Links: On Man of Steel and James Gandolfini

movies-man-of-steel-henry-cavillHere’s the thing. Henry Cavill, despite being somewhat excessively buff, is simply delicious. While I’m thrilled to see him strut his stuff for however long Man of Steel is, I don’t see why the story can’t make a little more sense. Not being a particularly ardent fan of Superman, I don’t know much either about the guy. I’ve only watched the Christopher Reeve movies and I’ve very little knowledge of the comics. Consequently, I wasn’t traumatised by what Superman does to Zod at the end of the film, though having read the wails of fanboys, I’m on their side. Bottom line: Nolan and Goyer were lazy with this script, and Snyder’s love for blowing things up wasn’t distraction enough.

But it isn’t enough for Man of Steel’s Superman to be a contemporary Jesus Christ. The one non-evil character who questions Superman in the comic books is Lois Lane. She may not be a feminist icon, but she does challenge him from time to time. She helps create the mythology of Superman with her adoring articles, but she also tests him, particularly in the iconic Christopher Reeve-as-Superman movies. Not in Man of Steel.

Amy Adams plays a Lois Lane who literally and figuratively is a follower. She spots Clark Kent walking into a cave and she follows him inside. From the very beginning, courtesy Superman healing her, Lois acknowledges him as a hero and savior. Later, she happily follows him into the enemy ship. When Lois has to choose between Earth and Superman, she chooses Superman. Because that’s what those of true faith do.

In fact, following is women’s work in the Man of Steel universe. Diane Lane, as Martha Kent, follows her husband and then her adopted son’s lead. I’m not sure if we were supposed to read into the fact that Snyder shows her collecting apples in the scene in which the evil Zod reveals himself. Mercifully, she drops them so Clark/Superman isn’t tempted to bite into one.

Martha isn’t shown making one decision or doing much more than help set up situations in which Superman can look a little more powerful. Even Faora—black leather and kickboxing skills notwithstanding—is a follower. Just as Lois follows Superman, Faora follows Zod. There’s some attempt to explain why Zod acts as he does, but Faora doesn’t have a mind of her own. She simply obeys orders. The only moment in which something of her own personality shows up is when she says she believes in science and evolution. And she gets thrashed by Superman for her ridiculous opinions.

You can read the whole thing here (includes Jesus Christ).

Less fun, an obit for James Gandolfini. RIP.

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