Image taken from Hero Complex/L.A. Times
Let’s just get right down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?
The Bechdel Test (Gender): First, women characters must have names. Then did the two women have a dialogue between each other, that did not have to do with the menzessssss. Ummmmmm, it barely passes, I guess I would include Lois apologizing to Jenny for putting down interns, and they go about talking about working things (I assume) but they get cut off. There are very few scenes with women interacting with each other (Thor is the standards I judge all comic movies by). Snyder, Goyer, and Nolan missed a golden opportunity to have a conversation between the strong villainness Faora and Lois Lane when Lois is on the Kryptonian’s space ship, but nothing happens. The Bechdel test calls for an actual dialogue to take place between two women. Lois’ interview with Mrs. Kent does not count; they discussion centers around Clark. The film had the potential to break through but alas, it doesn’t. Nolan’s and Snyder’s limitations when it comes to gender representations make this movie fall short in this area.
The POC Bechdel Test (Race): First, the POC characters must have names. Then, did the two racial minorities have a dialogue between each other that had nothing to do with white women and men? Um no. The cast was for the most part, white; the solid presences of Harry Lenix of Dollhouse and Laurence Fishbourne could not make up for the lack of diversity. The scenes of Krypton are very much whitewashed and culturally monolithic; as my friend Scorch, so eloquently put it, “Krypton again seems to be Star Trekked as a global monolithic culture. All Kryptonians are similar. And they’re all Caucasian and Israeli for the most part.” Gail Simone noted on Twitter that all Kryptonians seemed to have a British accent. If Superman contains a message about achieving a better humanity, one would think that an appreciation of the diverse experiences and cultures of all people groups, and not just whites would be shown.
Dialogue: As people have pointed out, there was less dialogue in this movie as expected. The visual effects and nonverbal communication between characters (Lois and Kal holding hands, Lara sobbing and sobbing,Jonathan Kent waving off his son from saving him from the tornado) were some of the more poignant, memorable portions of the film. There just were not any quotes from THE GOOD GUYS worth noting, to make us keep coming back and back for more, to know the movie, admittedly like Marvel’s The Avengers. No memes really for folks on tumblr to blog and blog, nothing really marketable for t-shirts, etc. My favorite character from the movie was Michael Shannon’s Zod, and I know some of his lines, but he is the ANTAGONIST, and really, that shouldn’t happen in a good comic movie. Do I really want to go around shouting, “You think your son is safe? I WILL FIND HIM!” Okay, sometimes, I do, but NO NO NO, no one wants to do that. True to Nolanesque/Goyer form, the movie is more about a dark, political message of realism rather than any of the characters. Comparatively speaking, this is why we don’t get to see young Barbara Gordon’s face in The Dark Knight. Nolan didn’t want to put up with having to write about anymore members of the Batfamily (he just happened to add his own, which was not my favorite move) because, ta daa!, he didn’t want to have to develop them.
The Fight Scenes: The conflicts that took place between the Kryptonians: Kal El, Faora, Zod, and Shaquille O’Neal MADE ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. Uninteresting, played out cliches of a diner that loses its roof, a military that tries to intervene with the fray but SURPRISE! the military can’t DO JACK! Duh! The nine-foot tall guy, all he did was take orders, not say a single word the entire film. I guess he was there to make Zod look tough? Speaking of Kryptonians, one of the larger plotholes that keeps bothering me is the fact that Zod has like 12, something odd fellow Kryptonians on his spaceship as soldiers. Did he need all of them to stay on board? Why the heck did they not fight versus Superman on Earth? They all needed to be bodyguards? The “advanced race” of the Kryptonians couldn’t invent autopilot but they could make the world-engine, technology that literally could terraform a planet into destruction? I could understand if Faora, Shaq, and Zod were the last remaining Kryptonian rebels with how things took place in Smallville, but not, it wasn’t.
Image taken from IMDB.
LASTLY: THAT ENDING: The ending to Man Of Steel DID NOT HAPPEN. I refuse to believe what I saw after seeing it twice thus far. So instead, I have decided to fix it, and the fate of Zod. Metropolis is devastated. Clark Kent hasn’t ripped apart the ship that Zod took over. The Phantom Zone is still open. Zod takes off his armor, challenges Clark a duel to the death. Zod knows that Kal El has chosen humanity over Krypton, because Krypton had its chance. Their struggle leads them to a building filled with people. Zod uses his heat vision, daring Kal to break his neck and kill him, or watch these people perish in the rubble. But no, Superman, representing a new dawn in human history, rejects the idea of killing. Instead, our Superman uses his brains, and flies up to the Phantom Zone entrance with Zod, and sends Zod there along with himself. The movie ends with Lois and the military desperately searching for a way to free all of the military personnel and Clark Kent out of the Phantom Zone. The last scene of the movie is Clark discovering a long lost pod, with his family’s shield.
Stay tuned for my 4th and concluding part of this review, my predictions for the sequel.