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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: The Man of Steel (2012)  (Read 6548 times)
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #15 on: Jun 19th, 2013, 10:41am »

on Jun 18th, 2013, 10:49pm, TurkeyMoose wrote:
I actually kind of liked it. cool

If I had more time, I might make a lengthy post about how everyone needs to get just off their high horse and stop being so damn pretentious, but alas, I have better things to do. It's a superhero movie. It is what it is.


Logic then dictates your opinion is wrong cheesy

Actually, I think it's the rest of us who are wrong - current Rotten Tomatoes score (for audience) is 82.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #16 on: Jun 19th, 2013, 3:18pm »

Fun links:
1. death and destruction from the final fight scene:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/jordanzakarin/man-of-steel-destruction-death-analysis

2. Mark Waid's "review"
http://thrillbent.com/blog/man-of-steel-since-you-asked/

I love Mark Waid.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #17 on: Jun 20th, 2013, 12:33am »

::There are SPOILERS in here so don't read if you haven't watched.::

on Jun 18th, 2013, 10:49pm, TurkeyMoose wrote:
I actually kind of liked it. cool

If I had more time, I might make a lengthy post about how everyone needs to get just off their high horse and stop being so damn pretentious, but alas, I have better things to do. It's a superhero movie. It is what it is.


I'd have no issue with it if it were any "superhero movie" (aside from the fact that it'd be a 'hero' I'd be uninterested in). But it isn't ANY superhero. It's supposed to be Superman.

If someone undertakes the task of making a Superman film, they should grasp what that means and attempt to do the character justice. It would be entirely too difficult to capture that essence or do it any justice in this post. But I do find it shocking that a director who directed Watchmen, based on the writings of Alan Moore, would have Superman kill someone. I would imagine, in preparing for the Superman film, he'd be drawn to stories written by Alan Moore, such as "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow". If he had, he may have come across this dialogue:

Superman: I killed him, Lois! I intended to kill him! I just couldn't risk letting anything that powerful and malignant survive, so I made up my mind, and I did it. I broke my oath. I killed him.

Lois: B-but you had to! You haven't done anything wrong...

Superman: Yes, I have. Nobody has a right to kill. Not Mxyzptlk, not you, not Superman... Especially not Superman!

Superman then entered a chamber full of Gold Kryptonite (permanently losing his powers).

The guy in the movie, instead, becomes all smiles (the only smile we get from this depressing/emo version of Superman) and gets a job at the Daily Planet (y'know with his experience from growing a beard on a ship and cleaning tables at a bar).

What this film does with the exterior appearances of Jimmy Olson and Perry White is tame compared to what is done to more key characters. Pa Kent is changed from the guy who showed Superman how to be a hero to a coward who spends every scene telling him to hide. It's no wonder Clark eventually values hiding himself more than, y'know, saving his father. Seriously, nowhere in the history of anything has Superman said, "my secret is more valuable than your life."

All of that is to say nothing of the fact that it's just a bad movie. The fact is that it uses Superman as a crutch. If it weren't about him it'd be a violent, illogical, stupid, angry piece of garbage.

In order to enjoy this film you would have to have your own super power: an uncanny ability to turn your mind into that of an unruly, depressed 5-year old. This film does everything for Superman that the Transformers movies did for the robots in disguise.

That's why I'm upset. I can handle having a horrible Superman movie. It wouldn't be the first. The issue is that people are buying it and we'll end up with four of these bastardized versions of Superman with douchebags walking around saying, "these are so real and 'now'. Superman is back!"

But, to each his own. There are people that eat hamburgers that have deep-fried Krispy Kream donuts as the buns. I refrain from eating such bile but to each his own.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #18 on: Jul 10th, 2013, 05:27am »

I thought it was decent, at least.

It's a ostensibly a Eugenics tract from the opening, and makes its intentions fully known -- if there were any doubts -- when Clark is seen holding Plato's Republic. It's an argument over the body versus the soul, and the ideals that result. Jor-El is a conflation of science and the belief in meaning beyond the physical, of greater meaning through the incorporeal. Zod is a debased would-be ruler -- he was designed that way -- only understanding the physical.

The most telling line from Zod is, paraphrased, that the death of all other Kryptonians has "taken my soul". He only believes in the corporeal world.

