Filling those bright red boots…

Because I’m not really into going to a movie theater to see movies, I usually wait until the movie comes out on DVD. I can honestly say the last movie I saw in the theaters was Les Miserables with my daughter last winter. The only movies I actually planned to see in theaters on their release were the Harry Potter movies (and yes, I was one of those people standing in line to see a movie that started at midnight!) and before that, the Star Wars movies. We also will not discuss how many times I saw the first Star Wars movie the summer of 1977. (Oh, dear Lord…that was how many years ago?)

Tonight, I bought Man of Steel and came home to watch it. (Yes, I buy the DVD because even at $20, it’s still cheaper than a movie ticket, a bucket of popcorn, a drink, and the gasoline to drive to the theater.) I’ve got a few things to say about the movie. First of all, it did drag a bit in places, but HOLY MOSES! the fight scenes between Kal-el and General Zod…no spoilers, but they had me on the edge of my seat a few times.

I was also incredibly impressed that a British actor (Henry Cavill—remember Charles Brandon in the BBC series The Tudors) could do such a dead-on Kansas accent. While I was skeptical that this re-imaging of the Superman legend/canon would fly (sorry, bad pun there), it was done well. For a change, as an audience (albeit of one in this case), we got to see the “human” side of Kal-El, how he struggled with his unique abilities, fought to keep who/what he was hidden even when everything in him wanted to do what was right and help people. The movie also brought up the question of how much of who we are is nurture or nature. I don’t think it totally answered that question because I don’t think there ever will be a definitive answer. And without any spoilers, this imagining of Superman did what for many would have been the unthinkable–and Clark/Kal-El/Superman was filled with a horrible remorse.

Christopher Reeve as Superman

This Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman is also a momma’s boy. I loved it. One of my favorite lines from the movie happens when General Zod and Company have arrived at earth and threaten Martha Kent. In defending her, Clark is pounding the crap out of one of the bad guys and says, “You don’t go after my mom!”

Brandon Routh as Superman

I was also pleased that Zod wasn’t a Snidley Whiplash kind of villain. He had depth and dimension. What he was planning to do to earth was all wrong, but he was doing it for all the right reasons (at least in his own mind). And, I could understand where he was coming from (which should frighten some people). He had a chance to restore/rebuild Krypton. For all of his life, his job, his reason for being, was to protect and defend Krypton. Zod’s motivation raises the moral and ethical question if something happened to earth and a small handful of survivors had the chance to reform another planet into earth and restore humanity, what would we do?

 Also, for a change Lois Lane isn’t a total moron. I mean, for years, after seeing the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder, and even before that with the old T.V. series, I always asked myself just how stupid was that woman. When did a pair of glasses become such a fantastic disguise that Lois Lane couldn’t tell Clark Kent was actually Superman?

Henry Cavill as Superman

In the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve, I absolutely loved how as Clark Kent, Reeve slouched a little, fumbled with things, and stammered, but when he became Superman, the posture straightened, he stopped stammering, and he was as graceful as a sleek cat. In the previous Superman movie (Superman Returns), with Brandon Routh, there were times that I was unnerved with how much Routh looked and acted like Reeve. There are a few of those moments in Man of Steel as well.

 I wanted not to like this imagining of the Superman canon. Part of me wants to think that with Christopher Reeve’s performance, all others would have a set of really big red boots to fill. Brandon Routh tried. I think, Henry Cavill fills them a little better.

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