by DICK CHENEY
Man of Steel
dir. Zack Snyder
over a thousand minutes
So I watched Superman the other day. It was a complete and total disaster. He drinks beer and watches football. Lois Lane is constantly saying, and this is verbatim, "Where are the toner cartridges?" (She can't operate a printer because she's a woman is the subtext there.) I guess they were trying to humanize him, although considering there's a 40 minute prologue based on Krypton, you would think at some point they would realize he's an alien.
In another scene (there are many scenes, Man of Steel is over six hours long, did you think Watchmen was long? Man of Steel makes Watchmen look like Un Chien Andalou) Lois Lane goes to her editor. She tells him she has an unbelievable scoop about this guy who healed her wound in the Arctic. Her editor is like, "Nah." She's like, "I quit," but he says she's under contract so she takes it to a rival blog. The blog is a loose parody of Talking Points Memo or maybe I Guess I'm Floating, not entirely sure? The blogger wears nerd glasses, because you see, he works on the internet. The actor playing the blogger is probably Jon Snow.
In this prologue, Russell Crowe plays Superman's father. His mother is so gross they mostly focus on Russell. There's a governmental coup that is turned back, but that's beside the point since the planet is dying anyway. Russell has some bad blood with one of the actors from Boardwalk Empire, I think the guy who played Nucky Thompson or maybe the guy from The Wire who portrayed the gay drug dealer so tenderly? The Wire was a great show, a much better show than Man of Steel.
In another scene (I think this came after the scene where Clark Kent first learned of interracial dating) some bullies came up on Clark. (This is all in flashback, because.) He's reading Plato. What the fuck would Superman read Plato for? Can you honestly think of anything less relevant to a man not of this world than the work of Plato?
But back to Lois Lane. They had a perfectly good Lois Lane right there, playing Tiffany Superman, Superman's mother. Her last name was even also Lane:
Why Clark Kent couldn't have been interested in Murphy Brown, I'll never know. This was a casting fuck-up of major proportions. An older Lois Lane also would have made it easier to kill her off eventually — she could just die of old age and marriage wouldn't really be an option.
I don't want to say all these things in my head about Amy Adams. You already know how I feel about Isla Fisher, I'm pretty sure you can just apply that broadly to Amy Adams. Here's the thing — with Isla Fisher if I was maybe locked in a room with her, I'd grow to appreciate her personality. With Amy Adams, I know that's not going to happen, because all she cares about is toner cartridges. I would have accepted Teri Hatcher in this role, even if she now looks like your fingers do after you soak in the bath for an hour.
Doing the Superman story in flashback is so fucking dumb, I don't even need to explain, do I? The only fun part of Superman is when he casually uses his abilities when no one knows about him. I was praying I did not have to watch the inane scene in the bar where the guys come up to the Terminator. Did you know James Cameron gets royalties every time this occurs in any fiction, even if you have a dream about it in the privacy of your own home?
The actor who plays young Superman is also terrible, he looks gentile. The whole point of Superman is that he was Jewish, you can at least read wikipedia before making a movie about a super man. There's this super hokey scene where Clark saves a bunch of his classmates from a drowning on a school bus. They couldn't think of anything better than that and they were prescreening The Sweet Hereafter because they wanted to be reminded of what an actual creative project feels and sounds like.
There is one black character in Man of Steel, J. Jonah Jameson. You didn't realize he was black? Do you even know how dumb it is for Superman to care about football, even if he was just pretending to have the same interests as his erectly dysfunctional human father? Even the score of this movie is like beyond saving, it's so bad.
I guess the scene in Man of Steel that probably bothered me the most is when Clark's really concerned human father, Jon Bo Superman (Kevin Costner), tells him that it is best he hide his abilities from the world. "Can't I just keep pretending to be your son?" is what Clark says in response. "You are my son," Jon Bo tells him, which is a lie. But worse, he doesn't even bestow the slightest praise on the teen for saving a bus full of his neighbor's friends. He doesn't care about them any more than he cares about Clark.
Superman is supposed to make us feel selfish for wanting to be all powerful, and wanting no one else to share in our new abilities. For if they did, then we would not be so unique and different from the rest of the middling, maddening crowds. But who would even desire to be this person? His girlfriend looks like she got picked up at a 7-11, his alien and human families aren't all that welcoming to him and he's a Raiders fan. To use a superhero as wish-fulfillment, he should probably have something we want.
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location. He last wrote in these pages about Arrested Development.
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