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Man of Beer and Football

20 June 2013

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So I finally got out to see Man of Steel last night. I planned to see it last weekend, but a combination of jetlag and stomach-fluey dogs kept me mostly in a cool, dark house, watching reality TV like a recovering heroin addict.

I’m just going to get this out of the way right now — I loved the hell out of Man of Steel. I’m a lifelong Superman fan, and while I won’t get too spoilery in talking about the movie, there were a lot of departures from the “accepted” comic mythos. But that’s not a bad thing. I was worried when I saw the initial trailers that the film would just be a rehash of a ton of shit we’ve seen before (with upgraded effects), but thankfully, that wasn’t what we got.

But enough about the departures from the norm… I want to call out something that I really loved about the film that, in my opinion, stays very true to the character.

Man of Steel is more about Clark Kent than it is Superman, and that’s the way I think it should be. After all, Clark Kent is who Kal-El really is — it’s not an identity he created to slip into when he wasn’t being Superman. He was raised by the Kents, a nice Midwestern family with infinite patience. Clark Kent, abilities aside, is just as Midwestern as someone who grew up in Nebraska or Missouri. He drinks beer and watches college football. And I thought the film just nailed that part of the character.

It’s opposite to Batman — Batman is who Bruce Wayne really is. Bruce Wayne is simply a mask Batman puts on when he’s not being Batman — he had no parents, no real upbringing outside of a butler (no disrespect to Alfred). Bruce Wayne doesn’t exist, really — from a young age, Batman was training to be Batman. I loved the Nolan Batman films, but I don’t think he nailed that part of the character nearly as well.

And this difference between the two characters is what I love. The one you’d expect to fully step into the full-time hero role — the one who has superhero-ing built into his biology, thanks to Earth’s yellow sun — is the one who is really, deep down, a kid from the farms of Kansas. And the one you’d expect to be a normal dude who puts on a mask to go out and fight crime is actually the opposite; a crimefighter who occasionally puts on the mask of a normal dude.

Now I can only hope for a World’s Finest Movie…

So what did you think of Man of Steel? Which Superman TV or movie incarnation — and there have been a lot of them — got closest to the true character in your opinion?

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