Monday, March 07, 2011

The new Superman movie

I don't have much interest in the new Superman movie by Zack Snyder, even though casting continues (the new Superman - Henry Cavill). The Superman as savior of mankind conceit is rather disturbing, as it lends it self to some sort of pelagianism or naturalistic religion. The messianic theme was obvious in Superman Returns, but this can probably be traced to the original mythos as one of the creators of the comic book, Jerry Siegel, was Jewish. It is also prominent in Smallville. Jor-El tells Kal-El that it is his mission to lead mankind, and to inspire men to live up to their potential to be good. Other comic books may have this problem as well, but it isn't as prominent, especially when the weaknesses of the heroes are apparent to the reader. From what I know, Marvel superheroes are not as likely to put themselves forth as moral leaders for the rest of the world, as opposed to being content with being vigilantes. Professor Xavier might be an exception.

As a superhero, Superman might even be boring to modern audiences--he's mostly invulnerable, and there isn't much going on in his psyche (beyond figuring out his place on Earth, perhaps). There isn't much of a moral struggle, either -- he simply embodies good. However, creating some sort of existential angst for Superman may also backfire, as evident in the complaints of some who saw Superman Returns. Who wants to watch an emo Superman?

Perhaps the comic books still have some limited value for boys (teenagers? adult males?). Boys may identify virtus solely with strength, the accomplishing of great deeds, especially against great forces of evil. Such sories may have an appeal to men as well, but they recognize that there is more to the virtuous life than courage and physical strength. Meanwhile, Lois Lane has become more and more of a modern Uhmerican feminist heroine (from Margot Kidder in the 80s movies to Terri Hatcher in Lois and Clark to Erica Durance in Smallville, who can finally kick ass like Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- in comparison to these tree Kate Bosworth in Superman Returns was rather passive).

I doubt the comic book version has the same problem as the live-action versions, being alpha "at work" but a supplicating beta in his relationship with Lois (the problem of Coach Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights). Even Superman might have difficulties holding his marriage to Lois together, if Lois were just another modern Uhmerican woman. Which makes one wonder--how many women were ultimately repelled by the Brandon Routh version of Superman, despite his good looks?

Casting news for the new Superman movie from last week--
Diane Lane Is Superman's Mom
AICN: Superman has a total MILF!!!

Was the casting choice influenced by the hip, younth-oriented Smallville? Kevin Costner will play Pa Kent.

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