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Old 11-10-2015, 08:44 AM   #1
rogbngp
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Default intriguing fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

I'm a big Man of Steel fan, which many fans (and probably few professional critics) have recognized as a deceptively sophisticated film. (I've written my own take on it elsewhere here. If possible please try to look past the fact that its on Moviepilot. It's way too long to transcribe over to here.)

I do think it is clear that Zack Snyder is approaching the Superman character and his story rather seriously as modern mythology. So in the course of discussing this film another fan shared the following fan theory video with me that I find is actually pretty intriguing to consider: A Thesis on Man of Steel. Personally, I think the video's author may be going a bit too far in reading in what he wishes to see. However he does put together a fairly cogent argument and narrative about the symbolism that he sees recurring throughout the film. His thesis is basically that Snyder uses a biological childbirth metaphor repeatedly throughout Man of Steel via visual symbols. And this does make certain sense given the powerful emphasis that Zack and Deborah Snyder placed in their realization of Krypton as predicated on advanced biological engineering technologies and philosophy (see here). According to this author the film is all about the creation and birth process of Superman's identity.

VIDEO-CLick to Watch!:

I think this is one of those fascinating cases where it could be that Snyder perhaps may not have even have consciously intended what the Reel Analysis author put together in his theory... But, ironically, it can be reasonably discerned and nevertheless makes sense! Or perhaps the theory gets it mostly right (i.e., there is a recurring childbirth metaphor) but it 'reads-in' details that Snyder himself didn't intend, yet that still make sense within the overall framework.

Anyway, I think this theory or thesis stands as an excellent example of just how compelling Man of Steel is, and how richly complex it truly is as a film. If this guy is right, then it just strengthens the case even more for regarding Man of Steel as a masterwork of filmmaking.

What do you think? By the way, be warned that the video A Thesis on Man of Steel is long, running about 36 minutes.


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Old 11-12-2015, 09:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

... *chirp*...

Wow. No one?

This is one of the most thought-provoking takes on the film that I've come across.

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Old 11-13-2015, 12:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

I watched that video a few months ago.

It wouldnt surprise me if everything he brought out was intentional by Snyder. Zack is a very visual filmmaker, and thats why I feel most people misinterpret his films as shallow, because his visuals do alot of the talking and fleshing out of the movie.

Theres probably not a single frame that wasnt constructed a certain way for a reason. From the sun being featured prominently but not distractingly in the background of alot of shots, to the camera creeping up on Superman from behind after Zod died. All visual symbols that alot of people no doubt overlooked

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Old 11-13-2015, 08:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

If Snyder did in fact use a biological childbirth metaphor for Superman's emerging identity regularly throughout MoS, and he did it using the symbolism that Reel Analysis identifies and explains, I admit my mind is blown. to Snyder and the author of this video, both, if this thesis is more or less accurate.

And it's no wonder then that I find myself strangely compelled to re-watch this film. For me it's only been 4 times now with MoS, but these days I rarely watch a film more than once (or, in rare cases, twice). As a younger person I used to repeatedly re-watch all sorts of films that I loved, but I don't have the same luxury of available time for it currently. And these days even if I like a film a lot, I rarely feel drawn to re-watching it, tbh. But MoS is a notable exception to this rule. I guess it's because there is so much thought and attention to detail embedded in it that is, as others here have stated in various threads, shown versus told.


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Old 11-13-2015, 08:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

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I watched that video a few months ago.

It wouldnt surprise me if everything he brought out was intentional by Snyder. Zack is a very visual filmmaker, and thats why I feel most people misinterpret his films as shallow, because his visuals do alot of the talking and fleshing out of the movie.

Theres probably not a single frame that wasnt constructed a certain way for a reason. From the sun being featured prominently but not distractingly in the background of alot of shots, to the camera creeping up on Superman from behind after Zod died. All visual symbols that alot of people no doubt overlooked
This is a bit of a tangent, but the one Snyder film (of the ones I've seen--I have yet to watch Sucker Punch) that I'm going to assume is also as you describe for MoS re: being rich in visual symbolism... but I just could not get into... was Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. There too, as with MoS's Krypton (and referenced also with Plato's The Republic), Snyder has the theme of society oppressively dictating who its members shall be via a kind of caste system. I felt that the blue metal flecks infused with mana, and the whole owls-use-metalurgy/weapons-forging plot device, probably represented the (good) magical transformative power of childlike dreaming of who we can 'one day' be (when we 'grow up') that has a potential to be 'forged' by the adversities (fire, hammer, and anvil) of adult life; and that the (evil) adult world wants to steal, hoard, isolate, control, dominate, and corrupt. Or something like that! But I just didn't really warm up at all to the characters themselves, or that whole mythical world of owls that they inhabit. The film's attempt to make the owls cute and likable or whatever failed--for me.

