This is Zod, and she is undoubtedly one of the most incisive film critics I’ve ever met. Thus, in an effort to share her genius with all of you, I’ve decided to publish recaps of our discussions about film and television. I figured that since Man of Steel is currently on HBO, and she’s named Zod, it would be apropos to start with her thoughts on last summer’s most controversial (well, controversial in a way that’s totally unimportant) film.
Undoubtedly, Man of Steel inspired quite a bit of nerd fury last summer when it hit the theaters. Why do you suppose this film created such a negative reaction?
I absolutely agree–the ending can definitely be seen as a complete betrayal of Superman’s core ethos, but it’s a revision that arguably suits modern tastes. I mean, we’re dealing with a post-9/11 Superman that’s not a love letter to the Donner films, so perhaps it’s to be expected that moral ambiguity might reign.
I suppose that’s a valid point. In an age of morally ambiguous villains, and in a world where you don’t necessarily know who’s really bad, and who’s really good, maybe you want a hero like Superman to represent the questions we’re struggling with. Which I suppose brings us to the central villain, General Zod.
I’m not quite certain what to make of General Zod either. Really, he’s presented as a victim of circumstance, which I think ultimately makes his death at the hands of Kal-El much worse, but I also think there’s a sense in which his goals of recreating Krypton on Earth make no fucking sense whatsoever. Do you think this sort of mischaracterization speaks to the overall flaws in the plot?
I could not agree more; I also think the plot holes defeat the film’s integrity. I mean, first of all, once Zod realizes Earth is liveable, and would give him super-powers, why the hell wouldn’t he just start making new Kryptonians? Which raises an entirely new point, and one that’s worth addressing I think–and you and I have discussed this at length–Kryptonians are the fucking worst. Now, I know you have some sympathy for them, but I just can’t help but wonder how an advanced civilization such as theirs turned to shit so fast. Terraforming and space colonization leads to population control? I mean, if you’re building new worlds, why the hell would you need population control? And why would genetically engineering everyone for a job make sense? And how the hell would you even do that? Surely in the 100,000 years of their civilization someone did a study that showed a person’s environment has some influence on their psychological makeup. But now I’m ranting.
(Meows for a treat)
I know, I know–I’m being unfair. The movie is not about Krypton. But seeing as how that’s a central component to the mythos, I think it’s worth considering. Also, perhaps a bit off topic–why the fuck would anyone think it’s a good idea to create an artificial black hole on Earth to send about 4 Kryptonians to their doom? I mean, that just seems excessive. And don’t get me started as to why the Kryptonian High Council would send Zod to the Phantom Zone instead of letting him die on Krypton. I mean, what the fuck was that about?! I’m ranting again.
(Leaves the room)
I guess you’re right. Sometimes it’s not worth getting upset about these things. I mean, the film has definite positives: Superman does things Superman would do (like fly and punch aliens), and Henry Cavill looks pretty badass as Kal-El. Overall, the film is well-acted, and the score is superb. So, I guess I’ll just leave it at 50/50: it’s worth watching, but not really worth thinking about. Thanks, Zod!