June 24, 2013

"Man of Steel"

Although directed by Zack Snyder (300), this reboot of Superman feels like co-storywriter Christopher Nolan's Batmanification of Superman. 

I like the idea of Christopher Nolan -- reactionary elitist foe of disorder and mob rule, the Duke of Wellington with $100 million to blow on CGI -- more than I actually like Nolan's movies.

If Nolan made claustrophobically airless art house films, I'd no doubt be vociferously championing his mastery of airless claustrophobia. But since his movies (e.g., Inception) don't need my help, I'm left nostalgically recalling the glorious expansiveness of Richard Donner's shots of midsummer wheat country in the erratic but likable 1978 Superman that launched the era of comic book movies.

It's a cliche that Superman is optimistic in a New Dealy nothing-to-fear-but-fear-itself way, while Batman is drenched in dread of street crime, but Nolan seems to agree and thus isn't all that interested in Superman's silly but fun omnipotence. Nolan attempts to re-imagine the comic book hero as a semi-realistic space alien psychologically tormented by schoolyard bullies whom he can't punch back against because he's too strong. Whether a semi-realistic Superman is a glass half full or half empty is up to you.

Nolan isn't interested either in Lois Lane (who is played without spark by a maternal Amy Adams). That reminds me of how good Anne Hathaway was in The Dark Knight Rises as Catwoman to stand out as a woman in a Nolan film. In "Man of Steel," Lois Lane figures out quickly that Superman (the word isn't fully mentioned in the movie) is Clark Kent, but that just deprives Henry Cavill in the main role of a chance to do a little acting by playing two characters, as Christopher Reeve got to do in the original.

A big problem hanging over Superman movies right now is that Reeve's death leaves them kind of stumped about how to portray the central figure.

I suspect that in the long run, the way forward with Superman movies will eventually turn out to be to blend Reeve's tragic crippling -- a god falls to earth -- and struggle against his injury into the mythos. Over enough time, all these memories kind of blur together and the distinction between character and actor in the collective recollection gets hazy. Ultimately, somebody will figure out how to use that, but it's likely too soon at present.

(Lex Luthor is, thankfully, gone completely.)

In contrast, Nolan's nominal bad guy General Zod is teh awesome. Played by Chicago stage veteran Michael Shannon, who is the rare American actor to have the diction and stature to play Shakespeare's Coriolanus, Zod gets all the good lines. Born and bred to protect his people, this authoritarian militarist had teamed up with Superman's liberal scientist dad Jor-El (Russell Crowe -- not bad, better than Brando reading cue cards in 1978, but still overshadowed by Shannon) to try to alert the do-nothing planetary council to the mortal peril facing an imploding Krypton.

But they differ in their solutions. Like so many movies these days, Man of Steel has something or other to do with eugenics, but I can't begin to explain why Jor-El's plan for preserving Krypton's bloodlines is the nice liberal eugenic plan and Zod's is the evil racist eugenic plan. It has something to do with genetic encoding of Krypton's billions ... or something. 

90 comments:

Jokah Macpherson said...

"I can't begin to explain why Jor-El's plan for preserving Krypton's bloodlines is the nice liberal eugenic plan and Zod's is the evil racist eugenic plan."

It annoyed me that the movie was so vague about this. I also found it strange none of the guys I saw it with noticed the vagueness. I pointed out to them that Jor-El's plan involved his naturally conceived son being the sole survivor (at least for the time being? I couldn't tell) so it could hardly be said to be totally unselfish.

I felt bad siding with the militaristic would-be dictator but I kind of liked Zod's speech about everything he does being for Krypton.

Whiskey said...

Zod wanted to preserve the "old ways" which were basically the Brave New World of non-naturally born children, conceived and brought to birth in a giant artificial womb, destined from birth to have their entire life scripted out from them with no deviation. From birth a Kryptonian would be designated a scientist, a worker, a warrior, and there could be no change.

Jor-El (very symbolically the movie opens with the very hard and traumatic birth of Kal-El) wanted to change all that, to bring Krypton and its people and future back to the even older ways of natural childbirth.

It is strongly implied that Superman is stronger and more moral because has ALL of Krypton's genetic code. As Krypton's message to the future, he literally embodies all their genetics.

Zod is the bad guy because he wants to literally recreate the same failure of Krypton -- creating a genocide of the Earth and its people to reconstruct a society so doddering and do nothing that it literally could not give birth (stale, sterile) and sought to exhaust all its resources.

Zod cannot face his people's failure, and try something new. Jor El could, and that's why he's the good guy, as is his son, and Zod is the same old Brave New World failure.

I thought that perfectly understandable Steve. Superman is naturally born and embodies naturalism, Zod failed artificial birth.

Steve Sailer said...

And how is Jor-El planning on the Krytonesians reproducing? I mean, at least the King of Siam wanted to send Abraham Lincoln _two_ male elephants to set free into the forest of America.

Jokah Macpherson said...

Also, I was confused by Superman's line at the end where he assures the American military commander than he can be trusted because he grew up on a farm in Kansas and what could be more American than that. Is Superman implying that if, say, he was instead raised by Chechyn refugees that his loyalties would be more suspect? This doesn't make any sense!

Steve Sailer said...

Obama is always going around pointing out that his mother was born in Kansas. It's probably a half-developed joke about that.

The movie could use some more jokes. Snyder's 300 had more jokes scripted by Herodotus alone than "Man of Steel" has.

Whiskey said...

As for Nolan's style, I thought the movie was cold. The movie lacked a few tension-cracking jokes/humor, admittedly it was kind of grim, and it was more sci-fi than superhero. No adventure, no romance, no Superman saving the day (he saves remarkably few people in his movie and Superman is all about an uber-powerful rescuer) nor much hint of a wider DC Universe.

Then there's that damn cold Blue Filter Nolan always uses.

By contrast, the first Iron Man movie had Samuel L. Jackson in that cameo tacked on at the end where he lectures Robert Downey Jr. about the "wider universe" to pretty much tell you, Iron Man is not alone. There are other heroes. Coming. Soon.

Think of how AWESOME the movie would have been if say, Christian Bale had stopped by the Daily Planet, or Ryan Reynolds, or heck even Keanu Reeves.

But that is the problem with Warners and DC. They cannot figure out that Marvel's strategy, to milk as much as possible from the greater whole than sum of parts is natural for DC characters, who came out first and for a long time, dominated. Instead, Jon Peters, yes THAT GUY gets executive producer credit. I'm shocked there were no giant spiders for Superman to fight, or a gay Jimmy Olsen.

Each movie exists in its own independent universe, with each hero independent. You can tell a story by linking the films together, as Iron Man 1 & 2, Captain America, and Thor all did. To create the Avengers Movie.

I did like that Superman Man of Steel had the line that Superman was from Kansas, as American as it gets. Definitely not something that will play abroad, but Nolan kept it in. Meanwhile the Iron Man 3 movie while generally excellent script by Shane Black had a major swerve ...




Spoilers ....






The Mandarin was not the villain, just an actor. Instead it was some blonde White guy (Guy Pearce, literally) "whipping up" terrorism fears to get big military contracts. Because we all know Muslims are peaceful and don't oh I dunno, blow the legs off six year old blonde boys in Boston. Over ... being married and supported by some attractive White American girl who had their kid.

That was done to make Hollywood happy and not impact foreign box office. A pity because the comic book Mandarin was the perfect Iron Man foe: using magic not technology with ten magic rings that Iron Man being an engineer had a hard time even comprehending.

But that would have impacted both Asian and Muslim markets, so no go there.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

What was better, Man of Steel, or Star Trek: Into Darkness?

Steve Sailer said...

Haven't seen the Star Trek movie. Shane Black's Iron Man 3 was highly satisfactory.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I've been thinking of checking out one of these comic book movies. I can't really sit through more than one of these a year or so unless they're really good, so I try to shoot for the one considered most enjoyable.

The new Star Trek seemed to have been highly anticipated but fell short of expectations.

eah said...

Just what the world needed -- another Superman movie.

Marlowe said...

How did Hollywood writers blend in George Reeves' mysterious suicide?

The 'carrying the entire genome of one's race around in one's body' idea comes straight out of Harlan Ellison's famous Outer Limits episode "Demon with a glass hand".

Dr Van Nostrand said...

I thought it was rather dull. Steve is spot on , Nolan decision to Batmanize a very unambiguously moral Superman was a mistake

Both Snyder and Nolan are more accustomed to complex superheros (Batman and Watchmen) and their shadow has damaged this movie a great deal

I prefer the slight corny more traditional origins story ala Spiderman where the protagnist slowly becomes aware of his powers.

No mention of the Jewish authors of Superman ,his Hebrew name Kal El and the stranger in a strange land experience?

Jason B said...

