Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Man of Steel is NOT Superman!

It's interesting how almost all brilliant world defying and changing ideas come from high schoolers or college drop outs. We all know how Apple and the like started.  Individuals who dared to think beyond an average Joe's imagination and said, Yes, it can be done, and more importantly did it. 

One such imaginative creation was Superman. Ok, it didn't change the world we live in, it didn't introduce us to any new gadgets or time saving devices, but it did create a super hero, which would give birth to more. Superman mostly known as a popular American icon is now global. He was born in 1933 from imaginative genius of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  Did you know that they first introduced him as a bad guy?  The comic did not succeed. They then reintroduced him as a super hero and it worked. And if I am not mistaken that was the time of depression, so a super hero was exactly what America needed at the time. Some one who would set it all straight. 

Fast forward to 1978 and Hollywood brings the character alive in the first Superman Movie with Christopher Reeve as Superman, Margot Kidder as Lois Lane; superman's lady love and Gene Hackman as the evil Lex Luthor.   The movie created history and was followed by sequels.  Superman IV: Quest for Peace released in 1987 was the last one with Christopher Reeve as the lead.   

At this point, I need to ask you a question: Have you seen these four movies? Are you a Superman (the original series) fan? If you answered yes to either of the questions, continue reading. If you answered no to both, then its okay to click the little "X" on your browser and move on. 

One is either a Superman fan or not. Its hard to watch these four sequels and come out indifferent, and YES i am a die hard fan of Superman movies. I remember watching them with my brother over and over again. There is obviously a nostalgia bias but even today Superman does not bore us. We can watch it again, and both of us have been trying very hard to get our spouses equally interested in it too. They like it, but not quite as much :) 

You Decide..
Even the poster does not compare
to the originals. 
So, you can only imagine my joy when I saw the trailer of Man of Steel. 2006 was when Superman Returns came to the screens and my reaction was ... "Not bad, it was actually quite nice."  I was very excited to go and see Man of Steel, with all the technology available today, I was looking forward to an amazing 2.5 hours of  movie time. 

Notice how I said "I was.., " because that's exactly what it was. This is the first time I am reviewing a movie in such detail and I give Man of Steel a B, only because it has the legacy of Superman attached to it. 

Man of Steel like Superman starts off with a shot of planet Krypton. I don't know if the creators of the comic named it after the chemically inert gas Krypton or not, but the planet Krypton did show many similar characteristics to the gas. The planet was shown as white with crystals all around. The crystals had a green glow to them. Interestingly Krypton gas when frozen is white and in its gaseous state has green and orange hues to it. Unlike the original, the 2013 version of Krypton is a dark rugged planet with jagged mountain edges. The planet in both cases is at the brink of destruction for different reasons, in 1978, the planet exploded because it was time. I guess every celestial body has an age limit.  In 2013, the planet had used up all its resources and was self destroying. 

In both cases, Krypton's brilliant scientist Jor-El and his wife have identified Earth as the safe destination for their only son Kal-El, who they pack and ship in a capsule that finds its way to a farming family in Kansas.  Unlike the original series, where in the parents through acts of baby Kal-El identify the unusual and super powers of the child, in the new movie they are presented as flash backs of the adult Kal-El.  

If you have seen the originals, then you know the chemistry between Lois Lane, the pretty reported from Daily Planet and Superman. That was missing BIG time in Man of Steel. In fact there was no chemistry, until the end when oddly enough the chemistry kicks in the midst of a Metropolis that is completely destroyed and blackened by the extensive fights between General Zod and Superman. 

There was no Lex Luthor in Man of Steel and yet I think I saw trucks in Metropolis that had Lexcorp written on it, or did I imagine that? It doesn't matter, because there can not be a Superman movie without Lex Luthor. 

An interesting twist in Man of Steel is challenging what the word S stands for.  S in the originals stands for Superman.  A word coined by Lois Lane after her first romantic flight with Superman. In 2013, S is not "S" as we Earthlings know it, it actually is the symbol of hope on the planet Krypton. So both General Zod and Superman have it for different reasons. Little did either one know that the symbol S on Superman is the family crest for the "House of El" which Superman belongs to. Why S? Well there are different theories but it could because the last names of the writers of the series ends with S :) 

Okay, you can call be picky, but Man of Steel needs some flying lessons. Who flies with closed fists? Either have your hands tightly pulled in next to your body or have the palms straight open to create the aero dynamics needed to fly.  

To sum it up, Man of Steel may have flown on the opening weekend, but it sure won't soar beyond that. It lacks the guiltlessness and purity of  the character Superman. The simple gestures he did and  that "feel good" feeling. Unlike the real Superman whose main goal in every battle was to take the evil doers away from planet Earth so the planet and its people would not be destroyed, the Man of Steel fights right in the middle of the city leaving Metropolis looking like a mountain of bricks, bended steel and broken glass.   

The endless battle with the squid like looking droids that strew out steel tentacles, General Zod and Superman destroys Earth completely. And considering how strong General Zod is, one would think he would die in an equally cosmic way, but instead all that was needed was a twist of neck. Superman could have done that in 90 minutes, but Man of Steel took close to 150 minutes to do the same task. 

Its interesting how the 2006 movie Superman Returns which had a perfect opportunity to a sequel was completely ignored and the writers and director spared no expense and effort to recreate a legacy which was great to begin with.  

It is true the world continues to need a hero but Man of Steel is not that hero.  

Could it be that the differences in the perception and direction of the two movies is a reflection of the times and world we live in today? You decide. 

I continue to believe in Superman. 

No comments:

Post a Comment