Archive | March, 2016

While waiting for Batman V Superman, some thoughts on Man of Steel

23 Mar

With Batman v Superman launching this weekend, I felt the need to try and defend The Man of Steel one final time.  Now, I understand that it is a film people either love or hate.  There seemed to be little middle ground in defense of it.  And that’s perfectly fine.  Our modern America is not one given to middle of the road viewpoints anymore.   But the movie is a complicated movie and needs a deeper look at some issues, I would suggest.   And before anyone states that I am a Snyder fanboy, who can’t view the movie through a fair lens, I must confess, that this is Zack Snyder’s only movie I love.  I did appreciate his Watchmen, but I can’t say I truly loved it and I can’t stand ANY of his other movies.

For one thing, although it’s a movie about Superman, it is an attempt to tell a more realistic version of the Superman story than the Christopher Reeves movies of our youth.  If beings truly could fly, crash through the moon, and burn the skin off other beings with a glance, we would be in a great danger.  The criminals are evil and Superman has great difficulty stopping them.  Plus, this is “Superman Year One.” He does not use his powers in the open and he is not familiar with having to stop a serious crisis like he faces.  Unless these basic facts are understood, the movie will be very difficult to appreciate.

A major concern in the movie is Kevin Costner’s Pa Kent.  People didn’t like that he told young Clark that he possibly should have let the bus of children die.  But if this was truly Jonathon’s only child, and Jonathon lived in the real world and knew that the government would be VERY interested in a child that could lift a bus out of water, he might be concerned with Clark using his gifts so openly.  Later, for much the same reason, he tells Clark to not save him during the storm so Clark can have a normal life, something he knows Superman will not be able to do.

The biggest concerns people had though with the movie was the final act.  The sheer amount of destruction that is unleashed on Metropolis and how Superman did not save everyone.  Once again, this is Clark’s first real crisis as Superman.  He is fighting an army of beings just like him, who are not holding back at all and are unleashing devastation that is unimaginable on the earth.  Any time he left the battlefield to save one or even one hundred people, the Kryptonian army would slaughter thousands.  Yes, it would have been simple to show Clark try and save a few people here or there, but the movie focused on the major issue, of the true terror Kryptonians would unleash on our planet.

Another issue a reviewer raised was the Superman left Metropolis to take out the machine in the Indian Ocean, where no one was, while a similar machine was destroying Metropolis.  But Metropolis had the military attempting to, and eventually successfully, destroying that machine.  The army would not have made it in time to stop the machine in the Indian Ocean.  Meanwhile, without stopping it, the world would be destroyed.  So Superman left Metropolis to the military while he saved the planet, from certain destruction.

Man of Steel is not a perfect movie and it isn’t the best superhero movie.  But it does a fantastic job I would argue of showing what life with godlike beings would be like for humans.  At the moment children from Krypton arrive on Earth, life would change forever. Snyder shows this and also shows that a young man can rise above his fears and personal shortcomings to save mankind.  From all descriptions in both the trailers and press releases, Superman will be much more like his classic form in his new movie this weekend.  Batman, meanwhile, will be an entirely different story.