Steve, of course you're right about Lex not being in the movie, but the LexCorp logo is on a skyscraper in one shot, and I missed this, but my wife caught it - it's on a tanker truck that one of the villains throws at Superman. I'm thinking he's probably the main villain in the sequel. I disagree about Amy Adams in this one, but I didn't see any of the original Supermans, so maybe it's a Lois Lane contrast thing. Agree about Zod, that was a really enjoyable performance.

Harry Baldwin said...

A big problem hanging over Superman movies right now is that Reeve's death leaves them kind of stumped

I think this needs the full name "Christopher Reeve." I had to think about this when reading it because of the George Reeves/Christopher Reeve confusion, especially having recently watched "Hollywoodland" about George Reeves' death.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Hi Steve, are you going to subject yourself to The Purge ,that awful PC neo Marxist claptrap of a movie for the sake of a review?

Anonymous said...

>That was done to make Hollywood happy and not impact foreign box office. A pity because the comic book Mandarin was the perfect Iron Man foe: using magic not technology with ten magic rings that Iron Man being an engineer had a hard time even comprehending.

Maybe, its changed in the more recent Marvel reboots, but in the original Iron Man series (60s-?), Mandarin's rings were alien technology, rather than magic.

FredR said...

"What was better, Man of Steel, or Star Trek: Into Darkness?"

Man of Steel is better.

Captain Tripps said...

Not to mention Kevin Costner and Diane Lane in understated but well-played roles as Superman’s human adoptive parents. We liked the movie (the whole family saw it together); ** SPOILER ALERT** My kids actually cried during the part when Kevin Costner “sacrificed” himself to save the dog trapped in the car from the oncoming tornado. You touched on it briefly but the unspoken theme here are the bedrock “All-American” morals/values that in the collective cultural mind spring from the Midwest/Heartland. Superman “assimilated’ these as he grew up in Kansas and they shaped his moral/ethical character as much as, if not more than, his native Kryptonian DNA.

I also thought Christopher Meloni (the Law and Order: SVU guy) did an admirable job in a minor role as the patriot US Army Colonel (and not just because I'm retired Army :-)).

Trey said...

Two nitpicks with an otherwise good review -- one soldier did say "Superman" in the war room. "That's what they're calling him" he followed up with when everyone looked at him funny.

And while Lex Luthor was not present, there were two tanker trucks with the "Lexcorp" logo. Lexcorp is Lex's legitimate business front.

Evil Sandmich said...

Superman is a horrible super hero to write for: an omnipotent demi-god with a mid?range IQ. Nolan seemed to relish Batman getting the crap kicked out of him to humanize the super hero so that audiences could better relate to him, but despite his best efforts, it just never happened in Superman.

bluegrass said...

I was preferential to Zod the whole time.

Besides the ridiculous plot holes in this movie, the idea that humanity deserves existence over an advanced, interplanetary species (which humanity show little signs of reaching ourselves)I think is kind of ridiculous.

Superman was morally "correct" by turning on his race and higher civilization for the betterment of humanity and the avoidance of genocide.

He was also an outsider, an alien, but still held magnanimous attitudes to the host population who didn't understand him and treated him just oh...so poorly.

Sound familiar?

In addition, the Germaninization of the Kryptonians, particularly towards the end of the movie with that cliche Auschwitz-evil-german doctor character really irked me.

As usual, the bad guys:
A. Particularly White and very German.
B. Wanted to preserve their race.
C. Were militaristic and traditional

The Good guys were:
A. The U.S. Military run by enlightened blacks.
B. A crypto-Jew superhero who only had our best interests at heart.
C. A mainstream Journalist.

I don't know how you can stand Hollywood Steve: they're about as subliminal as a sledgehammer these days.

little miss sheet stirrer said...

You've convinced me to see it, although I hate Nolan's movies. I agree with you about the idea of Nolan - but that's not what we see on screen, we see the actual Nolan, not the Sailer Nolan.

I think that Superman would be better as Clark Kent a bumbling comedy fool, but there isn't an actor in H'wood who can successfully pull this off, dunno why.

The last handsome actor who could bumble onscreen convincingly was Cary Grant. He played a bespectacled nerd in BRINGING UP BABY quite well.

Just Another Guy With a 1911 said...

I know that Nolan probably does not vote any different than Kristen Bell, but I find it hard to buy his insistence that his movies have no political content. I mean, I'm sorry, but the last Batman movie should have called "Dark Knight: Reflections on the Revolution in Gotham City".

Superman is somewhat more ambiguous. We are supposed to sympathize, somewhat, with Zod who comes across as noble in a misguided and genocidal way. I guess that was the point. He wasn't evil for the sake of being evil, he was trying to save his race. But as Superman told him as he destroyed the ship that contained the last chance for that race (HIS OWN RACE) to be reborn - "Krypton had its chance."

So, in a way, Clark also commits genocide, but its OK because as he tells the U.S. General as the end: he identifies as a Human and American from Kansas. In other words, despite being sent by Jor-el as a beacon of Krytonian hope and change for the masses of earth - he does not check off Kryptonian or Human-Krytonian on the census form. Of course, he came to this conclusion after some soul searching. Now, if he ever runs for office, he could write a book "Kal-El:Dreams of My Father." Maybe he could get Jor-El's electronic ghost to ghost write it for him.

But I kid, somewhat. As another poster said, the problem is that Clark identifies as an American because he was raises here. He doesn't say "I believe in the ideas of the Founders, the US Constitution, and traditional ideas of Judeo-Christian mortality" or, in the old comic short hand for that sentiment - "Truth Justice and the American Way." But the truth of the matter is that in a world where Western Civilization and those that build it are demonized on a daily basis, Nolan really could not say that out loud.

However, the movie is made for more than just a white U.S. audience and the truth is, despite white Americas general ideological blind spot - the rest of the world (including the millions invited here) generally gets, and lives, blood and soil nationalism.

When you come down to it, what Nolan seems to be saying (and in a way that the average dreamer would understand) to those still tied to their "Raza" despite being planted in new soil: you need to leave the old world behind, even if it means killing it off and abandoning its old traditions. 'Cuz you see - we're all from Kansas now and if you don't get with the program - Superman will snap your damn neck.

Anonymous said...

MOS Reactions:

1. Far too punchcentric: Presumably as a way too counter the marked absence of Superman punching things in SUPERMAN RETURNS, this one just goes all out in the last third.Frankly, the hyper- accelerated Kryptonian combat started to pall after awhile.

2. Destruction porn: Metropolis just got totaled in this film. Some people have tried to argue that the devastation in MOS is on the same level as AVENGERS, but this quite wrong. In AVENGERS, New York was badly damaged, but Metropolis gets annihilated in MOS. Even worse, Superman does not seem to really care about the collateral damage in his fight with Zod, which stands in strong contrast to THE AVENGERS, where we saw countless shots of Captain America and Co attempting to minimize civilian casualties.

3. Neocon Superman: Some of my friends have argued that there is a Neocon subtext in this film. See, Superman must overcome his aversion to killing because killing is the only way to stop genocidal maniacs like Zod.Plus, note how Zod is essentially depicted as a kind of Super-powered Islamic suicide bomber in the last act.He actually tells Superman that only death will stop him from killing humans (cf the oft-repeated statement that Muslim terrorists cannot be countered by old-school Geneva Convention sanctioned methods).

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see Snyder's take on Superman's killing of Zod:

“I guess for me–and in the original version of the script he just got zapped into the Phantom Zone–David and I had long talks about it and Chris and I talked long about it and it was like, ‘I really think we should kill Zod and I really think Superman should kill him,’” Snyder explained. “And the why of it was, for me, that if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained. It’s just in his DNA. I felt like we needed him to do something, just like him putting on the glasses or going to the Daily Planet or any of the other things that you’re sort of seeing for the first time that you realize will then become his thing. I felt like, if we can find a way of making it impossible for him–like Kobayashi Maru, totally no way out–I felt like that could also make you go, ‘Okay, this is the why of him not killing ever again, right?’ He’s basically obliterated his entire people and his culture and he is responsible for it and he’s just like, ‘How could I kill ever again?"


So, in Snyder's mind Superman's aversion to killing has to have an origin. His dislike for killing comes from the fact that he has killed. MMMM, bearing that little gem of moral psychology in mind, I look forward to the sequel, where Superman's aversion to rape is explained as the result of him forcing himself on Lois.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Steve, I'm not totally sure that Nolan was the guiding force on this project. For example, here is Goyer on the killing of Zod:

“Killing Zod was a big thing and Chris Nolan, originally, said there’s no way you can do this,” Goyer told the magazine. “That was a change–originally Zod got sucked into the Phantom Zone along with the others and I just felt it was unsatisfying and so did Zack. We started questioning–we talked to some of the people at DC Comics and said, ‘Do you think there is ever a way that Superman would kill someone?’ And at first they said ‘No way, no way,’ and we said, ‘but what if he didn’t have a choice?’ Originally Chris didn’t even want to let us try to write it and Zack and I said, ‘We think we can figure out a way that you’ll buy it.’”

