Sometimes I get so heated over a film, I think I may have laser vision.
Ahoy, Kryptonians! Aidan here.
Fuck critics sometimes. Fuck ’em.
On Monday I was fortunate enough to be a part of something mythic, spiritual, deeply satisfying, and just plain fun. Fellow Renegade Derick “D-Rock” Dotson treated my friend Brandon Groppi (of “Let’s Get Ramblin” fame) and me to an early screening of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Upon arriving, we realized that not only was this an early screening, it was a live stream of the Hollywood premiere, in which five theaters across the country – including ours – were simultaneously participating.
We got to tweet questions to the cast and crew of the film as they were interviewed on screen, giving us live answers. The experience was top-notch, and one of the most pleasant surprises of my movie going career so far.
Glitz and glamour aside, I walked into the theater somewhat unenthused about the actual film – I’ve never much cared for Superman, attributing my nonchalance to the character’s perfection and lack of any relatability.
Two and a half hours later, when the lights came up and the applause faded, I realized that I’d never been crazy for Superman because he had never truly been done justice on the big screen. Man of Steel changed that.
The audience went nuts for it. Brandon and I winced, gasped, cried, and applauded as the film swept us into its universe and made Superman relevant again – a task that, as Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns taught us – is not easy.
Oil spills. School shootings. Bombings at marathons, and tornado after devastating tornado…. sometimes – lots of times – humanity reminds itself how royally it can fuck things up. Often I fantasize about life on another planet, the idea of a fresh start, away from all these centuries of bigotry and human error…. but then I remember that this world is all we have, and we have to live in it. We’re stuck with each other, and consequently, with the chaos we create.
And then, Man of Steel hit me. For two and a half hours, it reminded a whole theater in Dallas that we live in a world where Superman is very real. Superman is real because, as his father tells us, he represents an ideal to strive toward. Superman may be a funny-book hero in tights, but he’s also more than that – he is our best selves. There’s a moment in the third act of Man of Steel – it can be glimpsed in Trailer 3 above, accompanied by Hans Zimmer’s thunderous percussion – where Superman stands directly beneath the blast of a massive Kryptonian weapon, resisting the its power with all his might, refusing to let Metropolis crumble.
That is Superman.
Superman is real because he ran toward explosions in Boston earlier this year, trying to do anything he could to help. He combed through ducklings’ blackened feathers when BP drowned the gulf in oil. He’s the unseen spirit behind all acts of selfless good in the world, and he is never not relevant.
What Snyder and co. have done is reminded us of that. They’ve crafted a super-powered punch of rugged mythology, something viscerally thrilling and morally rich that dismisses all preconceived notions of what a Superman film “could” and “should” be. Cavill is terrific, poignantly pulsing between warmth and a rigid sense of duty as Kal-El. He brings an unprecedented level of depth to the character, struggling with the question – am I above these people, or one of them?
Adams is a stronger, more realistic Lois Lane. Supporting cast members all have their own moments of glory and feel more fleshed out than ever before. Zod is a bastard, but Michael Shannon plays him with such charismatic conviction that you truly sympathize with his motivations. Zimmer’s score is appropriately massive and emotional, bolstering the gravitas of every scene it accompanies. Man of Steel is the best incarnation of Superman to ever hit celluloid – essentially, the best iteration of the best version of ourselves. No matter what cynics may have you believe, this film is something to behold.
That’s why I urge you to rush to theaters this weekend prepared to indulge in Man of Steel, unimpeded by what bitter critics say is wrong with the film. Dig deep into yourself, scrape up the last bits of childlike naivety you can find, and let this movie sweep you away. I haven’t felt quite this strongly about defending a film since the The Dark Knight Rises shootings almost a year ago – it represents the same cause, a movie whose timing and message transcend its showtimes and box-office numbers; I implored people to rise above the mindless cruelty of James Holmes’s attack in Colorado and experience the inspirational conclusion to the Dark Knight Legend, and I likewise beckon you to join in the magnificent return of the Man of Tomorrow.
We need Superman more than ever. Let him into your soul this weekend.
See you next week with another installment of Movies That Deserve More Love!
Until then…. take my advice, kick back with some popcorn, and you’ll believe a man can fly once again.