Anyway, this reminds me that the one shortcoming I do see to Snyder's work, brilliant as he is, is that he has a ways to go yet in making his characters feel fully human and relatable as he ideally could. I love 300, Man of Steel, and to a great extent Watchmen (although not quite as much as the other two: only seen it once, though, and have never read the graphic novel). And those films all make me care a lot about their characters and what happens to them! I consider them all to be visionary masterpieces, and visual masterworks. But what I'm hoping is that the Affleck and Terrio team bring a more human emotional and psychological relatability and depth to his characters in BvS. Because I think that is the one key ingredient that his films are as yet slightly anemic with. That's ultimately a subjective experience, and it is just my own, though. I realize someone else can connect with the characters for their own personal reasons more than I have.

To elaborate a little more, the warmth and relatability of, say, Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, Tony Stark in the entire Iron Man series, and pretty much every member of the group in Guardians of the Galaxy seems to be missing in Snyder's films. It's the one missing ingredient from Snyder that I crave in a good story (especially a fantastic adventure type of tale such as in a CBM). For all the other things he does so brilliantly.


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Old 11-13-2015, 04:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

I watched the video months ago.

I remember thinking it was very well argued, and I disagreed with some of his points and conclusions.

I also remember being bothered by the ''male" Krypton "impregnating" an unsuspecting "female" Earth.

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Old 11-13-2015, 06:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

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I... remember being bothered by the ''male" Krypton "impregnating" an unsuspecting "female" Earth.
To me this made sense, though. Krypton was sending it's "seed" out into the cosmos in a quasi-panspermia way to colonize other worlds.

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Old 11-13-2015, 08:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

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To me this made sense, though. Krypton was sending it's "seed" out into the cosmos in a quasi-panspermia way to colonize other worlds.
Yeah the use of "colonize" does not make that better for me, given the connotations that come with the word. Along with the metaphorical implications that arise from Earth (the people of Earth) not having any agency in the situation.

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Old 11-13-2015, 11:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

Well, to get crude about earth was basically getting f****d (raped) by Zod at least. But is your issue with it that the Kryptonian civilization, at least when it was sending out scout ships, wasn't doing it hegemonically? Snyder's Krypton does seem like a hard-ass civilization, though.

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Old 11-14-2015, 01:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

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Well, to get crude about earth was basically getting f****d (raped) by Zod at least. But is your issue with it that the Kryptonian civilization, at least when it was sending out scout ships, wasn't doing it hegemonically? Snyder's Krypton does seem like a hard-ass civilization, though.
My apologies, I must not be explaining myself very well.

What Zod did to Earth isn't what I see as the violating; in the context of the metaphor that would be the contractions.

What I see as the violation of Earth in his metaphor is the Earth (the people of Earth) not having any say as to whether or not it wants Superman to be sent there. But again that only bothers me in the context of the metaphor being presented.

If there was a scene that Earth was in need of a savior (Superman) I probably would not feel this way.

It also would have liked for Superman to not have been the direct cause, even if accidental, of Zod making his way to Earth.

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Old 11-14-2015, 07:42 AM   #11
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

Krypton having male imagery associated with it... e.g., the El citadel is phallic, Kal's ship is like a sperm, the launch is like ejaculation... and earth then being the egg in that metaphor... you're pointing out the earth does not have any say in the matter... so the earth is then essentially being raped by Krypton, right? (Through the actions of Jor-El, specifically.)

I see that as a great observation. I should say it is a troubling thing, yes! It should be disturbing to us. But its purpose is to create major dramatic tension in the film.

Superman (among the three identities of Kal-El, Clark Kent, and Superman) is a bastard, and a product of a rape. That's dramatically pretty damn rich! No wonder he's so darn angsty!

Critics of MoS often complain of its "joyless-ness." That its emotional tone is hard, cold, and anxious. But as I see it, in this film Superman is being rendered mythically akin a tragic Greek hero embarked on an odyssey (of self-discovery, i.e., what his origin is; what his powers, abilities, strengths, and most valuable traits (to him) are; how he is to identify and relate to himself, his adopted world, the past conditions that created him and his Kryptonian heritage; who he wishes to be versus the person others tell him he be must be, etc.). I'm able to go with that. I don't need for Superman to be chipper and sanguine. In fact I really enjoy seeing him worked with more creatively and dramatically in this way.

In Greek mythology Zeus has a compulsion to go around in secret impregnating mortal women through deception to sow his seed and to create demigods. It's a similar kind of rape -> bastard -> hero metaphor. At least in the tradition of Greek mythology it's never a sunny or rosy type of tale, though.


