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.
In this 2017 reboot of the popular television show from the 1990’s gives a whole new look at the teenagers with attitude from Angel Grove. When Jason, a star football player for the local high school, finds himself in trouble with the law he is given the penalty of serving Saturdays in a detention facility with a group of teenagers, all of them find themselves as the outcasts of their own social groups.
Jason soon meets Billy, a highly intelligent young man who deals with autism. While hanging out one night, Jason and Billy find themselves mining in a nearby mountain range. Before they know it an explosion brings the five rangers-to-be together. Soon, they find the power crystals that Zordon placed on Earths generations prior. Over the next few days the group tries to figure out what these crystals are and why the teenagers have gained super-human strength and other powers since finding the crystals.
When the team-to-be returned to the location that the crystals were found, they discover a large spaceship, where they meet Zordon and Alpha 5. Before they know it, the teens are soon training to become the Power Rangers, in order to defend Angel grove from the destructive grasps of Rita Repulsa.
How does it hold up?
For a die-hard fan of the ’93 television show there is a lot to feed your geek-heart. There are many references to the original show that makes Power Ranger fans smile ear-to-ear. Yet, there are enough new materials and concepts that the average viewer won’t become uninterested.
The first really enjoyable concept that strengthened the film the concept that the teens were not friends at the beginning of the movie, throughout the film they had to develop the trust and relationship that one would see in the original television show. For instance, the team bonds through an over-night camping trip; where the rangers decide to take a leap of faith and share their true selves with each other. Each ranger shares something personal to the group, whether it is a tale of teenage angst or feeling misunderstood by friends and family. Due to this moment, the audience is able to gather an understanding of how the tees bonded together, making the story even more relatable for the audience.
Secondly, it was a great touch to have such a wide range of personalities within the Rangers’ team. Jason was a caring young man who stood up to those bullying those who were smaller or considered odd or strange. Jason also dealt with the pressures of being the popular, all-star football player that adults admired and kids looked up to. Throughout the film the audience gets a sense that Jason does not like all of the attention that he receives from football, which could explain his self-destructive behavior.
Billy is a highly intelligent young man who happens to be autistic. Billy instantly pursues a friendship with Jason. As he learns about the reality of the Power Rangers, Billy instantly becomes excited about the idea of being a super hero. This shows two things: Billy enjoys life like a young child, meaning he doesn’t take life too serious, he enjoys having fun. The second this shows is that Billy desires to be a part of something that helps people. Billy desires to be a part of something bigger.
Zack is perceived as a tough kid with a tough past. When we are introduced to him he is laying on the roof of old shack in the middle of nowhere, near the location where the rangers find the power crystals. Due to his tough guy persona, Zack shows no fear when in the face of a new adventure, such as leaping off of a cliff in to the abyss below. He carries around a “why not?” attitude. We soon learn that Zach doesn’t normally go to school because he cares for his sick, possibly dying mother. Throughout the film, Zack shows a soft, tender side that blended well with his tough guy persona.
Trini was often referred as “Crazy girl” by Zack because she was quiet and reserved, yet adventurous. Throughout the film, the audience gets the impression that there is a secret deep within her that is not being expressed. The audience comes to find out that Trini felt misunderstood by the kids at school as well as her parents. At first glance, the audience may just see Trini as a punk chick that walks to the beat of her own drum and does not concern herself with the worries of others. Although in the midst of a scene with Trini sitting at the dinner table with her parents and two younger brothers we get a better understanding of Trini and her struggles. In the scene the parents are trying to communicate with Trini. When she does not respond, the parents show their frustration through yelling and demanding that Trini express herself and talk to them. In a out lashing of bottled frustration Trini revealed to her family that she identified as gay and that she felt that they would not understand what she was thinking or feeling.
Rita and Zordon:
Secondly, the audience was treated to a multitude of back stories for the origin of the rangers’ team as well as Zordon and Rita. We learn that power ranger teams have been assembled for generations to protect planets and people throughout all space and time. The audience is also treated to an origin story of Zordon, who was once the leader of one of the previous rangers’ teams. In the beginning of the film we see Zordon armored in his rangers’ armor in the midst of a large war. This gives a logical reason to the long-term question: How does Zordon know so much about the Power Crystals and the Power Rangers?
Another very important question was answered: Who is Rita Repulsa? As one reminisces of the 90’s TV show, one would realize that we never got a proper introduction to who Rita was. All the audience received was news that she was evil and that she needed to be stopped. In the 2017 film we learn that Rita and Zordon once worked together to protect the world as Power Rangers. Even though they were once partners, Rita was drawn away from her promise to protect the world and she soon began to plan to take over the world to gain power. The audience soon discovers that Rita’s greed for power caused her to take a path into villainy.
What was the lesson learned?
As with so many stories, there is a lesson to be learned through this movie. Audience members both young and old can walk away with a new perspective or a lesson that that expound upon as they further contemplated the movie. It seems that the main theme of Power Rangers was teamwork.
Teamwork is defined as, “a cooperative effort by a group or team.” Or “work produced by a group or team.” Teamwork is very important in a movie like this, but before you can have a cohesive team, the team must be able to work together and trust one another. As was stated earlier in this review, the teenagers really didn’t know each other before the formation of the Power Rangers; therefore there is no reason why they should trust one another.
Also, with the use of each teenager’s back story, the audience realizes that these characters have their own struggles, trials and tribulations; because of that each character has their internal walls built up to protect themselves from further hurt. This was a great touch to the character development. In order to fully build up trust amongst the rangers, Zordon had to push them in their training. Besides that, the team needed to take time to build their relationship through training, activities and dealing with difficult times. The movie did a great job with giving each of the five rangers’ time to express their story in an appropriate manner where it didn’t feel rushed or unrealistic.
The film also taught its audience that trusting someone is a two-way street. On one side, when you have a secret that you wish to be shared, you are making a choice to be vulnerable with the person or people that you are sharing with. On the other side of the road, those who are hearing the secret, they have the choice to accept you and your secret and support or they can reject you and mock for your secret. This lesson is very evident in the scene with Jason and Kimberly, where Kimberly was finally revealing the reason why she had been assigned to detention. The audience can see that Kimberly was struggling with this secret and didn’t want to share, but she knew that she had to, not only for the team’s sake but for her own sanity. After hearing the reason as to why Kimberly had detention, Jason made the choice to comfort her and show her compassion, making her feel cared for and part of the team.
Throughout this film the audience gets to see this group of teenagers build a very authentic friendship through their trials and tribulations. The “teenagers with attitude” showed the audience the true steps of building trust and developing an honest portrayal of how friendships are created. The teenagers also showed the audience the importance of empowering each other to be a part of something so much bigger than they ever imagined.
Isn’t that what humans ultimately all want; to feel cared for and to be a part of a team? In order to connect with someone on a deeper level one must being willing to become vulnerable with their friends and family, regardless of the fear that may compel them to avoid the situation. When the human race allows themselves to build these connections with people, they can be used to do great things with our lives, whether that be saving the world as a Power Ranger or impacting the world for something bigger.