Man of Steel

Quick rate: sick of politics? go watch this! you’ll feel a lot better!

–###*** Usual potential spoiler alert ***###—

For those new readers of my blog, I always stick that up there, so that I don’t have to think about not spoiling anything, and just writing my mind.

You may have already figured out the story frame that this movie uses based off the trailers. It wraps the origin of Superman in the storyline of ‘first contact’, and ‘the outsider’. Unlike earlier takes on Superman, where he is usually seen fairly early on as a clearly benevolent figure and loved and accepted quickly, the initial reaction to him here is usually fear, a match to the fear and mistrust that have clouded our horizons since 9/11. The army is wary of him, Lois at first wants to expose his existence, but to those he has saved, he is a guardian angel, who goes as mysteriously as he comes. It is particularly germane in the current American political climate, with their attempt at immigration reform, and I suspect that this may have been deliberate. “I grew up in Kansas, I’m as American as it gets.” “I just want to help.” etc. It probably makes it germane in our political environment too. In addition, this goes on within another frame – choice and determinism. Earth and Krypton are set as different worlds culturally (as well as the obvious technologically and other obvious ways, like, it’s flippin somewhere else!), where Krypton’s children are genetically reared into strict castes and moulded into their role in society, whereas, well, our children can make themselves what they want to be, in theory anyway. Kal was not born in a genetic birthing chamber, but naturally, i.e. inside mum, and so his existence is a direct rejection of the decadent state of Kryptonian society, and a symbol of freedom and hope of a new start that his father, Jor-el (played by Russell Crowe), will send to Earth. It is this freedom that makes Kal choose Earth over Krypton. This aspect also plays into the American immigration debate.

If you wanted to sum up the theme of the movie in a word, it’d be trust. The question of trust is thrown around everywhere, and it is the question of trust that is at the centre of the acceptance or the rejection of the outsider.

On top of all that, there are a whole bunch of other things to notice: the off-cited parallels to Jesus – Superman is 33 years old at this point, *wink wink*; in one scene, I swear they deliberately shot to make Henry Cavill to look very much like Christopher Reeve; other random homages and references, even to the Hulk in one small scene.

The combat effects and fight scene scripting is very good. The way they show it makes it look and feel very much super-powered beings are going at it at each other, and what that might actually be like. I did like that they had a rather large Kryptonian for Supes to fight, ala Superman II.

All in all, this movie is an enjoyable, well produced, well scripted, reboot of Superman. I can’t wait to see what they’d do for a sequel.

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