Daily Archives: Wednesday, June 19, 2013

  • Man of Steel Zak Snyder (USA 2013)

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    Man of Steel Zak Snyder (USA 2013)
    Henry Cavill; Amy Adams;

    Viewed 16 June 2013; Empire Cinema
    Newcastle; Ticket £7.75
    With underpants outside trousers I
    remember as young kid playing Superman with my best friend Sid Green.
    There were bouncy twin beds in the room he shared with his brother,
    and placing these beds a strategic distance apart, we could leap
    from one to the other, simulating the amazing feeling of flying
    through the air. Obviously this apprenticeship qualifies me to speak
    with some authority about Superman.
    Needless to say Superman in the Man of
    Steel has moved on from the naff device of wearing his knickers
    outside his tights; he now wears a nifty set of combinations and is
    part of the huge armada of franchised superheroes who kitted out with
    full Visual FX move across planet earth scooping up buckets of money
    for the studios.
    I’ve seen a few superhero movies this
    year. Each of scenarios has given to their protagonist a USP (Mad
    talk for Unique Selling Proposition). A USP which defines in a fuzzy
    way, something of the nature of the character. Batman, plagued by
    self doubt, was about self redemption; Iron Man 3 was a Scientology
    techie parable; And Man of Steel? Superman embraces the Messiah
    myth. It’s not so much Jesus saves. It’s Superman saves.
    The writers of Man of Steel have
    appropriated the Jesus story. Like the ice cream pedalled in the
    multiplex foyer, it’s a little soft; but both in script and in
    iconic imagery this re-incarnation of Superman represents him as
    Jesus, beard and all who waits for his thirty third birthday before
    coming out and revealing his true identity. Like Jesus,
    Superman/Clark Kent has a dual nature, half human and half Krypton,
    and listen to this, Clark Kent says: “ “I know what I came for,
    my father sent me.”
    But why has the father sent his son?
    Because Superman has something to say to us Earthlings. He is come
    to guide us. Take a breath dudes!
    Underpinning Man of Steel’s script
    there is some heavy duty philosophy: the idea of free will. Free
    will is the very basis of Christian theology; no free will no Christ,
    because without choice, personal salvation makes no sense. And this
    is why Superman is sent to us: to affirm our belief in free will.
    Krypton was destroyed as the Kryptonites turned themselves into
    programmed biomorphic machines. Only Clark Kent born outside the
    Kryptonite approved birthing programme has free will, and he is sent
    to help us choose good not evil. Awesome! One hopes he has a
    better crack at it than Google.
    Jesus as an idea is not only cued in
    the Man of Steel script, he is also represented potently in the
    movie’s imagery.
    As the Man of Steel goes about duffing
    up evil, his form he is captured in the glory of all those iconic
    classic poses associated with Christ and beloved of Classical
    painters. We see Superman in the Crucifixion pose,
    Transfiguration, Descent into Hell and the Ascension, to name but a
    few. The gorgeous hunk is not Superman but Saviour, and that letter
    on his cozzie that looks like an S, is in fact an ancient Kryptonite
    symbol meaning Hope.
    Somewhere in the idea of Superman our
    Redeemer, there is the germ of an interesting idea. I wonder if a
    early draft of the script might have featured an imitatio Christi,
    but instead of Jesus throwing the money lenders out of the Temple,
    we would see Clark Kent join the occupy Wall Street movement, and and
    take on the evils of Gonzo drug fed Capitalism and Globalisation.
    No surprise the final draft of the Man of Steel script takes a more
    conservative approach, Jesus’ philosophy honoured more in breech
    than practice, and the shooting scenario more a device for
    maximising the flash bang wallop of visual FX combat battle and

    It is the Visual FX that draw the
    punters. I saw them in 2D and I am sure seen in 3D they are
    wondrously realised. But I have to say that I found the Man of
    Steel FX relentlessly overlong and repetitive. If I see another
    petrol tanker picked up and thrown again with malice aforethought
    I’ll go mad. It happens again and again. And when two combatants
    equally matched with special powers fight each each other, the scenes
    stretch out into endless tedium. The only winner is boredom and the
    losers are the creative failure of the VFX people to find fresh
    creative inspiration, beyond that of repeating the same moves against
    different backgrounds.
    I sometimes think that these big budget
    movies with their end of the world scenarios are witness simply to a
    general philosophy of fear that governs our collective psyche. A
    philosophy initiated by the Nuclear bomb which revealed the extrinsic
    power of science to destroy us all. A fear since fed by climate
    chaos, pandemics, economic crashes, food scares terrorism etc. At
    this point fear is a respectable and justifiable state of mind; as
    if we need to live in a constant state of fear in order to survive.

    Conversely Man of Steel also reminded
    me of those psychological programmes which are used to help people
    overcome phobias, such as aversion to spiders. They are gradually
    desensitised so that in the end they are comfortable when placed in a
    room full of arachnoids. As I sat in the full cinema, gazing at the
    now familiar site of a razed Manhattan I felt I was in such a
    desensitisation chamber. Man of Steel felt as if it were part of a
    desensitisation programme designed to inure me with a complete
    indifference to violence death and destruction. Was this a CIA
    programme? As I biked home I wondered how Man of Steel would play in
    down town Damascus.
    As we played at Superman, Sid and I at
    first had no thought for philosophy or fear. But one day a double
    landing on a bed caused the frame to snap, and we received a short
    sharp lesson in proto Nietschian aversion therapy from Mrs Sidney’s
    accurate right hand. I understood at once the link between
    philosophy and Superman.

    Adrin Neatrour