It isn’t just a question of seriousness either — there are all sorts of things about Man of Steel that you’ll just get if you’re a regular comics reader, and probably won’t like if you’re not. For instance, the movie’s action scenes blew me away. For the first time it felt like the epic actions scenes you regularly see in comics had been properly translated to the big screen. The scale was appropriately massive, there were no cheesy shots of Henry Cavill hanging from wires or bad rubbery CGI — this was the kind of stuff I’d been dreaming about seeing on a movie screen since I was a kid.
And yes, there were a lot of shots of Superman being punched through skyscrapers. That’s just what happens in Superman fight scenes (and in most superhero fight scenes in general). I can see how somebody not familiar with comics may find all the destruction weird or even a bit disturbing, but to me I was finally getting to watch Superman get punched through a skyscraper after seeing it happen in comics hundreds of times.
I also liked everything about Amy Adams as Lois Lane, because c’mon.
If you’ve been reading comics for a while, you long ago hardwired your brain to not think about things like civilian causalities. I mean, of course any major superhero punch-up would kill thousands of innocent people — it’s just something you have to take out of the equation to enjoy the medium. Man of Steel was playing by the old “uhhh, all those buildings were empty” comic book rule in its final action scenes. I think most comic readers understood that (Mark Waid exempted apparently). I can see why non-comic readers wouldn’t have. Oh, and by the way, Superman has killed tons of guys, so I had no problem with that other thing about the end of the movie people are complaining about.
We’ve arrived at an interesting crossroads — superhero movies are massively successful, but until now moviegoers have largely been receiving a watered down product. With Man of Steel we’re, at long last, getting the undiluted superhero experience. For now audiences still seem to prefer the easy-to-digest weak sauce that is Iron Man 3, but thankfully first reactions aren’t always the ones that last.
I want more like this!
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