Skipping to Conclusions: Man of Steel

The Man of Steel trailer has arrived:

I can not wait.

I think Superman is stuck in a tough place in our collective consciousness.  If he’s his classic self, he gets dismissed for being too much of a “Boy Scout” – though I wish we could retire that term, since I doubt he’d ever want to be associated with a group that now puts discrimination into its bylaws – and compared unfavorably to the “nuanced” and dark Batman.  If he becomes a little edgier – as has happened in the reboot, as it looks like is happening in Man of Steel – he’s not the Superman everyone wants to see.

I love Superman because he’s an outsider, who can pass as part of the mainstream world, but who harbors this wonderful secret that he’s afraid to share.  But Superman was created in a different era, and I’m not too sure that an alien boy who lands on a farm in Kansas would necessarily be instilled with virtues such as truth, justice, and the American Way.

What is the American Way?

I am not a parent, but I can only imagine that parents of children who are “different” wish to protect their children. The easiest way to protect something different is to hide it.  Sometimes hiding comes with sacrifices.  I don’t think any of us will face a situation where we have to choose between passing or saving lives, but maybe we will.  I know what my mom would say to me in that situation.  But I also know what I’d choose anyway, no matter what.  And my mom would understand.

I’m excited for Man of Steel for a lot of reasons.  Sure, I’ll always be excited for a new Superman movie; I’ll always give it the benefit of the doubt.  I’m really happy about a lot of the casting, which I haven’t been since Lois and Clark.  But for the first time in a long time, in this age of superhero origin reboots every decade, Superman’s origin seems new.  You can’t have a real heroic journey without some darkness.  Superman doesn’t get swallowed up by it; he strives to find the good in the world, and to add some more good to it, and this trailer makes me think that’s exactly the direction Snyder is going in.

My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they’d reject me. He was convinced that the world wasn’t ready.

What do you think?

I was wary of the “Nolanization” of Superman.  But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about my favorite Superman comics over the years – especially Superman: Secret Identity and Superman: Man for All Seasons – the more I realized that this is exactly where I want Superman to go.  This isn’t Nolanization – or maybe this is exactly what Nolanization is – this is putting a superhero into our world, the same as Siegel and Shuster did, the same as the team of writers on Donner’s film did.  But it’s not 1938 anymore.  It’s not 1978 anymore.

I’m ready.

  • Despite my great, almost life-long love for Spidey and Supes, I had no desire to see their latest movies. I think it’s because they are both origin films AGAIN. Plus, I will admit that Tobey Maguire and Brandon Routh are both cemented in my head and heart as the modern Spidey and Supes, but I understand the concept that superheroes are like James Bond: they need to be updated for each era.

    But mostly, I don’t need another origin movie for those characters. I know there are movie-goers that would see these trailers and be interested in them because they have no knowledge of the characters and don’t know their stories, but Tobey’s Spider-Man movies came out in 2002, 2004 and 2007. Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies came out in 1978, 1980, 1983, and 1987. Brandon’s turn with the cape was in 2006. And don’t forget, there are comic books, cartoons and even series for these characters. There is a LOT of origin information out there.

    If Andrew Garfield and Henry Cavill could have gotten these roles, but with continuing storylines from the previous movies, then I think I would be more interested. Spidey could still fight the Lizard and Captain Stacy could probably still die, but let him have more to do than rehash high school and his transformation into a hero AGAIN. Superman could do battle with General Zod, having broken out of the Phantom Zone, save Lois and all the inhabitants of Earth, and we don’t have to rewatch Jor-El and his wife send baby Kal-El away on a spaceship to Earth, the destruction of Krypton, or his first time meeting Lois and Perry White.

    I’d like to see a Wonder Woman movie. Hell, even Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds wasn’t that bad, and I don’t even like RR or know squat about GL, but I still enjoyed it as a film. The Flash has lots of fans. The X-Men movies have all done pretty well. How about a Spider-Woman movie, for God’s sake? Give us origin movies on new and different characters, or give us one shot graphic novels as movies, like The Watchmen. I know there won’t be another Watchmen movie, and I’m fine with that, because that one film was pretty much all I needed in a superhero film that came from a graphic novel I’ve never read.

    Moviegoers who are fans of certain genres are all armchair quarterbacks, myself included. We are fickle and angry and we could always do it better than the filmmakers could.

  • Sam

    Amy – We certainly have a glut of the same old origin stories, I agree on that. I’m not sure you could have Andrew Garfield or Henry Cavill continue on in already-established movie universes, if only because they stopped working well. But that doesn’t mean you have to do an origin story again. There’s no reason you can’t have Peter partway into his heroing career, or Clark a few years down the line. I agree with that. Moreso with Spider-Man than Superman, which really hasn’t been done as much as some of the other heroes (at least solely in the movies). I’m sincerely hoping they don’t reboot Batman AGAIN, and just focus on Blake (or recast Bruce if necessary). That’s a movie universe that still works. Spider-Man 3 was pretty awful, IMO, and Superman Returns was trying too hard to be a sequel for a movie that was made 2 decades before it came out.

    But I definitely would rather see new heroes getting their origins up on the big screen. I can’t agree that Green Lantern wasn’t that bad, though. :) But I did love Watchmen, which doesn’t seem to be the general consensus, and I’d love to see more movies like that.