So, according to Goyer, Superman killing Zod was Snyder's idea. Nolan was opposed to it.

Syon

Mr. Anon said...

"Nolan attempts to re-imagine the comic book hero as a semi-realistic space alien psychologically tormented by schoolyard bullies whom he can't punch back against because he's too strong."

This is perhaps more in keeping with the original spirit of "Superman". Most "superheroes" (the term itself is so stupid, I can only put it in quotes) had their origin as thinly-veiled revenge fantasies made up by scrawny jewish kids in 1930s New York. Think about the "Superman" mythos: a superior ubermensch, refugee from a shattered world, living among us and showing us the true meaning of "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" - truly, a light unto the nations of the world. Superman may as well have a Star of David on his chest as a big S.

I despise the hegemony of comic-books and "superheroes" in movies. Even grown-up adult men, who ought to know better, talk about this drivel. I can think of no better symbol of the highjacking of anglo-saxon American culture by Jews than the comic-book superhero. What is ironic about it too is that Jews tend to see themselves as cultured and intelligent. Yet one of their greatest legacies in this country has been the enthronement of comic-books in popular culture - comic-books, which are nothing more than vulgar, lower middle-brow trash. Some achievement.

Anonymous said...

Whisky:"That was done to make Hollywood happy and not impact foreign box office. A pity because the comic book Mandarin was the perfect Iron Man foe: using magic not technology with ten magic rings that Iron Man being an engineer had a hard time even comprehending."

The Mandarin's rings are not magical. They are alien technology, retrieved by the Mandarin from an alien space craft that landed in China centuries ago.

Steve Sailer said...

But I would definitely go to see a Christopher Nolan movie with Michael Shannon as the Duke of Wellington.

gwood said...

"The Mandarin's rings are not magical. They are alien technology..."
There's an Arthur C. Clarke quote in there somewhere.

pat said...

The one thing I've never understood is why the Muslim terrorists aren't blowing up the movie theaters. Superman and the remainder of the DC Comics pantheon of super heroes including Batman and Justice League of America are just variants on the X-Men, the Fabulous Four, the Avengers, the TV 'Alphas', and the TV 'Heroes'.

All of them are gods or demi-gods in a way that would be clear to any ancient polytheist. The Greeks religion - what we like to call mythology - was filled with characters like the X-Men. Some like Hercules were strong, other were clever, and still others had special powers. The case for the Norse gods is even clearer - Donner in the original myth and the Wagnerian opera cycle is Thor the comic book and movie super hero.

The conception of god changed fundamentally with Ahura Mazda, Christ and then Mohammad. The monotheists triumphed over the polytheists - but polytheism remains very popular on the big and little screen. People crave the stories about people who have supernatural powers but also their all to human foibles and drives.

Islam professes to abhor polytheism. Yet they don't seem to have noticed that all the West and much of the East are embracing this new 'Old Time Religion'.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

RE: Nolan as a Burkean Conservative,

There is a lot to this notion. Nolan's BATMAN TRILOGY is, essentially, a filmed treatment of aristocratic duty, noblesse oblige in colorful costumes. Tragedy befalls Gotham when the elites refuse their traditional role as guardians of society (recall Ra's Al Ghul's reference to how the League of Shadow's economic war on Gotham in BATMAN BEGINS was blocked when Gotham's elite roused themselves into action after Thomas Wayne's murder).

Of course, the truest expression of Nolan's conservatism emerges in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, where Bane's revolutionary program for Gotham will end in apocalyptic violence. The radical always wants to uproot (cf the roots of radical) and destroy so that society can begin again. Batman, as a Burkean conservative, wishes to preserve society, to ensure the transfer of culture from one generation to the next.


Of course, Nolan's Burkean conservatism places him deeply at odds with the neo-liberalism that masquerades as conservatism in contemporary America, an ideology that is predicated on the apocalyptic credo of creative destruction.

FredR said...

"Besides the ridiculous plot holes in this movie, the idea that humanity deserves existence over an advanced, interplanetary species (which humanity show little signs of reaching ourselves)I think is kind of ridiculous."

So, if aliens showed up trying to wipe us out, you'd help them? That's bizarre.

Anonymous said...

"The Mandarin's rings are not magical. They are alien technology..."

gwood:"There's an Arthur C. Clarke quote in there somewhere."

Yeah, the difference between Magic and science in a movie is largely a matter of labeling. If the script says that your characters get to A from B via a transporter device that shifts their atoms from one location to another (Heisenberg be damned), that's science. However, if you get from A to B via a spoken spell, that magic....

Anonymous said...

MMMM, perhaps this is just me, but one of the more annoying aspects of MOS was the presence of yet another butt-kicking warrior babe...Interesting to see, though, how the femininity hating man-boys who infest the blogosphere are enraptured by her....

Syon

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the prosecution in the Zimmerman case has considered how many women on the Jury are going to respond to the fact that Zimmerman is a killer (albeit accidental and unintentional) and get the hots for him and acquit him?

peterike said...

Kryptonianism is just a social construct.

Anonymous said...

Besides the ridiculous plot holes in this movie, the idea that humanity deserves existence over an advanced, interplanetary species (which humanity show little signs of reaching ourselves)I think is kind of ridiculous.

Superman was morally "correct" by turning on his race and higher civilization for the betterment of humanity and the avoidance of genocide.


That is the end of Fantastic 4 The Silver Surfer isn't it?

Anonymous said...

"The 'carrying the entire genome of one's race around in one's body' idea comes straight out of Harlan Ellison's famous Outer Limits episode "Demon with a glass hand"." - Also the fifth element, I guess Demon with a Glass Hand is where they got the idea from in the first place.

"Also, I was confused by Superman's line at the end where he assures the American military commander than he can be trusted because he grew up on a farm in Kansas and what could be more American than that. Is Superman implying that if, say, he was instead raised by Chechyn refugees that his loyalties would be more suspect? This doesn't make any sense!" - well he did give up his American citizenship, so maybe he isn't so American after all.

Just Another Guy With a 1911 said...

Evil Sandmich said:

"Superman is a horrible super hero to write for: an omnipotent demi-god with a mid?range IQ."

I am a Marvel guy, but I am pretty sure that you are correct: Supes is generally written as being of average intelligence - which is why Lex Luthor is a creditable threat. That and the fact he has a great deal more moral flexibility that Clark does. Of course, I am sure that there have been runs/reboots (in fact I vaguely remember reading one) where the writer points out/incorporates the obvious: he's a fricken' Kryptonian and the son of Krypton's greatest scientist. However, traditionally it has been Clark's Midwestern values and beliefs that guide his actions.

"Nolan seemed to relish Batman getting the crap kicked out of him to humanize the super hero so that audiences could better relate to him, but despite his best efforts, it just never happened in Superman."

Projecting Sailerite preoccupations aside, I think there was a much more intimate movie hidden between the explosions. If Synder had a given us little more Lane and Costner and little less explody goodness, the movie might have crossed over the line from better than average to great.

But on the whole, you're right. Batman is easier to humanize and make awesome. You don't even need to beat him up - just put him up against a more powerful opponent (granted that might get him beat up).

Case in point: Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" in which a sixty plus year old Bruce Wayne and one armed contemporary Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) take on Superman. It is epic. Really. It takes a hell of a lot of guts to take on a Kryptonian (which is why Christopher Meloni's Colonel is such a stand out character in Man of Steel). And, at the same time, since its the mother f*ing Batman you know he's got at least a shot.

The greatness of Batman, and the question he poses, was captured in a Justice League run where a bunch of White Martians (yeah, I know, White Martians), come down, conquer the planet, and easily beat all of the most powerful heroes: Superman, Wonder Woman,Green Lantern, Flash, you name it. The only one left unaccounted for after his jet fighter blows up - is the Batman. Upon finding that the only member of the Justice League to be at large is Batman, the head Martian remarks - "He's only one human. What can he do?" Proceed to kick Martian Ass, that's what. And that is really the question -- what are we, as individuals, at the end of the day, capable of. At its best, the answer to the question is capable of inspiration, especially when you are young. (It gets harder as you get older) At worst, I guess you get stories that are meaningless wish fulfillment. However, it makes for some great stories.

And finally, in time where the virtues of western civilization have been expunged to the point where there is just enough left to excoriate them (and the civilization and race that birthed them) like a jack boot in the face forever and ever, Bruce Wayne, and the flawed Tony Stark, actually, are a last refuge of non-speaking truth like posers heroic ideals. Ideals we can identify with and represent exemplars of our civilization and its core values.

I mean, sure, the next Batman movie will probably re-imagine him as a transgender black lesbian battling evil white males, but for now at least.

Michael Maier said...

