I finally took the time to watch “Man Of Steel”. It’s amazing to me that it took me this long to see it considering my overall love of the Superman character.
But reviews were not overly positive and a part of me was afraid that seeing this beloved character portrayed badly would somehow damage my feelings.
Luckily, there nothing to fear.
Overall “Man Of Steel” was completely true to my understanding of Superman. The characters were magically brought to life and the majesty and awe of this super being. The story ambled but in a good and deep way. Nothing seemed forced or dissonant. Overall I liked the movie very much.
Yes, I know this movie has been out for years. And it’s amazing that I managed to somehow not know the particulars of the story. But I did and I’m glad of that.
The story of how Kal-El came to Earth is no mystery. But the Krypton here is very different from the one with which I grew up. I suppose I get the concept that Krypton’s flaws are what drove Jor-El to send Kal-El to Earth; not to simply save him but to potentially save Earth from Krypton’s mistakes. It’s an interesting idea but I think it actually muddles the story a bit.
And then there’s General Zod and his grand plans. This is where the film begins to stumble. It’s just too much. There’s just too much story here. Superman’s introduction to the earth would have been better served and cleaner if he were to defeat a home-grown or non-Kryptonian threat.
I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the spectacle. I did. And that’s just what it was; a big, loud show of force, danger, and might. Watching Superman defeat the last vestiges of Kryptonian hubris was thrilling. Watching Superman and Lois embrace after was perfect.
And then I realized that there was a lot more time left in the movie. So we now have a showdown between Superman and General Zod. It’s big and pretty and loud. And it was fun to watch. But I was really ready for the movie to be over before it started.
This is another reason this particular conflict would have been better saved for another movie. “Man Of Steel” would have been a better, cleaner movie if the threat had been something not quite so epic.
But that’s where we are now. It’s always the end of the world. And I can’t say I care for it.
This idea can be most clearly seen as the primary difference between the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” movies versus the television shows.
The Enterprise and it’s crew weren’t saving the universe in every episode. They were going about their mission and that was almost always enough.
But the movies were all about defeating something monstrous that was an imminent threat to all life as we know it. And they were less about the entire crew and more about Captain Picard and Data. And that made them so much weaker.
It’s interesting that movies have become more and more about spectacle and less about story. Thank goodness for the many varieties of television. Be it cable, internet, or even the networks, they’ve taken up the mantle of being the perfect medium for the long narrative. That’s where you’ll find the stories being told.