Say what you will about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel movie, one thing he has done is to give comic book fans the gift they desire above all else: something to argue over for years to come. Here, Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis (son of John Landis) was set to record a bit for Trailers From Hell when he ranted for nine straight minutes about Man of Steel, the concept of Superman, and the state of the modern superhero movie in general. Want to finish a screenplay? It helps to have this kind of passion.
Lengthy, spoiler-y block quote to follow (SPOILER ALERT – I’ll put the more spoilery stuff below the cut), but he essentially expresses a similar Man of Steel critique as I did in my review, which follows a general pattern that I’ve noticed in almost all Man of Steel critiques (the positive and negative ones). Which is basically that the film makes you remember all the great things about superman, but then devolves into a hero-villain showdown that’s at best hackneyed and kind of dull (my take), and at worst EVERYTHING THAT’S WRONG WITH SUPERHERO MOVIES AND BY EXTENSION SOCIETY TODAY!
“I’m interested in movies where character drives story. Movies where story drives story don’t really interest me. […]
No one gets what’s special about Superman. In a pop way. What’s special about Superman, is that his parents didn’t f*cking die. He’s not a selfish, post-traumatic sissy who needed to have his parents shot to death in front of him to understand that maybe you should help people and that crime is wrong and murder is bad. His Uncle Ben didn’t need to be killed in front of him basically by his own hand to drive the point home that if you have superpowers you should use them to help people.[…]
He’s just a guy from Kansas who has the best superpowers. And instead of absolute power corrupting absolutely, it has absolved him from fear, and greed, and hate, and all of the weaknesses that stem from human insecurity.
“That scenario where he basically allows Zod to destroy all of Metropolis, where he attempts to beat him in a punching contest? And then he’s forced to kill him? I have to believe Superman would kill Zod immediately if the alternative was 100,000 dead people.
It shouldn’t be a city-destroying sequence. It should be two guys fighting in space, or on the moon…
… [Man of Steel] reminded me of Transformers 3, or the end of Avengers. Everything ends in the same city-destroying, pandemonium, terrorist attack from space. Everything gets leveled and all of these people die and then the next scene it’s like “hey, you want to go to a baseball game?” No! The teams are all dead! Why are we in this office?
“I guess what I’m saying isn’t so much an opinion on the Man of Steel. It’s more about the way superhero movies have become… at the end of all of these movies, all I’m seeing is fire and death. And that confuses the living sh*t out of me, because everybody’s going to these movies and they’re all making so much money. And at the end, a hero stands tall as all of society crumbles behind him. That isn’t a superhero to me; a guy who stands there when everyone else is dead. That’s like a rock star. I don’t want to see movies about rock stars. Put the hero back in the super hero movies, because I think ‘super’ might have taken over.”
He’ll probably get some blowback for being kind of smarmy about Chronicle at the end there, but I found myself agreeing with nearly everything he said. And again, a person who gets overly emotional and passionate about these things is exactly the kind of person you want writing screenplays.
One place I have to disagree is “I don’t want to see movies about rock stars.” I agree up to a point, but… we still have Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, right? Because every time he chews scenery, I want to rip my shirt off and light my tits on fire. (*stamps feet to “We Will Rock You”*)
[hat tip: QuietEarth]