24 June 2013

We Are A Plague And He Is The Cure



Superman represents many things to many people. To some he means hope and to others he symbolises pure kindness. To me however he simply exists to show off how pathetic we humans are as a species. For a start, he's an alien who we literally cannot harm and so if he turns against us we're fucked. Not only that but since first appearing, Earth has been invaded by several monstrous villains all of which would have destroyed us if it wasn’t for him. It seems we're not alone in the universe and everything else out there is a lot more advanced and powerful than us. The Kryptonians have already mastered long distance space travel whereas we as a species spend our days eating cheesy crisps and wanking our way through old episodes of Buffy. Or at least that's what I do. Either way we're certainly very, very crap in comparison. To our alien cousins, we are the slimy lizard-fish that's only just crawled out of an oozing lake of filth. The furthest we've gotten with space travel is a shit game of golf on the Moon and even that's only possible if we make it out of our atmosphere without becoming a NASA-funded firework display.

Another reason that Superman represents our crapness is the failure of his last film to be embraced as a franchise by the public. In 2006, Superman Returns was released into cinemas and, contrary to what everybody else now says, I genuinely love it. I know there are a lot of confused people out there who think it's rubbish but I'm more than prepared to fight them to the death over it. I won't go into ‘why’ because that could/will be a blog entry all on its own but suffice to say I patiently waited a long time for a sequel to that. You can therefore imagine how happy I was to hear that after about half a decade it was announced that the next film in the series would instead be a reboot from the director of Sucker Punch. Man of Steel retells the origins of Superman, detailing the destruction of his home planet and how he ended up on Earth. Russell Crowe plays his biological father and to be fair, despite my initial hesitance, I can't imagine not enjoying any film that begins with the Ex-Gladiator casually riding about on a dragon. It also starts with Michael Shannon as the villain General Zod who spends a lot of his time screaming his angry bug-eyed face off. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the planet Krypton explodes, Zod escapes and the newly born Superman gets blasted off to earth like an alien Moses in a basket of metallic-looking sci-fi shit.

His face is so boring it actually angers me.
The first third of Superman's time on Earth is presented in a non-linear fashion as he wanders the land trying to discovery who he is. His real dad might be the Irish sounding Robin Hood but here on Earth, his adopted father is Kevin Costner, the tacky, mulleted Prince of Thieves. Now, I should say that I did actually enjoy the film quite a lot but the scenes in Smallville were a little on the schmaltzy side. Now known as Clark Kent, there's a section where as a child he is overcome by his alien powers and so hides in a cupboard in his school. His mother is called to talk him out and so asks what is wrong with him. The sappy music kicks in and he answers, “The world’s too big, Momma”, to which she responds, “Then make it small”. I'm sorry but really who talks like that? If my kid said that I'd just scream, “get your arse out of that cupboard right now” and then I'd have the pretentious little fuck sectioned. Also, I'm never usually a fan of Kevin Costner because he bores the absolute tits off me with his dull, charisma-free soul, however here I was very close to enjoying him. The problem again was sadly with the slightly ‘up itself’ writing. Costner couldn't just answer a question normally but had to deliver a long meaningful monologue every time he spoke. You could ask him the fucking time and he'd answer you with a stern face, looking towards the horizon. 

By the time we get to the second third, Zod has made his way to Earth and is threatening to destroy us conveniently at the exact same time that Superman discovers that he's Superman. I suppose I quite liked the design of the new costume but if I'm being completely honest, I kind of missed the red underwear. I know wearing your skiddies on the outside is a bit stupid but the character has been around for like eighty-years and so I was kind of use to it. Also, I don't expect Earth’s saviour to be pant-pissingly funny but would it kill him to crack a smile at least once? Clark discovers he's got super powers and yet spends the majority of the film looking as though he's just found out he'll need a testicle amputated. Believe me, if I'd just discovered I had x-ray vision then I'd be perving so much that I'd never frown again. I don't care what anybody says- if any one of us developed any kind of superpower, we'd be using it for at least minor evil within the hour.

By the time we get to the final third, the film descends into all-out action. I hate to sound like I'm getting old but perhaps for me the fighting was a little too fast. I knew people were getting the shit kicked out of them but all I could see was a blue blur and then devastation. Sadly too, the fighting just didn't feel painful which makes it all slightly redundant. In The Dark Knight, there were two psychopaths, one dressed as a clown, the other a wrestling bat and when they hit each other you felt the impact. Here though, faces get dragged across the smashed up concrete road and the only pain you feel is that of the council who will be one day tasked with mending it. This conveniently leads me to my next criticism which is in regards to the complete and utter annihilation of Metropolis. During the climactic battle between Superman and Zod, that city gets well and truly fucked. Our saviour throws his enemy through skyscrapers with such little regard for human life that it becomes clear that he really doesn't give a shite about us. During the city’s destruction, director Zack Snyder throws up imagery that is clearly reminiscent of the events of 9/11 but this is like that day on crack. Tens of buildings topple and it is very clear that millions of innocent people will have died. I can only assume that by the time of the sequel, Metropolis will have turned to communism because there's sure as fuck not enough money to rebuild it. Once again, this complete disregard for human life highlights my initial theory about how Superman represents our species’ complete and utter insignificance in the universe.

I guess to summarise and conclude, I thought the film was pretty good but had an odd mix of clever and dumb about it. I still wish I'd seen a sequel to Superman Returns but there was enough here to enjoy that I'm interested to see what happens next. I'm going to presume the city will be rebuilt by Lex Luthor  and Superman will have a newfound aversion to killing. It'll also be intriguing to see how the Clark and Lois Lane relationship pans out considering it'll seemingly have a slightly different dynamic to perhaps how it did in previous films. Also, the couple don't exactly start things off on the best of terms as Superman says the weirdest post-kiss line ever. She says to him, “They say it's all down-hill after the first kiss”, to which he rudely responds, “That's only if you're kissing a human”. So either he's telling Louis that she's going to enjoy the relationship a lot more than him or he's casually endorsing experiments into bestiality. I suppose this clumsiness with women must be a result of him being from either Krypton or even worse- Kansas.

Anyway, so that's the end of the blog.

Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.
I certainly hope you had more fun reading it than I did writing it. As a little added bonus though I just thought I'd mention a slightly irrelevant observation that I made about the film. Is it just me or is Man Of Steel a prequel to the The Matrix franchise? Firstly and most obviously it's clear that both Superman and Neo are a version of The One. They can both fly about, are here to save us and I'm sure must both be based loosely on an arse-kicking Jesus Christ. Secondly, both this film and The Matrix feature babies being artificially raised in little bubble pods by sinister looking insect-like machines. Not only that but Zion's defender, Commander Lock appears here as pretty much the exact same character but this time named General Swanwick. More noticeable perhaps though is that Commander Lock is not alone. Morpheus is also joining him although currently running a News Paper and known as Perry White. As far as I know, we never learnt of Morpheus's real world name and this current employment puts him in a perfect position to become slowly aware of the existence and importance of The One. Like I say though, it's all just a theory and, I agree, possibly slightly tenuous. But whatever, if you don't agree then the blog officially ended one paragraph ago. See you next week and in the meantime try not to die... I need the hits. Goodbye.

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