By Colin Caccamise
Believe it or not, I've always been a fan of the Big Blue Boy Scout. Yes, even after his sleep and resurrection*, even after Richard Pryor**, and YES, even after "Electric Blue" Superman***. I still find the idea of a hero who is straightedge and infallible (in most respects) more wholly appealing the gritty, "dark and tortured" heroes that the comics industry has vomited out since the mid-eighties. Superman might have the most basic set of super-powers imaginable, but it's his actions as a paragon of right that sets him above all others.
Having said that I will admit my trepidation when I heard Superman was being rebooted (again). Some of that fear was assuaged when I heard that Christopher Nolan of "The Dark Knight" fame was coming on (albeit as a producer). But, that worry came back faster than a speeding bullet when I heard who was directing, Zack Snyder. We've had a tenuous relationship at best, I loved 300, despised the omissions in Watchmen and I straight up didn’t get Sucker Punch.
Closer and closer to this premiere came along and as more information was released, I started to hope (dangerous in this day and age.) When the extended trailers were released, I said to myself "I will go to the midnight release." This is something I haven't done in awhile as I work an odd shift in my day job, which hinders certain social get-togethers. But as this was an event to me, I felt it necessary to enjoy the experiences of my youth.
And now: a slight tangent...(don't worry, this will all tie into my thesis)
Midnight showings in the mid 90's to early-2000's were an event, an epic party to celebrate, not only the film's release, but the material and the culture surrounding it in general. But ever since Michael Bay came on the scene and perverted well-loved franchises to simply make more money instead of respecting both the source material and the fans he was claiming to make it for, using nothing more than tits and CGI explosions? We as nerds found ourselves surrounded less by our own kind and were found to be rubbing elbows with the beer-swilling, hazing, corn-holing types we spent our formative years attempting to escape from. We looked to films like these to escape from our boring lives, because they suck, we don't need a constant reminder for us in the theater.
Speaking of the midnight premiere, we start to watch the film and, after first five minutes, I feel like I’m slipping into the world they’re creating to explain Kal-El's exodus from Krypton to his wandering days. Yet, some jackass in the back of the theater wouldn’t stop yelling "Woo!" every time Clark does something awesome (which is a lot). I don't know if it was a need to satisfy his need for some attention or drunken douchery, but seriously...motherfuckers like these need to be castrated or receive some other form of corporal punishment. It's this kind of behavior that causes people to not want to go to the theater anymore, we don't allow this kind of shit in a bar...why a movie theater?
After the movie, I was perplexed by the mixed reviews that the film was getting from people who I saw it with. Most of the complaints I heard boiled down to "TOO much destruction" and not enough character development. My responses to those statements were of disbelief. When it really boils down to it, there is just as much destruction in "The Avengers" as in this film, however the counter to this argument is that Avengers had the Whedon humor to counter-balance the destruction.
Let's gloss over the fact that Loki gauges a man's eye out for the Unobtanium or whatever mcguffin that Will Turner's dad needed for Loki's portal. Let's skip the fact that half of New York was curb-stomped by an alien invasion fleet, yet instead of sending in tactical jet fighters in to draw off their aerial attacks? FUCK THAT, NUKE EM. The one thing that Man of Steel did better is that it fucking took death more seriously than the Avengers did.
No jokes during battle, no witty comebacks, no close-ups on Henry Cavill's ass in spandex. It’s a reminder to you that life can end easily and quickly and this realization (which is not always a welcome one) only serve to intensifies the battle between Superman and Zod. I got a headache soon after this semantics argument. But that wasn’t the only complaint I heard.
“It’s a Superman reboot, why are they rebooting Superman, we don’t need this!” Actually, after “Superman Returns”, yeah, we kind of did. Besides, Batman did the same goddamn thing and you all ate that shit up like gangbusters. This movie is basically setting up the “Justice League” film as the previous crop of Marvel films were setting up the Avengers movie. But why would you blame them? This is the natural order of things, Marvel presented the Avengers, now DC responds in stride, and hopefully better then their previous attempt.
In closing, if I had to sum up my feelings on this film? This movie rocks; the sequel will be even better (a la Dark Knight). Seriously, the sequel has the goddamn Batman in it (World’s Finest WOO!) I actually see DC/Warner Bros. taking the lead for who produces a better superhero film in the next few years.
Hey, at least they aren't making "Guardians of the Galaxy"...
* See Max Landis' "The Death and Return of Superman"
** Yes, Richard Pryor was in Superman 3, and no, he wasn't funny...at all.
*** Yes, Electric-Blue Superman was a thing. The less said about this, the better.