Man of Steel: My Kryptonite Confessions

On Friday June 14, 2013 the newest Superman movie opens: Man of Steel. At the risk of losing my nerd street cred I will not be viewing Man of Steel during its theatrical run. Here are my whys and my confessions.

Confession #1: I’m writing this while sipping creamy early grey tea from a Superman mug. Currently my Batman and Spider-Man mugs are enjoying warm dishwater jets.

Our current era of Hollywood is dominated by remakes, reboots, reimaginings all basically rehashing established ideas, plots and characters to ensure a healthy return on investment. Economically it makes fiscal sense to minimize the risks of a 100 million dollar project. However as a movie fan and a comic book fan (superhero mugs exhibit A and utterly attractive underoos exhibit TMI) none of those established economic paradigms offer any nutritional value. Man of Steel is junk food not Vitamin C.

The elements of Superman’s origin are common knowledge like Luke Skywalker’s Father. Just before Krypton goes ka-boom, World’s Greatest Dad #1 puts baby into a rocket, fires said rocket towards Earth, Smallville, enter World’s Greatest Dad #2, some quality farm time—avoid stepping in manure—while discovering the occasional superpower, then onto the Big City to begin a super life defending super values like Truth Justice and the American Way. Man of Steel is less a fresh take on Superman and more like a visual summary of Smallville’s 10 seasons.

Confession #2: I did not see Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man. Spider-Man’s origin through comics, cartoons, 3 previous movies and even t-shirts was fairly established. Indeed friends who did see Spider-Man 4 basically sat around impatiently waiting for Uncle Ben to die. Spoiler?

Confession #3: It’s a Coke and Pepsi, McDonald’s vs Burger King, Leno vs Letterman type of world. When it comes to DC Comics Superman may be celebrating 75 years but it’s been a boring 75 years. I’m Team Batman…dude has a cool crime fighting car, piles of money, no parental supervision and a butler with as much sass and wisdom as Maya Angelou. How could I not envy that?

Conversely one of the few enduring Superman comics considered essential reading is when Superman…dies. And he doesn’t do that right, either. Perhaps DC’s editors should have taken cues from Batman’s butler and equipped a Superman character with sass and wisdom, say editor Perry White. 75 years later Superman characteristically remains boring with little to no potential for change.

Superman, like Wonder Woman endures because they’re empowering images. An image not reflective of their genuine character. Man of Steel director Zack Synder’s greatest challenge isn’t presenting a fresh take on Superman or attempting to establish a fresh movie arc. His greatest challenge is marketing a boring character in a rehashed story with no surprises.

Confession #4: It’s not fair or even right to judge a movie without seeing it. Unless…you’ve already know it. There are no spoilers. Krypton’s fate…once again is foretold. Not seeing a movie and judging it may not be fair to its Creators but neither is peddling a remake/reboot/eimaginings to audiences. I could be wrong about Man of Steel. I’ll never know…clearly I’ve made up my mind. In doing so I protect my time and hope that by failing to contribute to this box office I’ve clearly signaled what I don’t want when it comes to blockbuster comic book movies.

Nerd street cred has no value if I don’t have influence.


Also published on Medium.

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