Last week I finally got to see Man of Steel. Despite the immense amount of controversy around this film, I think I went in pretty open minded.
Well, to be fair I had my own original issues around seeing it, and those came with me.
When the film was originally announced I was interested and excited, but a little reserved. At the time I think it was only Christopher Nolan who was attached. I have really enjoyed his films, that aren’t Batman films, so I found it interesting, but not something to either win me over or scare me away.
I enjoyed the two Batman films I saw, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises. I’ve never made it through The Dark Knight, it never grabs me enough to keep me watching. And I didn’t see Batman Begins in the theatre, I think I saw it at least a year after it had been released.
Let’s also be clear, Superman is currently one of my two favourite superheroes in a moving visual medium. He’s not my favourite in comic books (I’m not even sure I have a favourite), but when it comes to movies and tv I love watching a Superman story.
Despite 10 years of inconsistent storytelling I watched Smallville religiously. I grew up with Christopher Reeve’s Clark Kent and thoroughly enjoyed Superman Returns.
I was conflicted about the upcoming Superman film, Man of Steel, and became more conflicted with every announcement. Zack Snyder, love his films, but for Superman, hmm, weird. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as the Kents, amazing actors, but as Clark’s parents, hmm, weird. Amy Adams as Lois Lane, what the hell?
And then the trailer came out. I waited to see it on the big screen since I knew I’d see it there. I watched it. I felt nothing.
I didn’t understand how to feel about this film. I should have been excited, very excited, but mostly I felt not excited, which lead me to confusion.
So all of that came with me when I finally watched it on Friday night and it didn’t take me long to realize why I’d never gotten excited about the film. Man of Steel is not about MY Superman. It’s just not a story about a character I know and love. It’s a story about a doomed race with one idealist who sent his son to another planet in the hopes that he could be the redemption of his race. It’s a story about a boy who was raised by a family who worried more about future of their race than about moral good. It’s a story about a being with super human powers who was taught to hide them for the good of himself and all mankind, at any cost.
This is not the story of an innocent person raised to be good beyond all expectations who was given the gift of super powers by a far away parent. This is not a story about MY Superman, or even MY Clark Kent.
And for that reason, I have no problem with anything that happened in the film. None of it has any bearing on stories told about MY character. This is a what if story.
And for that reason, I am sorry to hear that the first major live action appearance of Wonder Woman (a favourite character in comics) in decades will be in a sequel to this film.
I do feel cheated that I will not get MY Wonder Woman in Man of Steel 2. And I worry that since it will be the first time many people will see her character on screen that they will think that is her, and not a what if story with her in it.
But I console myself with my recently found favourite illustrator of Wonder Woman, Darwyn Cooke!