really don't like Jonathan Kent in this movie. To clarify or muddy the waters, whatever, I totally like the way Kevin Costner plays Jonathan Kent, but his stubborn, Jesus-like sacrifice is a bit much.
  3. Where's my funny witty dialogue via Lois and Clark banter?
  4. Where's my NERDY Clark!? He was on screen for about 10 seconds...instead we get Rugged Frontier Clark for about half the movie. Rugged? Clark? Even shirtless, I didn't really like it.
  5. Ok, so I'm only well-schooled in certain aspects of Superman lore and mythology, but isn't he not supposed to kill anyone? I do not like that he snaps the neck of General Zod to save that family. I understand that Zod didn't give him a choice, I understand that Zod couldn't go on living if his plan didn't work, I understand that it would have been improbable if Zod had lived in the end but did Superman really HAVE TO SNAP HIS [INSERT YOUR CUSSWORD OF CHOICE] NECK!? I don't think so and that whole bit felt like it was on purpose as I think I was able to adjust to every part of this reboot, but that. It kind of reminded me of that part in Star Wars Episode III...I spent most of I and II wondering how they were going to make Anakin evil enough that he'd go to the dark side and when he kills that group of little adorable Jedi padawans it broke my heart in a way that I've yet to recover. I'm having that same feeling now. And, while he feels remorse and cries into Lois' waiting arms he friggin' SNAPPED HIS NECK! Ohhhh, the humanity.

The...oh my gosh Henry Cavill is H-O-T
I'm sorry I only gave him a slight nod when seeing him in Stardust a few years back. Perfect Superman...the proof is below.

and, finally...

The Elephant in the Room
I really, really like Superman Returns. I suppose I like it because it helps me to forget those awful movies after Superman II and it reminisces a bygone era and pays homage to the late and perfectly great Christopher Reeves and his 'Superman Saga'...I don't understand how people think this is a bad thing.

In conclusion to this long Superman ramble...
Will I watch it again? Yes (maybe in the theatres, since my husband didn't go see it with me). Will I own it on Blu-Ray the second it comes out? Of course. Will I watch the next one, although I have no idea where they're going to go after this? Most definitely, and in the theatres. Will I learn to gush and love it as much as other people seem to do? I dunno, ask me tomorrow, right now I'm busy watching Superman and Superman II, after that I may watch ...Returns, you know, for closer.

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