Ok, to all my friends reading this (thanks, first) and second, you know that I’m a total ass when it comes to dissecting things, don’t take this personally. To all my new readers (thanks, again) I have to tell you that I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion, especially if that opinion is mine. If you were a huge fan of Man of Steel please stop reading here.
So, obviously, I saw the new Superman yesterday. In Superman III, Superman split into two different people: Clark Kent and the evil “Man of Steel.” These days, people like darker stories, hence why The Dark Knight franchise pulled off more money than Batman had ever seen when Keaton was behind the mask. Like a lot of others, I’m a huge fan of Chris Nolan’s interpretation of Batman. I knew before seeing the film that I would be. I’ve been a caped crusader fan my whole life and Memento has been one of my favorite films since I watched it with my brother in 2001.
Man of Steel, though also written by David Goyer and 3 unknowns, was not The Dark Knight. It was a fast and sloppy attempt at a quick reboot. The characterization was excruciatingly minimal, but the spectacle was off the charts. If you’ve only seen the trailer, then you’ve seen the characterization that’s in the entirety of the movie. If you’ve seen Superman flying through walls as he battles then you’ve seen a paraphrased version of the other 9/10 of the film.
Now, I don’t give a shit if you liked it, honestly. That’s great. Go see it, everyone else is and it’s en route to be the second highest grossing film of the year just behind Iron Man 3. My problem lies in the reasoning I’ve heard behind why people like it. Mostly it’s just “it was soooooo gooooood” or “I can’t believe you didn’t like it.” Though the opinion of perfection is unilaterally positive with a lot of the audience, it’s unilaterally negative from critics who have mostly the same gripe I do. I don’t believe this validates my opinion; as I said before, I believe everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions. My whiny blog isn’t going to change your mind.
I think, down the road, when the next badass Superman reboot comes out that actually has good characterization, people will think of this Superman as most people now look at Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns.” The simple fact is that the film industry didn’t create Man of Steel as a passion project; it was a pre-sold franchise. In the industry, that used to mean that if the first did well, people would see the sequel. This become naturalized after “The Godfather.”
The industry knew they were going to make a boatload of money off of this film because they had different quadrants of audience. Not the typical male/female/young/old; it was more like fans of Chris Nolan (who produced it)/fans of Zach Snyder (of 300 fame)/and, of course, fans of the man in the cape which dates back to the 30’s. So my contention is that the positive reception this is getting isn’t from a quality movie, it’s from people going in knowing that they’re going to like it. They know that Chris Nolan can do no wrong. They know that Russel Crowe and Kevin Costner in the same movie spells out a winner; and yes, there are those who are going to make the “it should win Best Picture” argument. I think the spectacle blew your mind, as it did mine, but there was more story in the first ten minutes of the 1978 version of Superman than in this entire feature film.
Another bracket of this fictitious fandom comes from people who have this weird grievance against everything Marvel. People who contend that The Dark Knight Rises>The Avengers; Man of Steel>Iron Man 3. Any attempts at arriving at any other truth are met with cries of “troll” and “hater.” Don’t get me wrong, the Marvel-ites are pretty much the same. I personally like movies from both companies, but I have different criteria when it comes to judging films.
The best part is that the movie industry knows that this divisive dichotomy exists, and they love it. It brings people in and creates more ticket sales.
Like it or not, this film was for spectacle only, and that will die when the next thing comes along. Making Superman look “dark” is a turn in the weird direction, and even if the goal of this whole thing is a Justice League movie, having Superman kill someone may have been shooting themselves in the foot, and I don’t mean that just because it shows a Superman we’ve NEVER seen, but because they killed who was probably the best actor in the movie.