The "mixed" reviews surrounding the debut of the new motion picture franchise "Man Of Steel" are both amusing and disgusting.
The film is without question the greatest Super Hero film of the modern era, maybe of all time.
The story line is all heart, the special effects are more seamless than anything in recent memory. In this epic you constantly find yourself caught up in this heart wrenching story about a kid, who while struggling to figure out who he is in narrative flashbacks, simultaneously sees the evidence of good and evil all around him, and knows he must somehow make a difference.
True Superman fans will sense the authenticity not seen in a Superman effort since perhaps the original writers came up with the concept, and new comers to the story will be caught up and whisked away in the classic parable.
The reviewers that, perhaps broadly oppose the mere values and messages of the Superman story, will of course find flaws with it. It doesn't bow to the alter of political correctness. There are perhaps (at most) two obscenities in the entire script, and the story is completely absent of nudity, sex, or other moral envelope pushing. Yes in the modern film industry, the creators have done the unthinkable. They garnered the talents of Christopher Nolan and Zack and Deborah Snyder, made a completely acceptable film for the family, allow it to tell its authentic story, and don't much seem to care what the critics or the academy think. This film deserves consideration for best picture.
"Man Of Steel" without question will be the number one money maker at the box office for the year.
We could point to any number of reasons why this film works, but perhaps one of the most offensive things to critics, but by far is of singular importance to the film in ways that few will dispute, is Clark's two dads.
Clark Kent/Kal-El a.k.a. Superman, has not one but two men of distinct honor, fidelity, integrity, and moral uprightness that speak into his life in the narrative. Portrayed by Russell Crowe (as his father from Krypton) and Kevin Costner (as the moving Jonathan Kent), the father figures in the film portray far more than what the American entertainment complex usually allows men--especially fathers--to exhibit.
These men are pillars in their families. They both make decisions that consistently demonstrate provision and protection for those in their care, and unapologetically they lead their families--with humility--to make decisions that are not emotionally easy, but that at their core are truly just, good, and right.
These men are pillars in their communities. They both demonstrate the character-birthed foresight to speak truth to those who need it, regardless of how unpopular it may be. They both prove to be such men of strength that their recognition and appreciation of their communities is recognized from local high school bullies to the sitting reigning council of Krypton.
These men are pillars to a watching society. Both men sacrifice their own welfare for the good of the greater world, their families, and even for Clark/Cal. Both men create memories or holograms that serve as a continual source of guidance and council for the man that Clark is becoming, and the mission he was masterfully created for.
One gives up Clark, knowing he is the only hope of salvation for the universe, thus he sends him to earth. And it is there where the other adopts Clark as his own flesh, teaches him all that he is capable of and lives faithfully before him, to give Clark the foundation he will need to be the saving force of all mankind.
But wait, this sounds vaguely familiar.
Of course it does.
The narrative of the Biblical text claims that God the Father -- who in many places throughout scripture takes the name of "El" (the name of Superman's Krypton family) -- sent His Son, who would also have questions about His role in the world as a child, grow up as an alien to those around Him, see the evils and injustice of the world--and work miracles to correct them, and eventually be the literal salvation of humanity through His ultimate miracle of defeating death.
Yes I suspect one of the reasons some entertainment critics have been so unfair to the legitimate greatness of this epic masterpiece is that they are too overcome by an allegory of another story that they have not settled in their own belief system yet.
Shame on them, for withholding true analysis because of their own petty weaknesses as critics.
It is not a mistake that the original creators of Superman had these two towering figures of men in Clark's life. I'm grateful that new generations will now see the contributions fathers can and should be effecting in the lives of every child they raise.
The mission of this Superman may not have been to help restore faith in the traditional family, and fathers doing their God-given part to provide and to protect those they love.
But it is a side effect that I am grateful shines through with abundant clarity in the biggest blockbuster of the decade!
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