Great Krypton Bun Toons! YAY!

Hop, hop...and AWAY!

Hop, hop…and AWAY!

So, I saw the Man of Steel yesterday with my 13 year old son.

And I asked him, as we were walking out of the theatre, “What did you think?  Did you like it?”

And he said, “I don’t know.”

That’s kind of my reaction…(Slight spoilers ahead)

WEBSIZE MAN OF STEEL REVIEWThe cast (except for Amy Adams, who is preposterously mis-cast as Lois Lane) is uniformly great.  The direction is fantastic, the special effects magnificent.  The battle sequences are the most spectacular super-fights ever put to film.  Better, even, than the Avengers.

But it’s all in service of a movie that is geared to make you think Superman is a hateful, selfish, homicidal dick.  The last scene of the movie is Superman needlessly destroying expensive government property, just to be an asshole about it to an American general.

Why make a Superman movie that insists you be terrified and resentful of the stand-offish alien Superman?  Why make a Superman movie in which he NEVER DOES ANYTHING HEROIC?!?!

(BIG SPOILER: move the cursor over the text:  The bad guys are defeated by human beings, Superman is just there to destroy Metropolis).

The mind reels.

Other than THAT, it’s a good movie.  Like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL meets GODZILLA….only Superman is both Gort and Godzilla in that scenario.

Sigh.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Your BONUS moment involves the story of how I got the pants.

secret revealed websized

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For last week's somewhat SUPERMAN-inspired satire, click the hastily drawn image above

For last week’s somewhat SUPERMAN-inspired satire, click the hastily drawn image above

for the Bun Toon archive, which features many Superman related posts, click here

for the Bun Toon archive, which features many Superman related posts, click here

28 responses to “Great Krypton Bun Toons! YAY!

  1. The real tragedy in this is that a sequel has been greenlit and is on the fast track towards production.

    Ty, I’m sorry to say that no one seems to embrace the heroic ideal anymore (though your son gives me hope, at least). Everyone’s embraced Dan DiDio post-9/11, edgey, violent, paranoid view of the DC Universe…which is the reason I abandoned it. It was becoming an increasingly unpleasant place to read about, even more so after the New 52.

    • The thing about this is…I don’t mind the movie. It’s actually entertaining. If the characters were named “Kal-X” and “Zog”, I would have LOVED this movie, because it’s really a Viet Nam/Iraq metaphor about the dangers of hosting a proxy fight for “superpowers” in your back yard. The film is excellent film making and has a wonderful political message, but you have to sacrifice everything that’s endemic to the “Superman” brand to get there. Again…for a new generation, that might be the way to go, as it makes the character fresh, to make him a terrifying presence on Earth, rather than a comforting one. Is that a good Superman movie? It might be.

      • “…but you have to sacrifice everything that’s endemic to the ‘Superman’ brand to get there.”

        And that’s my problem. They’re writing him less like Superman and more like the Plutonian from Mark Waid’s “Irredeemable”.

      • The weird thing is, the filmmakers are on the record as saying their intent is to set Superman up as a symbol of hope. The idea seems to be that having “saved the world,” Superman has now won the confidence of the public (and the military/government). The somewhat cursory denouement seems to drive that point home (with a shift in tone that’s downright jarring).

        But it makes no sense. (At least not to me.) All the public (or the military) really knows is that a major American city just got reduced to smoking ruins, with a no-doubt staggering death toll, thanks to a grudge match between a bunch of aliens, one of whom had been living on Earth in secret for decades. Sure, Superman helped save the planet, but it wouldn’t have been threatened in the first place if trouble hadn’t come chasing him here.

        This plot could have worked as a story set later in Superman’s heroic career — something to shake people’s trust and confidence in him (and his confidence in himself, given the way the battle with Zod ended). But as a way to *build* trust and confidence at the *start* of his career? It just doesn’t work.

        I loved the first half of the movie, though. Gorgeous, thought-provoking, well-paced, well-acted (including Amy Adams, IMHO), and evocative. It’s just where it went once the villains arrived that left me with such mixed feelings.