The narrative does well to go through a number of The Republic's major philosophical points as a developmental argument for Clark. The discovery of the Kryptonian ship is clearly The Allegory of the Cave. And the conflict between Clark and Jonathan carries on those ideas, or flashes back to them, and further conflates with The Theory of Forms; what matters more, what is more important, Jonathan's beliefs/his soul, or his body?

The big battle scene(s?) as the film's climax make sense as well, taken from this psychological and thematic base. Zod only knows the Physical, and this is expressed through War.

Meanwhile, Kal is the true resurrection of both Krypton and The Father. Hence the heavyhanded Christ reference points throughout. Kal-El is the physical embodiment of Jor-El's ideals.

The film is a Kryptonian Epic. It's in some ways a remake of Superman: The Movie and its sequel but looks and feels like a mixture of sci-fi with photocopied Malick here and there. Certainly the question remains as to what positive role Kal's presence plays for Earth.

Much like Nolan's Batman, this Superman seems to cause more harm than good for the people he's assumed to be protecting. But while this irony may work perfectly for Batman, does it work at all for Superman?

Nonetheless, it's an interesting film on a thematic basis. It's a film that explores the idea of Morality being distinctly amalgamated with Forms beyond one's Body. in their own ways, the Two Fathers both represent this. While Zod is irredeemable because he cannot.

It's in this thematic exploration -- and tonal gravity -- that MOS separates itself from dreck with Bay's name on it.

An attempt to express Superman as the hylomorphic ideal; Jor-El's genes, his (Plato's) belief in higher truths and the Kryptonian codex.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #19 on: Dec 2nd, 2013, 10:46am »

I know I'm really late to the party here, but I didn't feel like paying the 50 ticket and travel prices to see it properly at the London Imax, and never got round to seeing it locally either. Anyway, today the Blu-Ray arrived so I decided to sit down and finally catch up.

I'll start by putting this into perspective. Want to know a DC film I was more entertained by? Green Lantern. Yes, that should put things into perspective nicely.

My big issue with Superman Returns when that came out was that it was so superficial. Characters were one dimensional and the story was bloody awful. One of the friends I saw it with couldn't believe I didn't like it, he gushed about all the scenes of things blowing up and Superman flying about. Which was exactly my point, where was the character depth, the story, the soul of the film that made it interesting? Sadly there wasn't one. Man Of Steel makes Superman Returns look like high art, I was making more complex stories with deeper character interactions and emotions with my action figures twenty years ago.

Superman '78 proved you could make a faithful Superman film with traditional (translation "better") effects grounded with genuine character and story. Christopher Reeve was a revelation, turning in one of cinema's iconic performances. It remains the only time I've ever been able to believe Clark Kent and Superman were two separate people, his performance as both was that good.

But modern audiences don't want a psychological or emotional exploration of a character, particularly not a Superhero! Such things just don't get well received anymore. Long live the generation of explosions and fight scenes.

At times Man Of Steel was a mindlessly entertaining spectacle. Certainly visually impressive but devoid of anything resembling a human emotion beneath the gloss. As the film dragged on I found myself increasingly bored to the point of wishing the film would just end.

Fine, this was another origin story *yawn*, but the only scenes of any real character were the young Clark scenes, and despite my apparent praise they were still only shallow retellings of material that has previously been told better, their success was that they broke up the tedium. The adult Clark was a cypher, a total non-entity. Reeve's Clark brought an almost sadness to his character, a sweet and tender portrayal. Although Clark Kent was the front to hide his true identity, perhaps it betrayed the loneliness and longing Superman can never show or admit. Christopher Reeve, you were a legend.

Do I think Henry Cavill made a bad Clark Kent? I don't know, I can't answer that because he never played one, and that in itself was an unforgivable flaw of the films conceptualisation. Proof enough that the ruthless conglomerate studios don't really care about the artistic integrity of what they output, as long as it has enough CG gloss and mindless action to appease the target audience of mindless idiots that fund Hollywood so well. Be damned those of us too weak to resist because somewhere deep down we developed some bond to these characters and get drawn back to them like some abusive relationship.

Cavill's Superman hit the generic beats but he never showed anything that surprised or interested me. The film caught a modicum of my attention in the train station scene when he had Zod (Really, Zod again? *yawn*) in a headlock, but that quickly faded after the neck break. Thankfully the film was about over.

