What Did You Expect?

This story is based on a comic book!

That’s what I had to remind myself as I watched Man of Steel this week. I really liked the movie. I did. My one complaint was that there were several moments that strained credibility, but then I remembered that the main character and his nemesis could fly. Oh yeah—Superman.

That’s really the point of every genre of story-telling. Know the audience.

Anyone who pays upwards of ten bucks for a ticket to see a movie based on a comic book should expect a few convenient coincidences. One paying to see a zombie movie will expect a few undead scares. A western should provide a great scene with horses, trains and pistols.

Nobody who pays for a Regency romance wants to see an alien invasion in the climax of the film. If you’re a fan of apocalyptic sci-fi, you probably don’t have any patience for talking kittens in the story. Not unless it’s revealed that cats are the true cause of the apocalypse, and they’ve always been able to talk. But then again, hasn’t that idea been done to death.

When I watch a horror movie, I spend half of the film waiting for the hand to reach up from out of the grave, or the walls to bleed, or something like that. I’m not there for the deep intellectual commentary on the differences between men and women in relationships.

All that said, I have to get back to Man of Steel. I liked that the writers added depth to the bond between Clark Kent and his parents. I like that they did away with Lois Lane’s silly, “I can’t see the OBVIOUS similarities between Clark Kent and Superman.” And I loved the little (almost minuscule) nod to Lex Luthor—when Zod and Kal are fighting, Zod throws a tanker truck emblazoned with a LEXCORP logo. Sequel? I thinks so.

I’ve seen lots of critics bashing the summer lineup of movies. It’s their job, I suppose. They have to see all genres, and some of them just don’t like superheroes or westerns or zombies or romances or whatever. I like the sites that not only give reviews by professional critics, but also by movie-lovers.

It means a lot more to me that someone devoted to Star Trek movies enjoyed the latest installment than someone who had to see the movie as part of his job. If I’m spending the money on a movie, I want it to fulfill my expectations—not necessarily those of a critic.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.