Tuesday, June 25, 2013
My review of Man of Steel
I'm a girlie girl. I love the whole "damsel in distress" thing. I've been in love with Superman ever since Christopher Reeve rescued Lois Lane from the falling helicopter. Man of Steel was OK but could've used a little more of that old fashioned chivalry.
To begin with, there's no "meeting cute" the Hollywood term for how lead boy and girl get together. Lois's first encounter with Clark Kent leaves her screaming in agony. How romantic. The kiss they have later felt contrived. All their "dates" were limited to alien spaceships where either one or the other was in physical pain most of the time. Very romantic. No gun toting street muggers, no exclusive Daily Planet interviews and no duets in the sky. It felt like she was shoehorned into being Superman's romantic interest just because her name was Lois and she wasn't afraid to use the word "dick" around men.
I had issues with how the character of Lois Lane and other women were used in the movie. For example. Why did General Zod want her tagging along with the "Kryptonian fugitive"? He barely acknowledged Lois the whole time she was on his ship. I kept waiting for him to use her as the Man of Steel's kryptonite "Kneel before me or I'll force her to become the mother of a brave new world of Kryptonians! Bwa ha ha!"
Instead the audience is barraged with so much "disaster porn" of physical violence and explosions I had to keep reminding myself this wasn't a Michael Bay movie. Hollywood has become way too testosterone driven these days. This movie could've used a little more estrogen. There was a great opportunity for Zod's female minion to speak to the captive Lois about something other than a man, but no words were exchanged. Bechdel Test fail there. Then there was the reaction of Martha Kent when Superman announces he now knows why he's here but instead of being happy for him and inviting him inside the farmhouse for milk and cookies and some heart to heart, we get the narcissistic angle-Um, gee, son that's nice, but what about ME?
As one reviewer wrote, too much "super" as aliens fight it out on planet Earth and not enough "man" as Clark Kent deals with his megalomania-I am Superman, hear me roar. And roar he does whenever he's facing a particularly difficult trial. It got old after the fourth or fifth time. The scene where he's forced to kill General Zod was especially annoying. Was anyone else reminded of sparkly vampires when he twisted Zod's head?
Hollywood has backed itself into a corner trying to please everyone and offend no one, especially the big bad government. Clark Kent says he wants to help people and be a good man but...he's afraid of rejection??? Sorry, but when Lois Lane laughed at Christopher Reeve's Superman not being afraid to stand for truth, justice and the American way "You're gonna end up fighting every elected official in this country!" nobody was offended. In 1978 everyone was paranoid about conspiracy theories and secret government plots. Nobody was questioning the fact that men earned more than their stay-at-home wives because cohabitation wasn't the norm yet and a large percentage of the population had yet to divorce. Too bad the family dog is more important than the relationships we have with each other. I wasn't impressed with Jonathon Kent's death either.
Mind you, there are moments of femininity and humanism: the live birth and extra story behind Kal-el's mother was good, having Lois comfort Clark after he kills for the first time was sweet but why didn't Superman just cover Zod's eyes? The last line payoff was great but only if it means the sequel will feature more mild mannered Clark Kent. That trait seemed to have gotten lost amidst the celebration of a man of steel ripping through buildings and blowing up world engines. That don't impress me much.
Worst line in movie: "I just think he's kinda hot."
Best line in movie: "Welcome to the Planet."
Two stars: Man of Steel was just OK. I can wait for the DVD before I see it again.