Man of Steel (2013). Growing up is tough.

Here be spoilers, many of them. Continue at your peril if you haven’t watched the movie!

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A friend asked me to go see this movie when it first came out, I said no. I have never really been a DC fan, and I know that it is blasphemy, but I really did not enjoy the most recent Batman series. I don’t particularly like Christian Bale and I haven’t like Anne Hathaway in anything since The Princess Diaries and I am almost 90% sure that was because Julie Andrews was there. That woman was as big a part of my childhood with the Sound of Music, as the Green Power Ranger to White Ranger storyline. But I digress, we’re talking about Superheroes not giant mecha. Truth be told, we were hoping to watch giant mechas. Our first choice for movie viewing was Pacific Rim, but for some reason that didn’t pan out, so Superman it was. This was a movie worthy of 3D IMAX. The effects weren’t overwhelming or distracting they added rather than took away from the story. I am not a big fan of 3D effects for the sake of effects so this was nice.

The main plot of the movie is that Krypton  is dying and there is nothing to be done to stop it. The movie explains that Kryptonians were once an exploratory race, who travelled around the universe setting up bases in other worlds to learn and grow. They were also able to sustain themselves this way,  but at some point that all stopped and they decided to mine the planet’s core for resources instead. Clearly a pretty stupid idea and completely unsustainable. But when the council is run by old fogies set in their way, there isn’t a lot you can do. So as the planet’s leading scientist, Jor’El builds a spaceship, steals the DNA of their entire race (the Codex), merges it with his infant son and sends him off the Earth. What?  At some point in their history, Kryptonians lost faith in natural selection and instead opted to grow children and assign them roles for life at birth. Kal’El the the first natural birth in centuries was special so they wanted him to have a chance to build a better future for their people.

Ehh, that’s a lot of pressure don’t you think? The destruction of Krypton is till a while away and the reason his birth parents not going with him was because they were “tainted”. What. You’ve clearly made good choices, natural birth, putting your consciousness into a machine for your son to find, progressive about your race’s future, why would it have been terrible to build a bigger spaceship and just like chill on Earth together? Then, there was this one scene where Jor’El’s avatar mentions how Kal’El is supposed to be a shining example to humans, how he has all of Krypton’s hopes, dreams and DNA living inside of him and then like motions to Lois Lane falling out of the sky it was like a, “go ye forth and spread all our seed” moment.  

What I liked most about this movie is the attention to his history. I learnt a lot more about the life he left behind from this movie than I can remember being told in any movie or tv setting. Seeing his mother hesitate and hold infant Kal’el close with tears in her eyes was a real game changer for me. From that point I began to see Kryptonians as important and I began to care about the fate of their race. I wish the movie could have spent some more time on Krypton, their way of life looked really interesting, as did the topography of their planet. I understand why they didn’t, the movie would have dragged on too long. But I for one would be excited to have a prequel, or an alternate reality where Kal’el was able to live on Krypton with his parents.

His Earth parents for the most part were a waste of screentime, the only useful one was his mom. In “The New Adventures of Superman” and “Smallville“, his parents were warm, loving and kind people who understood him. They protected him, but they also encouraged him to find himself to be his own person. In Man of Steel, his mother alone plays that role , she encourages him to ‘make the world small‘ in order to control his powers, on the other hand his dad dies because he doesn’t want him to use his powers to save his life. It was a truly stupid scene, utterly stupid. Granted Clark was not ready to come out to the world be Superman at the time, but my god the trauma of that moment will stay with him forever. He could have saved his father, it wouldn’t have been the first ‘super’ thing he would have done in that town.

Yada yada, bad guys come, he learns to be a hero, finds himself, saves the day, people of Earth love him, finds a girlfriend (Lois, duh), integrates into society after being a bum for forever years, then the movie ends. It was a pretty good movie. It didn’t lag in any parts, and even though the plot had big gaping holes, the pacing was really well done.

I say that, but what bugged me after I left the cinema was how terrible a childhood he had. His birth parents abandon him because of a bizarre sense of morality, and his adoptive parents tell him to repress who he is indefinitely for their own safety. Then he’s basically told via hologram that, he’s the only survivor of a dead planet and race of people, oh but he has all their DNA inside of him so it is chill. Oh, he has to save Earth, why? Because it is his destiny, and by the way here is a suit for that purpose. But wasn’t the point of him going to Earth so he could pick his own destiny you ask? Yeah well, ‘pfft’ to that, he is a saviour damnit. And how little he cared about the people he was supposedly trying to save. He destroyed Metropolis. It isn’t uncommon for there to be collateral damage in movies like this, towns get destroyed, big explosions, it makes for good cinema. However, the scriptwriters were so convincing and cinematography so realistic that I found myself mentally calculating the cost of rebuilding. It is a lot

Visual effects were good and plot was believable but had huge holes. I’d recommend anyone to either watch it in 3D IMAX or wait and watch it at home.

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