Saturdays With Superman

Fair warning gang. For me to post a blog about Superman on the weekend that Man Of Steel opens, it’s a safe assumption that TharpSter’s latest foray into verbal brilliance will be resplendent with spoilers and releases of the cat from the bag.


You’ve been warned.


First off, Clark Kent is Superman.


I know, right?


My first exposure to Superman dates back to watching the Super Friends on Saturday morning cartoons in the 70’s. Superman headed up the gang with Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Wendy, Marvin, and dagnabbit if I can’t remember the name of Marvin’s dog.


It was in those days, ladies and gentlemen, that the Super Friends answered to Col. Wilcox. Superman used to utter expletives like “Great Scott” when the shit was about to hit the fan. In addition, his ability to fly was triggered by a verbal command reticent of “Up, up, and away!”


As a young child at the time, I was mesmerized by that crap. Smart phones, social networking, and internet porn hadn’t been invented yet, so the shiny things which marshaled our collective attention deficit had a pretty low bar in which to perform the Fosbury Flop.


Was it “Wonder Dog”?


Anyway, the show evolved over the years. Wendy and Marvin tried to branch out into there own series featuring Erin Moran and Scott Baio. This exit left way for the arrival of the Wonder Twins who were also dependent on fisting each other and chanting phrases in order to take on the form of a bucket of water and the shape of a fluffy bunny, all for the greater good of defeating the bad guy.


Having collected a wealth of experience of watching Superman on Saturday mornings, it only seemed fitting that I ventured out to the over priced googooplex this very Saturday morning in order to watch Man Of Steel.


I approached this morning’s viewing with a great deal of trepidation for a couple of reasons.  One of them was a good reason, the other one, not so much.  The first reason I was nervous involved the last Superman movie that littered the screens a few years ago.  With Superman Returns, we saw Lex Luthor bent on world domination via yet another shady real estate deal designed to destroy the east coast.  You would think that after failing to sink the west coast all of those years ago, he would have learned his lesson and taken another approach such as implementing governmental programs which perpetuate social justice.  Sure it was a Superman flick, and I like Superman.  Otherwise, that movie just fell down for me on its rehashed plot and the hero’s insistence on looking directly at the camera like his predecessor did.  I didn’t want to sit there this morning and think “Not Again”.


The other reason I had doubt was due to some of the reviews I’ve heard and read about the film in the last week or so.  Generally speaking, the critics don’t like it for a multitude of reasons.  I learned many, many years ago not to rely on the critics in order to determine how I feel about a movie.  The ones they hate, I love, and I hate they ones they love.  We rarely agree.  Even still, the failure of the last movie coupled with the reviews made me a little nervous.


And so my dear reader, I watched that movie.  Let me tell you about it.


Yes, the movie is heavy on special effects.  Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a Superman movie.  It’s about a Kryptonian Savant who has the presence of mind to get his newborn son the hell out of Dodge before his home world blows up.  That newborn son goes to earth, harnesses the power of the yellow sun in order to achieve feats which are not common to those of us born here on Terra Firma.  Can anyone here think of a live action Superman movie which doesn’t require the use of special effects?


No, so bite me.


Couple that with the fact that Hollywood is 15 years in with incorporating digitally generated special effects into its films, and is now getting to a point where one really has to wonder how much of the scene was created on a computer versus a computers.  I’ll repeat myself on the special effects argument.


Bite me.


One of the critics complained that there wasn’t enough development of the relationship between Superman and Lois Lane.  Yeah, whatever.  I’ve been watching Superman movies since the late 70’s.  One of them went as so far as to feature our star crossed lovers bumpin’ uglies in the Fortress of Solitude.  Another of them offered up proof that no form of birth control could keep the Kryptonian’s little swimmers from hitting their mark.  I’ve seen enough relationship development between these two.  Let’s move on.


All things being equal, my only problem with the film hasn’t been echoed in any of the reviews I’m familiar with.


In Man Of Steel, Krypton was at its end of life because the powers that be had chosen to exploit the planetary core for energy resources instead of seeking out other sources.  The same thing happened in Star Trek VI:  The Undiscovered Country when the Klingons had over-mined one of their own planets and it blew up.  This particular plot device is an old one, yet it continues to be used in order to pay homage to one of the sacraments of the global warming crowd.


My only other concern with the film is one I believe I’ve expressed with other films.  The wanton destruction of towns and cities in a movie tends to raise a concern in my mind.  I never really felt it before 09/11, but I do feel it now.  Watching the first and third Transformers movies, the Avengers, and Man Of Steel spurred on that certain tinge in my soul as building after building had various good guys and bad guys plowed into and through them as if no one else was there.  If memory serves, one of the earlier Superman movies (2, I think), had Superman leading Zod and his minions away from the city in order to avoid collateral damage.



There’s a hole or two in the plot, but nothing that I personally couldn’t set aside.


Okay, let’s put my bitching aside now.


Ladies and gentlemen, this movie kicks ass.  Aside from the animated films, we’ve never seen Superman kick ass and get his ass kicked as much as we did in Man Of Steel.  It’s delightfully devoid of the aforementioned shady real estate deals (granted there was some product placement by Lexcorp) which boosted the cheese factor in previous movies.


Lois Lane figured out who Clark was immediately, and as such, the whole argument about a pair of BC glasses keeping anyone from recognizing a super hero has been dispensed.  That actually brings another thought to mind.  If Lois Lane was always such a good reporter, why on Earth did she never do some honest, investigative journalism to find out who Superman was before?  It didn’t take her much to do it in this movie.  Why didn’t she do it before?


If you’re looking for a new kind of Superman film that doesn’t rehash the same old tricks which blazed the trail in the movies from the 70’s and 80’s, Man Of Steel is well worth the trip.


Now that I’ve ruined a few key components of the film for your, allow me to do it a little more.


Superman wins over Zod, however he does it in a way he would rather not.


“Welcome to the Planet” has two meanings.


Seeing Kevin Costner in yet another movie featuring corn fields is a hell of a lot better than seeing him in another film featuring a whole bunch of water.


Perry White is black this time, however they didn’t change his name to drive it home.



Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

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