Hubby and I decided to give the “Man of Steel” a whirl recently. The last Superman installment was disappointing in that the actor, Brandon Routh, although such wonderful eye-candy, was pretty blah on-screen. Not much connection there across the digital divide.
This time, Henry Cavill delivers, I must say. But, this is hardly what you could call a chick-flick. For one thing, there were too many buildings falling, cars and trucks flung and pummeled, and the fight scenes were tedious enough to induce coma. What’s more, significant women such as Martha Kent, Lois Lane and Faora (General Zod‘s sidekick commander) had such minor roles and their characters only served to help Kal-El‘s further understanding of his unusual situation, and condition.
What struck me with this re-creation of Superman’s origins is the insertion of yet another dystopian society on the planet Krypton.
- Kryptonians have a council of bony elders who meet and discuss and argue issues. (Do they ever make a decision?)
- Kryptonians are cloned, not born. Their genetic make-up is dictated by what they are destined to be: scientists, warriors, engineers, etc. Therefore, these babies are born with no choice on what they could be.
- Kal-El was conceived and develops through, heaven-forbid!, the natural way, by Jor-El and his wife, Lara. So, he’s a Kryptonian anomaly. He’s doomed to be an outcast. He has a choice on his future. He could be a Barca-lounging Jamba-juice sipping, computer-game obsessed lout. Or he could be a hot superhero in spandex who’s faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap giant mountains in a single bound, and all that.
- Kryptonians don’t like to kill as much as possible. When Zod and his team are found guilty of treason, they are banished to the Phantom Zone, not executed.
- Kryptonians abused their planet and they ended up destroying it completely, thereby annihilating their entire population. They’re supposed to be a far advanced society compared to us earthlings, but look! They could not make things work, in spite of their superior intelligence, their far advanced technology, their orderly and probably, predictable, society.
I have often wondered why these dystopian cum post-apocalyptic themes have flourished in the recent years. I have even posted in the past about it here and here. I wonder if it’s our way of escaping our problematic realities. We get to inhabit another world far worse than ours temporarily through books, novels, movies, TV series, video games, etc. Is it our way of consoling ourselves that our lives are not as terrible as we think they might be? That there are worse worlds to live in?
Or perhaps, is it our delving on the possibilities of what the future might look like with all the modern developments we are able to avail of today. Are we projecting into the future of what our lives might be if technology took a slight turn to the left or right? I came across such books with similar baseline themes but one where the issue of no privacy or big brother are taken a little further out: Moxyland by Lauren Beukes or Blind Faith by Bob Elton. Or, remember the movie, The Island, where the character played by Ewan McGregor discovers that his whole raison d’être is for his harvestable organs and other body parts in the event his owner needs them. Are you shuddering yet?
P.S. My hubby had a few words for the movie: Did not like that Lois Lane knew early on who Superman is. It’s a love story starving of romantic scenes. Did not like story re-write altogether. “How will they write-in Supergirl and Superdog? There’s gotta be a superdog!”
As for me, I was mostly focused on the genetic pre-determination and the pseudo-perfect society that self-destructed.
- ‘Man of Steel’ Burning Questions: Superman Kills? Jimmy Olsen’s Awol? and More Spoilers! (zedie.wordpress.com)
- Nitpicking Man of Steel: 4 Things We Liked & 4 Things We Didn’t (weminoredinfilm.com)
- George Orwell’s Biggest Fear Went Far Beyond Big Brother (businessinsider.com)
- RevolutionSF Podcast : Dystopian Young Adult Sci-Fi & Fantasy: The Boom Continues (erthstationone.wordpress.com)
- Day 3 – Review: Feed by M. T. Anderson. (suchetaraj.wordpress.com)
- CbF’s Genre Toppers: Dystopian (consumedbyfilm.wordpress.com)
- Recommending Cloud Atlas (storansl2english.wordpress.com)
- Review: The Testing By Joelle Charbonneau (shoesforallsays.wordpress.com)
- Dissertation Essay: How does a dystopian novel about a group of people in London during a civil war address questions of over-reliance on technology? (danielgarlick.wordpress.com)
- Saplings (eleanorgayle.wordpress.com)