Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Man of Steel - Inner Journeys


Okay, this isn't totally relevant to Asian books, but I like movies as well and every now and then I like to dissect them for story. We saw Man of Steel last weekend (yes, in the midst of the flood in Calgary, we went out for an evening to enjoy ourselves). My wife's only comment, after Superman emerged after a long fight in Smallville with General Zod's minions was, "I want his hair gel." Of course, Supes hair was impeccable even after all that combat. He's Superman, after all. Other than that, she wasn't a fan of the movie. His inner journey was much more interesting to her than all the fights and destruction.

Rushing to the defence of the Man of Steel, I said you can't have the inner journey without the outer journey. The movie was entirely about Kal-El's search for acceptance. He was an alien on Earth. Would humanity accept him? His father didn't think Earth was ready for him to appear and that humanity might reject him. So, he stayed hidden. Then, along comes General Zod who wants Kal-El to help him restore Krypton. Kal-El is Kryptonian so of course he should be with Zod and his minions. Earthlings are weak and Kal-El should shun them for his true brethren.

The rest of the movie was both an internal and external struggle for Kal-El to answer that question and I think the climax, although a bit overdone, was appropriate. Kal-El made up his mind - save Zod and his true home or save humanity and his adopted home. We all know the answer to that question.

For me, you needed both journeys and the story felt complete for me. Man of Steel was a good example of how to write an inner and outer journey of a character.

Now all I have to do is find that hair gel.


Larry Niven wrote an interesting article about Superman entitled Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex. I read it in high school (a loooong time ago), but after seeing the Gillette advertisement before the Man of Steel movie began ("How does Superman shave?" it asked), I remembered the article and looked it up. I've linked it above. It's hilarious reading.

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