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‘Chronicle’ Writer Max Landis Uses ‘Man Of Steel’ To Explain Flaws In Superhero Films
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Man of Steel, which opened in theaters on June 14, 2013, has had a polarizing effect on fans, moviegoers, and critics alike. Though the film opened with a resounding $116 million at the box office, it’s near 70 percent drop in its second week pretty much speaks for itself. Is it the Superman film we have all been waiting for? Based on its second week numbers, maybe not, but WB is already getting ready for Justice League and other superhero tentpoles. They have already signed David Goyer to pen the sequel.

Many writers have already responded to Zack Snyder‘s portrayal of the character, even producer Christopher Nolan reportedly didn’t like the film’s ending. Now, another filmmaker is making his voice heard about Superman and the subject matter that is superheroes. In a video posted on YouTube, Chronicle scribe, Max Landis, speaks his mind on how Man of Steel fails to live up to the legacy of the Superman name, and even compares Snyder’s vision of the iconic hero to other heroes like Spider-Man (who he calls a narcissist), Batman (who he calls a cold sociopath), and Mr. Fanastic (who he calls an egomaniac).

Beware, spoilers follow here below after the jump.

The video isn’t so much of an attack on how Man of Steel doesn’t live up to the Superman name, but more of an opinion on superhero films in general.

I go into a movie like 2012 to see a city be destroyed. You know where a city shouldn’t be being destroyed? In the fucking Superman movie. And I kind of loved the way it looked when it was getting destroyed, but Superman shouldn’t be allowing that to happen. People get mad because he kills Zod at the end”¦he snaps his neck because Lord knows those four people in the train station needed to be saved after hundreds of thousands of people have died on camera in such direct 9/11 corollaries that [I was jaw-dropped shocked]”¦What it comes down to is I don’t mind if Superman kills people because he has no reason not kill people. I know that one of the tenants of the character is that he doesn’t, but the reason that he doesn’t is because having that much power makes you responsible for weaker people”¦Superman when he goes after someone is essentially not trying to beat them, he is trying to save them from themselves”¦You’re looking at a God who walks amongst men!”

While many are conflicted about how Zod was handled, Landis (who’s the son of director John Landis) felt as though it could have been better than what was shown on screen. Truth be told, I was even mad that Zod was killed. But does the death of a villain hell-bent on destroying a planet outweigh the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people? No, or at least it shouldn’t. Like Landis said, he is not responsible for Zod, he is responsible for those weaker than himself.

But what bothered Landis the most is that Superman allowed for such destruction to happen to the city of Metropolis. As previously mentioned, a hero is supposed to save a city, not level it during a fight. And boy does Metropolis get leveled in Man of Steel. His argument is that if you go into a film to watch city or global destruction, you go watch 2012. Landis adds that the fight should have taken place in space or on the Moon. To further support his argument, Landis compares Superman participating in destruction rather than saving the world with other films like The Avengers or Transformers: Dark Of The Moon:

“At the end of Superman, and at the end of a lot of these movies, all I’m seeing is fire and death; and that confuses the living shit out of me, because everyone is going to these movies, and they are making so much money; and at the end, a hero stands tall as all of society crumble behind them. That isn’t a superhero to me, a guy who stands there after everyone else is dead, that’s a rock star. I don’t want to see movies about rock stars. Put the hero back in the superhero movies, because I think super might have taken over.

The problem with the latter part of Landis’ rant is that the rock star persona is Tony Stark’s shtick. And the heroes he badgers, a lot of the time, that is their shtick as well – Spider-Man constantly insults his villains, Batman is a cold sociopath because of what happened, etc. But for the most part, he wasn’t as bothered by Superman killing Zod as everyone else was; in fact, he is in the minority of agreeing with it. What he doesn’t like is that the heroes of the movie are missing the point of what it means to be a hero.

Watch the full video to get a better sense of what Landis is talking about, and tell us what your thoughts are on Superman, how Snyder portrayed him, and what needs to change about superheroes in film in general.

Video

[Source via Filmdrunk]

3 Comments »

  1. I admit, I was almost pi$$ed at what Superman did to Zod. The massive amount of destruction though, I get that. FINALLY! A superbeing movie where the producer/director/writers/studio castrated the superbeings. Especially the villains. Superman was obviously torn and tormented over the destruction. But he knew if he didn’t do EVERYTHING he could to stop not just Zod, but all of the others, there wouldn’t be any humans left alive. And then, Zod and the others would find another planet, and another and another.

    Finally, we got to see a no holds barred fight between superbeings.

    Comment by stromm — June 24, 2013 @ 7:29 pm

  2. Has ANYONE who have made these comments ever bothered to READ a Superman comic. He has killed and massive levels of destruction have occurred on countless occasions. I really dont understand what is so upsetting about this. And if you really want to go back to the story at hand, Superman is in his first big fight where he is outmatched. Its a situation that he’s never handled before, and is learning how to manage destruction on a grand scale. While I agree that a lot of it is over done as in The Avengers, the grand scale destruction of cities seems to be a common backdrop of so many modern movies. People flock to it. For some reason, people enjoy seeing what the world would be in ruins. Its almost a strange sort of masochistic element that pulls people in. In the end though, the prevailing factor is usually one figure who stands up to protect. Not a rock star seeking fame or glory, just a figure who simply wants to save lives. Yes, there are heroes who have learned they need to use their powers after facing a large personal tragedy, but this isnt their flaw. Learning the consequences of squandered power through loss is an incredibly motivational theme. Realization through tragedy is something every human being can relate with.

    Also, his dissection of Superman seems to forget the fact that he was raised here. By humans. So the insecurities, the inner moral battle are deeply ingrained in him. That is what makes him the hero he is. He’s a boy from Kansas who has all these incredibly perfect powers yet all the imperfect human qualities that forever keep him trying to balance it all.

    Comment by acrossalloceans — June 24, 2013 @ 10:05 pm

  3. Completely agree with your assessment and would like to add that Metropolis doesn’t suffer only in the comics but in other mediums as well. I’ve been playing “Injustice: Gods Among Us” on XBOX and far, far worse happens to the city (not to mention what happens to future Metropolis in DC Universe Online). Picked up the Injustice comic books too and OMG at what happens to Lois Lane and Joker! Nearly cried…but I get it. Superman is such a strong and iconic character that some of these stories require enormous catalysts to counter balance the good that he represents. Earliest such catastrophes (that I remember) was Superman’s bout with Doomsday just about 20 years ago. Superman fought to the death to stop Doomsday and in his absence, Coast City wound up being destroyed by Cyborg Superman. Hal Jordan went berserk after finding out and annihilated the Green Lantern Corps in his attempt to accumulate power and resurrect Coast City. Superman and the DC universe are not exempt from devastation and what happened in Man of Steel does not upset me. As was pointed out, this was Superman’s first real evenly matched fight against a lethal threat. Superman wasn’t responding to a passive threat where he could remove humans from the hot zone and place them somewhere safe. General Zod and his army were out to terraform the planet at the expense of every human on Earth without compromise. Yeah, a few buildings were destroyed (I think some analysts had some fun and estimated “real world” damage in Man of Steel at $750 Billion+ ball park with up to 400,000 lives lost) but I’m pretty confident that Superman won’t let anything like this happen again.

    Comment by PAUL — June 25, 2013 @ 9:26 am

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