Friday, June 28, 2013

SPOILERY: Conflict? Yeah. Multiple Dimensions? Not so much. My thoughts on Man of Steel

SPOILERY-ISH (Man of Steel thoughts) Various thoughts. Some spoilery. Read at your own risk, blah blah blah.

Wow, could there *be* any more Christ imagery in that movie?


I'm 33. I will save all mankind, even, and most especially the ones who fear they can't be saved. I hold the key to everything inside me. Yes, when I am hurt the sun will shine through my hands like in every Renaissance painting of me." 

Honestly, I was waiting for Diane Lane to call him a lamb.

Things I didn't like:

Dear Zack Snyder, I would truly appreciate it if you would not have your fight scenes go faster than than the naked eye can see. The CGI was so fast, it blurred and felt boring and gray rather than at all compelling or exciting.

I liked the darker tone of the movie. I liked him not being *such* a boy scout. 

I liked the take on it that Zod had no choice but to be who he was. But, the execution of that little plot twist was classic Tell instead of Show. Kind of sad, really.

I will never understand why the rabble always stand around and watch the super heroes/villains fighting. There are buildings falling, cars, trains, spaceships, F-16s dropping out of the sky. And what do they do? They stand and watch. No, people. You don't stand and watch. You get the hell out of Dodge.

I suppose it's so we can see that the events were witnessed. Otherwise, who would chronicle what happened. But still. Why don't they run the frick away??

All in all, it was fun. Henry Cavill makes me need to wipe my chin. 

Amy Adams was kind of wasted in the role (though she starts out pretty plucky, but really when that super baddy throws her against the wall, she should be pulverized, not just a little shaken) as was Lawrence Fishburne. (Really, Perry? You've been relegated to being an insignificant bystander who stands with his mouth open and watches what happens and does nothing to get the story? What kind of a leader/editor are you? And this is the same guy who played Morpheus. Really, a waste.)

Things I kinda liked:

I actually really liked that there was even a little bit of conflict in him. I liked that he had to fight to decide to do the right thing. I liked that he made mistakes. IMO, one of the major themes of the movie was that his parents were products of their own genetic engineering. Jor-El couldn't see the hubris of what he was doing ("He will be a god to them.") because he was not genetically capable of seeing it. However, he did know enough to give his son the right to choose. I liked that they showed the conflict in young CK about how much he wanted to show everyone who he was and what he could do. It made him human. But he was always going to be different, better in many ways, but different.

To me, there is something much more compelling about a man who chooses to do the right thing after an internal struggle than a man for whom it is preordained that he will do the right thing. That's been my problem with Superman all along. We have hardly ever seen him conflicted between what he wants and what is right. That kind of selflessness might be comfortable and comforting to the audience but it doesn't make for good storytelling in my mind. 

For better or worse, this movie made him more human. He had an ego (the line after Lois said that everything after the first kiss was downhill). He made mistakes. He killed (to save others, but he killed). That made him more relatable to me. He made tough choices. In the end, he did the right thing but not until after some struggle. In fact, I disliked what they did with most of the rest of the characters because they were so two-dimensional where CK for once wasn't.

I think this movie in many ways honored the conflict many in this society feel. (Do we/they do the right thing or do we do what serves our self-interest?) It's more sophisticated, more jaded, and more ominous in theme than in previous versions, which were a reflection of their times. The explosions, fast CGI, etc. took me out of the movie, which could have been a nice reboot for our time. In some ways, it holds up an uncomfortable mirror to us and asks us how we would choose if we had the power of a god. Personally, I like wrestling with those philosophical questions. And at the very least, the movie raised a few of those.

I'll be interested to see what they do with this franchise in its next installment.

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