Thursday, June 20, 2013

Man of Steel

Superman, in his rare orange uniform, landing. The fact that he is landing, says Molly, is why his cape is up like that. I love explaining around artistic limitations.

Man of Steel is the shittiest thing that I have seen in a long time. This is coming from someone who is writing this with a daughter who is currently watching "Third and Bird" in the background, so I've been forced to see some real shitty shit.

I have to point out, that I am not a Superman fan. I've read a handful of comics and they never did anything for me. However, I have a respect for what Superman represents, it's just not for me. That being said, a fun, campy Superman movie could be fun as hell to watch. But this was not what I was given.

Man of Steel starts with your typical Superman origin story, where Krypton is being destroyed, so in a last hope to save their son and the race of Krypton, Jor-El sends his only son in a space ship that was inexplicably built to infant-scale out to be saved where he lands on Earth in Kansas, where he is raised by Ma and Pa and taught right and wrong and given a hell of a lot of apple pie.

Oh, wait. My bad. That is every OTHER Superman origin story. In this one, Krypton is being destroyed by overuse of fossil fuels, so they tapped into their planet's core and drained it dry, causing what was referred to as an impending "implosion", despite the very outward expelling of every piece of the EXploding planet. Anyhow, as Jor-El explains to Kryton's council that the world is doomed, General Zod shows up and murders the leader and proclaims himself ruler and when Jor-El won't help him, he orders his arrest. So, Jor-El runs away and sees a fierce laser fight between ships as Zod's forces fight for control, so Jor-El calls for his trusty flying dinosaur to take him to the chamber that holds a bunch of eugenics baby pods and a skull that contains the genome of all of Krypton's people. He continues to fight Zod's forces through explosions to bring the magic skull to his son and wife. The skull magically infuses with his son, transmitting all of the genes of everyone from Kryton into his baby's cells--this is done for no real well-explained reason, by the way. Anyhow, Jor-El is about to send his baby out when Zod shows up. Jor-El explains how he is sending his son away and that he was Krypton's first naturally born son in ages, as everyone else is genetically manufactured. This, somehow, means that he will be a savior to everyone and Zod appears shocked to find out that he was naturally born. But for this prophecy of his being special, he's really just the inverse Jesus. Here on Earth, the non-virgin birth is actually pretty easy to obtain. Anyhow, Zod pleads with Jor-El's wife not to launch the ship and she hesitates, but then launches. So, Zod kills Jor-El and vows to get the ship back to get the genetic material that he needs. His first attempt to get the genetic material skull back is by firing massive lasers at the little ship carry baby Superman. He misses, which is good, because it was a shitty plan anyhow. Zod's rebellion is halted and he is sentenced to go to the Phantom Zone. Then Krypton is destroyed and the foretold implosion is actually a quite large explosion. We then cut to Clark Kent on Earth, not as a baby being found and raised by the Kents, but rather as a scraggly bearded oil rig worker. The oil rig explodes and he saves people. We find out through flashbacks throughout the movie that Clark was found and raised by the Kents, but Pa Kent didn't so much teach him right and wrong, but rather instilled him in a foreboding sense of moral ambiguity and tells him that maybe he should have let a bus full of kids--his friends--die so that there would be less suspicion about Clark being "strange".

So, yeah. That's how it started. And that was the "good" part.

Anyhow, Zod arrives before Superman has outed himself and calls for him to be turned over to him. From there, the movie turns into a shitty shakey-cam action slugfest where literally MILLIONS of people are killed with no regard. As Zod directly and through collateral damage kills millions of people, Superman saves exactly five people. He saves Lois Lane (though to his credit, twice) and a family of four too dumb to move out of the way of Zod's laser eye beams. The rest of the time he was either helping to cause collateral damage or fucking around with some giant machine in the Indian Ocean as Metropolis was literally flattened.

Seriously, Zod was going to terraform the planet and, in the process, kill everyone on it. He had a machine in the Indian Ocean (away from people) and his giant laser ship right over Metropolis. Both needed to be stopped to save the planet. So, what does Superman do? He tells the army guys, "You guys attack Zod. I'll go destroy the machine in the Indian Ocean." I'm not making that up. But you know what? The army guys were really shitty at stopping an army full of super powered Zod's men and died by the dozens. Superman, meanwhile, punched a machine in the Indian Ocean. Buildings collapsed onto one another and people were violently thrown up into the air and smashed into the ground from a gravity generator in Metropolis, dying horribly with no one there to catch them. Meanwhile, Superman punched a machine in the Indian Ocean. Skyscapers full of people were crashed into by destroyed fighter jets and then toppled onto other buildings while people screamed and were literally crushed on screen. Meanwhile, Superman punched the machine in the Indian Ocean. The army guys eventually stopped Zod's forces by sacrificing themselves by divebombing their plane with some deus ex machinae device into Zod's ship. Lois Lane, who was inexplicably on that plane, fell out the back and Superman did arrive just in time to save her. But, yeah, humanity stopped Zod's army. Not Superman. He punched a big machine in the Indian Ocean. There was a final showdown between Zod (sans army) and Superman, but it didn't matter. Metropolis was leveled and Superman didn't save anyone.

