MAN OF STEEL (2013)
[WARNING: SUPER SPOILERS!]
[WARNING: INCREDIBLY LONG!]
Brad: First of all I gotta say that I really feel bad for the kids of today. Seems like all the great classic superheroes are completely different for them as it was for us. This isn’t a “Where-Have-All-The-Good-Times-Gone” kind of generational gripe but it seems every superhero has to be depressing and downtrodden these days. Batman has gotten increasingly darker over the years. Last year’s Amazing Spider-Man was mopey and angsty and now even Superman is depressing. It doesn’t have to be so campy or corny like the 50s but the Donner/Reeve Superman movies were a great example of a fun superhero movie. While his symbol stands for “hope,” this movie couldn’t be further from feeling any good feelings at all.
Brian: I see your point, the whole thing was just on kind of a down note. Except for the ending there was like 3 minutes of levity in the entire picture, when he was in the interrogation room. However, I’m kind of glad they didn’t put in goofy crap. We had that already. This movie had to distance itself from the other Supermans and it did. Maybe it was a little too Batman Begins-y but that’s ok.
Brad: Sure they got distance away from the campy 80s Superman flicks but they lost the essence of him also. I understand the whole stay in the closet Superman because the world will not accept you premise but he didn’t do squat to prove himself as a hero. He was just as much a target as the human race was in the movie and after saving one colonels life do they deem him worthy of being a good guy.
I said last night that this movie was too sci-fi for my liking and we can discuss that later but the other gripe I have now after sleeping on it is they went too big too soon. Way too much happened, destructive-wise, I mean in this movie for an origin story. It was great in Reeve’s Superman II that they had Zod and his gang. The first one established Superman as a outcast young man who learns his past and powers and saves people in Metropolis and gains the public trust and adoration. Then he meets up with a human foe of Lex Luthor who has a simple and nefarious plot which is feasible enough to believe and Superman has a tough time trying to solve the problem and ultimately fails. But then cheats a little for love and then saves the world and puts Luthor in jail. THEN the sequel has him against a bigger group of foes with the same powers as him. What will Man of Steel do for the sequel? How do you go from Independence Day-like destruction to a Lex Luthor evil scheme?
Brian: Well he did that whole saving planet Earth thing…
But did you want a slow movie? Did you want ANOTHER full-on Superman origin story? I don’t think making a movie while worrying about what you’re going to do in a sequel is very smart. Think about the first Superman movie, his major battle was with an earthquake. Then he f’d that up so he spun the Earth backwards. If that had happened in this you would have called bullshit. I think nostalgia for the first two plays a real heavy hand in people our age liking them so much.
Brad: My quick synopsis of the first movie was not intended as a desire to remake the origin story AGAIN. In fact when I heard that this was going to be an origin story I groaned because Superman doesn’t need an origin movie. He’s 75 years old and most kids are inbred with the knowledge of how Superman came to be. More kids on this Earth know the origin of Superman than the story of Jesus probably.
Speaking of Jesus, this film played that similarity a little too blatant, don’t you agree? They even had him in church! And he said he was 33 years old. And the line that bugged me most was the Zod’s female lieutenant said something about evolution always winning or something, implying that evolution is bad since the villain agrees with it.
True about nostalgia but I think the filmmakers have that burden as well. In the comics, Superman has a ton of villains yet in 6 Superman movies we have had Luthor 4 times and Zod twice. I’m not a big Superman comics can but I’m sure someone else would’ve been interesting to start off on a smaller scale.
Brian: It turned me off to the movie when I first heard they were going to have his origin again. But I actually thought the Smallville scenes were good. Except Pa Kent dying because he went back to save a F*CKING DOG.
Yeah it was pretty heavy on the Jesus. The parts that stood out the most were when he was sitting in the church and behind him there was a stained glass window of Jesus with basically a red cape on. (By the way, why was that scene in there? Couldn’t he have just had that conversation with Ma Kent?) And then when he leaves Zod’s ship through the hole he made he does a blatant Christ on the cross pose. I’m surprised there wasn’t a scene where his palms bled.
They should definitely move on to other villains, but thinking about it, Batman is the only DC hero with good villains. All of Superman’s villains are lame. I’m sure Lex Luthor and maybe Brainiac will be in the sequel, and a live-action Braniac seems hokey.
Brad: DC comics have mediocre heroes! They are all very basic and bland. The Flash. Hawkman. Wonder Woman. Green Lantern is interesting enough but we all know how that film turned out. Batman is only really good when he’s dark and gritty. Superman is a flying strong man with heat-ray vision (I’m kinda shocked they used that power so much in this film) and like I’ve said a 100 times too basic for a reboot. Maybe he only works well on a basic level like the Reeve movies. He’s the best Good Samaritan super hero. Only looking out for all the poor slobs of the world. In this film he was more focused on beating up Zod’s gang that he didn’t give two shits about how many people were dying in the wake of the battles. Dozens of skyscrapers were falling down and I’m sure 1000s of people died as a result. Even in Smallville there had to be countless casualties. The first thing I thought of when he attacked Zod because Zod threatened Ma Kent was that he left the other villains with Ma Kent. They could’ve killed her. Reeve’s Superman (or earlier-era Supes) would’ve punched Zod away from his mom and got her to safety. That’s the true Superman way. Getting upset (he pounds Zod’s face like a dozen times) and resorting to ultra-violence is not what I want to see Superman do.
Brian: Hahaha, did you really just say, “That’s the true Superman way”? But yeah it seems like everyone is pointing out how Superman punching Zod through buildings causing them to topple likely led to numerous civilian deaths, and probably a lot of ruined lives in general.