Saturday, 15 June 2013

Iron and Fire in 'Man of Steel'

"Can you imagine how the people on this planet would react if they knew there was someone like this out there?"
Perry White

It is the era of the visually huge. 

All of the things we used to read in stories and comic books in my youth can now be graphically generated and projected before our eyes.... 

 but that isn't what makes a good movie. 

What we're truly looking for, longing for, is a story in which what transpires feeds a yearning to say that something important is going on, not just in front of eyes, but in what that story is telling us - who we are and what we're doing here. 

 Are we all just alone? 
Do our actions, our choices, really matter? 
Is there more going on behind the daily struggle to stay alive? 

Such fiction, when done well, is vital because it transcends the often bleak, 'ready meal' approach to life, and allows us to catch a glint of something more. 

Man of Steel certainly scores high in this genre. 
A world is dying, it's people along with it, but amidst such tragedy, hope is provided in the form of a Son, who will not only carry all that matters of his realm into a new world, but will provide our race with a beacon of hope. 

With such a context, the creators of the film knew they needed to carefully craft not only our glances into the choices of this child as he becomes a man, but equally, the characterization of evil that this person will have to confront as he grows, to prepare him for when he faces a terrible embodiment of such darkness in the latter half of the movie. 
Writers Christopher Nolan and David Goyer have done a splendid job here. The moments and events that unfold for the first half of the story bed this in and allow us to see not only the struggle, but the final clarity that Kal-El finds to face the malignancy of his dead homeworld. The second half of the film is essentially the ramifications of his origins and those choices, and Zack Snyder has certainly done his best work as a director to bring the scale of this onto the screen. There is, no doubt, a difficulty here - how can so many 'small' things (thoughts and conversations in particular), perhaps, conclude with such huge consequences, but a few moments  reflection reminded me that in our own lives, this can often be so - for good or for ill. 

The movie has some deeply resonating moments, and some strong Christian imagery (Jor-El's 'sending' of his son to 'save them all' being one of the most obvious), but it is the quieter points in this story that will speak volumes about the nature of what we are and why we need to be rescued.Whilst it's not a movie without faults (and there will be plenty of reviews talking about them), it certainly has given us a new rendition of this popular modern tale, and with it comes another opportunity for us all to think about what really matters.

Certainly worth a look if this is a genre you enjoy.

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