He just was not heroic at all. Superman is about camp and cheese. The way the movie should have been was that he started out saving people from minor accidents and stopping low level thugs. People got to know him and thought he was a hero and knew what he stood for. THEN the big bad guy showed up. Instead, no one knew who the fuck he was. When Zod asked to turn him over, no one gave a shit about him and said "sure thing". In fact, I would imagine that everyone in the world would be resentful of the fact that his presence lured Zod here.

And, in the end of the movie, he killed Zod. Snapped his neck to stop him from killing a family of four to add to the millions of others he already killed. This could have been a moment where Superman had to realize that he was forced to kill for the greater good, but again, there was no establishing of this.

This movie was utter shit.

I would also like to point out that my favorite line from the movie was from Zod's sub-commander who taunted Superman's weakness of morality. She said that she had evolved to not have morality and was therefore more powerful and taunted him with, "If science taught us anything, it is that evolution will always win." This is a fair point, but a poor taunt. I mean, Superman was the only naturally born person from their planet. Everyone else was a result of eugenics and gene engineering. Kind of lose out on the evolution argument there.

But anyhow, instead of just shitting on it, I figured I would include a list of two things that could have made this movie better:

*Superman saving someone. Anyone.
*The previews not including a trailer for "The Hobbit 2: The Hobbiting" and me finding out that they've fucking included Legolas in it. Seriously? Legolas? Fuck that movie. And I know I'll see that piece of shit as well.

Molly:  (As usual, Molly is sitting next to me as I type this. Because of her age, her portion of the review will be in Q&A form. I will transcribe what we say and format it later.)

Chuckie: So, what did you think about Man of Steel?
Molly: Uh. What's Man of Steel?
Chuckie: The movie we just saw.
Molly: You mean Iron Man?
Chuckie: No, we didn't see Iron Man. We saw Man of Steel. Superman was in it.
Molly: Okay.

Chuckie: What did you think of it?
Molly: Good, except it had some bad parts.

Chuckie: What were the bad parts?
Molly: Suffocating and dying. Oh, and a planet exploding.
Chuckie: Who suffocated?
Molly: They keep doing this to people. (she moves her hand over her throat, simulating how people were constantly lifted up in the movie)

Chuckie: That's right. Who died?
Molly: Bad guy. And pretty much everyone.

Chuckie: What were the good parts?
Molly: Everything else. And the ending was in 3-D.
Chuckie: Well, the whole thing was in 3-D, right?
Molly: Yeah. Except the ending was in 3-D and most endings aren't.

Chuckie: What was the movie about?
Molly: Killing people and saving people.
Chuckie: Seriously though, who did Superman even save in this movie?
Molly: The girl who got shot right here. (she points to her chest)
Chuckie: Lois Lane?
Molly: Yes.

Chuckie: So, one out of 10 million saved isn't too bad, huh?
Molly: I guess so.

Chuckie: Anyhow, what happened in the movie?
Molly: Hm. People were fighting and people were in the houses and some people got caught and some people saved them--
Chuckie: Hold on. I would like to point out that regular people saved the trapped people, not actually Superman.
Molly: I know.

Chuckie: So, can you tell me about any of the characters.
Molly: One's evil.
Chuckie: Who?
Molly: I don't know his name.
Chuckie: Why was he evil?
Molly: I have no idea.
Chuckie: What was his plan?
Molly: To take over the world, I guess? Help me out here, give me some hints.

Chuckie: No, I'm just using this to illustrate how shitty the plot was. A Superman plot should not be complex or difficult to identify the characters.
Molly: What does "shitty" and "complex" mean?
Chuckie: "Shitty" means really bad. "Complex" means many parts and hard to understand.
Molly: What does "plot" mean?
Chuckie: It's the story.
Molly: Okay.

Chuckie: Alright, so describe Superman to me.
Molly: Who?
Chuckie: Yes. That's my point. Okay, describe the guy with the cape to me.
Molly: Oh. (long pause as she thinks)
Chuckie: Can you think of anything about him?
Molly: Yes.
Chuckie: What?
Molly: (long pause) He was a man.
Chuckie: That's it?
Molly: When he was a baby he got sent to earth from Cruton. Then he lived on Earth, but then when he went back to Cruton he started bleeding because he was used to Earth.

Chuckie: You have no idea how happy I am that you called it Cruton. So, let's talk about Lois Lane. What can you tell me about her?
Molly: Uh. Who?
Chuckie: The girl.
Molly: Who?
Chuckie: The one that Superman kissed.
Molly: Who?
Chuckie: The reporter girl.
Molly: I have no idea who you are talking about.

Chuckie: That's my point. Next up, tell me about General Zod.
Molly: Who's General Zod?
Chuckie: He was the bad guy.
Molly: You mean the one that was in charge of all those people?
Chuckie: Yup. Tell me about him.
Molly: Zod tried to destroy the people then he died and he tried to kill the other one, but he was good.

