"Joyless" ?

Discussion in 'Man of Steel' started by Rephe, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. jonathancrane

    jonathancrane I love Marvel, DC & EC!

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    The film could have benefitted from a lighter touch.

    It was so damn dark; say what you will about Nolan's films, but he managed to offset some of the dramatic tension through the bickering btw. Bruce and Alfred. The only attempt at humor in the film failed horribly: the "he's hot" line not only fell on its face, but compromised what could have been a great ending.
     
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  2. smallville fan

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    I liked the presentation of Clark Kent as a lost soul searching for his purpose. Believe it or not, but I could relate to that and I'm glad we saw that on the big screen.
     
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  3. CGHulk

    CGHulk Well-Known Member

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    I think that because the previous incarnations of Superman were more light hearted, this film being more dramatic is off setting the fans who are thinking that this incarnation is to dark or joyless. This film is enjoyable not joyful in the sense of light heartedness, that's the difference! I like a more lighthearted Superman film but this new one is good. Superman can be done more seriously/dramatically and still be enjoyable.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  4. Llama_Shepherd

    Llama_Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much everyone can relate to that, and the presentation is nothing new. Doubly so for us friggin' geeks on a website devoted to being geeks and geeking out about geeky stuff. That's nothing impressive from a Superman story.

    So, yeah, Superman: Earth One I is still pretty crap, but it's not really even an origin, it doesn't cover why Clark wants to be Superman (even worse considering in it, and Man of Steel, Clark has no choice in the matter, he's forced into it) just how.
     
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  5. smallville fan

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    He became Superman as lives were in danger. He could've stayed in anonymity but he didn't

    This.:up:

    I think we'll see more light-hearted moments shine through in sequels and future movies as for the origin, I think it should be a bit dark with glimmers of light shining through in future movies. Right now with all the universe-building towards a JL movie, I'm more interested in seeing a Superman that is serious enough to be the alpha leader we know from comics and the DCAU and could potentially evolve into the sort of Superman similar to Kingdom Come's Superman.

    [​IMG]

    I felt I got that and the overall setting of the MOS story universe feels like a story inspired by Kingdom Come could take place which is another reason I liked the film.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  6. Shikamaru

    Shikamaru Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it was joyless. I think the color palette they used was too moody.
     
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  7. Morbius

    Morbius Living Vampire

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    To me it was all a missed opportunity - it was trying far too hard to be an emotional sci-fi movie, instead of celebrating perhaps the most famous superhero in existence. I would have preferred a little more fun, a little more excitement and exhilaration.
     
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  8. Senator Pleasury

    Senator Pleasury Well-Known Member

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    That's a matter of personal choice. Many sequels nowadays turn out better than the first movie.

    I liked it too. Clark was a bit too emo, but a least it was something new.

    Problem with MoS was not being serious or tragic. It was about time someone expanded the alien nature of the character (like Singer did in Superman Returns, first time I saw a Superman that feels alone and overwhelmed by his 'mission' on screen).

    To me the problem is that Goyer took things to an absurd extreme by having Pa Kent committing suicide and, worse, having Clark not doing anything about it. One thing is to explore a different angle, another thing is going straight against the core of the characters. Instead of instilling an ethical and righteous way to see life and how to use Clark's powers, Pa Kent discourages Clark's good-nature instincts. Instead of valuing human life above everything, Clark shows respect for suicidal people (in this case, his own father no less). I'm sure Clark/Superman hasn't made his career respecting people's choice of taking their own lives.

    What made it worse is that Pa Kent's death was supposed to discourage Clark from saving people, and it didn't. And we don't know why it didn't, or why Clark decided to do it anyways.

    This factor alone ruined a huge part of what Superman is supposed to be, no matter if a lighthearted or tragic take.
     
    #33
  9. KRYPTON INC.

    KRYPTON INC. Incorporated Kryptonian

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    Jon Kent was trying to make his son understand that by his very existence, Clark would change the world. This was a Jon Kent not immune to the fact that his son would have the burden of his power and his alen nature with him always. Who knows what sort of reaction the world would have to his son? Would people worship him? Try to destroy him? Exploit him? Who knows? As a parent Pa Kent loved his son and was teaching him a lesson in morality but he was also trying to balance out his own obligation to the wider world with his obligation to his son. This IS a morality. Maybe not one you would agree with, but it was a moral outlook. If you are to take the story seriously, then you should understand that Pa Kent was dealing with a burden none of us could ever know. And it was obviously something he was willing to sacrifice his life for. When that twister took him that burden and the lesson of responsibility of power that went with it was transferred to Clark's shoulders. I know that the presentation of Pa Kent in MOS was not the usual down home, "awe shucks", small town values kind. This was a Jon Kent of the 21st Century. It was a different kind of moral lesson, but it was a lesson none the less, and I appreciated it immensely.
     