"So, in a way, Clark also commits genocide, but its OK because as he tells the U.S. General as the end: he identifies as a Human and American from Kansas."

Kal didn't commit genocide. The potential for retrieval is still in Kal's cells, just the immediate means of retrieval is gone.

Zod's means would have killed every human on the planet.

Emil Hamilton's in the movie for a reason. IIRC, in the comics, he was a geneticist.

J. Simon said...

What is so fascinating - except to nerds, who can identify themselves, realistically, with the Clark Kent persona while dreaming themselves into the Other - about the cut-and-dried dual personality of the superman-hero?

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

The original Superman was from Ohio. Why do you think they 1) moved him to Kansas and 2) claimed that the letter S stood for "hope"????

It was almost as incoherent as Prometheus but not quite as bad as Star Trek Into Darkness, where I was really hoping they would let Kirk stay dead.

Anonymous said...

I've seen quite a few comic book authors, James Bowman quotes on in his Dark Knight review, that claim they gravitated towards comic books because historical revisionism I.e. Frankfort School by another name (couldn't care less about Aaron Gross's objections to this term) had destroyed historical heroes. So I find the whole scrawny Jews with stars of David on the chest overwrought and whiny. Who am I kidding this is iSteve.9

agnostic said...

"As usual, the bad guys: A. Particularly White and very German. B. Wanted to preserve their race. C. Were militaristic and traditional

The Good guys were: A. The U.S. Military run by enlightened blacks. B. A crypto-Jew superhero who only had our best interests at heart. C. A mainstream Journalist."

We don't partly sympathize with "bad guys," so obviously Zod's group of rebels were not "the bad guys." That would be the decadent, self-destructive and uncaring Central Committee who led their entire world into annihilation, didn't try to save it even at the bitter end, and tried to stop any others who did.

You know, like in the real world, there's usually more than just two sides to a conflict. Especially in a soon-to-be power vacuum, all of those factional alliances and double-crosses can get pretty tangled-up.

Anybody ever read the Bible? Or go to Sunday school, or catch Jesus of Nazareth on TV?

Zod's small, highly cohesive, violent group-preservationist team is closer to the Zealots. Not like the decadent Herod Antipas, not like the temple priestly elite, not like the squabbling "all talk, no action" Pharisees. Closer to the Jesus group, though preferring violent political action to the Son of Man / Son of God agent of redemption.

All this talk about "genocide" is bogus too. Zod's group has no hatred, envy, vengefulness, etc., that a genocidal group has toward those they're burning to exterminate.

Rather, they're making way for the flourishing of their own group by clearing aside whoever is already on the land that they want -- just like in any number of Bible stories. In their minds, don't take it personally, we're just more chosen than you guys are, so don't appeal to "finders keepers."

Only in Man of Steel, we're meant to empathize more with those who are being cleared aside to make way for the Krypton re-creation project. We side more with the Son of Man / Son of God redeemer than with the violent rebels who want to claim political power from a decadent elite that everybody agrees has to go.

This multi-factional, not-exactly-clear nature of the conflict is totally obvious in the movie if you go in with an open mind. You'll only miss if it you're trapped into thinking that there are always only two sides, and since Superman is on one, that's the good guys, hence Zod's group is the bad guys.

Anonymous said...

Is Taki a Yahoo! shareholder?

http://www.businessinsider.com/yahoo-shareholder-to-marissa-mayer-im-a-dirty-old-man-and-you-look-attractive-2013-6

"At Yahoo's shareholder meeting, a scuzzy shareholder said to Marissa Mayer, "I'm Greek and I'm a dirty old man, and you look attractive."

He then asked about a dividend."

agnostic said...

Although not as strong here as in more nerdy parts of the internet, the whole "Boo, they changed Superman's character!" reaction is bizarre. Like, he's just a comic book character, along with two good but not sublime superhero movies from the late '70s and early '80s.

So many are reacting as though it were the changes to Jesus' character in The Last Temptation of Christ. He's just a comic book character, and if the writers and actors feel like fundamentally altering his intended nature -- well, let them do it, if the results are good. He's not a sacred untouchable figure.

If you go in not expecting Christopher Reeve v.2.0, and expecting the Dark Knight version of Superman -- which had been telegraphed looong in advance of the movie's release -- then you get an engaging noir take on Superman's character.

Not only disconnected from the mainstream host society, but whose host society itself seems pretty alienated -- just like in all the classic film noir movies that we enjoy. It's not just the private detective who's cut off from the normal world -- the members of the normal world themselves are so distant from one another.

That works to the advantage of the theme of saving an out-group: if they're so fragmented and lifeless themselves, are they really worth saving? Well, yes -- they haven't done anything wrong, and they're basically decent people, however robotic and isolated. And not deserving to be cleared aside as part of a recreation project of some civilization that had already had its chance.

Marc B said...

Michael Shannon is one of the best American actors I've seen in years. I'm sure there are others like him out there, but Hollywood is hellbent on casting British and Australian actors in roles playing Americans, but how would we really know with all this in-sourcing?

Svigor said...

I never read many Superman comics as a kid. He's a bore. The only way to ever get me to read one was with gorgeous art. Spectacle is probably the only way to get me to watch a Superman movie.

Ali said...

I give MOS an initially hesitant, but now somewhat enthusiastic thumbs-up.

The first two-thirds is excellent and outshines the Donner movie and all the recent Marvel fare. There's psychological heft and realism that demonstrates they really thought a lot about the character and his underpinnings.

Wonderful imagery on all fronts. I thought Avengers couldn't be topped as an example of comic book action being brought to life.This felt like an adaptation of Miracleman.

There were a few things I would have preferred to have been done differently. The movie's colour palette stayed rather dark and bleak throughout, I'd have liked brighter hues to have seeped through nearer the end. Also the key appeal of Batman is that he's a scary mofo who terrorises criminals.

The key appeal of Superman is that he's an awesome guy who's out to help people with a smile on his face and there wasn't enough of that.

Also having Americans running around cities in panics with dust smeared over their faces felt rather distasteful. Still, a sequel would be most welcomed.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

"It's a cliche that Superman is optimistic in a New Dealy nothing-to-fear-but-fear-itself, while Batman is drenched in dread of street crime, but Nolan seems to agree and thus isn't all that interested in Superman's silly but fun omnipotence."

My intro to SUPERMAN was the first movie back in the late 70s. I knew of the comic books and old TV show--everyone did--but had no interest in them. But the movie was hyped and a sort of an event, especially with Brando in it. That he earned several millions for 15 min of screen time was big news back then. How times have changed. People were asking...'what is a great actor like Brando doing in a comic book movie and receiving so much for so little screen time?' Or, 'he sold out!'

But as my real intro to SUPERMAN was the Movie(and then part II few yrs later), I found it to be quite dark, especially as Mario Puzo adapted it(and novelized it as well). The image of three baddies trapped in some cosmic window(cast out into space after an orwellian looking trial) was pretty horrifying. Then the whole planet blows up, and SUPERMAN loses his parents. Not long after, he loses his earth parent, the adoptive parent. Glenn Ford's heart attack scene is quite gripping.

Finally, the scene where he tries to save both the world and Lois Lane and fails to save her was wrenching stuff. She got swallowed by an earthquake. For all his powers, superman couldn't do everything. To save the world, he couldn't save the woman he loved. Had he chosen to save her, he might have had to let New Jersey blow up. That was a kind of an interesting question. There is social tragedy and personal tragedy. If you had two buttons to push, and pushing one button saves a 1000 strangers in India(but your family and dog die) while pushing another button saves your family and dog(but 1000 strangers in India die), what would you do? Objectively, 1000 dead is more tragic than a family and dog dying, but psychology doesn't work that way. In some ways, superman's great power makes him somewhat more tragic. He can do so much but he has only one body and can only do so much. He has the power of a god but the body of a man. He can save people from a trainwreck but if two trainwrecks are happening at the same time, he will have to choose one over the other. Also, the fact that he has a private life means he's not doing his job all the time. Surely, there's someone in need of help 24/7, but if superman were in constant help mode, he would never sleep and have no time to be friends with Lane. He'd be flying all over the world saving people.

So, there was an element of psychology in this SUPERMAN. And I loved the romantic scene where superman flies with Lois Lane.

Did I like the movie as a whole? No. The idea of some guy in tights with a S on his chest flying around never appealed to me. It's kinda gay.

But I recall the movie being rather dark and disturbing. Superman fails to save Lois and then flies into a rage and turns back time and saves her. In a way, he saved her, in a way he didn't. It's like he's moved into an alternate reality where she's alive. But the other reality where she's dead must also exist. He violated the Law for love.

