30 Days and 30 Blogs Part 3
So after almost a year of me complaining about the movie Man of Steel, I feel the need to write a thank you letter to Zack Snyder.
Is it because I saw Man of Steel and the final product completely turned me around like Star Trek (2009) and Casino Royale? Nope. I keep going back and forth about whether the movie was even better than Superman Returns. It was a decent movie but it couldn’t decide if it wanted to be as “serious” as the Dark Knight or as “fun” as Iron Man…so it was really neither. (The first two Spider-Man movies struck that ballance much better, in my opinion.)
The reason I’m writing a thank you note to Zack Snyder, is that his misguided attempt at a Superman movie has really turned up the intensity on my love for the Christopher Reeve movies as well as the character in general.
I’ve obviously always loved the John Williams score as noted many times on the podcast. But since the news dropped last year that Snyder wouldn’t be using Williams’ theme in Man of Steel, I started listening to it constantly. Even when it’s not on my iPod, I’m whistling it or humming it. It plays as the internal soundtrack to my everyday life now.
I’ve also gone back and watched my favorite bits from the old movies several times. Even showed my 2 year old the scene where Superman saves Lois from the falling helicopter from Superman: The Movie. (This is special because my son has maybe watched 5 hours of television since he’s been alive.)
I’ve always loved that scene, but I’ve never really analyzed it until this year. So many elements work together to make that scene so iconic. The first one that often gets overlooked in these movies is Margot Kidder. She is SELLING the fear of falling out of that helicopter. She’s not phoning in a performance for some kids movie. Then of course you have Reeve. He’s playing so much in that scene. His concern for Lois, his giddiness at revealing himself to her…and the world, the satisfaction of rescuing the girl who barely gives him a second thought in the office but now is completely gobsmacked. I mean don’t get me wrong he’s a hero, and he’s doing what’s right because it’s right, but you do sense that he’s getting some joy out of it. Then you have John Williams’ score…building tension as Lois tries in vein to escape the helicopter, the first tease of the theme as Clark rips his shirt open, and then the triumphant theme as Superman catches the helicopter and the crowd goes nuts! Magic!!! And let’s not forget the camera work. There are many fancy camera tricks and editing to make this sequence work, but my absolute favorite is this shot:
Look at that! You have Superman and Lois sharing a that “first” glance, the bright red Superman “S” prominently in the shot, the building flying by in the back ground, all the while Superman is holding a helicopter with one friggin’ hand! To top it off the theme is at full blare at this point.
This is the first time Metropolis…and the world has seen Superman in action…and it was the audience’s first time as well. And what a great introduction it was!
…and I never would have spent nearly this much time watching that scene (as well as many others…even scenes from Superman Returns) if I wasn’t trying so infuriated by Zach Snyder’s bungling of Man of Steel.
So, thanks Zach Snyder.