Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Nietzsche's Ubermensch--Man of Steel (movie)

Photo: Movie's poster from its Wikipedia page

Do not be swayed by the somewhat negative press surrounding The Man of Steel.  Go see it, and for the following reasons:

--Because it's meaningful and visually appealing at the same time.  You can't say that about too many films.

--Because the special effects and direction will wow you, even if you're not into special effects, and even if you think the fight and destruction scenes go on for a bit too long.  Which they do.  You'll still be wowed by them, though.

--Because you remember the Richard Donner / Christopher Reeve Superman movies, and you remember them with fondness (especially the first two).

--Because you admit that it was always rather dumb that nobody put together that Clark Kent and Superman were one and the same.  That won't be a problem in this re-booted franchise, and by the end, you'll see why.

--Because you want to see Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner act very well as fatherly / sacrificial figures.  (But that means that you've gotten older, of course.)  Incidentally, if Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner are you fathers, you'd better be able to kick some ass.

--Because Michael Shannon's General Zod is a very good performance, and an antagonist who really is a presence, and who really does need to be dealt with.  And he's an adversary with a purpose, with an actual cause that, in of itself, is at least very understandable.  Where Terrence Stamp's Zod was a campy excursion in bad guy attitude, Shannon's is a very dangerous dude with flaws and strengths.

--Because you want to see a serious superhero flick that also takes itself very seriously.  But not like the more recent Superman film, which was not good, but which also took itself very seriously.

--Because you appreciate the realism of such films that take themselves this seriously, although you'll tire perhaps of counting the blatant ad placements, such as Sears, IHOP, and many, many others.

--Because you like Hans Zimmer soundtracks that are good to listen to, and yet also fill you with move-move-move, and with a sense of serious foreboding.  If you loved the soundtrack to The Dark Knight, as I did, you'll like this one.  Though I think Zimmer should team up with James Newton Howard again.

--Because of the film's message, which is that there's greatness in each of us, equally.  We all have something to offer this world, and everyone in it.  We're all Superman with something. 

--Because the other message is of free will, not just of pre-determinism.  Are you pre-disposed to a certain life-long behavior, or do you have free will and choice?  Zod, as he states frequently, was literally born and bred to be a fighter, to protect his species.  When there's no longer any species to protect, he's nothing.  Superman is a collection of many millions of DNA life-forces, whereas Zod had but the one.  We all also have many possibilities and purposes, and we have to remember that, especially when we get in the habit of thinking of ourselves as one-dimensional, and stuck in whatever it is we've been doing lately.  You have to take a leap of faith, a priest tells Superman, before you can actually trust in someone, or something.  That's the Nietzschean leap of faith, too--the belief that we all innately and existentially have a near-perfection in us, if not in totality, at least in something.

--Because one of Nietzsche's favorite words, ubermensch, means, literally, superman.

If you can look beyond the excessively long destruction scenes, or be wowed by them like I was, even if you do think they're a tad long, then go see this film.

And heed its message, even if it is sometimes buried under special effects and a loud soundtrack.

What is your superhero ability?   

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