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June 15, 2013

RE: Man of Steel


Well.  Let’s see if I can be succinct for once.




This movie.

…You know, I think there’s a definite hypocrisy about me.  For all my talk about intelligence by design and exploring possibilities, I like a lot of dumb stuff.  Think about it; I’m the guy that enjoyed Iron Man 3 and shrugged off its flaws, just because I had a good time with the jokes and action.  And most of the movies I’ve seen over the past five years or so have been superhero movies.  Or involving some sort of action (Looper, Django Unchained, and The Hunger Games all come to mind).  I do all right for myself, but given the media I take in on a regular basis, I can’t help but wonder if in spite of all my talk I’m kind of an idiot.

Well, let me revise that statement a bit.  I’m really not as smart as people think I am.  I’m about as far as you could get from “genius”, and while these posts of mine let me show off some real intuition…well, to put it in RPG terms, it’s like my Intuition is maxed out, but everything else is still at its level one value.  (Barring my Facetiousness, of course.  And Verbosity.)


I guess intelligence just comes down to A) making yourself look like you’re ahead of the curve, and B) doing so consistently.  If you can do that, then it doesn’t matter how inherently dumb you, or the circumstances around you, or the things you like, can get. 

Which brings us to this movie.

Guys?  I’m going to be honest with you.  History has repeated itself, and done so almost a year -- on the dot -- as The Dark Knight Rises.  (It can’t possibly be a coincidence, but that might be something I’ll have to explore later on.)  The key difference is that, whereas I spent more than a week struggling with my feelings on THAT movie, when it comes to THIS movie I know exactly how I feel.  So I’ll go ahead and stay what I told my brother and my buddy on the way out of the theater:

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more disappointing movie.”


The two of them immediately called me out on it, and I tried to explain my rationale over the next several minutes.  I think I got the gist of my problems out in the open -- something that I don’t usually don’t do so spontaneously -- but I left a LOT of explaining in my head where it belonged.  This movie…this movie is something that I HAVE to explore in detail on this blog.  There are things I didn’t say that I should have.  There are thoughts that need sorting out.  And…honestly?  I’m starting to think that “disappointing” isn’t the word I should have chosen.

I’m not going to say that Man of Steel is a completely terrible movie.  There are some good things about it, and it’s more than possible for others to like it (my bro and buddy were genuinely shocked that I didn’t like it…and they made that very clear very loudly).  But it is immensely flawed.  Immensely.  And I just can’t bring myself to give it a pass.  A mistake is a mistake, and criticism is criticism.  To gloss over them would be a betrayal to me, and a disservice to anyone who follows this blog.  It’s a matter of standards.  Standards and pride.


Bear in mind, of course, that reviews -- or a facsimile of them, as they appear on this blog -- are only a suggestion of quality, not a confirmation of it.  So no matter what I say in the coming days, don’t expect them to be the absolute, unflinching truth.  These are problems that I had with the movie, not things guaranteed to drag down the overall product for any given viewer.  What’s important is that we can use Man of Steel to launch into discussions about plenty of topics -- and more importantly, use it as a teaching tool.  It can offer us lessons that we can all take to heart, and keep in mind in our own creative pursuits.  Already I’m seeing ways that I can improve my abilities just by not doing what they did.

So that’s about where I stand.  It’s going to be a little bit before the posts get flowing, but they’re on the way.  In the meantime, hang tight.  Go see the movie if you’re not afraid of the consequences.  Read some reviews (I’d recommend MovieBob’s take above a lot of others).  Do whatever you think you need to do, or just want to do.  But know this: the next time Man of Steel appears on this blog, it’s not going to be pretty.

This movie.  Man, this movie.        




4 comments:

  1. Owch.

    Not that I blame you or anything. I've got nothing against super hero films or Superman in general. They're not pomegranate tea, but I'll occasionally put aside my favorite drink to try something out of my comfort zone. In a way, I expected to let the world enjoy this film and be on my merry way. But that's only because I saw Christopher Nolan's name.


    He may not be the director, but I really don't like Nolan's style. The lukewarm to impatient taste on my tongue from 'The Dark Knight' still hasn't vanished. I like dark in a psychological or mystery approach, not a gritty, melodramatic "REAL LIFE!" way. He's too heavy too, especially when it's hard enough to make serious a fantastical, imaginative - and sometimes cartoonish - concept such as super heroes.



