Saturday, December 28, 2013

Why You Should Watch MAN OF STEEL

I finally got around to watching Superman MAN OF STEEL on DVD. I had intended to watch it in the theater but it came and went with the speed such movies do these days. We can no longer count on even a few months run in local theaters anymore. Too bad because this is the sort of movie that should be seen in a big screen to be fully appreciated.

My HD computer monitor and surround speakers did a pretty good job of presenting the movie anyway.  However you watch it, make a point of seeing this movie at least once; it should not disappoint.

No Spoiler Alerts

I hate it when people try to be clever or gain more attention to their blogs by spilling the beans about great movie elements meant to be a surprise. In this case there aren’t any. Anyone already familiar with the Superman mythos from the comic books or having seen the previous movies knows all of the things in this movie storyline. You might even recognize some parts of previous films woven into this movie.

One thing you likely have not seen before is good, quality acting. Most of the previous incarnations of Superman were either campy or deliberately comic. Not so this time. MAN OF STEEL was put together by people who respected the story and respect the audience. I am long past tired of Hollywood morons who want to “humanize” a superhero. Kind of negates the whole “escapist fantasy,” doesn’t it?

But this acting – I don’t usually care much for it in action films but this is so much better because of the dedication and effort the actors put in. Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent: works. Russell Crowe as Jor El: works. Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White: works. The biggest treat for me in the whole film is, Amy Adams works as Lois Lane.

My Least Favorite Character

I have not like Lois Lane in any of her incarnations, whether animated, sketched or performed live. She comes across as an arrogant, reckless brat who thinks she is always right but invariably gets trapped in lethal situations. Most of the time I wished Superman would be too busy saving someone else to get around to saving that woman again for like the 90,000th time.

Ms. Adams’ Lois is not so brash. When she is in danger here it is natural to the story and her profession. More than that, her reactions to the various reveals in the movie are natural, the way most people would react when confronted with the reality of an alien living amongst us. I simply like her—that’s a first.

Not So Special Effects

One of the things that jumps out at you about the MAN OF STEEL is the way the effects seem to fit in the story. What I have termed “Organic Effects”, the way Superman’s powers and the technology of Krypton appears in the movie is interesting without being gaudy.

Since the advent of the STAR WARS phenomenon we have endured decades of big budget sci fi adventure movies with special effects storming the screen with all the subtlety of a carnival huckster. The movie pauses while the effects showcase their dazzling presence. The MATRIX movies were perhaps first to weave the effects into the movie but they were still a bit too eye-popping. When the movie ended most conversation revolved around the effects. Story and acting lagged far behind.

Krypton, My Home

I have to applaud another change brought to this movie. The creators made an effort to fill out the Kryptonian homeworld. Gone are the widespread, sterile crystal spires of the previous film. It looked like an advanced world a sci fi reader would expect to see. A world possessed of native flora and fauna, topography and most importantly, a culture., Kryptonians had passion. Like humans, they suffered from ambition, arrogance, self-delusion and other failings sentient beings can fall prey to. No matter which side you agree with, it is nice to see plausible arguments and protests presented. The villains in the story didn’t see themselves as villains but as beings possessed of a singular, noble vision. The story is more real for it.

Clark Kent

There is nothing else to add about the movie except to address the most glaring failing of all other versions of the story. Everyone in our world wonders how nobody in his world could make the connection between Clark and Superman. In this movie, some do – and the story is better for it.

There are a few nods to past versions of the Superman
story. However, the scenes are much more subtle and only noticeable by devoted fan boys. Instead of the heavy-handed homage to STAR TREK II: The Wrath of Khan seen in JJ Abrams’ STAR TREK: Into Darkness, we see the shadings of the characters from SUPERMAN II on screen here. I liked it. I like the nod to the previous characters and like the fact that they did it without flashing a big blinking arrow at each of them.

In summary, the movie works – works far better than all other movies on this topic combined. General Zod talks about building a new Krypton on the foundation of Earth’s ruin. This movie will be the foundation of a series of very well made movies certain to please, certain to thrill and certain to be as exciting as anything else you are going to see. Someone has finally done justice to the man who fought for -


“Truth, Justice and the American way.”

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