I’m going to be talking about the Man of Steel this article, so if you haven’t seen it yet but want to then read no further.
Are they gone yet? Good.
Man of Steel was an ok movie. They did some interesting things with his character, and they’re definitely interested in his origin story. Not “How did baby Supes get here?” but rather “How did Clark Kent become Superman?”. It’s an interesting story, and better because it requires fewer naked babies than Christopher Reeves “Superman” (this is still a non zero amount of naked babies, so beware).
I’m a sucker for all things Superman, so I happily gobbled up my Nestle’s Bunch-a-Crunch and settled in for some sweet kryptonian goodness. It’s a long movie, and as I watched I felt a growing sense of unease. It started with a hirsute Superman running around with his perfectly chiseled beard; it escalated when an ash covered Laurence Fishburne looked to the sky of a ruined Metropolis, only to see a soldier fly a plane into one of a pair of structures while saying “A good death is it’s own reward” because a mysterious bearded figure who only appears via video tape told him it was the only way to repel a foreign army; and it culminated with Superman (Now sans beard) destroying a drone. Evidently Superman now stands for Truth, Justice, and the Jihad way.
Maybe I’m overly sensitive to these things, but it was too much to be unintentional. I remember when War of the Worlds came out, and the whole world got to see Tom Cruise awkwardly run away from New Jersey.
It was 2005, and 9/11 was fresh in our minds. Speilberg selected powerful images that would evoke the fear of that day, and he ran with them. The ash covered survivors and walls papered with missing persons reminded all of us of September 11th, and provided some small catharsis. One of the reasons I love films is because they can force us to deal with issues in a way that few other mediums can. It’s why I don’t mind that they have already started work on ‘Boston Strong’. When done right films can evoke real, visceral reactions from the viewers, provoke debate, and act as a Horschack test for its viewers.
You want an example of how a good movie can be like reading tea leaves? Let me ask you this: Was Banes control of Gotham a positive or negative allegory for Occupy Wall Street?
There is no right answer there, because despite what Eric says, The Dark Knight Rises was a good, if overly long movie.
Movies CAN occupy an important place in our national discourse, BUT they must be timely, relevant, and above all subtle. Never sacrifice story for message. If you want to do that then just go back to making very special episodes for TGIF shows. Show us how Carl Winslow reacts to the pressure of policing in a post 9/11 America.
Man of Steel was many things, but it was not subtle. It hammers you over the head with this imagery and allegory, but leaves you asking ‘Why?’. Is 9/11 now cinema short hand for 9/11? People who weren’t even in school yet when the towers fell drove themselves to the theater to see this movie. What was Zack Snyder trying to say, if anything? Let’s not forget that this is the same man who made Legends of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole, which had some pretty heavy things to say about ethnic cleansing in a children’s movie. It’s the first movie Snyder has made without a hint of irony, so kudos to him for that, but I just don’t know where he was going with all of that.
Also, it’s treatment of women was bizarre, but it is a comic book movie by the guy who directed “300” so I think we all expected that.