SUPERMAN II is weirder, not least cuz Richard Lester of HARD DAY'S NIGHT made it. The stuff about superman giving up his powers for love made for interesting drama. But lester was a natural comedy director, so there's lots of funny stuff there.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

My intro to Batman was the TV series where Robin said holy this batman, holy that batman. It was the silliest thing(and of course meant to be). but I cannot take seriously any story where villains are a nasty clown smeared with cake cream, some guy with question marks all over his body, some guy who looks like penguin and abe foxman, and a woman dressed up as a cat. And I don't like the hero dressed up as a bat. I thought dracula claimed that already.

The only superhero stuff that sort of makes sense is IRON MAN cuz there's some real techno-rationale behind his suit. He's not wearing his armor just to show off or to look splashy. His armor has a purpose. Even so, the movie version just had some fast talking Jew inside a tin can taped to a bottle rocket banging into everything. And then I heard the sequel had second iron man as iron bro. Fast talking Jew and some funny looking Negro in tin cans whupping evil white boys? Who needs that?

PS. Our high school physics teacher pointed out something funny about TV superman. When the bad guys shoot him, he stands tall and straight. But when the bullets run out and the bad guy throws the gun at superman, then he ducks!

PSS. How about a story called CHECHEN MAN? It can go like this. There's this super tough Chechen fighter. Russians finally bring him down. He's half-dead and Russian scientists try to turn him into the ideal warrior. But Chinese steal this experiment and then Americans steal it from the Chinese and then Israelis steal him from the Americans and Germans steal him from the Israelis and etc. So, Chechen Man is the product of work of scientists around the world. He's made super strong and super intelligent but has the soul of a Chechen. One day, he accidentally stumbles on Sailer blog, gains some sense, and fights for the pale face race.

sunbeam said...

Wow. Just wow.

Guys, don't quit your day jobs, cause you won't make it in the rough and tumble of angry geekery.

You guys, for better (your opinion) or worse (mine), don't know squat about comics.

Feel free to critique this as just a movie. I think it had plot holes you could toss Mogo through (google him, the big guy is cool, why I have this idea for a scene in a Green Lantern movie...).

As a longtime comic book reader (not so much anymore, these guys really need to get their groove back) I thought the film sucked. I think this Nolan guy's take on the whole thing just isn't really in line with the character. Nor I might add have I really liked any version of Batman I've seen on the screen.

But since my blood runs four colors, I'll gladly and gleefully go to war with anyone disparaging the whole concept.

But as a comics fan... for such a visual medium it just never seems to translate to the Big Screen right.

Watchmen was great as a comic. Even though the makers of that film followed it as faithfully as possible it just fell short on screen. And what was done to V for Vendetta buggers my mind.

Comics are inherently infinitely big in concept. To make a film of this, to appeal to the lowest common denominator in knowledge of the subject, and what they can learn in a couple of hours, well it just shouldn't be done.

All the versions of Superman, all the history and this is what they made. Makes this fanboy sad.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

Maybe 300 idea can be spun to make a new kind of superhero.

Why 300? 1 Greek will do.

Suppose this superhero is called GRECO.

Some Greek-American is traveling in his home country and finds some ancient artifact that he brings back to America. This artifact imbues him with great power. It's like Aladdin's Lantern... except that a greek goddess pops out and equips with him with special weapons. He becomes like a superduper version of the ancient greek warrior with helmet, shield, spear, and sword.

Maybe there can be a female partner too. Some Italian-American woman goes to Italy and returns with a similar artifact. She becomes ROMAN to the Greek's guy GRECO, and together, they are GRECO-ROMAN.

Another superhero idea... to get back at the homos...

Suppose there's this woman who wants to break into fashion industry. The homo cabal keeps her out. One day, she keeps her fashion works in some place where they become radioactively affected by some accident, and anyone who wears them becomes WELL-DRESSED MAN.

This superhero story can send a positive message.
Suppose there's some white trash slob who's ill-mannered and ill-dressed. But once he wears the super fashion suit, he becomes WELL-DRESSED MAN with stylish looks and fine manners. Rather like the Cullens in TWILIGHT.

And it helps out a stupid Negro too. there's this dumbass black guy with hang down pants, but once he suits up in super fashion clothes, he stops talking like a trashy negro and takes on fine manners and has a sense of style.

Anyway, it'd be a way of getting back at homos since these super fashion suits will have been designed by a straight woman.

And weapons can be cool and dandyish.

Dave Pinsen said...

"I suspect that in the long run, the way forward with Superman movies will eventually turn out to be to blend Reeve's tragic crippling -- a god falls to earth -- and struggle against his injury into the mythos. Over enough time, all these memories kind of blur together and the distinction between character and actor in the collective recollection gets hazy. Ultimately, somebody will figure out how to use that, but it's likely too soon at present."

This is a brilliant idea. One of the boring aspects of Superman for me has always been his invulnerability. By contrast, an aspect of Iron Man 3 I liked was that Tony Stark spends a lot of time outside of the suit, where he is vulnerable. As for whether it's too soon, a couple of thoughts.

The latest Star Trek evoked 9/11 in a few scenes, and didn't seem to generate much controversy from that. Also, tying in the Christopher Reeve story would finally give a future Superman movie a chance to transcend the first, which was pretty much perfect.

Dave Pinsen said...

BTW, those of you who are interested in super hero stuff might like this book by Austin Grossman, which is a witty take on the genre and a quick, entertaining read: Soon I Will Be Invincible.

jody said...

"Although directed by Zack Snyder (300), this reboot of Superman feels like co-storywriter Christopher Nolan's Batmanification of Superman."

probably more due to dave goyer's script.

nolan is a master of almost everything...except action. he does not frame or shoot action well, especially hand to hand or small arms shootouts. that's why all those scenes in his movies are choppy and edited to heck.

on the other hand that's snyder's specialty. he's one of the best in movies at establishing shots and framing action. he lacks most of the rest of a competent director's abilities or touches, and should definitely never write scripts again.

his focus on action is probably one of the reasons there has been that polar reaction to man of steel - the second half of the movie is mostly action, and for people who don't get excited by that, it gets boring after a while.

Anonymous said...

Sailer blacklisted from media for saying New Orleans blacks 'let the good times roll'.

Sanchez blacklisted from media for saying Jews are powerful in media.

But media never tire of asking professor Bill Ayers for opinions on everything.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/06/24/rahm_emanuel_and_education.html

jody said...

derp. hit the publish button instead of the preview button. did not get to edit or even put my name to that post about goyer, nolan, and snyder.

Just Another Guy With a 1911 said...

Anon at 7:54

“What is ironic about it too is that Jews tend to see themselves as cultured and intelligent. Yet one of their greatest legacies in this country has been the enthronement of comic-books in popular culture - comic-books, which are nothing more than vulgar, lower middle-brow trash. Some achievement"

PART I:

On average, most comic books are not, in any way means or form, high culture. The medium is not to blame, though. We have not had such a creature in any great measure on this continent in a hundred years, although an occasional straggler will make an appearance. And frankly, most stories are not high culture, never have been. Is Beowulf just cracking yarn or mediation on mortality, weakness, warrior virtues, and the end of an age? Or both? A story can work on lot of different levels. Comics are the same way.

The issues you have with comics are twofold. First, we live in a demotic age. Comics are mass medium and, as such, reflect as well as shape the masses, who are, on average, rather unimpressive exemplars of the species. However, at their best comics can tell compelling stories (a good in its own right), inspire, and convey a culture. The issue then is what culture or who's culture.

Just Another Guy With a 1911 said...

Now, it is fair to say comics were created by Jews: many first generation immigrants. Were these creators somehow a part of the long march through intuitions or carrying some type of cultural virus? Not really. First, unique among Jewish cultural artifacts – it is visual medium. Comics were created not as a part of the reductive critique of the host culture or as impenetrable Gnostic knowledge of how the world really works (although that theme does surface in later comics). In fact – comic art is representational art in the Western tradition that Michelangelo would recognize. Some of it, not much of it, is arguably recognizable as true art.

Second, the Golden Age writers were really just trying to make a living and came from a much different time then the benighted one we live in now which is easy to forget: assimilation was virtue, the elites had not been subverted, and the predominant culture was Western. The Golden Age writers/artists wanted to make it in the American culture of the day on its own terms. I remember hearing Joe Simon speak at NYC ComicCon few weeks before his death and he described his lower class background as a “son of Schneiders” (not the guy from “One Day at a Time”). He was an American from a different age and I am glad I got to see him before he passed. Jack Kirby, who created Captain America with Simon, grew up in tenement slums of NYC. He would often fight across with rival gangs of kids their rooftops, just like the superheroes he taught himself to draw. He later served combat during WWII, which served him in good stead capturing when it came to drawing war comics like the “Losers” at DC. But it was Jack Kirby’s artwork at Marvel – broad, colorful, expressive, and the characters he created there that form the basis of medium and its conventions that we know today. Kirby viewed himself as an American and his ideas and characters were a reflection of the dominant culture that he adopted and most, if not all, comics reflected that.

jody said...

nolan did not have much to do with making this movie guys.

