Monday, August 12, 2013

5 Reasons why Man of Steel is the Best Superman Movie

I recently watched ComicBookGirl19's review and she referred to fellow critics to "reflect" the critics' -- ahem -- the public perception of Man of Steel.  And the usual complaints are, boring action scenes, bland, lacks character development (*shakes head*) and Superman is


That's right!  Man of Steel has a very different Superman.  We are used to the Christopher Reeve Superman in 1976: the ideal Superman.  He is a God in his world.  And some fans are probably uncomfortable that Man of Steel reveals a very human side of Clark Kent (played by Henry Cavill).  But I love it.  This is not really a "dark" or "gritty" Superman.  People assume that it is so because Christopher Nolan had produced it.  But it's not so campy either which makes the movie enjoyable for me.  It's more like a "Thin Red Line"-driven film, where motion speaks as much as an actual dialogue.  Here are my five major reasons why Man of Steel is the best Superman movie to date.

1.  Man of Steel unravels the Messiah nobody ever knew or even wanted.

In the Bible, the first chapter of John mentioned about a Messiah who came into the world, though not of this world, and people do not recognize him.  Yes, we can compare Jesus Christ and Superman in this film.  Interesting to note that Clark Kent started out as a laborer in a heavy industry rather than being a clumsy reporter.  And he jumped from one job to another as if he wished to conceal himself.  When Lois Lane interviewed those people he had encountered, he was not seen as a hero.  He was a vagabond, a troublemaker, a nobody who had strange supernatural powers.  Both Christ and Clark Kent went through several obstacles for them to understand what is going on with their lives.  They both have a destiny that they would someday become a Savior of this World. 

2.  Father's Love

Very very few movies could depict a Father's love to his son.  In television, a father is either a loveable fool like Homer Simpson, a distant authoritarian figure, or a loud coach.  But in the film, you cannot fit Superman's fathers' love in a box.  You could feel the love from Jor-El (Russel Crowe), which leaves a powerful mark for me.  Jor-El, not only saved his son's life from Krypton's total destruction.  But even in death Jor-El has revealed Superman's true identity to his own son! 

And Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner), his earthly father, had raised him from childhood Clark despite being an outsider.  He tried his best for his son to live as normally as he could.  Because he knew that society would hate him for who he is.  And it's kind of frustrating because he raised Clark to have a strong moral compass but in many instances, the son has to reveal his identity in order to do what is righteous.  That is what I find Superman impressive in this movie.  He faced difficult human dilemmas.  Is it more righteous to save others in expense of yourself, or the other way around?  You might see that more clearly when Clark is about to save his father in a tornado.  Should he reveal his identity or let his father die?  Even after watching the film, I have no definite answer to that.  And that's the beauty of Father's love in Man of Steel.

3.  A Unique Perspective in Superman's Weakness

I used to joke that Man of Steel without Lex Luthor is a mistake.  But the film has challenged me to look deeper.  I often saw the poster with Superman in handcuffs.  That's silly.  He could yank it anytime he wanted.  But he keeps his chains.  Why?

We know that Superman's weakness is a piece of rock called Kryptonite which comes from his planet.  But in this movie, it is not his true weakness at all.  In fact, he manages to destroy a terra-forming machine that is build out of.....Kryptonite.  Just like Christ, Superman's true weakness is his Love for Humanity.  But Society does not see that.  When General Zod (Michael Shannon) and his minions threaten to destroy planet Earth, society quickly give in to their demands.  They never bother to ask who Superman really is, or what he is capable of.  They just let their fear decide on appeasing these villains with no guarantee of enforcing the agreement.  They act like Pontius Pilate.  They don't want to get involved, not knowing that they're about to be wiped out of the face of the earth. 

The story leaves a lesson for us.  We seem to know little of what we are capable of.  Do we say we are weak because society say so?  Hmmm....Think it over.

4.  A Smart Lois Lane.

How come Lois Lane in the earlier films and comics do not seem to recognize Clark Kent and Superman as one person?  Reporters should be sharp, analytical and always on their toes for the latest scoop.  And this Lois Lane (Amy Adams) fits the role perfectly.  She quickly picks up leads and recognize Superman earlier than the rest of the world does.  Granted, the chemistry between her and Clark Kent is not fully developed yet. I don't fault the movie though because this is after all, an origins story.  Superman is still at odds with his identity, and we cannot assume Lois Lane would be all over for him at once.  And this brings us to the fifth reason.....

5.  It Reveals a Promising Sequel

At the later parts of the film, Clark Kent decides to work at The Daily Planet.  And that reveals a very promising Part 2.  It makes sense that he works as a news reporter so he would know where he would be needed as Superman.  But as for Lois, how would she treat Clark now that she's aware that he's Superman?  Would she treat him just like everyone else?  Would she be forced to reveal his identity?  Suppose there is a Lex Luthor in part 2, would she compromise or be able to secure Clark's identity?  A lot of things can happen.  Part 2 gives more room for Lois and Clark chemistry to develop.  And we know that Christopher Nolan loves sequels. And I personally believe that its sequel would be better than this movie.  I heard rumors that this sequel would include Batman but.....I just don't think it's necessary.  There are many things to resolve yet.  Oh.  We are not even sure if General Zod is dead or not.  And if he is dead, who will be able to use his body to unlock the secrets of Krypton? 

I agree with ComicBookGirl19 that Man of Steel is the most polarizing Superman film of all time.  And she does not appear to like it.  But if we look closer into the film, it shows a very different Superman that probably make the fans uncomfortable with the movie.  And I do agree with the critics that the action scenes were not anything special.  Those fights were alright but I like them the least in the film.  Nonetheless, Man of Steel is a film with good substance, a great story that I could never get tired of telling, and makes me anticipate for a promising sequel. 

You can watch ComicBookGirl19's Youtube review here:

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