Chuckie: And what about Jor-El?
Molly: Who?
Chuckie: Superman's dad.
Molly: He was sad when he sended him to Earth, but not because he looked sad, but because you said he was sad when I asked you. Then the bad guy killed him. Oh, then on Earth he was a monogram.
Chuckie: A monogram?
Molly: Yeah. He was all scratchy on a screen.
Chuckie: A hologram.
Molly: Yeah, that's what I said.

Chuckie: When Metropolis was being destroyed by General Zod and all the buildings were being destroyed and collapsed, what was Superman doing?
Molly: He was fighting a machine.
Chuckie: Yup. In the Indian Ocean. He was punching a machine in the Indian Ocean while everyone in Metropolis was dying.
Molly: Yup.

Chuckie: That wasn't very heroic, was it?
Molly: Daddy. The machine was hitting a girl and she almost died.
Chuckie: Yes, that is true. The machine needed to be stopped. However, it could have been stopped on the other end and that's my point. Metropolis was left to be ruined while Superman engaged the machine at the end with no one else around to, oh I don't know, save from the collateral damage. Superman should be saving people and being cheesy. But he left Metropolis to be ruined while he dealt with the problem from the most abstract and, arguably, least useful position. Don't you see a problem with this?
Molly: At least the world was saved.

Chuckie: I get that. Hooray for the world not being destroyed. But that is an X-Men level resolution. But Superman is an icon. He should be iconic. He should be saving people on the macro level, granted, but he should be inspiring people with his actions on the micro level. By just focusing on the end result, we are failing to establish him as an icon.
Molly: I don't know what any of that means.

Chuckie: Let me put it this way. The world is about to be destroyed by a machine in New York and one in the ocean. Stopping either one should end it, but ultimately both need to be taken out. Should I take out the one in the ocean first and let New York be destroyed by the time I get around to resolving that end, or should I focus on New York first to save all of the people, thus establishing myself as a protector and icon and perhaps lure the bad guys away from New York and maybe draw them to the ocean to fight both together out of harm's way?
Molly: Let me put it this way. Either way the world could have been destroyed. But he saved the girl and the world didn't die.

Chuckie: I don't know, Pixie. I just expect better results from Superman.
Molly: Tell that to Thor. He only smashes stuff. How is he even a superhero?
Chuckie: We agree on this, at least. Thor is a piece of shit.
Molly: He only smashes stuff. And I'm telling Mommy that you said that about Thor.

Chuckie: She knows my feelings on Thor. Anyhow, do you want to rate this piece of crap?
Molly: What?
Chuckie: Do you want to rate the movie?
Molly: What movie?
Chuckie: The one we just saw. Man of Steel.
Molly: Iron Man?

Chuckie: No. We didn't see Iron Man. If we saw Iron Man, I would be much happier. We saw shitty Man of Steel. Superman. So let's rate this garbage.
Molly: Are you sure you want to say that about the movie? If you put it on the internet people will see it who liked it and they'll feel bad for themselves.
Chuckie: Good. They should feel bad for liking this.
Molly: Maybe you'll like it when you get older and you'll say, "Why did I write this?!? This is -so- good!"

Chuckie: I doubt I'll say that. Anyhow, how many stars do you want to give it?
Molly: For you, I'll pick zero because you don't really like it. But for me, I'll give it a nine.
Chuckie: Nine stars. Out of how many?
Molly: Out of twelve. Now moons.

Chuckie: How many moons do you give it?
Molly: Twenty. I like moons.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Five.
Chuckie: This movie doesn't deserve twenty moons.
Molly: I just like moons. And can I give it peanuts, Daddy?

Chuckie: Sure. Whatever. How many?
Molly: Two.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of a plant. Daddy, did you know that peanuts are a plant?
Chuckie: Yes, I did know that.
Molly: You are born from your mother, Daddy. You are.

Chuckie: What? What does that have to do with anything?
Molly: Let's see. Because you said "shit" and she didn't have a bag to clean up the dog's poop and said that there weren't cops around so she had to leave it go.

Chuckie: That is a tenuous connection at best. Anyhow, who would you recommend this movie to.
Molly: Somebody who would like it. Actually, you!
Chuckie: Why me?
Molly: Because you could watch it over and over again and you would whine that it's so bad and that would be funny.

Chuckie: Anything else that you wanted to say about the movie?
Molly: Let's just say that you might have liked the movie if there were those little guys who yelled "Utini!" in it.
Chuckie: Jawas?
Molly: Yes, Jawas.
Chuckie: Everything is better with Jawas, Sweetie. Everything.
Molly: I agree with you on that.

So, that's our review. It was a big honking pile of shit.

I'd actually give the movie one hundred stars. But they'd be red stars. Exactly the kind of star that would drain Superman's power and cause him to die an agonizing death! Ha. That was a nerd joke there. Seriously though, no stars. It was rancid.

Molly gave it nine out of twelve stars, twenty out of five moons and two peanuts out of a plant. She was also much more fine with low level heroics as long as the bar is set at "planet not being destroyed". However, we are both in agreement that Jawas would have improved the plot.