Thursday, June 13, 2013
"Man of Steel" not so Super
I had the privilege of going to an advance screening of the new Superman movie “Man of Steel” this week. I have always liked the Superman comics and movies, although I slept through most of Superman II, so I had high hopes for this installment. There were many things to like about this rougher, edger version and some changes to the character that did not sit well with me and others at the screening. WARNING: there are some spoilers.
Let’s start with what was good;
First, I liked the way humans (non-superhuman) were portrayed in this version. Too often in “comic book” movies humans are portrayed as weak, helpless and fearful. In this movie the humans, particularly the soldiers will willing to fight to the death even knowing they had little or no chance against the obviously superior foes. Even non-military persons were willing to place themselves in harm’s way to help their friends.
Secondly, I liked the way they explored the mental aspect of a child growing up different than all of the other children. I think many kids feel this way at times and I think this makes Clark a little more relatable.
Purpose, lots of discussion about finding our purpose and following it. More people should strive this hard to fulfill their purpose.
Also, the production and graphics were great. It did drag a little during the middle but most of the time it moved at a good pace.
OK, What I didn’t like.
The wavering morals of Superman. This is a Superman who has no problem stealing clothing from a stranger because his were damaged in a fire. The original Superman was not a thief. Also, during the fight scenes it can be assumed that thousands of humans were killed in the resulting destruction of Metropolis, much by the hand of Superman. Apparently Kal-el has no problem with humans dyeing, as long as he doesn’t have to see them die (trying not to give away too much of the ending). Also, as Clark he starts to defend a waitress that is being sexually harassed, only to walk away when the confrontation gets physical. Leaving the woman with her idiot patrons. Clark then goes into the parking lot and destroys the assailant’s 18-wheeler. So I guess escorting a dirt bag out of a bar is crossing a line but destroying personal property for revenge is ok. This is also a Superman that lies, drinks beer, and cries (a lot).
Fatherly lessons. Clark learns from his earthly father that it is ok to let some people die so that others may live. He is further instructed that it is better to keep himself safe than it is to fight back against evil. Can we have one movie that doesn’t push liberalism down our throats?
Godlike. Several references in the movie of Superman being “god-like”. They even made his age 33yrs when he started his earthly work as Superman (think Christ). In his defense Clark does not seem to view himself this way.
Fighting abilities. We learn from the movie that on Krypton people are genetically engineered and raised to perform a certain role in society. With that in mind General Zod was created and trained to be the ultimate warrior, yet gets man handled by the Jor-el who was raised and trained as a scientist. Further Kal-El who was raised to never defend himself or fight back suddenly becomes so proficient in his ability to fight that he is able to tangle with Zod AND all of his warrior minions who also have his super strength and speed.
No Jimmy Olsen.Not sure how I feel about Superman killing someone. The original Superman always found a way to spare life but this Superman kills Zod by breaking his neck with his bare hands. It was portrayed in the movie as that he had no choice. The real Superman would have found away.
Unnecessary foul language. Although there was not a lot of it, the cursing in the movie seemed out of place. It made otherwise intelligent, likable characters seem neither. It felt like the words were added not to enhance the movie but to surprise the audience. It takes away from a movie when the director is forced to resort to this to keep the audience watching. The movie would have been better without it.
Overall not a bad movie but wish they hadn’t soiled a beloved character like Superman. Superman has always been the example that all other Superhero’s are compared to and the bar of what is best and right with America values. That bar just got lowered.