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  10. KRYPTON INC.

    KRYPTON INC. Incorporated Kryptonian

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    By the by.... Seeing as it is a long established story element in comics that Superman does not get involved with the internal politics of the nations of planet Earth, he is, in fact, always making a conscious decision to allow people to die, all the time. Every day brutal and repressive regimes murder, or undertake even worse actions against their own people. The in story reasoning behind this is that Superman cannot allow himself to dictate his morality to the entire world. This would make him the de facto ruler of Earth, and so, for this ideological reasoning, he let's evil men maintain their power. For the sake of a larger moral point Superman, FOR DECADES in the comics, has been shown to be willing to stop himself from using his powers to help others in immediate danger. Yet I hear no howls of displeasure from the fan community.
     
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  11. Llama_Shepherd

    Llama_Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    Didn't I just say he was forced? I mean thanks, I guess, for repeating me but it's not necessary, I know what I typed, I was there.
     
    #36
  12. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    I'm not invested in the sequel even a 10th as much as I was MOS.

    Doesn't mean that if a poster creates a thread discussion criticisms about the film being joyless, I can't contribute my thoughts.

    Every person on the planet is searching for their purpose at some point in their life, so yeah, it's an easy way in. But that's the point. It's easy, lazy writing. It's just them making the character more like all the other popular teen characters out there (Earth One was pretty much designed for a teenage audience).

    I was hoping that in this film we would see more of Superman's bigger picture, incorporate more of what the character truly has been over the years... not just what they've been trying to turn him into lately.

    Because it's not an improvement IMO, to have him not wanting to be a hero. To have his heroics be intended by Jor-el. To have him only saving people when danger happens right in front of him or because of him.

    As i've said before, I found TDK trilogy to be less joyless than this. Because there were moments that truly showed the good in the human spirit. There were moments where a character really proved himself, or really learned something that instills the audience with hope.

    And because, at it's heart, it's about a man seeing the suffering and injustice in the world and deciding he simply can't sit by and let it just happen anymore.

    He CHOOSES to become a hero in order to try to change things, and he works hard and sacrifices much to get there.

    That, to me, is joyful.

    Exactly. There is literally no attempt to show how people suffer needlessly in the world because of injustice, and how much it upsets Clark. There is no mention of the world having any problems other than alien invasion and the occasional accident.

    They just didn't bother with any of that real world, grounded stuff that they kept banging on about - they wanted to tell an epic sci-fi alien invasion story.

    And I always said, the most important thing to understand when you throw around the words 'grounded' and 'realism' within the context of Superman, is that it's the world around him that you make those things - but you don't try to make him less of a hero, or bring him down to our level.

    You can still show his emotions, his turmoil etc, while still having him be a true Superman who has conviction, passion, strength of character and a pro active nature.

    :up:

    It's like JK had zero faith in the human race, and that's what he spent most of Clark's childhood trying to instill in him - don't ever be yourself Clark, because people aren't ready and won't be able to handle it.

    THAT is not the Jonathon Kent I know and love.

    Oh come on, there is a huge leap between 'I can't save everyone, and I can't control the human race' to 'I won't save my father because people will be too afraid of me'.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  13. Jaxon

    Jaxon Well-Known Member

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    I think you're missing the point of JK. He was a country father who had an alien boy with ridiculous powers crash into his farm and he raised him. He just didn't know when the right time would be to let his secret go, probably fearing like any father that he would lose his boy (the same way an adoptive parent really doesn't want their boy to go looking for their real parents because of the potential rejection and diminishing of their relationship).
    He was scared, but he did raise him with strong values, values that people were worth standing by. I think Costner's performance was spot on. That look he gave just before his death, he acted the s*** out of that.
     
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  14. KRYPTON INC.