From what I've read of Superman, and the visual media I've seen (all of which was quite some time ago now), I think Laurence Fishburne's Perry White was rather different to the way he is traditionally portrayed, most notably his braveness in the destruction of the city and his willingness to listen to Lois Lane. But damn he was the most interesting part about this film, I'd have much rather watched a film about him!

Speaking of destruction, this was not a Superhero film, this was a goddamn disaster film. But instead of some earthquake, meteorite or tsunami etc, we had a man in a blue onesie.

I am more forgiving of CG in a Superman film than I would be in most films, even I thought Krypton looked pretty impressive. But I still don't condone it, it makes films lazy. Traditional effects are much harder, and can be more limiting. But with traditional effects you get not only that tangibility that helps draw you into the world, you can see that love and effort that has been put in, you get those little flaws that make something real rather than photoshopped uncanny valley, but finally you get filmmakers using effects to enhance their story. You don't (as often) get filmmakers using traditional effects at expense of the story like you do lazy CG. Oh, but CG CAPE?! Fuck you.

From an artistic standpoint I feel like I've just watched a Death Of Superman film, because Man Of Steel did a pretty good job of burying him.
---

Before I saw this film I was largely apathetic to the whole Affleck thing. I was just too burned out to care. But now I have seen Man Of Steel, I am officially worried.

Nolan stripped the life out of Batman, making him one dimensional and soulless for the masses. But if the relentless mindless action of Man Of Steel is any indication, I suspect the downfall of Batman will go one step further in the next film as we reach true farce not seen since Adam West in his Batman pyjamas in the 60s. Only without the self awareness and self deprecating irony of that show. Superman/Batman will be serious in intent, and seriously awful in execution. It will be a soulless money grabbing action spot-fest like Man Of Steel. I must gear myself up to laugh at it, I must laugh so I don't cry. I love Batman & Robin, I truly do, that film fills me with joy because it's so funny, I want to laugh again.

Prove me wrong Warner, make a good film with real story and characters, less action and practical effects over CG. I beg you. Truly I do. Give me a film I can be proud of to recommend as a Batman film again, I haven't had one I feel truly champions the character since 1992.


I know I have a reputation for being overwhelmingly negative here. I wish that didn't have to the case, I just have high standards. Not everything has to be a masterpiece, just enjoyable and well executed. Man Of Steel was neither of those things.

Superman more than any is a Superhero that writers struggle with even in comics. He is often put in big spectacle at the expense of smaller intimate stories that can work so well, and now we've lost that with Batman too. I think there is a definite fear of undertaking such stories at the current time. Maybe in a couple of decades superhero business will crash and we can get back to the smaller scale analyses of what they actually mean again.

Until then I think I'll go sit in the corner with Batman Returns and cry.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #20 on: Dec 2nd, 2013, 1:28pm »

Quote:
From what I've read of Superman, and the visual media I've seen (all of which was quite some time ago now), I think Laurence Fishburne's Perry White [...] was the most interesting part about this film, I'd have much rather watched a film about him!


Isn't it interesting how much this mirrors Oldman's Gordon?
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #21 on: Dec 3rd, 2013, 12:54pm »

Very true, Gary Oldman's Gordon was without a doubt the best part of that whole Trilogy. Yes, even better than Ledger's Joker laugh.

I was thinking a bit more on this, and maybe we just got a little spoiled for a little while. After all when Bill Finger sat down and created Batman (with a little help from Bob Kane drawing his ideas of course), did he really ever intend or expect his character to be used in complex narratives about human emotion and mental anguish/illness. Did Siegel & Shuster ever intend Superman to be depicted as some impotent god, able to literally move worlds, but unable to fix seemingly insignificant human problems within them, and the identity crisis this would bring him? Or were they creating colourful characters to entertain children?

In a way, these deep, fascinating, and complex stories have been a little blip along the way. Same goes with the films, Burton's little intellectual and emotional contribution to Batman on screen was an anomaly. So is it reasonable I should expect it to be the rule? Should I criticise films and comics for not being as intellectual as my favourites, when my favourites were a nothing but a brief modern experiment for the children who stuck around reading these characters into their adulthood and wanted to put their childhood heroes in adult worlds?