"Then there's that damn cold Blue Filter Nolan always uses."

that's wally pfister, his cinematographer. he uses that cool, emotionally detached, blue shifted camera for all the nolan movies.

but he didn't work on man of steel.

"Think of how AWESOME the movie would have been if say, Christian Bale had stopped by the Daily Planet, or Ryan Reynolds, or heck even Keanu Reeves."

i saw other people say that as well. the problem is, bale does not want to play batman ever again. and green lantern was a major flop, so ryan reynolds will not be showing up again. warner brothers is already planning to cast a new actor as batman for future movies.

"In addition, the Germaninization of the Kryptonians, particularly towards the end of the movie with that cliche Auschwitz-evil-german doctor character really irked me."

i'm pretty sure this was the whole point of superman when he was created by jewish writers. he was their answer and response to germany in 1938. probably not an intentional or deliberate jab in this movie though. snyder seems apolitical. he's a bro, not an activist. he's the gentile michael bay. explosions and babes are his thing, not politics.

Just Another Guy With a 1911 said...

(In the event Steve let it post and anyone bothered to read it - made a few changes in PART III to make it more comprehensible).

PART III:

And that is the way it stayed for a long time. Until the mid-70’s, comics (especially DC) were fairly pedestrian and mundane affairs aimed at kids and, really, 90% of comics did nothing more to promote generic ideas of heroism and a little bit of innocent wish fulfillment. Then DC had a series where the Green Lantern learns he really should be spending more time helping black folks. Over at Marvel, Tony Stark started to drink too much. However, comics still were not particularly vulgar or subversive, although Marvel did publish an adult type anthology (in which Bruce Banner learned the realities of the YMCA). Then, in the mid 80’s Alan Moore (a pagan and hater of western culture) wrote the Watchmen, which WAS certainly subversive and vulgar: he viewed traditional heroes to be archetypes of that culture he wanted to tear down. Sometimes it is easy to remember the enemy can also be us. However, Moore failed in one way but succeeded in another. See, Moore made it easier for comics to incorporate a generally corrosive ideology reflected in lots of sex and violence all in the name of “realism”. And, yes, many comics since that time have come to reflect the overall tenor of our wreck of a society. However, where Moore failed is exemplified in the character of Rorschach – a “deconstruction” of the vigilante type super hero. You see - if you deconstruct a hero – he’s still a hero. It didn’t work. That is why Rorschach was the hero in Synder’s version. That is why most comics nowadays to be “edgy”, while throwing in a little mature content, will just change a characters race, i.e., Black Nick Fury, Hispanic Spiderman, etc., but leave the characters unchanged.

It comes down to this: there are some elements of culture than maybe cannot be destroyed despite the leftists’ best efforts. That is why a writer like Joss Whedon, who is an avowed on the record leftist retard, will stick with a fairly conventional version of Captain America in the Avengers who remarks he only knows one god. I’m sure Joss that was being snarky, but it is who Cap is at heart - a guy from another time where the foundations of Western Civilization had not been torn asunder – and a time that Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, and many of the Golden Age writers, were born in and a part of. It is that element that still abides, however obscured, that make comics, and movies based on them, worth some of your time.

jody said...

"But that is the problem with Warners and DC. They cannot figure out that Marvel's strategy...Each movie exists in its own independent universe, with each hero independent."

WB executives want to create a DC universe like the marvel universe, and want to move toward a justice league movie. but so far it has not been working out for them.

the person covering all this the best is grace randolph. her videos on youtube are extremely helpful to understand what is going on behind the scenes, not just in the world of comic book movies, but in the american movie scene in general.

when man of steel came out, she made this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omWR93HMmC8

however, just a few days ago, warner brothers may have dropped a bomb on itself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9yCfPHvr-Q

the producer responsible for the batman and superman movies resigned last week, and may be taking christopher nolan, zack snyder, and ben affleck with him.

grace is very good at covering the movie business in general, and worth watching. you can sort through her older videos for more perspective on the big money comic book movie world, or any other kind of movies, she covers them all.

Anonymous said...

" Was Michael Hastings' Car Hacked? Richard Clarke Says It's Possible "

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/24/michael-hastings-car-hacked_n_3492339.html

"The peculiar circumstances of journalist Michael Hastings' death in Los Angeles last week have unleashed a wave of conspiracy theories.

Now there's another theory to contribute to the paranoia: According to a prominent security analyst, technology exists that could've allowed someone to hack his car. Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke told The Huffington Post that what is known about the single-vehicle crash is "consistent with a car cyber attack."

Clarke said, "There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers" -- including the United States -- know how to remotely seize control of a car.

"What has been revealed as a result of some research at universities is that it's relatively easy to hack your way into the control system of a car, and to do such things as cause acceleration when the driver doesn't want acceleration, to throw on the brakes when the driver doesn't want the brakes on, to launch an air bag," Clarke told The Huffington Post. "You can do some really highly destructive things now, through hacking a car, and it's not that hard."

"So if there were a cyber attack on the car -- and I'm not saying there was," Clarke added, "I think whoever did it would probably get away with it.""

"Clarke said a cyber attack on the vehicle would have been nearly impossible to trace "even if the dozen or so computers on board hadn't melted.""

""I'm not a conspiracy guy. In fact, I've spent most of my life knocking down conspiracy theories," said Clarke, who ran afoul of the second Bush administration when he criticized the decision to invade Iraq after 9/11. "But my rule has always been you don't knock down a conspiracy theory until you can prove it [wrong]. And in the case of Michael Hastings, what evidence is available publicly is consistent with a car cyber attack. And the problem with that is you can't prove it."

Clarke said the Los Angeles Police Department likely wouldn't have the expertise to trace such an attack. "I think you'd probably need the very best of the U.S. government intelligence or law enforcement officials to discover it.""

Anonymous said...

Apparently they're bringing Lex Luthor back for the sequel:

http://www.businessinsider.com/lex-luthor-casting-rumors-superman-sequel-2013-6

agnostic said...

"Nolan isn't interested either in Lois Lane (who is played without spark by a maternal Amy Adams)."

Welcome to the Millennial era. You've been out of the dating-and-mating game for probably 25 years. There aren't any chicks left like those from the '70s and '80s. No matter what stripe -- the original Lois Lane, Marian Ravenwood, Jennifer Parker, Audrey Rouget. Those girls are long gone, and not coming back any time soon.

Contempo actresses attempting to channel them would fail pathetically because their own psychology, and the social mood all around them, is so polar-opposite of that earlier age.

So, if part of the point of making Man of Steel is to motivate young / young-ish males to defend and save their twilight-period society, you can't dangle a phony reward in front of them. They'll realize it's a put-on, feel insulted and disrespected, and say "the hell with it" for the condescension.

Phony means either an attempt to channel the babes from the good old days -- since they'd fail and come off as awkward, that would be no reward, would it? And neither if you put some empty eye candy up there, let alone the butt-kicking babe who is designed to lure in the desperate nerd crowd, not the potential defender crowd.

Portraying Lois Lane as dull, distant, sassy, pushy, and nosy is the movie-makers' way of getting down to brass tacks with the target male audience:

"Look, we know women these days aren't exactly muse-to-the-artist or the maiden-to-the-hero material. But some of them aren't *only* the bossy, fast-talking dame / wisecracking broad type. If push came to shove, they'd stand up for you and be faithful, and after awhile maybe even warm up to the whole romance thing, however awkwardly. There are still some who aren't total goners, and you should give this one the benefit of the doubt."

Whiskey said...

Steve there's whole lines about Jor-El telling his son he will be "like a God" to humans, but must lead them to become better than they are and fulfill their innate potential for greatness.

Presumably, Jor-El planned for Krypton to survive, but not as it was, though the essence through humanity and whatever kids Clark/Kal-El would have.

It is clearly explained in the opening sequence that Krypton has only the one ship to send only a tiny baby, Lara asks why they cannot go with Superman, and is told this (exposition device). This is part of the theme of Krypton being debased through sterility, no longer capable of what they once were [And is a constant theme running through at least the Silver Age Superman.] I think the effects in this early part of the movie simply visually overwhelmed the exposition. The mind just taking in the wonder not the dialog.

Whiskey said...

I stand corrected on the Mandarin. I think there was an Ultimates or something reboot where the rings were magic, the Marvel-verse is full of that.

And re Superman killing Zod, that's IMHO mostly Goyer (himself a long-time comics writer) and Snyder, not Nolan. I think Nolan's only contribution was to demand a blue filter. Always the blue filter.

As for Jews creating superheroes, so what? Blacks created Jazz, and RB. That's also uniquely American. Non-Jews played a prominent role from the start, as well, including Moulston (Wonder Woman) and Gardiner Fox (the Flash, Sandman, Hawkman, JSA). The vast majority of superheroes are very waspy, including Batman (stately Wayne Manor), Captain America, Spider-Man, and so on. The Silver Age creations and early Bronze Age creations/reboots tended to be very, very Catholic -- the Irish Matt Murdoch vs. the Italian Frank Castle being the subtext of Marvel's superhero battles.