  2. Paul the Curmudgeon

    Haven’t seen it yet, but from your description, why the surprise? Much of the energy in popular culture since the 1970’s has been aimed specifically at deconstructing and pissing on the bones of the heroic and benevolent ideal. Not content to come up with their own nihilistic fictions, the, uh, programmers recognize the need to discredit the predecessor culture as well, so they ‘revive’ its products, like Superman, and turn them on their heads. Even in comedy — compare Pleasantville with, say, The Donna Reed Show and you see the same thing happening.

    • Well, I think it’s proper for each generation to look at the institutions of the past and either adapt them, mock them in comedy, or replicate them for a new generation. The Pleasantville spoof of Donna Reed was no different than the 30s-40s satire of the Addams Family cartoons which savaged
      “old money” of the gilded age, portraying them as ghouls and monsters in decaying mansions. The instincts of both satirists is the same, though I think we’d both agree that Chas Addams hit the mark more squarely.
      I even think it’s proper for Superman to be re-defined for each generation. He’s not supposed to appeal to my generation, and perhaps these younguns are just nihilistic and cynical enough to be entertained by a terrifying Superman. The idea isn’t a bad one, it’s just not one I recognize as the Superman of my youth. Certainly one that wouldn’t appeal to Seigel and Shuster, but then again, they don’t own him, do they?

      • Paul the Curmudgeon

        No, indeed they don’t.
        I’ve never heard that the Addams Family cartoons satirized the Gilded Age barons – ingenious, but it sounds like something a grad student cooked up in the lab, or on the slab, or something.
        By the way, some of those Donna Reed shows were written with impressive sensitivity and understated eloquence — more so as the series went on. Screenwriter Barbara Hammer Avedon had a strong feminist bent (which came out more strongly later when she created the series Cagney and Lacey), and Reed herself became a peace activist. And now people just make wisecracks about Donna vacuuming the living room in her pearls and white gloves. I tell ya, there ain’t no justice….!

        • That grad student is me, Paul. I’ve got quite a few collection of Chas Addams’ work, and the satire becomes quite clear that he attacked the sacred institutions of American mid-century life. His favourite targets were bankers, scientists, boy scouts and teachers, all of whom were hiding murderous fantasies and perverse thoughts. Boy Scouts were probably his most common subject after the Addams’ Family characters. And when you examine the family, they are clearly old money, as they dress about thirty years out of date to their original appearances. They live in a decaying mansion with man servants and huge empty rooms, they’re clearly very wealthy as they spend a lot of time looking at stock tickers (old fashioned ones at that) and discussing their portfolios in the paper. The children and “family” element of the strips come much later…the early ones feature only Gomez, Morticia and Lurch (not named until the TV series!).

  3. From what you’ve portrayed, this is about as far away from the humanistic grew-up-in-Kansas “best of Us” version of Superman that I grew up with in the Stern run of Superman in the late 80s and, I’d argue too, the TAS version of Superman, which I don’t think was necessarily the Siegel/Shuster take, but at least respected it. It leans back towards the “Sent to Save Us” Krypton-heavy Jesus analogue, but doesn’t even seem to hit that mark in any sort of satisfying way.

    Since having a baby a year ago, it’s a lot harder to hit the movies, and I love Superman enough I was going to give this a go, but I think after reading this, we’ll steer clear.

    I guess thanks for taking one for the team here.

  4. OK, this movie was a bit of a re-interpretation of Superman, but I loved it – and I’m not a young guy. Here’s why.

    First, of course, the successful comic book characters are all about re-interpretation. I’m sure we’re on the same page there.

    Next, I didn’t see a hateful, selfish, homicidal dick. I saw a guy who had his hands full. Outgunned, outnumbered and barely keeping up with the main plan, which was to keep the planet from being destroyed! He did take the time to save one (non-Lois Lane) bystander. More would have been better, but come on! And don’t forget, he also volunteered to be the sacrificial goat when it looked like that might (might, mind you) work.

