My Relationship with Superman.

27 Jun

Alright. There are a lot of Man of Steel reviews out there. I’ve have read quite a few of them myself and they all seem to bring up similar points. I’m not here to review Man of Steel. Not properly anyway.

This post was inspired by the Fatman on Batman podcast with Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman that I listened to today. They talk about Man of Steel,  as well as the other versions of Superman through his own history. I am one hour into this two and a half hour podcast, but I was enjoying it – as I do every FonB – and was laughing most of the way to and home from work. Kevin liked it. Ralph did not. It’s an interesting and amusing conversation. Give it a listen.

To start, I’m not a fan of Superman in general. Yes, I love comic books. Yes, I love superheroes. But for some reason, I just never really cared for Superman. Sure he fights for what is right. He can fly. Has laser vision. Wears a brightly coloured costume. But it’s all straight up superpower. Where’s the gadgets? That’s what does it for me. Anyone who knows me knows I’m on Team Batman. Through and through. More on Batman later. He deserves a blog all to himself…. and I’ve know I’ve said that before. “That’s for another blog.” But it’s true. Bear with me. I have plans.

Back to Superman. I could take him or leave him. I tried watching the 1978 Superman years ago and got bored. All I remember was some boring talk on a boring Krypton, a geeky news guy, Superman flying Lois around the city and then later flying around Earth to turn back time. That’s it.
About a year later, a friend of mine who really loves the old Superman movies and the good looking guys who play him, wanted to go see Superman Returns. I was up for it. It looked shiny and flashy and exciting. I love Kevin Spacey and Brandon Routh looked like a pretty good Superman. I enjoyed it. However, I haven’t seen it since. All I remember from that one was Lex Luthor building a structure in the middle of the ocean, Brandon Routh’s cleft chin and a high speed scene with a Ford Mustang. Granted, that was seven years ago.

Back it the day, I must confess that I did watch Lois & Clark: The New Adventure of Superman with my mom. I would have been 11-15 years old for its run and was watching a “grown up” show. I do remember liking it. They had great chemistry.
Fast forward to my last year of high school and the first couple years of university. Smallville began. A friend of mine and I used to get together every Tuesday and watch Gilmore Girls and Smallville. I really liked the show – big Rosenbaum fan – but lost interest after a few seasons. Maybe caught a random episode here and there, but didn’t really care to pay attention.

A year or so after Superman Returns, I met @luckyjon. A few years after that he kinda got me hooked on comics. Six years later, I still haven’t read a Superman comic. Not necessary because I refuse to, I just haven’t gotten around to it. With the exception of Lex Luthor: Man of Steel by Brian Azzarello which is from the point of view of Lex and treats Supes as “a dangerous threat to all humanity!” (taken from the back of the graphic). I really enjoyed it. You see a different side to a villain, get a new perspective on America’s favourite hero… oh, and Batman’s in it. I was on Lex’s side the whole time.
I also read Batman Hush by Jeph Loeb where Batman beats the shit out of Superman with a kryptonite ring. THAT was awesome. Superman was under Poison Ivy’s control at the time, so it was the only way to deal with him. Still, I enjoyed watching Supes get his ass kicked by the Dark Knight. 🙂
Red Son is something we own but I haven’t get the chance to read yet. I am looking forward to it, but it’s not a TRUE Superman story, is it?

Which brings us up to a couple weeks ago. My aforementioned friend who loves Superman, @luckyjon and myself (half-heartedly) decided to watch Superman: The Movie before going to see Man of Steel opening weekend. After almost seven years of comic book education and superhero lore, here’s how my second viewing went….

Krypton. Still bored. Clark Kent. I see the Cary Grant-isms in his performance and like it. He was a perfect bumbling new-to-the-office news guy. Some questions were raised. Like, why does Lex wear a wig? Just be bald. What kind of water is in a swimming pool that resides in an underground lair in a city very similar to New York? Gross. And I know it’s part of her character, but why is Lois such an airhead for such a seemingly smart woman? Daily Planet people are always commenting on her spelling mistakes.

What I did notice about the film this time around – and very much liked – was that Superman was such a hottie. Forgive my inner teenager, but Christopher Reeve was a VERY good looking Superman. The scene where he meets Lois on the roof and they go off flying? Swoon. Later in the movie, I was awarded “Quote of the Day”. We were getting a bit chatty near then end of the movie and Superman was being all gorgeous again, so I turned to @luckyjon and said “Shhhhhh…. He’s being handsome again”. Not funny unless you were there, I’m sure, but it has been thrown around in conversations since. Overall, I enjoyed the film a bit more this time, which I think was due to watching it with other people as opposed to by myself. I laughed at some parts that were meant to be laughed at and maybe a couple that weren’t. But in the end, I still got a little bored. I think we might follow this up with the sequels which I am interested to see based on what I learned from Man of Steel. Apparently there is more General Zod in Superman 2? Who knows what Superman 3 is about, but I hear Richard Pryor is in it. Could be fun. I just checked IMdb. There’s a FOURTH one? What have I gotten myself into? Looks like those viewings are going to be a rum & coke kind of night.

