Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In Defense of Man of Steel

Let me start by saying that Superman is not my hero-of-choice. Like Captain America, he's just too "good" for me. This isn't a slam on Henry Cavill or Chris Evans, but to put it in perspective, my favorite Cap scenes in Avengers are where he's mouthing off to Tony Stark because he's not being nice. Basically they are hunky and awesome and too nice for my inner bad girl to deal with.

So, when I went to see Man of Steel, it was with pretty low expectations. Parts of it were worse than even my low expectations could deal with, but other parts were refreshingly good. And because I'm all full of positivity today, let's start with the good.

(Oh, and there will be spoilers galore. You've been warned.)

First... Henry Cavill looks AMAZING as Superman. (Yes, I'm a girl. Yes, I noticed. Yes, I liked what I saw. Deal with it.)

Second... It wasn't all camp and bad jokes! It was kind of dark and brooding. I really liked that. I never quite bought into the alien falls to earth and is raised by humans and everything is just awesomesauce. I LIKED that it was hard and scary for Kal-El.

So poor Kal (I like that better than Clark) has all these powers and all this...noise in his head that he can't deal with. I watched the scene with him as a little boy in school and all I saw was any other special needs kid (specifically autistic kids) who are overwhelmed. And the students response to it was very real too. He's different and everyone knows.

No wonder he's more than willing to listen to Jonathan when he pushes the "they will fear you" line. That's his DAD--the guy whose job it is to look out for and protect him. So he listens. And he keeps listening. The one day he questions Jonathan and gets torn apart between wanting to be the hero and wanting to listen is the day he watches his dad die.

This, quite realistically, fucks him up...for years.

One could argue that by age 33, he should have come into his own and not been playing by those same rules. But he's not human--he doesn't have the kind of friendships that would help him grow into his own, and his father-figure died--a fact which he feels responsible for. So, I am totally willing to forgive the delay as Kal quests for information on where he came from. AND I understand why he's so ready and willing to follow the path laid out by Jor-El. He'd spent however many years yearning for a new father and fell back into the pattern of wanting to listen and please. (Yes, Superman is a submissive. *shrug*)

This was horribly real and tragically beautiful. Loved it.

Also, I felt like he and Lois had enough of a connection and enough going on between them to justify the kiss at the end. The writers put in enough feeling (and the actors worked it) so it didn't feel like an "extra" to me.


I also like that he killed Zod. His entire existence to that point had been about life-saving, especially after watching Jonathan die. I like that Zod forced Kal to face that choice of killing the one to save the many. Obviously the Phantom Zone didn't keep Zod away--Kal couldn't trust it to work the second time "just because." So, yes, I'm glad they had him kill the fucker. And I am interested in seeing how that affects Kal in the next installment.

Now onto the bad.

The special effects of the fight scenes on earth. Dear gods, some of them looked like they'd been done by first year film students. I don't know who was in charge of quality assurance there, but they dropped the ball. It made the fight scenes suck for me.

And they were LONG. Like gouge my eyes out from the bad FX and beg for them to make it stop long. Extended fight scenes can be done well. If a particular film-maker can't do them well, it's far better to have short but awesome fights.

Zod. *sigh* I'm sure the guy is a good actor, but after seeing him as a bad guy in this and Premium Rush... I just don't buy him as a bad guy. I want to hand him a puppy and a cookie and tell him to be a good boy and go play with his legos. Sorry.


Logic Fail. Lois knows he's Clark. She CALLS HIM Clark all the damn time. This means the military knows he's Clark Kent. All of Smallville knows--because I'm sorry, after he shows up as Superman, no one is that stupid. So, him showing up at the Daily Planet trying to disappear again... No... No. No. NO. I would have been fine with Lois knowing. I would have been fine with just the IHOP guy and the priest in Smallville knowing enough to know Clark is Superman. But once the government knows? There are no secrets. I can suspend disbelief long enough to pretend they couldn't figure it out, but if they KNOW? I can't believe it'll stay a secret. If you're going to pull an Ironman, then don't puss out at the last minute.

To sum up, I loved the history and the build up of the romance. Loved Henry Cavill in the role. I will probably see the next one. But I'll be horribly disappointed if the people in charge don't even out some of the issues.

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