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Old 11-15-2015, 12:02 AM   #12
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

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Krypton having male imagery associated with it... e.g., the El citadel is phallic, Kal's ship is like a sperm, the launch is like ejaculation... and earth then being the egg in that metaphor... you're pointing out the earth does not have any say in the matter... so the earth is then essentially being raped by Krypton, right? (Through the actions of Jor-El, specifically.)
Yup, that's exactly what I mean.

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Originally Posted by rogbngp View Post
I see that as a great observation. I should say it is a troubling thing, yes! It should be disturbing to us. But its purpose is to create major dramatic tension in the film.

Superman (among the three identities of Kal-El, Clark Kent, and Superman) is a bastard, and a product of a rape. That's dramatically pretty damn rich! No wonder he's so darn angsty!
It does in fact disturb me, I'm in the camp who would prefer for Superman's origin to never be associated with rape in any way, shape or form.

I'm also not a fan of Superman being angsty or brooding since it puts to close to Batman, and I don't like Batman. One of the main reasons that attracted me to Superman was that he became a superhero without a clichéd overly melodramatic tragic story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rogbngp View Post
Critics of MoS often complain of its "joyless-ness." That its emotional tone is hard, cold, and anxious. But as I see it, in this film Superman is being rendered mythically akin a tragic Greek hero embarked on an odyssey (of self-discovery, i.e., what his origin is; what his powers, abilities, strengths, and most valuable traits (to him) are; how he is to identify and relate to himself, his adopted world, the past conditions that created him and his Kryptonian heritage; who he wishes to be versus the person others tell him he be must be, etc.). I'm able to go with that. I don't need for Superman to be chipper and sanguine. In fact I really enjoy seeing him worked with more creatively and dramatically in this way.
See I don't either, but sadly MOS took it to far for me to enjoy it.

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Old 11-15-2015, 01:32 PM   #13
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

Thorson FWIW I totally respect the fact that that is your taste. It would be idiotic for me to try to tell you what your taste should be for something like this.

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Old 11-15-2015, 02:38 PM   #14
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

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Thorson FWIW I totally respect the fact that that is your taste. It would be idiotic for me to try to tell you what your taste should be for something like this.
Oh at no point did I mean to suggest you were trying to persuade or undermine my tastes. If I've come across as such once again I apologize.

To be honest I'm just glad someone is willing to discuss this movie with me, since not many in these forums will do so unless it involves only praising it.

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Old 11-15-2015, 07:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

Ironically, there was a kind of synergy from this discussion that yielded the notion that Superman could be metaphorically viewed as a 'bastard' produced by a kind of 'rape'. Even though we aren't on the same wavelength in how we appreciate that, I think it is an interesting way to view Superman in this film. It is certainly not the "apple pie and Chevrolet... American Dream" Superman that Snyder comments on here.

I do have some criticisms of the film, although overall I am blown away by it. (In a good way!)


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Old 01-31-2016, 01:20 PM   #16
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Default Re: fan theory video: A Thesis on Man of Steel

rogbngp, you son of a *****. Saw this link posted and I had to watch it... AGAIN!

I will state first of all I LOVED this film and love this whole thesis. I really have no criticisms with the film. I never thought of or assumed that Snyder was taking a direction of telling this as a form of mythology. It recalls to me Michael E. Uslan, the Executive Producer of all the Batman films that when he wanted to teach a classic on comic books. The Dean of Arts & Sciences challenged Uslan by saying "So you want to teach a course on comic books at my university, do you?!". Thinking of them more as funny books for children, Uslan challenged him by asking the Dean to retell the origin of Superman, which the Dean did beat for beat. Uslan said great now tell me the tale of Moses. Half-way through telling the tale of Moses, the Dean stops mid-way going "oh" and gave him the class. Given Superman's origin I also get something of a Hercules vibe as well, only more mythology.

It is possible Snyder didn't do all of this intentionally and the thesis is reading into it, but alot of it makes sense to me now. First off, Zack Snyder was raised Christian Scientist. This is a faith that is followed and taken seriously, not people who say they are Christian and go to church sporadically. In addition to this, I recall watching that ridiculous Nostalgia Critic review of the film and he pointed out all the phallic imagery. First, I figured he was being a pervert and then after seeing it more myself I figured it was done for a reason. This thesis proves that reason, Snyder didn't put ***** in their because he wanted ***** in the film.

Overall, the thesis gives me all new respect to the film. Maybe one criticism of the film originally was all the Jesus stuff. I myself personally am a very militant atheist, but cannot deny I think the Bible makes for great imagery, story telling and allegories. At the same time, I feel Jesus is used too much in these mythic story tellings. But I guess it makes sense, the idea, again the idea, not the historical Jesus, regardless of your faith is something people love and want to ascribe to. I felt, we could use more Moses stuff, since Moses was Jewish, the origin is very Moses and Superman was created by two Jews.

The fact that the film is not "apple pie & Chevorlet... American Dream" is why I love this movie and why I claim THIS as MY Superman.

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