MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Warner Brothers Pictures
Directed by Zack Snyder. Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams.
Superman is a comic book hero whose origin story is downright Biblical or, at least evocative of the story of Moses. As an infant, the baby Kal-El is placed into a rocket ship just before his home planet of Krypton is destined to explode apart. Arriving on Planet Earth, he is discovered and raised by his adoptive parents Ma and Pa Kent (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner). As the child grows up in his home town of Smallville, he discovers that he possesses super powers (X-ray vision, super speed, super strength) that will have to be used either for good or for bad. The love that he receives from the Kent family becomes the foundation for a life spent doing good for others. (Or, as the introduction of the fifties TV series stated: “For truth, justice and the American way!”)
Man of Steel revisits this familiar story in a way that is overblown, clumsy, and often headache-inducing. The wonder and joy that were a part of the Christopher Reeves films from the 70s and 80s have been replaced by dry and perfunctory story-telling (accompanied by too many flashbacks) marking time until the big blowout of an ending.
What I found most offensive in Man of Steel was the lazy way it tried to turn Clark Kent into a Christ figure. His adult age is 33, the same age Jesus was when He died. In once scene Superman speaks to a priest with a stained glass rendering of Jesus in the background. In a later scene, Superman is floating in space with his arms stretched out as if on a cross. The film seems to forget about the self-sacrifice required for the job of Messiah; in fact, by film’s end, Man of Steel presents a Superman who is more brutal and violent than any previous screen depiction.
The last 45 minutes of this film will go down in my memory as one of the most irritating soundtracks that I’ve ever encountered. From booming sound effects to the monotonous droning Hans Zimmer musical score, there were times I wanted to grab a mirror just to prove to myself that my ears weren’t bleeding.
It’s probably too late to warn you from taking young children to this movie. But, since Man of Steel is 2 hours and 24 minutes in length, it might be worth considering bringing a child along, if only as a self-contained boredom detector and your best excuse for an early exit.
Two halos: An American icon is downgraded into just another Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robot.
Two pitchforks : For large-scale destruction (including an entire planet) and violent fighting.
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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