    So in a twisted way, I'm looking forward to you critiquing the heck out of this... in your way.


    If it's any comfort... In my AP History class back in high school, everyone - exempting the facepalms from moi - spent a few days talking about 'The Jersey Shore'. Anyone can be "smart", but like "dumb" things. I sometimes overanalyze stuff that others would claim is "just for fun." The things to be careful of are the works that receive a TON of intellectual scrutiny and praise. I tend to question how thing A gets put up so high on a pedestal than thing B that says something similar but is seen as "dumb."


    So I dunno. I guess it all depends.


    I still say go for it. If there's something you have an opinion on - no matter how "smart" or "dumb" - just be honest and say it. At least one person would appreciate it.

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  2. "I tend to question how thing A gets put up so high on a pedestal than thing B that says something similar but is seen as 'dumb.'"

    Loyalty, perhaps? Fandoms -- as I understand it -- can get pretty insular at times, and can take shots at other franchises while ignoring the faults of their own prized pigs...even if the problems are shared AND legitimate. Though on the subject of Jersey Shore, maybe there's just something intriguing -- in an almost Shakespearean way -- about what goes on in any given episode. Though you could probably find intellectual merit in any work if you looked at it hard enough and added some "unique" interpretation. Honestly, I think Hell's Kitchen is one of the greatest reality TV shows around, and offers surprising amounts of depth that you wouldn't expect from a FOX regular. But that's a topic for another day...and I still need to decide if I like the show because of A) the show itself, B) my love of cooking competitions, or C) an increasingly-worrisome and blooming man-crush on Chef Gordon Ramsay.


    But back on topic. I really don't know what to make of Nolan -- not anymore, at least. I can't say I LOVE his style, but I can at least understand the mindset behind it, and appreciate it when he and others use it well. But that's the key: use it well. I've gone on record saying that I (partially) blame him for this onslaught of grim and gritty media we've gotten recently, and while it's potentially more accurate to say that he's pining more for realism, there's no denying that he and his Batman movies have brought about plenty of issues. I'll tell you what, though: from what I can gather, Nolan isn't 100% responsible for making Man of Steel what it is...not directly, at least. But the movie feels like it's pining for that same affect while missing the point -- and the mark -- by a mile-wide margin.


    I'll explain why at a later date (it's pretty much one of the first points in the upcoming post), but for now let's just say that the movie's style is a big problem. But at a glance, I'm starting to wonder if it's the biggest problem. Because make no mistake, there are a LOT of problems...


    And with that ominous warning, I bid you farewell, my dear. Thanks for dropping by; I'll be sure to pull something together soon enough.

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  3. Dude. it's a grim and gritty take on Superman. It's not GOING to be good. jesus Christ, it's like people fucking forgot Christopher Reeves' movies and how much fun they were because they were straightforward superhero adventures.

    SUPERMAN IS NOT A CHARACTER MEANT FOR INVOLVING PLOTS OR PESSIMISM PORN. e is just a dude who knows about human misery and tries to help without harming mankind. yes, that makes him exceedingly hard to write stories about BUT HE IS NOT ALL THAT HARD, FOR FUCK'S SAKE.

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  4. ...Well, I was thinking about asking you on what it meant for Superman to be Superman, but I'd say you beat me to the punch.

    Honestly, though? Gritty/dark/realistic or not, I was ready to like Man of Steel. I had my issues and fears, sure, but I was ready to be proven wrong. I wanted the movie to be good. I really did. But it wasn't. I was ready to call it a disappointment and leave it at that, but the more I think about it, the more I realize something: this movie seriously pisses me off.

    You know what the sad thing is? This is DmC. This is EXACTLY what happened with DmC. Trying to cater to tastes that don't necessarily exist? Check. Hammering you in the face with overblown themes and social commentary? check. Plot holes you could fly a 747 through? Check. Half-assed characters of every persuasion? check. A love interest that puts on airs of toughness and reliability, but ends up being worse than a damsel in distress when she inevitably stumbles? Check. Multi-million dollar visuals that don't mean a damn thing when the people we're supposed to be rooting for are rough sketches at best? Check-a-roonie.

    Gritty or not, it could have been a good movie. It could have been a great movie. But it just gets so much wrong. SO much. It's just so frustrating that this movie came out the way it did...and they're already aiming for a sequel.



    This movie, man. This movie.

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