Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 60

you, Batman Begins). Now, with that said, let me address the two big sticking points that a lot of Superman fans have with this film: One, the “killing” scene: The original “comics code” adopted by both D.C. and Marvel way back when was, from the get-go, a ham-handed, ill-conceived, arbitrary way of enforcing a presumptuous morality on comic book characters; it had nothing to do with creating good, believable, interesting, or memorable heroes and villains, and was not so much a product of artistic restraint as it was one of economic reality; i.e., it had everything to do with appeasing angry parents and an out-of-control moralistic, prohibitionist society. Superman’s (and Batman’s) “no killing” rule is a leftover of that code. It’s a fine ideal, I guess, but it’s just not believable or realistic to think that the most powerful hero on Earth, when faced with the moral dilemma of either a) letting innocent people die horrible deaths or b) killing the murderous asshole who’s threatening them — and who is offered no choice other than killing him — would opt to choose a nonviolent solution to the problem. I’m sorry, but if I were Superman, I would’ve killed the bastard, too! (I guess it’s a good thing I have neither the strength nor other powers that the Man of Steel has; otherwise, there’d be a lot of neck-broke dudes out there.) Secondly, a lot of Superman fans have complained that the film doesn’t seem as “fun” or “joyful” as the original Christopher Reeve films. And you know what? That’s entirely understandable. It’s not. The reason is because those films were a product of the 1980’s mentality, and we, as a society, were much more innocent and naïve back then. We’re not, now. We want heroes that are dark and complex because our lives are now more dark and complex; we want heroes with extra dimensions and moral demons because our lives today have so many of both. Superman, at his best, is a reflection of the best in us, of everything we can and should strive to be; in light of that, his killing of Zod is well-nigh unforgivable . . . until you look at it from the standpoint of logic and believability, and in light of the fact that although Superman embodies much of what we ought to strive for, he is, in the end, not human, and thus is not bound by conventional human morality. That’s the way I see it, at least. Anyway. This is a great film, one that I highly recommend PAGE 60 every fan of comic-book movies — and every fan of great action and sci-fi period — see. I, for one, really enjoyed this film. Having been alive when the original Superman film featuring Zod was released, I actually think that if you compare the two films objectively — the “two” in this case being this film with the Richard Donner cut of Superman — that this one ends up being the superior (and more believable) of the two, both from a visual standpoint as well as a storytelling standpoint. You are of course entitled to your opinion; any given person’s mileage with any given movie I like may vary — a lot. I thought Henry Cavill’s performance was great, better than Routh’s for sure, maybe even almost the equal of Reeve’s. (I know, sacrilege; but, this is how I see things.) I especially enjoyed Michael Shannon’s Zod; and here, I will go on record to that yes, he does indeed outdo Terrance Stamp, both in terms of nuance and general scene-chewing as well. Insofar as “joy” goes, I don’t tend to rate movies on how “joyful” they are; to me, that’s all caught up in how well a film entertains me. Mainly, I tend to rate films on how well they accomplished their individual artistic goals, whether those goals were stated outright by the filmmakers beforehand or implied as the film progressed . . . and on that score, Snyder and co. delivered — big time. They created a modern-day reimagining of the Superman mythos — or a part of it — that addresses contemporary moral quandaries, with a flamboyant but well-articulated visual styling. As crude as it might be to say it, I think that Snyder is the Artisan’s answer to Michael Bay; he is visually striking — and knows damn well how to film an action sequence. Insofar as the violence is concerned, well, here is where I — as an author and storyteller — simply shrug my shoulders and say that when you create a fantasy universe, you can’t — you can’t, can’t, can’t — impose artificial boundaries (especially moral ones) on where your characters can and can’t go and where the rules of that universe will and will not lead you. The rules for this story were simple: “Feuding aliens with vastly superior strength and firepower land on Earth. They fight.” Okay, the rules were more nuanced than that, but you get the idea: It may have been violent, it may have not been pretty, and it may have even been unsettling from a moral standpoint . . . but folks, this is exactly how