Now, on to what EVERYONE is talking about. Man of Steel. Based on what you have just read, you can understand that this was not my movie-of-the-summer. Star Trek Into Darkness was and what a let down that turned out to be!
I went into Man of Steel with zero expectations. A lot of the reviews I have read talk about Zack Snyder and, more specifically, how much people don’t like him. I do. I like Zack Snyder’s style. The first of his films I saw was 300. I always describe it as watching an oil painting. It was beautiful. I loved the texture and colour, and background. I’m a big fan of excessive violence in films (Gladiator and anything Tarantino) so the boodshed wasn’t a big deal for me. In terms of story, I think the voice over narration did it for me. If it didn’t have that, I may not of liked it as much as I did.
I did see Watchmen next. Though I own the graphic, I have never read it. I went into Watchmen knowing nothing about the story and really enjoyed it.
I loved Sucker Punch for the same style and excessiveness that I found in 300. Sometimes I can forgive story and just enjoy watching something that’s visually stunning.
So to all those reviews who were slamming Snyder before they even saw the film, how can you enjoy a film if you are prepared to just sit there looking for all the things he did wrong? I didn’t like 100% of the movie – I had some issues – but at least I went into it with a bit of hope. Having said that, there were a few things I didn’t enjoy, but you can find things like that in any movie.

Like I said, this isn’t really a proper review. I just had some thoughts that may agree or disagree with some of the reviews, or with your views.
Here they are in no particular order except for the way my brain babbles them out…

I loved Krypton. That place is cool. I was way more invested than this Krypton than the 1978 version. There was cool armor, some kinda of flying dragon and just an all around visually cool city. The underwater pod-babies were a bit creepy, but whatever.

Russell Crowe was amazing and I really enjoyed that way they “wrote it in” that he existed in the computer system so he could appear throughout the film. It was a nice touch.

I liked the non-linear approach to stoytelling. I really did expect to see his ship crash into the American South where he would be found by the Kents. I liked that I didn’t and the story jumped around from present to past and back again.

Amy Adams was a Lois I could get behind. She was a smart, investigative journalist who went all out to get her story. I thought she was quite strong and liked that she knew all along that Clark Kent and Superman were the same guy – and the little wink of knowledge they share in the final scene. I’m sure she didn’t make spelling mistakes.

Johnathan Kent’s death. I found his death in Man of Steel a lot more effective. In Superman, I was surprised how instantly I liked Mr. Kent. I was disappointed when he had a heart attack and that was that. But, his death in Man of Steel stood for more. He had just finished telling Clark, in flashback, not to reveal himself, that the world might not be ready, he would be an outcast… or something along those lines. So even though Clark COULD have saved his life, Mr. Kent told him to wait. That it was okay. Heartbreaking.

I felt the Daily Planet cast unnecessary. Perry White was necessary, of course. He was Lois’ boss. She had to report into somebody. Did we really need to get to know Jenny and that other guy? All getting to know them in the beginning got us was scenes later in an already long film that I didn’t really care about. We knew them, but not well enough. Meeting them at the end and in the sequel would have been fine with me.

The suit. It was cool and modern and I liked it.

The complete destruction of Metropolis. Wow. That might as well have been the apocalypse. I found it took me a bit out of the film to think about just how much they destroyed a city. It was epic. How much is that gonna cost to fix? And who’s gonna pay for it? How many people died?

My one criticism of Zack Snyder. Can he please invest in a tripod!? There is a lot to be said for steadicam footage and it is a style that I generally like, but this was a bit too shaky. Especially in 3D. Things are naturally going to move in frame but usually it’s not noticeable. I found this so noticeable it was distracting. It took me out of a few moments and made me wonder if I missed anything.

I’m sure they may have been a few things @luckyjon and I talked about on the walk home, but I can’t think of anymore at the moment.
I enjoyed the film a lot more than I expected to and will more than likely see it again. The few things I didn’t like about it are outweighed by the things I enjoyed and how much fun I had watching.
See, not a review, just a film lover’s thoughts after a night at the movies – though that night was two weeks ago.

Thanks for taking the time to read my long winded ramble about a superhero I’m not super crazy about.
What are your thoughts on the films? Are you a Superman fan? Any comics you think I should read?


2 Responses to “My Relationship with Superman.”

  1. Brian @ Hard Ticket to Home Video June 28, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Wow, that was WAY too long! 😉

    Awesome review. I basically agree with you on everything.

  2. Jacob Meindersee October 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    I am definitely a Superman fan, though not a super-Superman fan. I feel like he is very misunderstood as a character. If you are ever interested, you should check out his very first comics. Supes is like a Marxist revolutionary toppling corporate giants and corrupt bureaucracies. It is pretty awesome.

    Good luck on your film-making ventures, by the way!

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