Man of Steel
Superman/Clark Kent is a boring character. He is corny. His main disguise is a pair of glasses. His weaknesses are kryptonite and super!feelings about alienation and identity. You can’t always use kryptonite to bring this guy down, so the best way to tell his story is to focus on his loneliness and confusion.
The Clark Kent in Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan’s Man of Steel is relatable, and it helps that Henry Cavill is actually a good actor. I believed him as the still bewildered and vulnerable Superman; Brandon Routh, on the other hand, looked like a talking piece of wood and bored me to tears. This version of the origin story flows with better logic than the origin story we’re used to (the one where he meets Lois Lane in The Daily Planet). Cavill is also supported by a top-notch cast: Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Russell Crowe (and I am reminded by his turn as Jor-El that he is a good actor; damn his singing in Les Miz), and Michael Shannon, who is just menacing and perfect as General Zod. (You should watch him in Revolutionary Road and Take Shelter, if you haven’t already.)
My quibbles: fight scenes that go on so long that they feel repetitive, shaky camerawork.
Overall, still a good watch.
Some Spoilers. This is your typical adventure-goes-horribly-wrong story, with a beautiful reversal of roles in the end (the macho becomes the weakling, and vice-versa). A group led by outdoor fanatic Lewis (Burt Reynolds) goes on a canoe trip down the Cahulawassee River, which will soon be flooded by the construction of a dam. The most memorable images to me are the abandoned houses, the tiny church that is driven down the road on the back of a truck to take it away from the flood. “I just want this town to die in peace,” says the sheriff in the end, and it is sad and beautiful and just the perfect line. And the actors (esp. Jon Voight) are fantastic here.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
I won’t tell you anything about this documentary, which is both tribute and a true crime tape, but I’ll say this: this is the single most devastating film I have ever seen in my life. It is incredibly heartbreaking. And I don’t think I can watch it again.