Maybe I should just accept things for the way they are, and to throw in a Grant Morrison reference or two, maybe that "Brief bloom" of creative depth was always going to be just that. Batman, Superman (and all the others) have been reinvented for the new audience, they look "shiny and new", but underneath the surface they have just returned to their roots - simple icons in simple tales, for simple entertainment.


EDIT - Ah fuck that, Man Of Steel was still a vapid, egregious, insulting abortion of a film, lacking even the most basic of substance, an utter meritless waste. Sure, arguably my standards are unusually high and I shouldn't bemoan a less challenging approach. But I at least expect a level of competency and at least a noble attempt to make a worthwhile film. Not some offensive cash-in that was shat out to keep the legal rights away from the Siegel/Shuster estates with a total and utter disregard for all the characters involved, delivered with a smug middle finger and a shit-eating grin to every single innocent victim who paid to see this film (and fuck, I feel bad for the people that saw this and didn't pay).

Rant over.

I liked Laurence Fishburne, I'd like to see him again in a better film. And I'd gladly give Amy Adams and Henry Cavill another shot at redemption. Even Russell Crowe wasn't the thing that ruined the film for me. Hell, the cast wasn't the problem at all (give them a good script and they could turn in something quite nice), the problem was everything else.

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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #22 on: Dec 6th, 2013, 01:49am »

Media integration is our moment (even the lawsuit that pushed the project forward was about leveraging $$$ from the character's larger media profile), but it may be a bit too broad for me to assert that comic book movies are conflated with the comics on this scale. But isn't that their point?

So far as the comics industry I do believe there has been a very conscious effort to move away from the Miller/Moore zeitgeist that came about in the '80s.

And it's not as if they've been subtle about these aims, at least within the DCU. Many of them have given soundbites about how the last decade of retcon (continuity busting) events, like the various Crisis points, have been brought about to undo grisly '80s outcomes (Barry Allen, Jason, Babs, the multiverse/universe breakup and reintroduction/reintegration).

But maybe the halcyon longings that are being used as partial marketing ploy fit into the larger schema of Umbrella Branding. When the characters are simpler they are mascots and mascots are corporate symbols.

Obviously, it's a question of balance. One way or another, to one extreme or another -- fanboy madness vs(?) corporate synergy (and cynicism) -- there's the tipping point and shared vision of dogmatic simplification.

To tie it in with the filmmaking issues, Batman Returns is an appropriate study course. Too dark, too weird, too personal. You could characterize it as another extreme; an expansive work, its intertext based around the character's psychology and imagery (images as the psychological) as an expressive gateway to the internal.

There are two things that sum up what followed. To one side, the corporate: Batman as an extension of Happy Meal tie-ins, and with Returns upsetting that balance Burton was kicked from the director's chair. To the other, we have the contrast between Returns and The Dark Knight; the former has mise-en-scene dedicated to expressionist works such as Caligari and Metropolis, the latter creating obvious setups and visual nods to modern films like The Empire Strikes Back.

Real balance is simply an internal memo, and the key word is: accessibility.

The irony is that as the corporate mentality becomes tighter -- again, media synergy -- in a pursuit to make the IP larger and more omnipresent, the characters become smaller. Complexity is dangerous to brand messaging. And nothing matters more than presenting a unified front with promotional materials.

One could easily point to Burton's Batman by way of its similarities to the last paragraph. After all, what was more pervasive in 1989 than the Bat-Logo? And to be sure, the first film is a far more compromised production than its sequel.

But again, the comparison to Nolan's work provides key object lessons. The two logos themselves. In Batman, the first shots are literally a dive into a Jungian cave, the audience unaware of what the structural makeup is...until the camera finally pulls back to reveal the Bat Logo. Its a visual cue as to the entire film's structure: the mysterious depths of this Icon.

Batman Begins opens in light, then quickly descends into darkness. This visual line is what The Trilogy works off of, finally inverting it with Rises. Midway through, Bruce is carving a metallic Bat Symbol when Alfred asks "why?" For the 10th, hell maybe 15th time we're quickly reminded of the film's bolded theme: FEAR. Well, ok.

One is directly accessible to a mainstream audience as structure. The other? Not so much. The logo is inverted. While before it was a guidepath to and through questions by way of shadowplay, today it has become a symbol of exposition. Explain it, and make sure to explain it in the most simplistic terms possible in the most direct way possible.