And Superheroes tell a lot about society, not the least of which they are cheap, fast, and until twenty years ago or so, largely absent the PC and cultural control by being pulp and slightly (or a lot) trashy.

If Superman and Captain America represented a wish for power by a (then) powerless, demilitarized America in 1938-40; Frank Castle was a thinly veiled attack on the 60's-70's-80's crime wave, and the futility of liberal hand-waving.

As for Superman "killing his own people" I don't see it. They already DIED on Krypton. There was just an artificial womb (that could not function without his DNA extracted) and a bunch of criminals who murdered their own people. For nothing because it was already too late to save Krypton at that point. That's the point of Zod, he's useless. A point btw only a conservative could make: his social function of military caste warrior only made sense when Krypton existed and had enemies. Neither was the case.

Suppose Zod succeeded, would not Krypton on Earth face the exact same future? Soon? Zod's idea of a brilliant plan when Krypton's core was already failing was to ... burst into the Council and kill people who are going to die anyway.

Yes major plot hole, the Phantom Zone ship could have saved "some" Kryptonians, and why did not Zod use it? Or Jor-El and Lara, the only "natural" Kryptonians left (because they gave birth not had clones cooked up in a tank). But its a movie not a novel.

Forgive if this is a double post. The place I am at has AWFUL wifi.

sunbeam said...

Whiskey wrote:

"As for Jews creating superheroes, so what? Blacks created Jazz, and RB. That's also uniquely American. Non-Jews played a prominent role from the start, as well, including Moulston (Wonder Woman) and Gardiner Fox (the Flash, Sandman, Hawkman, JSA). The vast majority of superheroes are very waspy, including Batman (stately Wayne Manor), Captain America, Spider-Man, and so on. The Silver Age creations and early Bronze Age creations/reboots tended to be very, very Catholic -- the Irish Matt Murdoch vs. the Italian Frank Castle being the subtext of Marvel's superhero battles."

I personally don't care about the ethnicity of the people who created comics, but most of the characters are an amalgam of other sources.

For example Superman owes a lot to the lead character in the pulp novel Gladiator by Philip Wylie.

Here is a link to that covers what a total ripoff of the Shadow and some other pulps, that Batman was. You have to scroll down to see all the details.

http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/391/

If you read the full three parts you find out Bob Kane probably had very little to do with creating the character.

Just saying there really isn't very much new in fantasy, comics, or anything really as far as stories go.

Yet we have all these "intellectual property" laws on the books.

Anonymous said...

Man of Steel is the anti-Gattaca. Gattaca concludes that people who are genetically engineered to do certain tasks can do _other_ tasks if their hearts should fondly desire. A premise of Man of Steel is that the Kryptonians who are genetically engineered to do this-or-that function simply cannot possibly do anything else. The fact that Kal-El is born naturally is supposed to be inspiring; because he wasn't genetically engineered to fill any particular role, he can do _anything_.

Both treatments of genetics and predestination leave much to be desired. The protagonist in _Gattaca_ presumably has a heart attack shortly after the credits roll, dooming a multibillion dollar rocket ship to destruction. And the inspiring story of Kal-El in Man of Steel confuses either lack of foreknowledge, or randomness, with what people really want: free will. But, then, I wouldn't expect most people watching the movie to care about the bait & switch.

Also, how the hell can a beam weapon add _mass_ to a planet consistently with the laws of physics? Moreover, how is it daytime on both sides of the world at the same time!?

Marlowe said...

I doubt the Duke of Wellington could cope with Hollywood - he disapproved of excessive expenditure and conducted his campaigning quite parsimoniously.

Beefy Levinson said...

One of my favorite Superman pieces is the comic "Superman: Red Son." It starts with the premise that baby Kal-El's rocket landed in the Soviet Union instead of Kansas. It drove home the point that Supes might be nigh-invincible but he can still be beaten through human ingenuity.

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

Movie of the summer? World War Z.

Nothing beats the image of a white family seeking refuge in Newark... it was like a scene out of the imaginary fictional final chapter of Brimelow's "Alien Nation."

And the monologue at the end by Brad Pitt's character was like a warning to an America where a post Hurricane Katrina scenario is playing out.

sunbeam said...

Whiskey wrote:

"Frank Castle was a thinly veiled attack on the 60's-70's-80's crime wave, and the futility of liberal hand-waving."

Okay, my nerdgasm is ongoing.

The truth is that the Punisher is a direct lift of a character named Mack Bolan, the Executioner. "I'm not your judge, I'm not your jury. I'm your judgement."

The heyday of this character, and there were other like him, were in the 1970's. You used to see a lot of serial fiction in paperback form on spinner racks in a lot of places.

Of course this was in an older America, where you actually saw Ameicans of all classes read.

Anyway, the Executioner must have sold pretty well because according to wikipedia "Mack Bolan, alias The Executioner, is a fictional character who has been serialized in over eight hundred novels with sales of more than 200 million, according to Amazon.com."

In short, the Punisher was an attempt to cash in on the success of someone else. They succeeded spectacularly actually.

The Punisher fulfilled his purpose of making a buck. Whether The Executioner was "was a thinly veiled attack on the 60's-70's-80's crime wave, and the futility of liberal hand-waving" I do not know.

I always thought the Executioner inspired Death Wish indirectly. According to wikipedia that movie was based on a novel of the same name. The novel was published in 72, the first Mack Bolan story was in 69.

Of course the writer of the Executioner probably lifted a lot from something else.

Anonymous said...

1911 guy - However, where Moore failed is exemplified in the character of Rorschach – a “deconstruction” of the vigilante type super hero. You see - if you deconstruct a hero – he’s still a hero. It didn’t work. That is why Rorschach was the hero in Synder’s version.

I think I'm agreeing with you but when reading the original Watchmen it seemed to me that Rorshach was the hero there too. Like I said, I think I'm agreeing with you.

gubbler said...

"And Superheroes tell a lot about society, not the least of which they are cheap, fast, and until twenty years ago or so, largely absent the PC and cultural control by being pulp and slightly (or a lot) trashy."

Superheroes are not so super. They are sockpuppets of geeks. With all the homo stuff, they are now thuperheroes.

Anonymous said...

on the other hand that's snyder's specialty. he's one of the best in movies at establishing shots and framing action. he lacks most of the rest of a competent director's abilities or touches, and should definitely never write scripts again.

Did he write the script for 300? Because while I enjoyed the action in the film, the writing and dialogue was horrendous. It was cringe-inducing. I was in a theater with a generally low-brow audience, and even they were groaning after a bit.

geography of the US considered said...

Fact. I was born and raised in New York, home of West Point, of my multiple war hero older male relatives, (not to mention the multiple heroes from mine and the next generation) and of lots and lots of wonderful non-martial Americans. The thought never, never (the repeated nevers are the point of this post) crossed my mind, when reading Superman as a child (I read several dozen of the DC Superman comics, paying my hard-earned coins for each, from 1968 or so to 1971 or so) that "Kansas" was more American than New York.
Opinion. Just about Everybody, no matter Here or where the individual Everybody has Come from, thinks that their home state or country is the best. God bless them, especially those who are objectively wrong, because they need it the most.

Hunsdon said...

Whiskey, don't run down the contributions of Jews to comic books---that kind of nonsense we can get somewhere else. I'm rather surprised that you didn't trot out your old Goldwyn-Mayer defense about good assimilated Jews.

Jack Kirby gets, has always got, and will always get, two thumbs up from me for his very distinct visual style and his storytelling sense. Maybe he had angst and kvetch in his heart, but it never came through. From Captain America to the Thing (and the other Fantastic Three) to his New Gods storyline, and, of course, the Losers (WW2 team-up average joes); great comic books.

Mack Bolan was very much a thumb in the eye of liberal silliness regarding crime. I could never quite get over him using a Marlin .444 as a sniper rifle, though. (The .444 is a short range hammer, not a long range precision instrument.)

I absolutely agree with agnostic's take on the young ladies of the 70s and 80s: they are gone, their like shall not be seen again in my lifetime, and I, for one, surely miss them. (And don't call me Shirley.) Their replacements today seem far more like product (and here I refer not only to their pneumatic breasts).

I cringe to think of what Field Marshal Wellesley would think of modern America. As he said of his peninsular army: I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they frighten me.


Captain Tripps said...

“geography of the US considered” said:

“The thought never, never (the repeated nevers are the point of this post) crossed my mind, when reading Superman as a child (I read several dozen of the DC Superman comics, paying my hard-earned coins for each, from 1968 or so to 1971 or so) that "Kansas" was more American than New York.”

