Since I published my scathing review, folks have been asking for details about what I dislike so intensely about the abomination that is Man of Steel, so I will hit the highlights here, in an extraordinarily spoilerific post. Though I do not think this movie can be “ruined,” I will show MoS more courtesy than it shows Superman (or his fans) by not spitting on it without fair warning.
So, if you want to read what I have to
say bitch about, make the jump…
It turns out there was a very good reason that this movie is called Man of Steel instead of using some variation of Superman in the title: There’s barely any Superman in it. Sure, the main character comes from the planet Krypton and wears blue longjohns and a cape — but he only very rarely behaves like Superman.
The movie opens on Krypton — which has been reimagined as a hybrid society of Game of Thrones and The Matrix, where liquid-metal robots exist side-by-side with dragons a man can ride to his high-tech cave — a doomed planet where scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) wants to save the planet’s genetic information from destruction, and General Zod (Michael Shannon) decides to stage a military coup even though the planet is falling apart around him. Defeated, Zod and his forces are exiled to the Phantom Zone just minutes before Krypton is destroyed. But not before Jor-El sends his newborn son to Earth (along with the Codex, the genetic that could one day rebuild Kryptonian society).
Waaaay back in the day, in mid-2001, just before SMALLVILLE debuted on The WB, I had a chance to interview Al Gough, who developed the series alongside Miles Millar. Gough talked about how the series would be completely focused on Clark Kent before he becomes Superman. He told me about the No Tights, No Flights Rule, meaning Clark would not be able to fly, and he would never don the iconic long underwear. Well, not never: Gough admitted he could envision the last shot of the last episode showing Clark putting on the red-and-blue suit and flying out of frame.
Flash-forward 10 seasons, and SMALLVILLE has wrapped up on The CW on May 13, 2011… without Gough or Millar, who left the series after the seventh season. Both guys were always gregarious and forthcoming whenever I interviewed them for SOAP OPERA WEEKLY, and I have missed their influence on the series. SMALLVILLE changed after the original executive producers left – I’m not sure the Blur would have been the same huge element under Gough and Millar – but the show has finally arrived at a destination somewhat similar to what I think Gough and Millar had envisioned. Clark put on the suit and flew – just for a little bit longer than originally planned.
There’s a new hero in Metropolis, one who fancies himself a golden god: He’s Booster Gold, “the greatest hero you’ve never heard of – until now.” And he is intent on replacing the Blur as the protector of Metropolis and the greatest hero of all time. Unfortunately, he is shameless self-promoting glory hound who engages in superheroics for the paycheck, not because he believes in what he’s doing. And then there was the introduction of a new hero-in-the-making, the Blue Beetle.
Booster (Eric Martsolf) traveled back in time from the 25th century, and uses his knowledge of history to be in the right place at the right time to make himself appear to be a hero – and then cash in. Booster always sticks around for the photo op after his big save, and cultivates corporate sponsorships. (He even wears logo patches on his uniform!) But the bigger drawback is the fact that Booster is pretty much a jerk. More than confidant, Booster is smug and condescending to Clark (Tom Welling), viewing the Kansas farmboy as…well, a naïve fool for wanting to do the right thing for its own sake, rather than for the glory. Booster’s quest for fame was complicated when one of his stunts resulted in the release of alien technology – a scarab that transforms into high-tech battle armor – and the living tech bonded with teenager Jaime Reyes (Jaren Brandt Bartlett), turning him into an out-of-control menace who tries to kill Booster.
Last week viewers got to visit New Cap City in V-World, but this week we finally visited one of the other planets of the 12 colonies when we got a glimpse of Tauron City, home of Vergis Industries. But the thing most people will probably remember about this week’s episode is the appearance of James Marsters as Barnabus Greeley, an authority figure in the Caprica City cell of Soldiers of The One.
Marsters’ genre cred is unimpeachable: He broke through as that other soulful vampire, Spike, on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, moved on to playing SMALLVILLE’s Brainiac and, recently, the amoral Capt. John Hart on TORCHWOOD. Here Barnabus is a True Believer: he practices self-mortification as a way of avoiding sin – yet isn’t averse to belonging to a violent terrorist cell. I guess it’s all in how he can justify it to himself. Torturing his own flesh with that cilice is pretty extreme. And, despite his asking, “What gets unleashed when this thing gets to Gemenon?” I suspect he rejected Lacy’s (Magda Apanowicz) appeal for transport to Gemenon more out of concern for getting caught by the authorities than humanitarian worry over the morality/lethality of whatever cargo she wanted to drag along. STO are in the middle of campaign of bombing holocafes, for gods’ sakes, so he’s a believer in situational ethics, at least. Important tidbit: Keon (Liam Sproule) built the device that Ben used to destroy Maglev 23. Marsters’ appearance was brief but effective. I want to know more about this guy!