To be fair, Nolan graduates the concept of the Symbol to great extent in the latter two films. And by the time he's thrown Wayne into the Escher Prison, it's clear that his visual acumen has likewise grown by an impressive degree. The visual language of Rises is more sophisticated, perhaps because the film serves another dual purpose: franchise entry for Warners, Secret Sequel to Inception for Nolan. And in the Dialectic payoff, a coherent close to his Batman Narrative.

That's the ideal as far as modern corporate politics and blockbuster filmmaking. Warners got two and a half blockbusters, and Nolan became a major filmmaker while honing his craft.

And whatever else Nolan's flaws may be, there's a covalent bond in his process: from script to screen, agree or disagree with the ideas and their expression, there is obvious structural cohesion at work between the two processes.

Compare that to Snyder. It's negatively atomized work. Man of Steel has its pluses, in my opinion. Using Plato as a thematic core is as great a base as you'll find. But the visual pieces feel rather soulless: as if Goyer/Nolan's outline was slickly mounted by an ad man that could only visualize the script as far as what would make a "cool" shot.

The film feels imbalanced in its process. It's Nolan/Goyer's baby made into another Snyder blowup doll of a film.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #23 on: Dec 10th, 2013, 10:30am »

Quote:
Prove me wrong Warner, make a good film with real story and characters, less action and practical effects over CG. I beg you. Truly I do. Give me a film I can be proud of to recommend as a Batman film again, I haven't had one I feel truly champions the character since 1992.


Nothing about the pre-production phase points in a favorable direction, starting with where and why we even have the pre-production phase: The Avengers was huge and Man of Steel underperformed. From the outside looking in, it appears to be a quick turnaround. So quick that the first thing they probably finished was a teaser poster with a date rather than a solid first draft.

Now, we have Wonder Woman in it. Inter alia, the movie has to be a reboot for Batman, a sequel to Man of Steel, an introduction to Wonder Woman and an almost-Justice League. At best I'd hope for a barmy, pop pastiche -- but what evidence is there that Goyer would or could write an outline to accommodate this? There's, at best, a sullen lack of wit from Goyer scripts (no, I wasn't a big fan of Blade).

Iron Man 2 could be described as an attempt at all that in Marvel terms, and it was an embarrassing, leaden mess that had half of nothing to do with its own title. But at least it had Robert Downey. MoS "2" has two mannequins and a little lady.

Quote:
I liked Laurence Fishburne, I'd like to see him again in a better film. And I'd gladly give Amy Adams and Henry Cavill another shot at redemption. Even Russell Crowe wasn't the thing that ruined the film for me.


See, Crowe was the best part of it for me. The fact that he worked so well made the film, to whatever extent, work. As thematic function and carry-thru, he was the film's protagonist as much as Superman (if not, then at least the deuteragonist); the trick of the film, then, is that Crowe is there to do much of the heavy lifting for the questionable Cavill.

Amy Adams was the cast member I liked the least. Plain dull. But this is a consistent presence in Nolan productions: the sexless, joyless interaction with women. It's what makes his Bond obsession so ironic and somewhat misplaced.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #24 on: Jan 29th, 2014, 04:57am »

You know what? I didn't hate this. It felt grand, heavy, mythic, very much a Campbellian Heroes Journey, by way of ancient Greek storytelling, kind of what I love about DC comics really. To further ostracise myself from fandom, I think Marvel's approach to their films/media is kind of tacky (Believe me I can go on).

Did I find it problematic? Oh yes. Hans Zimmer is an awful, lazy, overrated composer. That beautiful piano tune the main theme begins with has this intimate melancholy tone that captures the feeling grandeur the movie is going for. Then it just becomes an overpowering wall of noise that drowns out the imagery and dialogue.

Pa Kent's death is some of the most idiotic writing in a world where Damon Lindelof is a gainfully employed Hollywood writer. You set up a reason for Kal-El to assume a secret identity, then you kill him off well before you can organically implement it in your epilogue. Which in fact makes it a complete insult given it follows...