    Your ‘big spoiler’ complaint is a bit hard to argue without revealing it. Let’s just say that teamwork is a positive message in my book.

    (Edit: Rereading this before posting) – OK, I guess I have to concede homicidal. Again, hard to discuss without spoilers. Superheroes should try not to kill. But they often find themselves in situations where the choices aren’t great. That makes a good story.

    If I recall correctly, (spoilers) Christopher Reeves pushed the world backwards, to make time go back, so he would have a second chance to fix all the worlds problems. That’s what passed for screenwriting back then. That this Superman didn’t have those sorts of options makes him a much better character in my mind.

    Jonathon Kent’s advice to his son, well there, uh . . . I got nothing. Maybe Jonathon Kent just wasn’t that smart.

  5. I disagree with you as far as good direction. I am not a Zack Snyder hater. I loved “300” and really admired his “Watchmen” but 150 minutes of non-stop
    hand-held shaky-cam and television style close ups for a movie that should have epic grandeur? Action scenes shot and edited in such a way as to not make any sense?. Cue the piano ’cause the audience needs to know this is were they’re supposed to feel sumthing. Barf.
    But you’re right, the last 20 minutes I found revolting in oh so many ways. I wish I could fly around the earth and turn back time to get my 20 bucks back.

    • Paul the Curmudgeon

      Shakycam seems almost obligatory now. When The Hunger Games was released one reviewer advised readers “Take Gravol first”.

  6. Reblogged this on Word DAMMination and commented:
    Original and Succinct..Man f Rubber in a nutshell

  7. I so knew it. It tells about the “New” 52 Superman.

  8. Oh, also, I AM pretty interested about a movie where Superman, like, doesn`t save everyone.

    • Then you’re going to like this film. I’m not saying that cynically, to blow you off. It’s actually a really well made movie, I just has a message that Superman is a dick. If you don’t mind seeing a highly flawed, slightly terrifying Superman, this is an excellent movie. Great acting, direction, all of that.

  9. Pingback: Man of Steel? | THE JOE SHUSTER AWARDS

  10. I don’t expect a reply, but I’m going to ask anyway – are you working on a Batman project? Slightly confoozed there…

  11. Working on this issue right now: http://www.dccomics.com/comics/batman-%E2%80%9866-2013/batman-%E2%80%9866-2. . If lots of folks like it, hopefully they’ll invite me back to do some more.

  12. I am of two minds on the subject, but I generally agree with Ty in part. I really enjoyed the movie, but I was kind of annoyed that Supes didn’t get the fight out of populate areas TWICE. Part of me guessed this might be a way to transform Metropolis into the ‘City of the Future’…by decimating a good chunk of downtown and then rebuilding it in the next movie.

    I thought the Cavill portrayed a good Kal-El, which is not easy. I was not impressed with his Clark, but we didn’t get enough to judge. Reeves portrayl is a hard one to beat (and by hard I mean kind of impossible, for me). Reeve’s ability to actually make a plausible case for Kent fooling people is pretty amazing acting.

    I also agree with Sean…Supes clearly is on the defensive the entire time and combined with his lack of experience, ends up making bad choices or just not being as ‘super’ as we’d like. My 15 year-old daughter liked Man of Steel even more than the Avengers (and stated she doesn’t even LIKE Superman). So maybe’s Ty’s theory is right.

    I do think I’ve met my quota of ‘Superman punched through an office’ sequences for a good, long while. Most pepole I know felt that the final battle went on a bit long.

  13. I had many of the same issues with the film when I saw it this weekend. In the Christopher Reeves movies, Supes does everything he can to ensure the safety of bystanders. Here, not so much. Just seemed way out of character – not just for the Superman of the comics but the Superman of the first half of the movie.