True enough; my apologies if my post misconstrued Kansas as more “American” than other states. Certainly New Yorkers, or, any other state denizens are just as American. The American character is multi-faceted and complex, and can reflect the strengths and weaknesses of each regional American sub-culture.

Think of the squad in Saving Private Ryan. Spielberg meant to construct a small unit that reflected the mid-20th century American demographic, at least from his biased standpoint. I don’t know if he actually did reflect it in accurate national demographic numbers, but he did an admirable job weaving the distinctive ethnicity of each into a common whole. You have Caparzo (Italian east-coast urban), Melish (Jewish east-coast urban (New York City?)), Reiben (White ethnic (?) east-coast, Philadelphia), Wade (New England or Midwestern blue-collar WASPish), and Jackson (rural southern Scots-Irish) as the enlisted core of the unit. Staff Sergeant Horvath (East European ethnic east-coast or Midwest), and Captain Miller (Pennsylvania middle-class WASP – schoolteacher). Upham, who is attached to the squad for the mission, strikes me as New England or East Coast WASPish. Private Ryan (mission objective for the unit) is rural Irish (from Iowa?). The squad has an intense dynamic, and Spielberg well conveys the moral/ethical dilemmas (large and small) that men in combat have to face on top of the exhaustion and fear (examples: Do we take the French family’s little girl so she can be moved to safety? Why should we attack the radar outpost when our primary mission is to retrieve Private Ryan? Should we turn away collectively while one of us commits a war crime and shoots a German POW, or should be bind him and point him in the direction of the Allied lines? Should we stay and help the 101st Airborne unit defend the bridge, or return back to friendly lines since we accomplished our primary mission?) It’s why I sometimes used the film in military ethics training for junior officers and NCOs. Military leaders have to be ready to ask themselves these hard questions in combat.

An even more interesting (and less well known, but IMHO, well acted) movie portrayal of this New World American Man small unit was the A&E TV movie “The Lost Battalion”. Rick Schroeder (in an admirable performance, BTW) played the lead character, Major Charles Whittlesey, who led a force of 9 companies of infantry who were trapped behind enemy lines in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in World War I. The unit was from the 77th Infantry Division, pretty much all recruited out of New York City. Rick Schroeder’s character was a New York WASP blue-blood lawyer, but who formed a tight bond with the turn-of-the century White ethnics who made up the unit (again, a mix of Italian, Jewish, Polish and Irish immigrants). The key point of the film, was how these men weren’t Italian, Jewish, Polish, Irish, etc. but were AMERICAN. The Germans tried to play the captured ethnics off against each other, or appeal to class warfare, but couldn’t understand why those appeals didn’t work. The immigrants had shed their old-world prejudices in the New American Century, at least that was the message I took away from the writer/director/producers. Certainly, there are deeper, more nuanced meta-themes that many commenters here could tease out, but I’ve already digressed too far from the original MOS post. Sorry Steve…

Just Another Guy With a 1911 said...

"As for Superman "killing his own people" I don't see it. They already DIED on Krypton. There was just an artificial womb (that could not function without his DNA extracted) and a bunch of criminals who murdered their own people. For nothing because it was already too late to save Krypton at that point. That's the point of Zod, he's useless."

Whiskey I look at this way: Clark explicitly tells Zod - "KRYPTON HAD ITS CHANCE" when Zod beseeches him to stop destroying -what he believes - is the chance for his RACE to live again. You do make a valid point, though: Krypton, as it existed, is gone along with its culture, traditions, its people, and its history. The theme is explicit in the movie - as Jor-El's AI told Zod - in what was one of the films more powerful but quiet moments that there really should have been more of - "we are both ghosts - but you cannot see it."

But at the end of the day - in Clark's mind he did choose the human race over the perpetuation of his species; however flawed that plan for perpetuation might have been.

"Frank Castle was a thinly veiled attack on the 60's-70's-80's crime wave, and the futility of liberal hand-waving."

The interesting fact is that the Punisher was a somewhat minor Marvel character that really did not hit big until the Mike Baron/ Zeck Punisher Mini-Series in the mid 80's (a time period when the crime wave was beginning to recede somewhat).

"One of my favorite Superman pieces is the comic "Superman: Red Son." It starts with the premise that baby Kal-El's rocket landed in the Soviet Union instead of Kansas. It drove home the point that Supes might be nigh-invincible but he can still be beaten through human ingenuity."

Red Son is a great comic. My only problem with it is that Millar really, really soft peddled Joe Stalin in it, and perpetuated the standard leftist trope of moral equivalence between the the two sides of the Cold War. Then again, as far as I can tell Mark Millar is a dour Scottish socialist for whom American comics were a dispatch from a strange and distant land and in stark contrast to the dull and rainy northern industrial town he grew up in, but, at the same time, has an unease with super heroes (and the country they represent). It really comes through in interviews and is on full display in "Wanted." However, Millar, when sticking to established universes and shackled somewhat by their conventions, writes great super hero comics; for instance, Marvel Avengers Ultimates Vol. 1, is stellar and Hitch's fold out splash page of the final battle (and the book itself) is one of the greatest hats tip to Jack Kirby ever.

"I think I'm agreeing with you but when reading the original Watchmen it seemed to me that Rorshach was the hero there too. Like I said, I think I'm agreeing with you."

Yes, you are agreeing with me...these are not the droids you are looking for...

Cail Corishev said...

The thought never, never (the repeated nevers are the point of this post) crossed my mind, when reading Superman as a child (I read several dozen of the DC Superman comics, paying my hard-earned coins for each, from 1968 or so to 1971 or so) that "Kansas" was more American than New York.

In 1970, people in Kansas considered New York to be completely American. It was very different, of course, and they didn't necessarily want to live there, but those who could afford it visited at least once, and they were proud of the Empire State Building and the many other firsts and bests that NYC represented as America's #1 city.

To the extent that that's changed, it's mostly because the people in NYC -- the ones who drive opinion, at least -- have contempt for the people in Kansas, and the people in Kansas know it.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

Man of Steel...

Aint that Stalin?

At any rate, better to be Man of Gold, and Superman franchise is sure gold to fellas who made it.

Btw, did CGI make the superhero movie?

Anonymous said...

Btw, did CGI make the superhero movie?

Probably. Although it was possible to make good superhero movies before CGI, like the first Batman, which I think did the best job of capturing the Gotham City universe.

CGI has made superhero movies easier to make, certainly. Most of them haven't been very good, though.

Anonymous said...

Michael Shannon is one of the best American actors I've seen in years. I'm sure there are others like him out there, but Hollywood is hellbent on casting British and Australian actors in roles playing Americans, but how would we really know with all this in-sourcing?

What a market, where the average hardworking Paris Hilton can't even catch a break!

What bottom drawer salaries! American actors shouldn't have to compete by lowering their cut.

melendwyr said...

Michael Maier said:

"Kal didn't commit genocide. The potential for retrieval is still in Kal's cells, just the immediate means of retrieval is gone."

Not quite. It seems the alien ship on Earth was the last remaining Genesis Chamber (extrauterine gestation system) in the universe. Without it, the Codex is useless. I doubt very much that, even if Earth's biologists could somehow activate the information stored in Kal-El's body, a suitable host could be found to carry the fetuses to term.

By destroying the ship, Kal-El destroyed the last possibility that his species could be saved. Of course, with a surviving Kryptonian woman, something could have been managed - but the last one in the universe was dimensionally imploded. So no techno-wombs, no bio-wombs. Gone forever.

Hunsdon said...

Capt. Tripps said: The key point of the film, was how these men weren’t Italian, Jewish, Polish, Irish, etc. but were AMERICAN.

Hunsdon said: Foreshadowed in "The Rough Riders," Milius' TNT (or TBS) production. When the Army is traveling by train through the South, CSA veterans (in ragged old gray uniforms) turn out to watch them. A little boy tells his grampa, "There's Yankees traveling through!" and his grandfather says, "They aren't Yankees, they're Americans."

neil craig said...

Jor-El's plan is nice and Zod's nasty because the audience is human.

Zod's allegiance is to Krypton so he doesn't care about humanity's survival. That doesn't make him a bad guy except from humanity's POV.

Kal-El's is ultimately to humanity and despite turning him over to Zod, humanity ultimately proves at least potentially worthy of Superman's allegiance.

You'll gather I liked it.

Shibes Meadow said...

Ah contraries. As Superman's most devoted fan, I take issue with your assertion that there are no eligible Kryptonian ladies with whom You Know Who might propagate his race. There are millions of them, alive and well in the bottle city of Kandor. And then there's Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl. Yes, she's his first cousin, but in certain jurisdictions that degree of consanguinity would be of no consequence. Too, there exist presumably a sizeable population of K-gals floating around in the Phantom Zone. And, lest we forget, there's Kal's toothsome co-Kryptonian Power Girl, who is built like a Kryp