It should be common knowledge by now that I don’t hold the highest opinion of Superman. (That blog is still the most popular post I’ve made, even though I wrote it almost a year ago.) So you should all be expecting by now my review of the new Superman movie. I went to see it tonight with my daddy, and I wore my Batman hat to show my fealty.
Quick, non-spoilery judgement of Man of Steel; it was fine. For a Superman movie.
The problem I got myself into is that I saw the trailers for Man of Steel and I thought “Hey, that looks like a finally good Superman movie. Maybe it will even redeem Superman for me. I am really excited to see it!” And then I watched it and all of the problems I previously had with Superman are still problems that I have with Superman, and so nothing has really changed.
CAUTION: AFTER THIS PICTURE OF BATMAN PUNCHING SUPERMAN IN THE FACE THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR MAN OF STEEL. IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN MAN OF STEEL THEN DO NOT SCROLL PAST THE PICTURE OF BATMAN PUNCHING SUPERMAN IN THE FACE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
Okay, are they gone? And the rest of you have seen the movie/won’t complain if I give away the ending.
So the main problem that I have with Superman, which I’ve mentioned before, is that he doesn’t really have a reason to be a superhero other than the fact that he can. He’s not really fighting for anything other than to like, be a good person, which is great but leaves no hubris for him to fall back on. Superman literally has no weaknesses, and so watching a movie with Superman is like watching a movie where someone already told you the end. It’s still enjoyable for the most part, but you’re kind of just holding on for the part where Superman saves the day and everything is fine again.
Mister Kal “It’s Not an S” El just runs around doing what his daddy tells him to. First Kevin Costner is all like “don’t be a superhero, let’s just stay here and build a magical baseball field” and so Clark’s like okay fine die then, and then Jor El is like “don’t listen to that guy you should totes be a superhero, here’s a nifty suit, by the way everyone on Krypton wears dorky capes like this one trust me” and so Kal is like okay fine die then.
Now you may be saying “but Hannah, it is a superhero movie; people don’t go for complicated back story and hubris they go for watching things explode and awesome fight scenes”, to which I say sure okay I’ll give you that. But what’s the fun in watching a fight scene in which the protagonist cannot die? I don’t understand how you can throw Superman through three buildings and he won’t have a scratch on him, but a simple snap of the neck is all it takes to kill his similarly super counterpart. Like I said, Superman has no weaknesses, and so watching a perfectly matched fight is kind of boring. They just throw heavy things at each other and hope the other one makes a mistake, how much fun is that? And in terms of things exploding, I don’t know what kind of physics the people who made that movie are familiar with, but they are sure not the ones I learned in school.
I did have fun though. There were things I liked about the movie. I liked that Lois Lane was not just a damsel in distress and was able to both solve her own problems and be a crucial instrument to saving the world. Though she did need saving quite a bit, most often from falling, I wonder what it is about superhero movies that makes everyone fall from great heights so much. I liked the departure from the changing in phone booths, glasses wearing Clark Kent that we see so often, though we did get a glimpse of that at the end of the movie. (Do not get me started on the “disguise”. Like ‘ooh I’m going to work at this building where I saved everyone in full view of like half the people but maybe if I grow my hair a little longer and wear a plaid shirt and glasses no one will recognize me’).
I liked the flashbacks (I’m a sucker for an origin story, no matter who’s) and I liked the brief view we got of Clark’s journey to figure out where he came from. In fact, that’s the movie I would have liked to see. I would have liked to see Clark trying to track down that space ship, stay under the radar, and battle with his Humanity versus feeling Alien, I think that would have been a way better movie. Someone make that movie (not Smallville, I don’t need 11 seasons of Clark Kent’s angst).