    The other problem is that after fighting a small army of Supermen in a giant world-smashing spaceship, what do they do in the next film? Stopping Lex Luthor from taking over Metropolis is going to seem fairly minor by comparison. Better to have started local and expanded into world-shattering space opera. If they go big again – like a Brainiac invasion story or something – it’s going to seem like more of the same.

    On a smaller note, one wonders how they’ll work the Clark Kent angle in the next film, given how easily anyone with half a brain could follow the trail of destruction right to his not-so-secret identity.

    The moral of the story is that you need to write movie scripts, Ty. Alpha Flight is still up for grabs!

  14. Robert Klarer

    Haven’t seen the movie. And maybe someone else has said this already, and I just missed it. But here goes:

    This really sounds to me like Zack Snyder made “Marvelman the Motion Picture.” We know Snyder likes his Alan Moore comics. My guess is that he reads his yellowing copy of Miracleman #15 every night under the bedsheets with a flashlight.

    Does the film make more sense when viewed in that context?

    Kimota?

    • Robert Klarer

      Replying to my own post to say, uh, nevermind…

      I just discovered Kevin Boyd’s review of the film on the Comic Book Lounge’s website. He identified the Miracleman/Marvelman thing right away.

      I guess Alan Moore’s ironic (and intentionally funny) commentary on Steve Ditko in Watchmen and on Mick Anglo in Marvelman was taken at face value by way too many people, and some of those people have grown up to become film auteurs. They see Moore’s revisionism as the primary text, and the Ditko/Anglo (not to mention Siegel, Shuster, Weisinger, Boring, et al) material as mere historical curiosity.

      Someone needs to rescue superheroes from the Nolan/Snyder misinterpretation of those old comics from the 1980s. Does anybody still have that signal watch?

  15. It’s a sign of the times, Ty. I wish it was limited only to that superhero,
    but Superman has really become the perfect paradigm of humanity in that the way he’s represented now just show the way our society currently is.

    That being said, however, I always found Superman to be the dumbest superhero ever. And I’m an adult. You think modern kids would ever have wanted to see a guy in bright spandex with every power ever who is as one-dimensional as he could be?

  16. Kids LOVED Superman. Here was a guy who, as Clark Kent, people took for granted and made fun of, passed over, didn’t consider at all…but when he revealed his “true” self, everyone loved him because he was special and wonderful. Reinforced for kids the idea that if they had problems with other kids it’s because those kids couldn’t see their “true” selves.

    New Superman shows kids that if anyone could see their ‘true’ selves people would be terrified of them–and in a world where kids are being raised to think everything is a danger and they should be terrified of bullies, abusers and more, kids want to believe that.

  17. I loved the movie as a Superman film. Strongly disagree about Lois Lane being miscast; I thought Amy Adams was great. I appreciated the movie’s boldness in toying with expectations.

    I’ve read a lot of portrayals of Superman, from the renegade brute in Action Comics #1 to the Communist in Red Son. I think a sci-fi angle is the right way to go to reinvigorate this character. The movie is essentially told like an X-Men origin story about a distrustful alien drifter caught between worlds. This makes Superman more relatable as he searches for his identity, as one of the biggest complaint about Superman for decades has been that he’s too boring and perfect. The Silver Age boy scout was already an anachronism by the time of Superman: The Movie, a fact it went out of its way to mock.

    You make an interesting point about heroics. David Goyer stated in an interview that this is essentially “Superman Begins” and that Superman just hasn’t reached that point yet where he’s running around saving people in a montage. It should also be noted that each of the locations in the final Superman-Zod fight are visibly empty. Presumably, by that point the city is evacuating due to the alien invasion. People likely died in Metropolis and Smallville, but it was at the hands of the invading Kryptonians.

    Many have pointed out the obvious possibility that a certain LexCorp might pick up the contracts to rebuild the ruined parts of Metropolis, and that the fact Superman “caused” that destruction by his presence on Earth could be used as a tool to drive people against him. I see a lot of potential payoffs here once the pieces fall into place in the sequel, and maybe those who aren’t on board with this Superman will come around once they see what it was all leading up to.

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