    KRYPTON INC. Incorporated Kryptonian

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    hopefuldreamer, I know it's no secret you have strong feelings about MOS, but allow me to make this proposal to you. Much as in the Donner films, when Superman disobeys Jor-el, and thus truly stands on his own as a man (director's intent btw) so too does MOS Clark live a life doing his own thing saving people despite his fathers warning to the contrary. He too, as Jonathon, is trying to find a balance between what he knows could be the unintended consequences of his existence and power and his own feelings to help those around him (Those consequences are not just the fear of human kind but perhaps their worship, or perhaps his exploitation. It was not all about fear.). I mean, in the film there is only one person who loses their life because Clark's secret must be kept and his name was Jon Kent who was willing to lay down his life so that his son would not only be safe, but also to keep the world safe from the aforementioned unintended consequences of Clark's exposure. He was threading a moral needle as best he could. And you know what? Maybe he was wrong? Shock of shocks, pehaps a film about a proactive hero like Superman is not totally endorsing Pa Kent's view of things as they are presented here. After all, surprise, surprise, Clark is the Clark we all know and love, using his power to save lives and confront the wicked through the film's runtime. Perhaps the themes and messages in the film are more nuanced and open to interpretation as befits the more complex world we live in. As I stated, this balance and nuance was something I greatly appreciated.


    As for Superman not saving those living under tyrants and thugs, and him not saving Jonathon in the film, I can grant you there is a distinction... Though one could argue it is a distinction without much of a difference, since the end result is the same. Superman allowing someone to die (and it KILLING him on the inside) is still Superman ALLOWING someone to die. Whether that person's name is Jon Kent or Joe Blow the end pojnt is still a (fictional) corpse, now is'nt it?

    As I stated dreamer, I know you have strong feelings on the film, but I would like to think what I presented here had both a rationality and an emotional insight. Certainly it was worth more than a curt "Come on" ;) .
     
    #39
  15. Senator Pleasury

    Senator Pleasury Well-Known Member

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    Nothing in your post comes close to explain the logic behind Pa Kent's suicide. Even less the logic behind Clark Kent letting him die. And even less the logic behind Clark Kent saving people in spite of Pa Kent's suicide.

    Lesson of morality? Care to explain so I can see if I agree with it or not?

    You mean that if some Kryptonians were he to make the earth a new Krypton, Superman should remain respectful of another planet's decision?

    But we digress, Superman have saved suicidal people all his career.


    ***************************************


    Again, understandable but doesn't explain his suicide (nor Clark's unresponsiveness before it).

    Oh, this is nothing against Costner's acting. He was great. It was the script that made him do a stupid pointless suicide.
     
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  16. KRYPTON INC.

    KRYPTON INC. Incorporated Kryptonian

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    Again, Jon Kent had valid concerns that the exposure of his son's existence would have drastic consequences for THE ENTIRE WORLD, many of the permutations which he knew he could not see, but he did know a lot of them would be negative, both for Clark AND the wider world. See the responsibiity of that as a more than likely outcome was what Jon was trying to put off as long as he could, and for the sake of his son and the world he was willing to die. Yes they could have written it like a Silver Age story and just have Clark use "super speed faster than the eye could see" to save people. But they didn't go for such a simpleminded (but no less valid) approach to the character. They presented a world where there was no idealized 3rd option. They went for a story that took the possible consequences of it's core concept seriously as one could in an action/adventure summer tentpole film.

    Finally, I gladly admit what I am going to type is itself perhaps a difference without a distinction. I owe up to that 100%, but it's how I see things. People are using "suicide" to describe the twister scene, most likely because it is a very charged word with strong negative emotions attached to it. Perhaps this is reflective of peoples view of taking ones life in real life more than it is representative of what happens in the twister scene. For those that have a positive view of MOS I think the term we would substitute is sacrifice. And, yes, to my mind self sacrifice, even unto death is noble and heroic.


    I don't expect all to agree with my views nor am I presenting them as some absolute truth that you must accede to. I will say I think I have been cordial in presenting them and I hope you can see a rational and intuitive arguement being made by myself.
     
    #41
  17. Senator Pleasury

    Senator Pleasury Well-Known Member

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    You keep not mentioning the connection there. So Pa Kent wanted his son NOT to use his powers. Okay. So he thought... I'll kill myself, that's gonna stop him?

    Simpleminded or not, it is the non stupid way to do it. Let's see how fast you are. Mh, pretty fast, so you can save people, not expose your identity and I don't have to die, which I didn't anyways.

    I don't think there's a plausible version of the story that forces Pa Kent to take his own life in order to stop his son from saving lives. And it's even less plausible that Clark would have let him die. There's just no way that would have happened.

    Criticism here is that Goyer tried way too hard to put some tragedy in Superman story.

    I mean, I even would have taken Pa Kent exposing Clark to a but of Kryptonite so he wouldn't save those people. But dying...? What for?

