Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Elemental, super, man

     Man of Steel (MOS) opens this weekend. My excitement is entirely trailer-based. After watching the three trailers below I think the film, or at least the first half, will be the superhero equivalent of a pre-2012 Terrence Malick film. Pre-2012 Malick is my favorite director.
  I have had no interest in any of the recent superhero films. These trailers promise something new--a thoughtful, deconstructed, elemental exploration of an alien from outer space. It seems we will follow the alien through his early years, watch him adjust to Earth, try to find himself, and finally become a superhero just in time to confront bad guys.
     Here are the three MOS trailers that speak to me:

Note the dog who appears in every trailer. He is obviously an integral part of Superman's life.

The Kent family dynamics showcased here are genuine and moving. We all wrestle with ourselves as we grow into adulthood--to be better individuals, to understand our place in the universe, to make difficult choices, to do good work--whether human or alien. Watching that familiar progression is comforting and humbling and scary, and seems appropriate for us to explore with a larger than life character like Superman.

The hopes expressed by a father for his son made me cry.

   Update 6/17/13: We saw MOS at the local theater yesterday afternoon. Early in the film there is a scene where young Clark Kent is overwhelmed by his abilities while at school. He hides in a closet until his mom arrives. He says, "The world is too big, Mom." She says, "Then make it smaller." Those lines looped in my mind during the second half of the film as I watched every character get punched, kicked, and projected at high velocity. The filmmakers should have followed Mom's advice!
     I really enjoyed the first half of the film, but by the end, I felt over-saturated with the smashing of bodies and buildings, wrung out, and in need of a nap.
    I think a pared down, linear version of this story would work well, ending with: "You are not alone." I look forward to watching  fan re-edits online.

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