Sunday, June 16, 2013

D.S. Brown - Movie Reviews - The Man Of Steel

The much awaited Man of Steel is a sweeping, epic, thoroughly rewarding, intergalactic romp through the universe that brings the might of gods to the world of men. 

It delves into the nature of humanity, the virtues of nature versus the perils of technology, and what happens when the mandates of structure and power couched in a rationalization of evil collides headlong with the result of power nurtured in love, faith, and responsibility.  And Man of Steel does this on two worlds. 

To many, these conflicts of morality, life colliding with tragic death, this is our everyday, and it is much too weighty a matter for a Superman movie.  Some want to hearken back to 1978, when a man put on a red and blue suit at the behest of a dead father whose image was encased in crystal, and went out into the world to stop bank robbers … and save a cat in a tree. 

Love, laughter, a bit of comedy, nuclear destruction, the power to control time, a goofy photographer, and a witty spitfire girl reporter who had no concept of danger combined with the man in the suit to bring magic to the screen, a Superman for all time.  I remember it well, and I was enthralled.  I still love to watch that movie, and I remember well what it was like the first time Superman took flight from the Fortress of Solitude.  It gave me goosebumps. 

However, it is not 1978.  It is 2013.  The world has changed, and yes our entertainment has evolved.  Many of us, most of us, love and reminisce, but our suspension of disbelief asks for something more, something a bit more serious, a bit more engrossing, even as we seek escape in the silver screen.  Our suspension of disbelief demands it. 

Not all of us, but many of us, want our heroes to be as real as possible, conflicted, damaged, growing always, even if they have the power to bend steel in their bare hands.

This is not your campy Superman.  This is not your bright and sometimes
quirky Boy Scout Superman.  This is not your 1978 Superman.  This is not
Christopher Reeves.  And though Christopher Reeves was the Superman, we must understand that he was Superman for only an age.

Many of my contemporaries those who knew Superman from George Reeves on television and then watched as Christopher Reeve catapulted the character onto the big screen will not like this Superman. 

They will think him too dark, too serious.  They won’t know that the character has evolved in the comic books as well.  They will want their Christopher Reeve back. They will say the story is too heavy.  They will say it’s a Science Fiction movie, and not a Superhero movie at all.  They will say he is not the big blue Boy Scout and they will want their Boy Scout back.  They will talk about the violence and the Man of Steel's disregard for life.  The will forget to have fun while they are brooding in the theater for a Superman from a bygone era.

Christopher Reeve was Superman, and we loved him as the character.  Henry Cavill is Superman, and he does an absolutely outstanding job.  He takes on the mantle of the Man of Steel and carries it as though born to the role.   

He elevates the Man of Steel into the world of today. This is not the world of Atari like super computers in the Grand Canyon, and comedians as geniuses or clown like criminal masterminds that launch rockets stolen from the military. 

No, this movie is for an audience that has changed and wants to know what such outlandish fantasy as a flying man from Krypton would be like mated to the world in which we live. 

This is truly gods among men, and no matter how hard one would want to protect human life, if men and women with the power of gods were to fight in the streets of a city people would die by the thousands. 

This is ugly and uncomfortable but it gives the film a realistic gravitas that many of us
old fans as well as those who live and love superhero fantasy in a post 9/11 world recognize and perhaps even expect.  To be different would be unacceptable and dismissed as just plain silly. 

You can't have two men who can through locomotives hundreds of miles pussy footing in the streets and managing to avoid loss of life with every blow:

“No!” Superman yelled.  “General Zod, let us take this fight of throwing buildings at each other to the park just outside the city.  You know, so we don’t hurt the people”   

The General cocked an eyebrow, raising his chin.  “Yes, Kal-El  These insignificant mortals you love so much mean nothing to me.  Let us go outside the city, where you WILL KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!”

Yeah … right.

Again, these are aliens with the power to change the course of mighty rivers, and only one is striving to protect the lives of us humans.  Gods among men.  Man of Steel depicts this epic conflict in perhaps the most visually powerful, arresting super powered conflict ever put to screen.  Avengers can’t even begin to hold a candle to the fight between Superman and Zod. 

If you fancy a superhero fight to boggle the mind, and stir the insides both in scale and destruction, making you feel pain at the sheer loss of life you know would happen in such a conflict, if you yearn for an epic battle, see Man of Steel. 

Now, there are parts of this movie that I had to work through.  I missed some mainstays, and you will know what they are.  I had to get accustomed to changed characters, some that are only sideline characters in the comics dying, characters that I truly liked.  And as ever much of the overall premise still pushes credulity.  I know I must work with my suspension of disbelief as I grow older in a real world of ever greater
Wonders, where man and machine are coming together to produce real life people
of tomorrow. 

But I think too deeply on this point, right?  After all, it’s just a movie.  And I say this to you, if you would see a great movie.  If you would believe a man could fly and defend us against assured destruction from power beyond our comprehension, then go see Man of Steel.  And remember, don’t dissect or over-think, or call out what you think is wrong.  Just go with the flow, enjoy the story, recognize the conflict, merge with the drama, be shocked by the violence, be torn by the ultimate decision, and revel in survival, and the continuance of the tale.  Go, and enjoy Superman.

The Aspiring Critical Thinker,
D.S. Brown

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