by Jessica Seese
My name is Jessica. Anthony is my boyfriend and best friend. This is my first solo contribution to Beautiful Feet Entertainment. You can hear Anthony and I review movies under the “He said, She said: movie reviews” audio tab.
Superman is an iconic character from America’s comic book history. There are many materials that I could have focused on, from comic books to movies to television series. For this particular “He said, She said” movie review however, I have chosen to do a double-feature: “Man of Steel” (2013) and “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016).
Superman is from the planet Krypton. As a baby, his parents sent him to Earth. He grew up in Smallvile, Kansas, as Clark Kent. An only child to Jonathon and Martha Kent, he is devoted to his parents and leaves Kansas to pursue a career at the Daily Planet, a newspaper in his new home, Metropolis.
Due to his Kryptonian heritage, he has incredible powers, such as flight.(As a quick back story, although most people are familiar with Superman.)
Man of Steel
The opening of “Man of Steel” takes place on a crumbling planet, Krypton. Because the Kryptonites have used the planet’s core, it is no longer stable. Jor-El realizes there is hope. He says, “I have held that hope in my hands,” referring to his son, Kal-EL
Hope is defined as “…..to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true.” (Webster) For Jor-El, hope resides within his son. How many of us can say the same about our children? We place the hope of the future in our children’s hand. As Christians, we also experience the hope of Christ, for salvation and new life. Hope is very power, because it can allow you to continue in the midst of difficult circumstances. Hope will be a central theme of this film.
Krypton’s eminent collapse has lead to a coup, a shift in the political landscape that has shaped their planet. General Zod kills a member of the council. Like Jor-El, he wants to save Krypton’s future. Zod is a purist, and only wants certain members to survive. Jor-El does not want Zod to have this power over the Codex. (The Codex is where new life is….stored) Fighting and chaos have broken out as a result to General Zod’s actions.
Jor-El goes to the Genesis Chamber, which is a criminal offense. Jor-El steals the Codex, and flees on Haraca’s back; they go back to Laura and the baby. Laura is concerned that their son will be an outcast. But Jor-El feels he will be viewed as a god. Laura and Jor-El spend time with their son. “Our hope and dreams travel with you.”
“(Kal-El)…..will be free to forge his own destiny.” It is virtually important to remember that we can all “forge (our) own destiny.” Starting out in life is not always easy. Along the way, though mentors, we acquire the skills necessary to be successful in life. Think of your life, at its present moment. Take time to reflect on your mentors. Now, think about your future. What would you like to be part of your destiny? What stops can you take to fulfill those goals?
Clark Kent’s extraordinary abilities have led him to live the life of the drifter. During a flash back sequence, we see Clark as a young elementary school student, overwhelmed by his powers. Hiding in a supply closet, he says, “The world is too big, Mom.” To which his mother replies, “Then make it smaller. Just focus on my voice.” His mother asks him to envision her voice as a wave at the ocean, and to swim toward it. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, the world and the issues I face, do seem quite large at times; being able to make it smaller, to only focus on one thing at a time, as proven to be immensely helpful.
After a school bus accident threatens to expose Clark’s abilities, Jonathon shares with Clark about his other-worldly heritage. Due to Lois’ assignment to Arctic Cargo, she and Clark cross paths for the first time. While photographing the site, Lois sees Clark, and follows him to an anomaly, which is a Kryptonian craft. Lois is a Pulitzer-Prize winning writer. She is strong and independent, returning to her work. Clark finally learns of his Kryptonian history while in the Genesis Chamber. Krypton leaning inward led to its demise.
The “S”, Superman symbol is the symbol of the house of El, and it stands for hope. Jor-El wants Kal-El to “guide the people Earth, to be their hope.” The belief that every person can be a force for good (or has the potential to be) is a clue into the hope that moves throughout the film. Kal-El donned an outfit made for him, and he took on the quintessential look that we associate with Superman.
Being a force for good requires that we take action; to not sit idly by, to do good things. Whether you volunteer, or give of your time in another way, these are easy ways to do good things. Serve food to the homeless. Even children can make a positive impact. My ways to be a good person includes helping my mom with chores, being kind to friends and co-workers, and being involved in my church community. Be a superhero in your community too.
When Clark and Lois meet again, he is forced to relive his father’s death. Lois drops her story, and Clark returns home. National attention is received when an unknown ship’s appearance is broadcasting the message, “You are not alone,” General Zod has returned, and is calling for Kal-El to surrender.
Due to Lois’ involvement, she is targeted by the FBI. Clark decides to surrender after a talk with a local clergyman. Lois and Clark meet again, and he thanks her believing in him. A large military presence is there to monitor the exchange.
General Zod requests Lois’ presence as well. Clark gives her the Codex secretly. Clark becomes Ill General Zod wants to re-establish Krypton on Earth. Kal-El refuses to become a part of Earth’s destruction. Jor-El helps Lois; after she puts the Codex in the ship Kal-El escapes and goes to save Lois, as she hurtles towards Earth.
General Zod’s forces search for the craft that brought Kal-El to Earth. Lois is returned safely to Earth. General Zod and Superman have a chance to fight. People go for cover in Smallville.
“The lack of morality gives them an evolutionary disadvantage…..evolution always wins.” The military has intervened. One of General Zod’s commanders says these words in a fight in an IHOP. (7 Eleven also makes an appearance in this scene) The Kryptonians feel that they are superior due to their lack of caring for the people of Earth. One of the Kryptonians is injured, so they leave, and Superman is left to survey the rubble left behind.
“This is only stuff, it can be replaced; you can’t be.” Superman says this to his mother, as they are cleaning up her home. This is an important reminder to place people above our possessions. Material objects make us happy, but that is fleeting. Family and friendships provide a lasting happiness.
Due to Superman being the Codex, General Zod is angry and wants to “terraform” or “make Earth more like Krypton.” Superman’s vessel and General Zod use the phantom drive; Superman is hoping to use this similar technology to save the planet. The military is using an air strike. Again, civilians must take cover, as buildings begin to fall. After a conversation about genocide, General Zod obliterates Jor-El’s hologram. The atmosphere is tense. Zod’s ship splits in two and by coordinating with the military, they bring the ships down.
Superman saves Lois a second time. In a moment of closeness, they share kisses. Lois, says, “They say it’s all downhill after the first kiss.” To which Superman replies about that only being true if you kiss a human. Even in this tender moment, he is aware of his Kryptonite heritage. Superman and General Zod fight, with General Zod, to save the lives of a civilian family in a bank.
Lois is there as Superman laments having to take a life to save lives. Clark is able to return home, after persuading the military to give him his privacy. Clark begins working at the Daily Planet, now wearing glasses to protect his identity. This is where “Man of Steel” leaves us. But it leaves us with us much more than a comic book hero. We confront genocide, warfare, and the ability to rebuild our lives after a tragedy. Hope and the ability to make good choices are take a ways from this fictional story that can apply to our daily lives.