The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

On the joys of ice destruction and a few words about Man of Steel

with 9 comments

man of steel

Imagine it’s an early morning in October. It’s been a cold night, just below the freezing point and every little hole on the ground, mostly traces after car wheels, is covered by a thin ice layer. I’m sure there is a name for this particular sort of ice where you live too. When I grew up we used to call it “crash ice”.

Imagine that you’re walking the road, seeing all that ice. It’s still unbroken. It’s not transparent enough to reveal what’s beneath it. It might be just air, if it’s a dry one. But if you’re unlucky it might be one of the stinkers, filled with dirty muddy water. You don’t know for sure until you have demolished it.

What will you do? Will you admire the ice but leave it alone for other morning walkers to enjoy? Or will you grab the opportunity to break them all, since you’re lucky enough to spot them first?

I know what I will do. I’ll smash as many of the ice coatings as I can manage. The only thing that can stop me is if it turns out that every little pool is filled with water. Then I might reconsider (but I’ll still see if I can’t at least make a little crack in each pool without wetting my feet if I’m careful).

Somewhere inside me I have a demon that is craving for destruction. Leading a civilized, adult, well-adjusted life, I don’t get to feed it very often, so when an opportunity arises I need to grab it.

Smash, crash, bang! Destroy! See what I can accomplish putting down my mighty feet! Flee or perish under my footsteps!

The joy of seeing and hearing and sensing how ice shatters into a thousand pieces – does it make sense to you at all?

Feeding the demon
The thing is that I think my appetite for complete extinction of big cities in movies –  houses falling apart, windows exploding, landscapes shifting as if they’d been terraformed –  originates from the same source that makes me crash the ice an October morning. It feeds the same demon.

The destruction feast that came with Man of Steel should be enough to keep the little bugger satisfied for a long while. When two aliens with infinite super powers get into a fight, it’s in its nature to get big and loud. Anything else would be a disappointment (such as was the case with Thor, where the final fight felt utterly small and unimpressive). In this case the fight wasn’t just big, it went on for forty minutes (according to people who keep track on those things.) Even for a crash ice smasher like me, it felt a little bit overlong.

However there’s more to Man of Steel than just destruction. There are fathers as well, two of them in the form of Russell Crowe (biological father) and Kevin Costner (practical father). I loved both and I couldn’t get enough of them. As much as I enjoy smashing, they were the best part of this film. Every scene with a father in it worked. And between their appearances I would impatiently wait for the next time they’d turn up

Preferred Superboy
To be completely honest, I never had a big crush on Superman as I grew up. When it came to comics I was all into Asterix, Tintin and Carl Barks. I enjoyed science fiction a lot in book form as well as in movies, but superheroes wasn’t my thing. My little brother was deeply into it though, and a little bit of his interest spilled over as I occasionally read his comic magazines. And I remember that I always preferred the stories about him as a youngster, Superboy, to his adult version, which I found a bit dull. I think it was because the teenager was still struggling with his identity, finding his place in the world, exploring his superpowers and facing ethical dilemmas. His problems were far more interesting than Superman’s only fear: to be exposed to kryptonite.

I felt the same thing about this film. I wouldn’t have minded spending the entire film about Clark Kent’s upbringing and the issues a six year old who isn’t like the other kids might face at school. Superman is sometimes referred to as a Christ figure, but I find the story about his loneliness a lot more engaging than his role as the saviour of mankind.

Not bad
With my preferences for science fiction, I won’t rank this as one of my favourite blockbusters this year. I enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness a great deal more and I would also put Oblivion above it. But still: it’s a decent movie – better than I would have thought, although a bit loud and long. I would probably have enjoyed it even more if my kids were a few years younger and we could watch it together. It always helps if you have a pair of sparkling eyes at your side.

I’m still somewhat surprised at me giving it a 3,5/5. For a superhero film, that’s a lot in my world.

It doesn’t beat a good ice smashing session an early October morning though. Few things do.

Man of Steel (Zack Snyder, US 2013) My rating: 3,5/5

Written by Jessica

July 17, 2013 at 1:00 am

Posted in Man of Steel

9 Responses

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  1. I gave this the same score. I thought it was alright. It started off well enough for me but just descended into the usual blockbuster territory and the fight scene just went on for far too long. The shoehorned kiss also really annoyed me, it just came out of nowhere.
    Oh and I’m like you, I;d have smashed the ice too 🙂 Nice review Jessica!

    • Oh, yes the kiss! I wasn’t amused either. You need to earn such things and this felt clearly unnecessary. I don’t know if it was some catering to fanboys going on or what else they wanted to accomplish. But it didn’t work.

      Thanks for your kind words!


      July 17, 2013 at 8:30 pm

  2. Great post, as always. I rated it a bit higher than you. I had so much fun.


    July 17, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    • Thanks! Well for being me it’s a decent ranking of a superhero movie. I was entertained, though I suspect I’ll forget it pretty quickly.


      July 17, 2013 at 8:28 pm

  3. For being into Asterix, Tintin and Carl Barks, I now officially love you.

    Okay, not really, but that’s AWESOME!!!


    July 18, 2013 at 5:52 am

    • It’s a heritage from my parents. They bought every album there was and taught me to love it as much as they did. I’m not the biggest comic reader there is, but I’m still a fan of those I mentioned. Oh, and to the list should be added Calvin and Hobbes of course, though I found them a little later on, after moving away from home.


      July 18, 2013 at 11:54 am

  4. Asterix was a favorite of mine growing up as well. Still is, really.

    As somebody who is a fan of superheroes and Superman, I still wound up ranking it about the same as you did. I gave it 4 stars, but considered giving it 3 (I don’t give out halves). It’s all right; it certainly could have stood to have some tweaks made here and there.

    Morgan R. Lewis

    July 24, 2013 at 2:17 am

    • I think those old comics never grow old. I for sure still enjoy reading them. I guess it’s a bit late to get into Superman though at my age.


      August 13, 2013 at 5:06 pm

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