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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thoughts on Man of Steel Trailer #2

I've been fooled by more-sizzle-than-steak director Zack Snyder before, but nonetheless I'm very excited by this new trailer for his upcoming Superman movie, Man of Steel. It looks as though Snyder will at least attempt to capture some of the more important elements of the mythos: why Superman does what he does, what it means to be a good person, the pain of balancing two sides of a dual nature, the enduring love of two sets of parents, the importance of supporting the rule of law when it's the right thing to do.

Judging by the trailer this film will probably overplay the angst-ridden elements of the Superman story while underplaying the joy and wonder so important to the character. If it manages to tell a compelling story I can live with that choice in the hopes that sequels will show a Superman who's grown into the role and a public that's more supportive of a guy who's trying to give them a helping hand. In fact, that sort of development would nicely parallel the evolution of the character in the comics: he started as a rather anarchist rogue, feared by criminals and the public as much as Batman was. Only later did he become the "big blue boy scout" most fans are familiar with today.

There's one pretty awe-inspiring moment in this trailer: when Superman launches himself into space. The short sequence really captures the otherworldly majesty of Superman's ability to fly.

My expectations are still tempered by Snyder's track record, but now my opinion is one of hopeful, guarded optimism.


"The Best Of Jeff Worlds Part II" said...

On CBC, they interviewed Caitlin Moran whose favourite movie of all time was Ghostbusters. She explained it like this:

If Ghostbusters was made today, Peter Venkmann would have had to endure some kind of childhood crisis. As he grows into an adult, he would gain his true character, but this crisis still gnaws at him. Assuming that the trauma had something to do with Stay-Puft Marshamllows, the central crisis of the movie would involve the giant SPM Man, and the GB's confrontation with this creature would cause Venkmann to falter. The GB's would have to retreat and regroup. Venkmann would become very angry and the GB's would split up. Only after Venkmann had confronted his chilhood issue (possibly by reconciling with his father and/or learning to love) would he ba able to exorcise his personal demons. He'd re-unite the GB's and return to the fight and win, yay!

Anyways, the reason GB is so good is that it never does that. It's just four guys who do their job. Their job happens to be saving the world. They do find setbacks, but they win in the end.

More importantly, they win by spouting off genius-level comedic gems every thirty seconds, exactly the kind of stuff that you can remember for parties when you want to make yourself seem much more interesting than you appear to be to other people. That's what makes GB great. "No human being would stack books like this."

The new Superman... looks like it's going to follow the formula of the New Millenium. It will fill theatre seats with warm bums, though, so whatever sells the tickets wins, I reckon.

Earl J. Woods said...

Sigh. This is true. It saddens me that as I grow older I realize that Superman III was probably the truest and best Superman film. As flawed as it was, it's what I want most from a superman movie: he's a good guy who does his job for the right reasons, just because he can. And people love him for it. Why wouldn't they?

Stephen Fitzpatrick said...

I was kind of hoping they would downplay the origin story because it is probably the second best known in the world, after Baby Jesus, but, yeah, even this short snippet gives a real sense of respect for the character AND his power. Sucker Punch was lame, but kind of ballsy in its fashion, and I enjoyed 300. Watchmen was about as good as an adaptation of that material could be expected to be, so I am pretty eagerly anticipating Man of Steel, and I am glad to hear your excitement is growing.

"The Best Of Jeff Worlds II (a)" said...

Skyfall both adhered more strongly to the Bond formula than any 007 film of the new millenium, while at the same time, it also sheared away from the formula as well. I found it a very smart film that was victim of too much thinking. Bond definitely does not just get to do his job.

So it's possible to make a film that follows the formula but still be something original. Whether or not that makes for great entertainment depends on too many factors that are out of our control, especially for The Man Of Steel.

As for loving Superman, why, the big guy is at face value a tremendous threat to humankind. His existance means that not only are humans not alone in the Universe, but that we are not anywhere near the most advanced either. We should know that already, but it's not a lesson that makes for a cooperative society. No matter Superman's intentions, people will percieve him as a threat to social stability. There is nothing that any person on the planet can do that Superman could either do better or destroy in mere seconds. He's nearly a deity incarnate, and those guys don't mix well with the rank and file humans. Ask Pontius Pilate, if you ever get the chance.

Of course, the comic book conceit is that people get over that sensibility, and then Superman's story works on the grandest level. Personally, that's the way I like Supes as well. I doubt that he and I would ever get along if we had to spend time together, but he lives in his world and I live in mine, and perhaps we're both so much the richer for it. I see no real use in trying to fit Superman into the real world, he doesn't belong in our reality just as much as we would come to loathe living in Metropolis or Gotham. The escapism should be escapist rather than revisionist, or worse, foumula-based revisionist. I never thought of SIII the way you mentioned it, but I can see your point.