So, I caught Man of Steel today – a whole 2 weeks after it released! For those not in the know (like me about 3 hours ago) there has been a whole lot of controversy about this version of Superman.
I’ll let you judge:
So I went off and wrote a huge long rant on a facebook post which is what you’ll see below, when I realized something. I actually, genuinely missed writing. Writing when you have so much to say that thoughts just flow out of your fingertips and dance on the page (no, I am NOT tripping!) And writing especially because you WANT to write, and not for any other reason. Utter joy! This time, I refuse to procrastinate. This blog is not going to be another thing I started on a whim and abandoned halfway due to laziness! That list is full to capacity!
So, here’s my rant:
Let’s start with the aspect of collateral damage, shall we? Yes, there was an overly excessive amount of destruction that we witnessed on screen. Comparable to Michael Bay, as was mentioned. But did anybody notice that the fighting was between two aliens? Aliens. One of whom was here on Earth with the complete intention of annihilating the planet. And Kal-El – who for all his Earthly upbringing, is still an alien who has struggled with his identity for life (if that aspect of his personality hadn’t been covered before then it is a gross oversight) Self-proclaimed protector of mankind and the only person standing between Zod and Krypton II. This is AFTER Zod basically claims that he was born to fight and Kal is just a little bug he will delight in squashing.
The gravity of that situation, when you know you’re evenly or even out-matched by your opponent, and you know you have to focus completely on winning. No stopping to save kittens or even humans, when the PLANET’S very survival is on the balance. If the argument is that Metropolis was being destroyed and Superman was over at the Indian Ocean? Utter rubbish. Was he supposed to stay and fight, only for the planet to blow up. Everybody’s life was threatened, dammit. I know I’m quoting Star Trek with “the needs of the many…” phrase, but if it’s not true in this context, when will it ever be?
(Disclaimer: I do not accept or even believe that collateral damage is ok in real life. Everything that can be done, must be done if lives are at stake. But, in real life, we do not have to deal with aliens. Whether that is a good thing, or a fate much worse, is another argument altogether.)
So, basically what should have been done was that he should have come to terms with his powers, then fought Zod but still save everybody, and not kill someone who seems irredeemable. (Not going to bother going into the ethics or super-villain reformation, when there is so much more to focus on.) But, Zod basically just threatened every human being – after he almost reduced Metropolis to rubble. He vowed not to stop.
Here’s where it gets tricky ( and I am going to refer to Doctor Who now, so umm, deal with it! ) At this point those two are the ONLY survivors of their race. And they are fully aware of the fact. I cannot even imagine the pain of knowing that you are the last of your kind and everybody else who was ever like you is dead. And, that you have destroyed any last hope of bringing back your race from the dead (never a good idea. Just look at Jurassic Park!) but at what cost?
Krypton (and Gallifrey in DW) is gone. Earth is here. Is it just supposed to be sacrificed? And who pulls the trigger? A fanatic like Zod? It may not be perfect, but it is Kal/Clark’s home. The only one he has known. And to save it and to ENSURE that it stays safe, he has to do the one thing that is guaranteed to hurt himself the most. Kill the only other Kryptonian who survives. Become truly the last of his kind.
Superman didn’t protect us, but he did save us. If the fact that we have been used to him doing both before, is what’s causing a whole bunch of people to freak out now, then well, c’est la vie. There are NO ideal outcomes. Just ones you have to live with. Comics have to sell, so they can gloss over real-life parallels, and can afford to end on a happy note most times. So what if this story was more realistic? Kal is going to have to live with the fact that he chose his adopted planet over his own birthright, every single damn day of his life. No bloody way in hell can anybody call that a selfish choice. When in fact it was the most selfless thing he has ever done.
I also loved the whole “you are not alone” sequence. That is what got me thinking about Doctor Who (spoiler alert), and eventually led me to draw parallels even as I watched the action unfold on screen. It may or may not have helped me along, I don’t know. Nor am I overly concerned. It’s cinema. Entertainment. Just enjoy it, eh?