Movie Review: Man of Steel

My DH and I went to see Man of Steel for one of our very few date nights back in June while we had family in town to babysit. I thought the movie was awesome. And now I can address some issues people have with the ending and the general tone of the movie. I’m sure everyone that has wanted to see it has seen it by now, but still: there are SPOILERS in this post!

Great start for a reboot

Culturally, we’ve been living off of the Christopher Reeve incarnation of Superman for over 30 years. The first Superman was, in my opinion, the first serious attempt to tackle the superhero genre. The material was taken seriously. Superman II was even better. Yes, there was some camp, but not too much.

Then, Superman III and IV happened and…*tears, ugly crying*

Then, Superman Returns happened and…*cursing, throwing chairs, Hulk Out*

I think the mistake Bryan Singer made (in addition to ditching the X-Men franchise HE started, to horrid results, but I digress) was riding on the coattails of Reeve’s version of the character. Perhaps he was banking on the nostalgia so many people have for it. But it was a failure. If I want to watch Reeve as Superman, I can just watch the original, not something pretending to be the original.

So enter Man of Steel. I think it was a great start to a new franchise. In my opinion, complaints about it being darker are unjustified because they are based, in part, on too much comparison to Superman I & II. In Man of Steel, Clark’s internal conflict was illustrated well and, I might add, more realistically. In the first Superman movie from 1978, Clark comes out of this 12 year hibernation ready to roll and fight for “truth, justice and the American Way.” Cavill’s version of Clark made it a little more clear that the character had to make a choice on what path he was going to take for his life and that it was not a particularly easy process.

That ending

Major spoilers ahead, so if you’ve somehow wandered here, LEAVE. Like in Superman II, Zod dies in the end; only this time it is from Superman snapping his neck. Some people think that killing someone goes against Superman’s established morals or ethics or something. I disagree.

1. Superman kills Zod in Superman II, as well. In fact, an argument can be made that he did this in somewhat of a cowardly fashion. He tricked Zod (which is fine) into getting his powers taken away. Then he pushes him off a cliff inside the Fortress of Solitude. Um, okay? Zod and his crew were as weak as a human at that point, why not take him to jail to face this justice you fight for?

2. In Man of Steel, however, it was clear that Zod was going to continue to go on a rampage. But that’s not completely why I think Superman made the correct decision to kill him. Superman had gotten the upper hand with Zod while inside a building with bystanders. Zod decides he going burn up a group of adults and children with his newly controlled heat vision. Superman asked him repeatedly to stop. He did not. After all that happened up to that point, only a fool would have taken a chance on those people’s lives, to see if Zod would suddenly not be homicidal, just that one time.

I think he made a good call that in no way diminishes his ethics. In that situation, killing Zod was the right thing to do, not just to save those people’s lives, but to stop the madness that was sure to continue unabated. Also, he clearly did not want to do it. I imagine that he was conflicted on not only killing another person, but the last surviving person of his “race” besides himself (that he knew of).

That’s my take.

Now, on friendships…

In my previous post, I got that NYT link from this blog post on BlogHer about the BFF phenom and how some girls, in her observation, use it to control their friendships.

She’s got an interesting point here, and makes me think about how some people have a need to control the relationships (and by extension the other person) in their life. We’re told over and over to beware of relationships with partners that might become controlling and dysfunctional but I would enlarge that to encompass friends, too. Or parents. Whoever.

When you think about it, the whole “best friend” thing, as the BlogHer writer mentioned, is pretty immature. It’s okay if you are in grade school (although that could be debatable), but as you get older, you should begin to see that there is a whole big world out there with lots of people to meet, and not limit yourself to just a small group of friends.

Or, worse, one friend.

No one person can meet all of your emotional, social and intellectual needs. Even introverts, whose friendship circle may be much smaller compared to extroverts, can have diversity in their friendships. Diversity is having friends that don’t necessarily think like or have all the same interests as you do. There is nothing wrong with connecting with someone on one thing, and nothing else.

And believe me, commonality has it’s place; I can talk for a long time with my brother about some random aspect on Star Trek or Batman or which X-Men movie sucked (it was The Last Stand, of course). With my spouse? Not so much. But there are plenty of other things we can talk about; he is not required to like Star Wars (although I did require that he see Revenge of the Sith with me and bro).

Bottomline: in my opinion, diversity in friendships contributes to maturity and makes life much more interesting.

Kids and Movies

Friday evenings are pizza and movie/game night at our house. Of course the movies have to be child appropriate and games don’t last long since my three year old has the attention span of…a three year old (we played Candy Land last week and it lasted about 5 minutes).

So, last night was movie week and we chose Disney/Pixar’s Cars. It’s rated G, so I thought it would be okay. But, SO and I were very uncomfortable with some scenes so we ended up turning it off.

In the beginning there is a race, and the cars are crashing into each other and #1 says, “The cars are hitting each other,” with a really concerned look on his face.

We’re like, great.

But we press on. The scene that did it for us was when the cars wanted to jump over some railroad tracks.

Grrr.

SO described it perfectly: he said this is basically a cartoon version of The Fast and the Furious. More appropriate for kids 8 or older. I am not one of those that thinks television magically causes people to be pathological. On the contrary, I think whatever kids watch reinforces what has already been planted by the people they imitate the most: mom and dad. But I am still very careful about what I allow #1 to watch.

For instance, I am a huge Star Wars fan. I cannot wait for the day when I can sit down with my boys and watch it with them (for those that know us, you know the SO could care less about SW, lol). I know people that have allowed their 4 and 5 year olds to see it. But I think the shooting and the lightsaber duels are a bit much for kids under 6 or 7. I will consider letting my kids see Star Wars at maybe 7 years old. And, at that, just A New Hope. The rest of them have a bit too much maiming…oh wait. Thinking of the scene in the cantina with old-head Obi-Wan…damn…Ok. I got a few years to figure this out.

Fortunately, #1 didn’t seem to care that we shut the movie down, but did want to print out Lighting McQueen to color. I guess we will stick to Thomas the train, Word World, Super WHY, Sesame Street-related stuff and Arthur.