Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Movie Analysis opinion and stats episode 2: Man of Steel

Here’s the thing, I have, since I was a boy, hated Superman as a superhero. What’s to love in a character that can’t be hurt, flies, has super strength, x-ray eyes, laser vision, and a hot girlfriend who is so blind and stupid a pair of glasses can shield her from his true identity.  Then he never uses the x-ray vision the way everybody else would, and let’s face it he never—never ever—does the human thing. He is just too perfect for my comic book tastes.
I preface this review because my point is, I had an extreme bias going to see Man of Steel. I love comic book movies, but usually with characters I followed in the inky pages in my youth. So having admitted my loathing for the Daily Planet’s Stringer, you get a feel for how good Man of Steel really was, because it totally won me over. I absolutely loved the destruction of Krypton, the dramatic and heroic depiction of his father and mother was much more interesting than other superman offerings. Action packed, but with the scientific gadgetry that I wanted to see from the planet of Krypton’s chief scientist. He seemed like a kind of Batman meets James Bond, but fighting with the kind of desperation only a father about to send his son into a space alone could have. His death also sets up a wonderful revenge battle at the end of our film, which is a great detail to include.
Truly the strength in this film is in the details. This isn’t a film in a hurry to get to the amazing special effects action sequences, but don’t worry it has many, it’s a film made by filmmakers who are adhering to the oldest adage in film making, ‘don’t be lazy because every frame counts.’ Much like the comic book which inspired and developed this film, each frame was delicately chosen. Handheld cameras and go cameras replaced tripod stiffness in the dramatic scenes, the actors seemed to be living their roles instead of tongue-and-cheeking them the way some comic book films have errantly interpreted the genre.  To non-comic folk comics are kid stuff, but trust me the stories in these graphic masterpieces tell amazing, character driven tales and that is why their fans want to see a film that captures these elements while bringing the action to a cacophony of sound and splendid vision. 
In my opinion, Superman with an edge is a wonderful divergence from the Boy Scout image of pervious offerings. This man of steel is a true bit of internal angst and rage. After having a beer dumped over his head he walks away, but only to go outside and crucify the villain’s truck with telephone poles. In another scene we see him being bullied as a boy, and when the older boys walk away the tight shot of the metal pole he’d indented while fighting his urge to pummel them was a nice shot. I also liked the fact he really kisses the heroin, and when she jokes that it’s all downhill after the first kiss, he’s got enough bad boy in him to say, ‘Maybe that’s with humans.’ This is not, your 1950’s Superman, despite the obvious Jesus Christ reference in the church scene when he has been asked to sacrifice himself to save the Earth and we see him ponder this in a Christian church with an image of Jesus hanging in the background. Okay, perhaps the director was having a little poke at his subject matter after all.
This film is the best Superman film ever made. The character development and backstory is fabulously believable and complete. The action sequences are the best kind of mayhem and madness because we justly hate the villain who killed Superman’s father, and we also know that Clark Kent’s Earth father sacrificed himself for the benefit of both mankind and man’s best friend (the family dog), so we know that Superman must follow in the footsteps of this humanitarian. Even if you have no interest in this character, but love amazing action sequences this movie will not disappoint as they destroy parts of Small Ville and Metropolis with seamless special effects and a blend of animation and real action. It’s an achievement on all levels of action.
Okay film students I know, ‘Tell us something we can use, this is all self-evident.’ Alright, how about this, draw your comparison to Zod, Krypton’s own Dick Cheney who represents the American war machine bent on protection the empire so vehemently they are capable of great evil, for goodness sake. In the end, once his mission is taken from him, only his vitriol views remain and his warrior spirit. Okay, this is not a film latent with anything but obvious symbolisms and overt metaphor, but here’s a bit more help for the ever studious but non-Christians who are looking for a metaphor to impress their instructor. What other historical, Biblical and mega well known individual had a father on Earth and a father who lived in the heavens? His initials are J.C.
So how did the world view the film? Oddly they agree with me. The global box office, which is still not completely finished is at:

So look, up in the sky it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the box office smash hit, THE MAN OF STEEL.