Saturday, June 29, 2013

3 Thoughts on Man of Steel

1. My overall reaction - I think very highly of Zack Snyder. He's shown true moments of genius. Seriously, watch the beginning of Watchmen. Sublime. Even with Sucker Punch, a movie that was on my "worst of 2011" list, I can't deny that it has moments of sheer beauty (again, the beginning).  I went into Man of Steel expecting, at the very least, a moment that blew me away.  Instead, the whole movie felt very average (parts of it are even above average, but nothing spectacular).  There's nothing wrong with it, but I didn't find it any different than a typical summer blockbuster.  Part of my disappointment also lies with the cast.  Henry Cavill just didn't do it for me.  He's in the same category as Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Chris Evans (Captain America) - the "hot but bland" category.  I was informed that I was going to love the bad-ass female villain (because I love when strong women are represented in movies), but I didn't really see what was to love.  A machine could have played that role; she barely even had any lines.  I like Amy Adams but she was practically forgettable as Lois Lane - it was clear that they were trying to do something different with this type of character, by making her stronger and less of a "victim", but they also took out her sex appeal.  There is a way to create female characters that are both "strong" and "sexy", but most male directors can't figure out how. Michael Shannon is probably the best part of the cast, because even though he was a bit over the top, at least he was interesting to watch.

2. My views on the destruction - I think it's really weird that people are criticizing a movie like this for its depiction of collateral damage.  I'm pretty sure innocent people are killed in most summer blockbusters.  Why is it such an issue now? Some of the critics are citing 9/11 sensitivities, but I'm calling bullshit on that.  There have been dozens of films since 9/11 that have scenes in which cities are destroyed.  It's no longer an issue (yes, I realize, for some, it is.  I know someone who will not watch movies like this, but that is her personal decision.  We can't create movies based around the sensitivity of others). Also, superhero movies have thrived in a post-9/11 world because people have witnessed real life destruction and long for a "hero".  How can we create a fictional hero without destroying something first? Isn't that how heroes are made?  Some critics are also claiming it's not in Superman's character to be a part of such mass destruction, but I think that is something that is going to be addressed in the sequel, so let's all chill the fuck out.  This movie felt like an opportunity to "go big or go home".  They went for it, destruction and all.  I think it was a satisfying re-introduction to Superman and I am convinced that the sequel will actually be stronger.

3. My state of mind - Sometimes my enjoyment of movies depends on my state of mind, which unfortunately in this case, I think affected my thoughts on Man of Steel negatively.  I realized this when the movie was over and my friend claimed to "love it".  When I said, "eh...I don't know", he was really surprised.    He knows my taste really well, so I think it all comes down to my mind-set.  First, I was really looking forward to this movie for over a year, but as it grew closer to being released, I actually dreaded sitting through it.  I knew that it would remind me of someone that I am trying my best to not think about (I fail miserably, everyday).  Spending two and a half hours trying to not think about someone is taxing on the brain.  Second, I purposely tried to avoid the crowd by waiting to see it until a week after the release - seeing it really late on a Thursday night at a theater that is usually empty seemed like a good plan.  Yet, the theater was way too packed for my liking.  I was distracted several times by the couple in front of me, especially in the beginning when the girl turned to her boyfriend (I presume) and said "wait...Superman is an alien?", to which he replied "yeah...he's from Krypton".  Her response was golden. "I knew that he was from another planet...I just didn't know he was an alien".  He was stunned into silence for a few minutes, but then spent the entire rest of the movie explaining the plot to her (clearly, she needed help. At least she was cute.).  Third, as much as I love loud, obnoxious, blockbuster action movies, this one gave me a headache within 30 minutes (and I didn't even see it in 3D!). I suffered with a pounding headache for the next 2 hours, praying for some silence. All in all, not a great combination for watching a movie.

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