The Michael Bay wet dream third act. Oh dear, how completely wrong headed can you be when making a big Superman battle. There's no excuses, no logical thinking in the way this was conducted. Lets annihlate Metropolis because the mouth breathers who think Superman Returns (FYI, I'm not entirely on board with this movie as I used to be, but bloody hell at least he values human life in it) is worse than the holocaust want it? Was that their logic?

The third act does redeem itself however with the execution of General Zod. You read that completely right. How was this worse than gunning him down with a Kryptonite laser, or de powering him and throwing him down a canyon? I found it refreshing to put Superman in a completely no win situation where he could only be galvanised into becoming a better man because of it. No nonsense time travel, amnesia kisses, masonry vision, "he was dead but he got better" here.

Which I think helps reconcile the final moments of the film for me, he goes from an aimless drifter (Interesting comparison to the Allegory of the Cave once he finds the Fortress, Will, since a: it's an almost literal representation of that in the film and b: the very next scene is where he receives the Campbellian Call from Zod doing his Max Headroom bit) to someone who is in full realisation he's an impotent God* (That look of disappointment he gives when the redneck trucker throws a beer can at his back I think sums up the character more than any goofy grin can, he can save a dozen men on an oil rig but he'll never change the inherently awful nature that humanity can sometimes lower itself to), and so I think the three epilogue scenes with General Swanwick, his mother and his introduction as Clark work in establishing him as the more traditional version of Superman, the whole Pa Kent idiocy aside that is.

P.S. Jordowsky Krypton rocked.

P.P.S. Superman vs. giant spider, Jon Peters can now die happy.

* The definition of any superhero really.

Sorry if this comes off as pretentious or overly wordy. I'm just not a great writer. To sum it up; the movie aimed high and missed the mark, which I can appreciate more than a movie that aimed low and hit it.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #25 on: Feb 7th, 2014, 09:19am »

Is it a mirror or tracepaper? Hm..

Anyway.

Quote:
Lets annihlate Metropolis because the mouth breathers who think Superman Returns (FYI, I'm not entirely on board with this movie as I used to be, but bloody hell at least he values human life in it) is worse than the holocaust want it? Was that their logic?


Actually, I thought it was worse than the Shoa and the Holodomor, combined. Maybe throw in Mao's entire reign.

But seriously, the problem I had with Superman Returns, or at least arguments for it, is that because it wasn't action-packed it, ipso facto, was intelligent.

It's debatable. The thematic structure is there, but the execution? I don't know. The film feels like an outline of Singer's various, and sometimes contradictory, pathologies. And somehow it's still not interesting, perhaps because one of those personal quirks is Singer's confusing love for the first two Reeve films within and without narrative structuring: it's kind of a sequel, it's kind of a reimagining.

One thing both Man of Steel and Returns are deeply imbued with is the central idea of Kal El's alienation -- that he is an alien. In both cases, it's an odd fit: Man of Steel is a film about the character being more Form than Corporeal, yet it simultaneously tears at this structure by having Clark feel like Kal because he is physically different, accidentally(?) agreeing with the Zod Eugenics side. It talks out of both sides of its cinematic mouth; is it Platonic, or is it negatively Talmudic?

Likewise, Returns is Singer's confluence of alienated typologies subsuming the idea of homage and continuation vis-a-vis Donner's original vision; that is, the two don't mix. The Reeve Superman was conflicted -- this idea of being somewhere between a man and a god -- but he wasn't alienated: he loved his adopted planet. The conceit and impetus inherent to Singer's throughline clearly does not come from the Reeve films but, rather, his own. The anti-America dialogue/visual setups (which are also, either tellingly or bizarrely, undercut with the perverse Superman-as-spy-satellite allegory) are another element within the film's structure that are about as far from the Donner film(s?) as you can get: they are Singer's issues on a number of levels, carried from different films and another property (X-Men).

I think it's a highly flawed film simply as pitch and intent. What is its intent? It is of the zeitgeist, however. It is a prototypical iconoclastic modernization: Superman is just trying to find himself, man. This may have been exciting as an American New Wave production -- in 1970 -- but today it feels like nothing more than the moment, with the details not helping to carry it.

On the other hand, it's worthy as a microcosm within auteur analysis.

If it's compared to Man of Steel, with the assumption that Snyder is the film's author, it is, easily, superior.

If it's compared to the same film with the assumption that Nolan is its author, then it's a push.