    Just calling a spade, a spade.

    Call it The Ultimate Death if you will, but it didn't have a point. And so much so that Clark decided he would save lives anyways.

    I see a lot of great description but nothing that shows how much Pa Kent was forced to do that, how he didn't have any other more sane option or how much effective it was.
     
    #42
  18. KRYPTON INC.

    KRYPTON INC. Incorporated Kryptonian

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    I've explained my view as clearly as I can, SP. I think my meaning is plain. If you believe I am missing, or omitting some connection, I am sorry. I have repeated some points again and again. Your position clear to me. I disagree with it, but such is life.
     
    #43
  19. Senator Pleasury

    Senator Pleasury Well-Known Member

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    Just think of this, how was Pa Kent's "sacrifice" going to stop Clark from saving people exactly?
     
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  20. Adamantium

    Adamantium Your King

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    As far as saving people, I didn't see it as Clark defying what Jonathon Kent wanted. Remember he wandered for awhile. Then he finally met his real dad. Jor-El told him the purpose of sending him. Jonathon Kent told Clark when he was a boy, that he believed he was sent here for a reason. JK didn't know Clark would one day speak with Jor-El. Now Jor-El spoke of uniting Earths people with Krypton. However not at the expense of genocide...as later expressed. When he had Kal bust out the side of the ship, he told him he could save Lois and ultimately save all the people of Earth. As much as he respected JK's wishes when he died, that changed as a result of meeting Jor-El and knowing his purpose.

    I don't believe he was disrepecting him at that point either. And just because he knew his purpose wouldn't mean that he still wouldn't/couldn't be conflicted and struggle with doubts later. He was still raised on Earth and had human emotions. That wouldn't just disappear.
     
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  21. Senator Pleasury

    Senator Pleasury Well-Known Member

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    Yes, when Clark spoke to Jor-el, we get it.

    Now, correct me if I'm mistaken, but before he met Jor-el, he was already saving lives, and showing his (bearded) face in the process (which made him pretty easy to locate btw). Which made Pa Kent's already pointless sacrifice even more pointless.

    I don't even think that was disrespectful, but what happen in between, what were Pa Ken't sacrifice/suicide effects on Clark and how did he get over them? The movie just shows us that he did, but apparently it wasn't very important how, when or why.
     
    #46
  22. Green Goblin

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    What Man Of Steel did best was that it captured the divine nature of Superman while still maintaining his human side. This is something the film did to perfection.
     
    #47
  23. Shikamaru

    Shikamaru Well-Known Member

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    ^ This.

    The film had the perfect balance between Superman's godlike nature and his human nature IMO, in both the extent of his powers and in who he is as a person.
     
    #48
  24. Llama_Shepherd

    Llama_Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    It did do this well, I think it's encapsulated in the scene when Clark returns home to Martha.

    But it doesn't cover the film's flaws.
     
    #49
  25. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    No, the film missed the point.

    I think this panel says it best:

    [​IMG]

    I didn't see that in MOS. All we saw Johnathon teach Clark was that he needed to hide the truth, and that his existence was scary and a big deal and could go either way depending on what kind of man he decided on being and whether or not the world was ready.

    I just find it a mess.

    It's themes contradict each other. Johnathon's sacrifice is supposed to be this big meaningful point in the story... but how are we supposed to feel about it when we KNOW he is wrong... he's totally wrong. And as the film goes on, he's proven spectacularly wrong. Because the reaction to Clark's existence is something that is taken VERY well... I mean there is almost no negative fallout for him in revealing himself.

    It just makes his father look like a scared and over protective man whose lessons Clark had to OVERCOME in order to become a hero... when he should be a man whose lessons ENCOURAGE him to become a hero.

    I'm sorry, but I don't see the similarity at all.

    Allowing your father to die specifically to protect YOU, and not even because something will DEFINITELY expose you, or because something will kill you - but because something MIGHT expose you and that MIGHT be a bad thing... that's just wrong to me.

    Not spending your every waking hour flying around the entire world attempting to save everyone because you recognize that in order to be of use to the human race you have to have SOME kind of a life to keep your sanity in tact... totally and utterly different.

    And for the record, he might not get involved with stopping tyrants and thugs in a physical way (because it'd be wrong to try and FORCE his own form of justice on the world), but he doesn't do NOTHING about it.

    He is Clark Kent, investigative journalist. And it is within that persona that he battles those kinds of people in a way that respects the human justice system.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013

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