Man of Steel, which opened in theaters on June 14, 2013, has had a polarizing effect on fans, moviegoers, and critics alike. Though the film opened with a resounding $116 million at the box office, it’s near 70 percent drop in its second week pretty much speaks for itself. Is it the Superman film we have all been waiting for? Based on its second week numbers, maybe not, but WB is already getting ready for Justice League and other superhero tentpoles. They have already signed David Goyer to pen the sequel.
Many writers have already responded to Zack Snyder‘s portrayal of the character, even producer Christopher Nolan reportedly didn’t like the film’s ending. Now, another filmmaker is making his voice heard about Superman and the subject matter that is superheroes. In a video posted on YouTube, Chronicle scribe, Max Landis, speaks his mind on how Man of Steel fails to live up to the legacy of the Superman name, and even compares Snyder’s vision of the iconic hero to other heroes like Spider-Man (who he calls a narcissist), Batman (who he calls a cold sociopath), and Mr. Fanastic (who he calls an egomaniac).
Beware, spoilers follow here below after the jump.
The video isn’t so much of an attack on how Man of Steel doesn’t live up to the Superman name, but more of an opinion on superhero films in general.
I go into a movie like 2012 to see a city be destroyed. You know where a city shouldn’t be being destroyed? In the fucking Superman movie. And I kind of loved the way it looked when it was getting destroyed, but Superman shouldn’t be allowing that to happen. People get mad because he kills Zod at the end…he snaps his neck because Lord knows those four people in the train station needed to be saved after hundreds of thousands of people have died on camera in such direct 9/11 corollaries that [I was jaw-dropped shocked]…What it comes down to is I don’t mind if Superman kills people because he has no reason not kill people. I know that one of the tenants of the character is that he doesn’t, but the reason that he doesn’t is because having that much power makes you responsible for weaker people…Superman when he goes after someone is essentially not trying to beat them, he is trying to save them from themselves…You’re looking at a God who walks amongst men!”
While many are conflicted about how Zod was handled, Landis (who’s the son of director John Landis) felt as though it could have been better than what was shown on screen. Truth be told, I was even mad that Zod was killed. But does the death of a villain hell-bent on destroying a planet outweigh the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people? No, or at least it shouldn’t. Like Landis said, he is not responsible for Zod, he is responsible for those weaker than himself.
But what bothered Landis the most is that Superman allowed for such destruction to happen to the city of Metropolis. As previously mentioned, a hero is supposed to save a city, not level it during a fight. And boy does Metropolis get leveled in Man of Steel. His argument is that if you go into a film to watch city or global destruction, you go watch 2012. Landis adds that the fight should have taken place in space or on the Moon. To further support his argument, Landis compares Superman participating in destruction rather than saving the world with other films like The Avengers or Transformers: Dark Of The Moon:
“At the end of Superman, and at the end of a lot of these movies, all I’m seeing is fire and death; and that confuses the living shit out of me, because everyone is going to these movies, and they are making so much money; and at the end, a hero stands tall as all of society crumble behind them. That isn’t a superhero to me, a guy who stands there after everyone else is dead, that’s a rock star. I don’t want to see movies about rock stars. Put the hero back in the superhero movies, because I think super might have taken over.
The problem with the latter part of Landis’ rant is that the rock star persona is Tony Stark’s shtick. And the heroes he badgers, a lot of the time, that is their shtick as well – Spider-Man constantly insults his villains, Batman is a cold sociopath because of what happened, etc. But for the most part, he wasn’t as bothered by Superman killing Zod as everyone else was; in fact, he is in the minority of agreeing with it. What he doesn’t like is that the heroes of the movie are missing the point of what it means to be a hero.
Watch the full video to get a better sense of what Landis is talking about, and tell us what your thoughts are on Superman, how Snyder portrayed him, and what needs to change about superheroes in film in general.