But from my own reaction to it, I really can't find much that worked. The cast is almost universally dull, with Routh as the blank posterboy. The tone is dour, and the structure is boring: a mix of Greatest Hits with Vacant Emo/navel gazing. Worse, the character feels both inert and empty: he's looking within, constantly, but between Routh and the script there's a feeling that there's next to nothing there.

The elements pull at each other, rather than coalesce. Sometimes that can be exciting, even intentional. But, at least with the former, that is not the case with Returns.

I haven't seen it, in-full, since it came out. I had a bet with a friend that it would be better than the Pirates sequel. Now, it was an empty bet: it was a matter of taste, so how could either of us be wrong?

The next time I saw him, I paid up. I couldn't muster the phoniness to praise the film, in any way. Not even enough to characterize it as better than the competition.
« Last Edit: Feb 7th, 2014, 09:31am by Will » User IP Logged

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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #26 on: Feb 8th, 2014, 8:12pm »

on Feb 7th, 2014, 09:19am, Will wrote:
Is it a mirror or tracepaper? Hm..


I ripped off no one.

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Actually, I thought it was worse than the Shoa and the Holodomor, combined. Maybe throw in Mao's entire reign.

But seriously, the problem I had with Superman Returns, or at least arguments for it, is that because it wasn't action-packed it, ipso facto, was intelligent.


I never inferred Superman Returns was an intelligent film, nor that I even have any time for it anymore. I just happen to think it handled mass destruction better than Man of Steel did.

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One thing both Man of Steel and Returns are deeply imbued with is the central idea of Kal El's alienation -- that he is an alien.


I can't disagree with either of them. If anything it reflects how shitty the world really is. Of course the most human of us would be an alien.

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If it's compared to the same film with the assumption that Nolan is its author, then it's a push.


Funny that. All the death and destruction in the third act? Written by Jonah Nolan. Superman Steven Seagaling Zod? All Snyder and the Nolan's tried to fight it.

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I haven't seen it, in-full, since it came out. I had a bet with a friend that it would be better than the Pirates sequel. Now, it was an empty bet: it was a matter of taste, so how could either of us be wrong?

The next time I saw him, I paid up. I couldn't muster the phoniness to praise the film, in any way. Not even enough to characterize it as better than the competition.


SR aimed high and missed it's mark. Pirates 2 aimed low and still missed it's mark, ergo... ah fuck it, you both lost 6 hours of your lives.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #27 on: Feb 10th, 2014, 04:24am »

on Feb 8th, 2014, 8:12pm, dudelovebaby wrote:
I ripped off no one.


OK. I wasn't making that accusation.

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I never inferred Superman Returns was an intelligent film, nor that I even have any time for it anymore. I just happen to think it handled mass destruction better than Man of Steel did.


My point was to the larger Talking Point, which I did think was at least implied in your statement; this idea that many have of SR as a better film by way of its -- relative -- lack of pyrotechnics.

To one side, this may be true: many blockbuster audiences will dislike a tentpole that is paradoxically smaller or more intimate. As far as demographics and sell-thru, I don't automatically dismiss the argument that they hated Returns because of a lack of Action, period.

But by making the argument, at all, the inference remains; the film may have, then, been too intelligent for much of its audience, but does that make it smart?

It reminds of the stance taken for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Yet my point against that film would not be that it's too introspective, rather that it's introspective about very little: basically Roddenberry's love letter to himself on a reductive-humanist scale. A languid film that isn't poor because of that descriptor, but because of its lack of content -- a supermodel in glasses, with a pencil rolling along her bottom lip -- and another in the long line of poorly constructed responses to Kubrick's 2001.

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I can't disagree with either of them. If anything it reflects how shitty the world really is. Of course the most human of us would be an alien.


I don't necessarily know how, for instance, a deadbeat dad that can't get over being adopted is an expression of transcendence.

Arguably, Man Of Steel has a better thematic foundation to build off of and explore.

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Funny that. All the death and destruction in the third act? Written by Jonah Nolan. Superman Steven Seagaling Zod? All Snyder and the Nolan's tried to fight it.


That's interesting backstory, but it doesn't change my assertion.

Within the framing of The Auteur, Snyder's film would be judged within his larger filmography as an overall text. And he has been, in my estimation, a mediocre stylist that does little to expand thematic depth through those selfsame visuals.

