The Transfiguration

everything is sacred

Review of the Day #1730

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Review of the Day #1730

You can treat this photo as Jacob’s review of Man of Steel, wordless and concise. I was a little less disappointed – it was fun, at least, to see Superman fighting at full strength for once – but the movie still was not what I wanted, and I have a few stray nits to pick.

It seems like we’re at a point in media where we either dive into clichés with gusto, embracing and exaggerating story archetypes (like Cabin in the Woods or The Expendables (which I haven’t seen)) or making every effort to tiptoe around them, purposely avoiding certain scenes and sentiments in an effort to appear thoughtful and respectable. Man of Steel tended toward the latter,

Man of Steel seems like a movie trying specifically to avoid treading on old tropes, as if certain scenes or sentiments were landmines that would destroy the film’s structural integrity. It wants, in other words, to not come off as cheesy. Superman’s costume is leathern fabric in muted colors; there’s little affection between Clark and his parents; the citizens of Earth never cheer for Superman or call for help. In an effort to appear serious and realistic, the story ends up emotionally flat. Superman never has any real positive experience with humans, no reason to care about them; the villains taunt his morality when he hasn’t even demonstrated it; his romance with Lois Lane is completely hollow.

Because Superman is essentially invincible and unstoppable, his greatest appeal isn’t in his battles against evil. It’s much more interesting, I think, to focus on his relationship with humanity – the experience of living in a civilization that’s beautiful and fragile, of being the only soul capable of protecting them, powerful and gentle.

I haven’t seen a movie do that yet. I can’t even articulate the precise feeling I’d want it to capture, so perhaps I haven’t the right to complain.

But Superman is the quintessential Hero, the modern icon of Good. Many innocent people die in Man of Steel, but there’s no emotional significance to it. That might be my biggest complaint about the film – Superman is supposed to care.

There are some rather good comics out there, so if you want a good Superman experience, do check out his native medium.

only a steel man can be a lover
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Written by Umbrella Man

June 18, 2013 at 3:11 am

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