Man of Steel is a mixed bag, but you should go see it anyway

posted Jun 14, 2013, 12:24 PM by Jenee Pearson Hughes   [ updated Jun 14, 2013, 12:38 PM ]
ArouNd the WORld aROUND the WORld - Daft Punk

In spite of my deep and abiding loathing of all things Zach Synder touches, I actually enjoyed the new Superman movie, Man of Steel. The first half was surprisingly well-thought-out and engaging, though the second act was basically an hour-long trailer for Super Smash Bros: Krypton Edition (Dash! Dash! Falcon PUNCH!).   

Spoilers Ahead!

I REALLY liked the parallel it drew between kids with autism struggling with sensory overload and young Superman wrestling with his powers manifesting.  I'm no expert, but I'd like to think that kids with autism who see the movie will identify with Superman. Whether or not that is the case, I think it might work to de-stigmatize the symptoms of autism for the rest of the neuro-typical world, by giving us a positive context in which to understand them.

Lois Lane (Amy Adams) was particularly well done, and is probably my favorite incarnation of her. I actually believed that she was a Pulitzer-winning journalist!
Lois Lane is a serious journalist!

That being said, despite the pleasant surprise of a competent and interesting Lois Lane, Zach Snyder is still not particularly good at making female characters that have any more depth than a 13-year-old boy's fantasy girl, as evidenced by, oh, every single other female character in the movie (other than Martha Kent, who plays a tough-if-one-note Kansas Mom). 

A young Martha Kent

As a point of interest, this movie does not pass the Bechdel test, which asks "Does this movie feature two female characters, who talk to each other at least once, about something other than a man?". The closest we came to a conversation between women about something other than a man was when the female Kryptonian with the terrible dialogue told Lois Lane to put on a breathing mask, but for the life of me, I can't remember if Lois said anything in response. Regardless, even if it passes the letter of the test, it most definitely doesn't pass the spirt.
A rare sight in this film: Two women, interacting with each other

With this in mind, I would like to kindly request that Zach Snyder stay the hell away from Supergirl or Wonder Woman (and Batgirl, while we're at it). I don't want to know what his versions of those characters look like. I don't think I'd be particularly happy with the result.
Zach Snyder's Super Ladies would not be wearing nearly as much as these incarnations are.


I'm fine with Zach Snyder's Superman, though. His Superman may not go through a particularly dynamic character arc, but he has more depth than any other incarnation of Superman that I've seen. Whether that's due to the acting of Henry Cavill (who is WAY overdue for a starring role!), or to the script, I can't quite say. But I like him!
Superman and 'MURICA!
The most surprising performance was Russel Crowe's Jor-El. It was a surprisingly meaty role, and not in a bad way. I actually enjoyed watching all his Superman-less scenes!  They really fleshed out the Krypton Lore, even if there were a couple of poorly explained points (or, as some of my friends deemed them, plot holes).
Jor-El looking out at a dying Krypton


Also, PLEASE let the Justice League movie have Hawkgirl and The Flash in it.  I would be so sad if it didn't.