In that sense, Snyder may be better off if not judged by so high a standard. In a one-off context -- not knowing exactly what the Nolans would have done -- then, good for him.

As overall filmmaker his filmography remains.

On the other side, Nolan's prior work would make MoS not particularly stellar -- and perhaps even a drag, relatively -- but more important so far as larger thematic analysis.

That's assuming one can call a Producer an Auteur, or to fold certain Producer credits in with Director credits (depending on the amount of work on the script and even on-set).

Is Gone With The Wind the work of an Auteur? Can O'Selznik be considered the film's author?

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SR aimed high and missed it's mark. Pirates 2 aimed low and still missed it's mark, ergo... ah fuck it, you both lost 6 hours of your lives.


The best that can be said for Gore Verbinski is that his name automatically makes me think 'Gore Vidal'.

Well, The Weather Man was decent (its title is tractate: for everything a season)...and maybe The Ring.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #28 on: Feb 10th, 2014, 09:26am »

Im probably going to beat a dead horse, so Ill keep it short- I really hated Man of Steel. It felt like they planned out a bunch of cool scenes (Superman saving the oil rig, Superman suddenly at a bar), but never had any big plot to really push it through. At least Batman told you why he was traveling the world and what he wanted, it felt like Superman lacked any of that in the beginning. Although I wasnt of the mind that "there was too much destruction," the shaky cam was just so ungodly- I couldnt even tell what was going on when he was fighting that random Doc Ock machine. Here's hoping Batman vs Superman tones it down, because Im going to be really pissed if they obscure their big showdown with ungodly blur.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #29 on: Feb 10th, 2014, 5:40pm »

on Feb 10th, 2014, 04:24am, Will wrote:
My point was to the larger Talking Point, which I did think was at least implied in your statement; this idea that many have of SR as a better film by way of its -- relative -- lack of pyrotechnics.


Then I must apologise. I don't consider it a smart film. My pretentious 18 year old self did way back when (Funnily, the film's biggest fan is Quentin Tarantino, just about every non celebrity who has met him describes him as a pretentious teenager!). But no. There's plenty of ammo to use against Superman Returns, make no doubt about it. I just happen to think the majority is targeting the wrong aspects.

On the other hand, I can't dismiss Superman Returns as a total wash. Even when his primary motivation for heroics is to distract himself from blue balls.

Quote:
But by making the argument, at all, the inference remains; the film may have, then, been too intelligent for much of its audience, but does that make it smart?


Not at all. For one, the story is simplistic, second, it beats you on the head with it's religious iconography. But I just don't get criticising lack of certain content, when the existing content is far more problematic.

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It reminds of the stance taken for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Yet my point against that film would not be that it's too introspective, rather that it's introspective about very little: basically Roddenberry's love letter to himself on a reductive-humanist scale. A languid film that isn't poor because of that descriptor, but because of its lack of content -- a supermodel in glasses, with a pencil rolling along her bottom lip -- and another in the long line of poorly constructed responses to Kubrick's 2001.


You can add Soderbergh recent Haywire to this, Refn's Drive too. They work as the visual equivalent to Enya music.

Quote:
I don't necessarily know how, for instance, a deadbeat dad that can't get over being adopted is an expression of transcendence.

Arguably, Man Of Steel has a better thematic foundation to build off of and explore.


Definitely. Again, I can watch Man of Steel as an adaptation of classical mythology.

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That's interesting backstory, but it doesn't change my assertion.


I wasn't trying to.

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The best that can be said for Gore Verbinski is that his name automatically makes me think 'Gore Vidal'.

Well, The Weather Man was decent (its title is tractate: for everything a season)...and maybe The Ring.


He could've become a great pulp adventure director who gave us stuff in the vein of EC comics and the old serials. But no, lets overstuff what should've been simple pirate and cowboy stories with child hangings and constant double crossing.

on Feb 10th, 2014, 09:26am, Clerk wrote:
It felt like they planned out a bunch of cool scenes (Superman saving the oil rig, Superman suddenly at a bar), but never had any big plot to really push it through.


The Wachowski... siblings... forewarned storytelling would become more fragmented. So hey, maybe The Expendables films are ahead of the storytelling curve.
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