“In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.”
As much as I love DC Comics, there is probably one character I have learned I have a problem with. Superman/Clark Kent. This is coming from a guy (me) growing up, (without any knowledge of what a good movie was) who liked the Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve, whose family watched Superman: The New Adventures of Lois And Clark every Sunday in the 90s, watched the ugly little brother of Batman: The Animated Series– Superman: The Animated Series, had an on-again, off-again, on-again relationship with the CW’s Smallville, and somehow, I just have lost my taste for him for now. I think the problem lies in the underlying science fiction trope behind the Superman mythology. In the old days of science fiction, when there was actually good writing and theory behind it , one myth set forth was the Enlightenment story of human progress, that humanity would progress through the sciences, for example. Ignored in this narrative is the story of struggles and conflict, as well as a critical take on technological advancements. In short, I think Superman has too cheery of a view of the future, almost utopian in its ideals embodied in the stories of the Legion Of Superheroes.
It seems to me, ever since the greatness of Batman Begins, every comic book hero who has had a movie the past decade gets the “Batman Begins” treatment: The X-Men, Spiderman, and with the failure of Superman Returns and both Fantastic Four movies, the reboots will probably be the same. I could care less about the latter, but Superman’s reboot/Batman Begins treatment is the Man Of Steel, an introduction of sorts into the Justice League movie universe for 2015. I don’t know how I am supposed to take MOS seriously with Zak Snyder, director of SuckerPunch as well as the watered-down movie version of The Watchmen, oh, and that whole problematic orientalist 300 movie. I am not as excited about MOS as I am Iron Man 3 for some reason; I admit it, I’m a sadist, and I want Tony Stark to be brought down to earth.
From the teaser trailer and the movie trailer, Man Of Steel reads like a Christopher Nolan production (The Dark Knight/Inception/The Prestige). I’m rather surprised Michael Caine wasn’t cast in a starring role. The teaser has the message of progress I have that small disagreement with. At the same time, it feels sorta Batman-Begins gloomly, instead of climbing the cold mountains in a Pacific Asian country as Bruce Wayne does, it seems like Clark Kent is off shore somewhere fishing, depressed white males seeking their life’s mission through moments of solitude. I always saw Spider-man of Marvel, and Batman of DC as the tortured souls for those who love realism in the comic book world, while Superman was more of a source for escapism and science fiction loving types.
The latest trailer gave me much more to hope for this film, particularly the last 50 seconds which feature the antagonists (Zod and friends), Lois Lane, as well as confrontations with the military.
It’s just going to be difficult for me to see Supes as a suffering servant/scapegoat character, maybe Nolan/Snyder’s interpretation can change my mind?
- Dissecting The New Man Of Steel Trailer (thedailybanter.com)
- A glimpse of Superman’s tortured soul (guardian.co.uk)
- ‘Man of Steel’ Trailer: How Superman’s Sales Pitch Evolved Over 40 Years – VIDEOS (hollywood.com)