Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Comics Blah Blah Comics: The Man of Steel One Year Post Mortem

Last summer 2013 saw the release of Man of Steel, a massive relaunch of Superman as a film franchise. You can read here and here what I had to say about this movie. Overall, my view of this film was for the most part positive. A year later, have I changed my opinion about Man of Steel?

I will stand by my earlier compliments of Man of Steel which quite effusively espoused that this was the best Superman movie ever. 

Likewise, I still stand by my misgivings of the movie, specifically the wide spread loss of life and a lack of what I saw as a proper acknowledgement of that carnage by the title character. 

I'm still OK with the decision to have Superman kill General Zod at the end, despite the howls of outrage by Superman purists who insisted that Superman does not kill. Guys and gals, that's a comic book conceit but it doesn't work in a movie context. No, Superman should not be the Super-Punisher who starts zapping bad guys into ash or smashing them to powder. Superman should have a code against killing but if that code and his adherence to it are never challenged, what is the value of that code? In the context of the movie, Superman was pressed to do the unthinkable and now has the weight of that action on his shoulders. 

There are fans and comic bloggers who continue to mine this meme for more outrage and snarkery.  I've seen fan art strips of Superman solving the most mundane problems via neck snapping. Jimmy Olsen won't leave him the hell alone because of that damn signal watch? Snap Jimmy's neck! Problem solved!  

As I said then and I still believe now, Man of Steel is the best Superman movie so far. But that is the proverbial damning with faint praise. There were things I did not care for.

  • I wish there more lighter moments instead of what felt like a constant heavy blanket of dark foreboding over everything. 

  • I wish Superman had made his own decision to become a super hero instead of being forced into the open by the circumstances of an alien incursion.

  • I wish Superman had expressed the same level of outrage over the deaths of civilians as he did at the death of Zod. 

But there was stuff I liked a lot. 

  • I admired the messy political and cultural landscape of a doomed Krypton.

  • I was moved by the flashbacks to a young Clark terrified as his powers begin to develop. 

  • I liked that Lois Lane was portrayed as smart enough to track down Superman to a farm in Kansas and her role as a partner to Clark Kent

  • While the carnage was too over the top, there is no denying this was a Superman who did super things. 

  • And oh yeah: the cape! I am a sucker for dramatic cape action and damned this movie delivered. 

So another Superman movie is in the works and here is a publicity still from it. 

It looks like gloom and doom will still be players in the next film.  But the main thing that has piqued everyone's interest is that Superman will not be the only super hero in the sequel. 

Batman is coming! And boy are the feelings mixed about that! On one hand, fan boys are giddy at the prospect of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight going mano e mano, maybe riffing on Frank Miller's ground breaking work. 

On the other hand, Batman is going to portrayed by Ben Affleck. If you want, click here about what I thought about THAT but the short version is, I think he's going to be OK. 

But then other stuff keeps piling on the movie. Wonder Woman's in it! Maybe Aquaman? Cyborg! And how many villians? Three! 

Now all of THAT is what I'm worried about. Take a look at the successful super hero film franchises and where do the wheels go off the wagon? When there's too much stuff going on! 

Sam Raimi's 3rd Spider-Man film is a textbook case of too much stuff overwhelming a movie. 

X-Men: The Last Stand suffered from way too many things happening AND Brett Ratner as director. 

Batman and Robin (and to a slight lesser extent, Batman Forever) sinks under the weight of excess.  

Now I know Warner Bros. is anxious to build a movie empire around the characters they own via DC Comics...excuse me, DC Entertainment. And Warner execs are just salivating like crazy to get a hold of some of the Disney/Avengers money.  

But shoehorning a Justice League movie into their next Superman film has the makings of a disaster written all over it. Marvel let the pot simmer with Iron Man, Thor and Captain America before unleashing The Avengers. But Warner Bros. may not be as patient. I imagine a lot of execs over there thought they would already be to their Justice League movie by now after the launch of the Green Lantern film. 


Well, the future is not ours to see and maybe Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice (the title is not instilling me with confidence) will be better than expected. And with expectations so low, that may just happen. 

Be good to one another.



It Came Thru Bruce Wayne's Window strikes again....and something's fishy about this installment. 




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