Thursday-Saturday my Facebook stream was flooded “Loved it.” But over the last few days almost as equal to the amounts of praise I’m seeing “hated it.”
Like many, I took my father and my husband to see Man of Steel on Father’s Day. I mean, they released it on Father’s Day weekend for that very reason, right?
My daughter’s being under the age of 11, I didn’t want the first time seeing Superman as this Henry guy. To me Superman is and always will be Christopher Reeve. Selfishly I wanted them to cement The Man of Steel with Reeve because one day I’ll tell them what happened to Reeves and how is real life made is more of a superhero than the character is portrayed.
So on Saturday night the kids, my husband and I watch Superman with Christopher Reeves. The kids enjoyed it. Thought it was “70’s long” – but we explained that how 70’s moves were.
Father’s Day Sunday we get a popcorn bucket bigger than my youngest torso and we all ventured to the theater to see the latest re-boot.
My dad was resistant. “I know the story,” he said. “I don’t know if they will screw it up.”
My dad is a big fan of Zack Snyder’s 300 and Watchman, which I didn’t like. He hated Sucker Punch but I liked it. So we both had a 50/50 chance going in.
Dad gave it two thumbs up and said it didn’t suck as bad as he thought it would.
My kids said they didn’t relate to the new Superman as much, the graphics were certainly better in the new film but the new film was too violent.
For me, the first previews made me think I was going to learn something new about manhood. It really did feel like this was a chance for an allegory about becoming a man – which would have been a GREAT theme with Superman. So I was excited.
What could have been an alien with all the hopes, dreams and knowledge of how to build a peaceful community and show the human race how to be more…human. Fell flat. I liked that Clark’s adopted father did think his gifts should be a secret. That was a good obstacle to overcome but then you have a duality of father vs. father and not father vs. self. In mythology the transition of going from child to adult is huge and starts with the separation of the mother/father with the aid of a mentor. In this case Clark’s mentor was his father and that gets a little muddled.
What bothered me most was that the new Superman wasn’t standing for Truth, Justice and the American Way. It can be argued that it was implied but he didn’t cement his beliefs and quiet simply, he wasn’t being a leader. Superman was caught in the crossfire of a long battle over saving the people of his home planet. He was called out. There wasn’t much choice in the matter.
Superman not showing leadership is like the Hulk not smashing stuff or Tony Stark not being snarky. Superman is the leader of the Justice League for a reason! But I’m assuming we’re not worrying about Justice League set up like the Avengers set up. (Oh, I wish we were.)
There was one scene in the Reeve Superman that has always stuck with me. Jar-el says to Superman in the Fortress of Solitude, “They can be a great people Kal-el, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I’ve sent them you, my only son.”
This was summed up in the new movie with “They will join you in the sun” and it became for a visual other than a message and lost the heart and the importance of leadership and the importance for Good.
In the end we have a very long battle sequence between good and evil. It’s reminiscent of 9/11 and I’ve seen it in every disaster movie. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen NY be CGI-ly blown up. Nothing new here. We have a very good match up in strength between the two characters. So in writing this is when the hero uses knowledge that he learned that is aside from what the villain has learned and defeat him with it. It could have been something either father or even his mother taught him. What happens? The villain threatens to kill 4 humans and Superman, in a rage of anger, snaps the villain’s neck. #1 couldn’t he have done that ANY other time? #2 they just fought for a long amount of time destroying buildings – with humans in them. Destroying planes – with humans in them. etc. etc. The logic sends the wrong message. To me it says violence is wrong when there is a human face attached to it so just blow up planes and buildings instead – wrong.
***END SPOILERS ***
There are things that I wish would have been in the new Superman movie but then again, I’m picky. I like to have movies teach me something new. Show me a part of myself to strive and fight for. Show me a hero, a hero uses his/her mind and compassion more than muscle to fight villains. A hero to show us leadership and empower us to be a hero in our lives. Shows me that flaws are only a lesson to learn from. And human beings are always worth saving.