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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Man of Steel: AKA: Superman: DC's New Attempt to Bring Us a Hero

Ok, maybe not that new, but lets be honest in the current verse of super hero movies, let's say the last thirteen years, Marvel is leading the pack. I mean sure, DC brought us Nolan's Batman trilogy, which was amazing, but they also gave us Green Lantern, Jonah Hex and Watchmen, so...yeah.

Marvel on the other hand has managed to launch a few different cinematic universes, The Avengers, the current Iron Man trilogy, Captain America, Thor, two different Spiderman incarnations, A slew of X-Men movies, as well as several other franchises. This is not to say that Marvel has not had it's commercial failures, The Fantastic Four movies, Daredevil, and Elektra come to mind. But given that they are producing more of the genre and lets face it The Avengers was an EPIC movie, I think it is safe to say they have a bit of a edge.

I'll start with admitting Superman was never one of my favorite heroes. I mean don't get me wrong I grew up watching Superman The Animated Series, Tim Daly will forever be the voice of Superman in my head, just as Kevin Conroy will forever be Batman, so I didn't dislike the character, and do have a fair bit of knowledge on his backstory but personally I've just always liked "realer" heroes, like Batman or to some extent Iron Man. I just always found them more relatable then and alien who lived among us and acquired his powers form our sun.

And here is where I'm gonna insert a mild SPOILERS WARNING before breaking it down for you.

The Good

1) They somehow managed to make Superman a more relatable character. There was a heavy focus on the fact that although he was an alien, he had grown up among us, as one of us. Although I could have done without the blatant Jesus reference, about him living on Earth for 33 years. We get it, he is a "god among men", give the audience a little more credit. 

2) The fact that Lois Lane was NOT a plot device. Lois Lane has always been a kickass female character. The most wonderful thing about her is even in the comics, even 75 years ago, she held her own. Let's face it, in the that we live in, it is VERY easy for a female character, especially in action/superhero movies, to simple play the role of damsel in distress. Man of Steel, was able to walk the line, sure Lois occasionally needed to be rescued, but so did several male characters. Also, Lois is the one who learns how to send General Zod. 

3) Giving Superman a REAL villain to fight. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Lex Luther, and was beyond happy to see a bunch of Lex-Corp logos, which we all know is strong foreshadowing that in some future movie, we will get our Lex Luther, but I have found I prefer Superman when he is battling aliens as opposed to human villains. I just feel like it is more of an even match and therefore more interesting. 

The Not So Good

1) The treatment of Johnathan Kent. One of the interesting things about Superman is that he had/has not one but two sets of loving parents. It is important because it makes him who he is. They instill him with strong morals and encourage him to use his abilities for the good of humanity. I think this is why Jonathan constantly discouraging Clark from helping others bothered me so much. I mean at one point he basically tells him flat out that he should have just let an ENTIRE BUS FULL OF CHILDREN DIE. I'm sorry, what?!? Then later on he refuses to let Clark save him from a tornado and his impending death. At which point, Clark stands by and watches him die! While I do understand why the Kents would be concerned over how and when Clark used his powers in today's world, I personally do not buy that Superman, no matter what Jonathan instructed him, would stand back and let/watch is father die. 

2) The Banishing of General Zod. Ok, so let me get this straight, your planet is dying, collapsing into itself, you World's best scientist has come to you imploring that you evacuate, he believes this so strongly that he steals your ENTIRE SPECIES genetic code and sends off world in the hopes of saving your race. Despite all this, instead of, oh I don't know evacuating, you take the time to hold a treason trial and send your worst members of society off planet. So much for intelligent life. 

3) Was it just me, or did everyone and there mother seem to know that Clark Kent was Superman? Listen, I fully appreciate the fact that Lois used her journalistic abilities to to discover her her hero's true identity. Plus it makes her seem like less of a moron because less face it between working with him everyday and being rescued on a pretty regular biases, she should be able to tell that Clark/Superman are the same person. But let's face it wasn't very difficult for her to figure out who he was so I'm pretty sure the government could figure it out pretty easy. Also the authorities showed up at the Kent's farm to get him at some point, so if they haven't figured out that he is Clark Kent I fear for our country. 
The Odds and Ends

1) The Casting. Some of it was spot on. I mean let's face it Henry Cavill was SPOT ON. I mean not to sound all superficial but swoon. Russell Crowe was AMAZING as Jor-El, a character I've never much cared for before, but was actually deeply upset when I realized we would not be seeing again in the film. He was the perfect blend of caring and calculating. Michael Shannon was born to play evil.

And on a slightly unrelated note, any time Michael Kelly is cast in anything, I am a happy gal.

As much as I love Amy Adams, I wasn't overly thrilled with her Lois. I can't really pinpoint why, and it wasn't that I thought she was bad, I just wasn't feeling it. I also wasn't thrilled with Kevin Costner's Jonathan Kent. He just felt a little too harsh to me.

2) The Fights. Ok, so some of  the action scenes were fabulous, but somewhere near the umpteenth encounter with General Zod, they began to feel a little long. We get it Zod and Superman are both super strong and can destroy stuff. Let's keep it moving.

3) The Satellite. It said Wayne Enterprises. So does this mean we are finally gearing toward a team up in the DC Universe? Can we get a few more individual movies then a Justice League film ala The Avengers? We we get some Black Canary, some Green Arrow, some John Stewart Green Lantern?  Can someone FINALLY make a decent Wonder Woman film? Joss Whedon wrote one...can we get that made? And before everyone starts yelling at me that he's contracted with Marvel now, JJ Abrams is working on Star Wars AND Star Trek, so anything is possible. 

All and all Man of Steel was a pretty decent film, but let's be honest here, if DC truly wants to compete with Marvel, they're gonna need to step it up a bit. 

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