Man of Steel

It may not seem like a deconstruction at first, if only because it manages to play many of its mythos straight, but at the same time it manages to change so many of them that adaptation just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Man of Steel

Man of Steel is a deconstruction of Superman, at its core. Everyone knows who and what Superman is. He is the pinnacle of good, he helps everyone he can, he has absolute control over his ability, and he is in love with Lois Lane for explainable reasons. Over the course of this film there are many aspects of Superman that are explored, and that we expect to be explored in an adaptation of Superman. For one, we expect Krypton to explode, for Kal El to travel space until he crash lands on Earth during a meteor storm, for the Kents to find and raise him rather than sell him for spare parts, and for them to raise ‘Clark’ (Henry Cavill)  as a normal human being.

Seeing as how they glossed over his years as Superboy and still managed to kill of an important person in Clark’s life, Man of Steel managed to hit all of the highlights of Clark’s youth. They just went about it a lot differently. Rather than supporting Clark from the beginning, Jonathan fears what might happen to Clark if anyone were to discover he was an alien and so even after revealing this information to Clark, he tells his son not to use his powers. Of course things conspire against the Kent’s and, because they live in Kansas, a tornado happens upon them one day and… oh, well there goes Jonathan Kent because he wouldn’t send his son who (mind you wouldn’t of needed his powers to move faster than Jonathan) to save the dog and then…. Then just stands there. At least Smallville had the decency to give him a heart attack after letting him win a Senatorial election.

From there Clark grows up as a nomad, when the U.S. military finds a Kryptonian space ship and, us being U.S., we investigate it! For some reason Lois Lane is here at a top secret military operation even though she’s a reporter and her job is to report on… well everything. Why would you have a reporter at a top secret military outpost…? Why? I mean seriously? I know Lois Lane (played by Amy Adams who, incidentally, was in episode of Smallville before Enchanted happened and fame became overnight for her) is a military brat but I really, really hope that personal string pulling doesn’t reach this far. I mean… this is the military and they can’t prevent the media from showing up?

Herein enters another change, Lois Lane meets Superman and, being a reporter manages to deduce precisely who he is by actually doing her job with some semblance of investigative skill and intelligence. Who would have thought? So falls away a typical part of the Superman mythos, the Lois Lane-Clark Kent-Superman love triangle is thankfully forgotten about.

Possibly one of the biggest changes, though, and the one most complained about, is the final battle against Zod (Michael Shannon) which results in untold casualties (by which I mean literally, we aren’t told the number of casualties in Metropolis alone, but considering how many skyscrapers came crashing down it’s clear that here were at least several hundred). Superman is known for not killing people, at all, and not only does he indirectly kill a lot of people, he directly kills Zod. It is an interesting change, and with a sequel on the way (which has managed to jam pack almost the entire Justice League) we’ll see how things go.

Batman V Superman

With Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Jonathan and Martha Kent, Russel Crowe as Jor-El, Christopher Meloni as Colonel Nathan Hardy, and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White the film features an ensemble of powerful actors in supporting roles that flesh out the film in different ways. Some were better than others, but all in all they helped make the film more interesting amidst the changes.

Wonder_Womanaquaman

At least Wonder Woman is finally going to debut in film and we’ll finally get to rub Aquaman from Super Friends from our memories!

 

 

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X-Men (2000)

For many of you, your exposure to the slew of movies that have been coming out in excess since the year 2000 (because we’re ignoring EVERYTHING before then) has solely been with the film adaptation of one of my favorite mediums; The Comic Book Movie Adaptation!!

X-Men

X-Men started the resurgence in popularity (much like Scream did for slashers). It stared a slew of accomplished actors and who were just getting their start, and let’s be honest this made their careers SKYROCKET (Side note: Did you know Anna Paquin was in She’s All That as Freddie Prinze’s sister… cause I didn’t and I love that movie and I love her so…. Wow, some people have come FAR). But really, a lot of people know Famke Jannsen (Xenia Onatop) as the red-haired psychic Jean Grey, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart (both accomplished actors with decades under their belt) as 1960’s best frienemies Magneto (Erik Lesherr) and Professor Charles Xavier, Halle Berry (interestingly enough she would go on to star in another Pierce Brosnan James Bond flick) as famous weather witch Storm, and Ray Park (Darth Maul!!) as the… overpowered Toad. Of course then there are those lucky actors who have grown near and dear to my heart (who knows about yours?) in the ensuing fifteen years of films and television alike: Anna Paquin (best known these days for True Blood) as Rogue (who really is just an amalgamation of Rogue’s power and Kitty and Jubilee’s characterization, especially where Wolverine is concerned), James Marsden as Cyclops (Enchanted, Strawdogs, Hairspray – but here he might as well be a silent mook considering he’s underused and nothing like his comic book counterpart… we’ll just leave it at that), Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake/Iceman (Notably NOT Smallville’s Jimmy Palmer as that was his twin brother Aaron, even though they often double for one another, and he was on Smallville as a villain so have at that as you will… no Shawn is notable for The Follownig with Kevin Bacon who would go on to play Sebastian Shaw AKA the White King in First Class), Tyler Mane as Sabertooth (who will later be known as the psychopathic serial killer who stalks his sister and kills all of her friends, Michael Meyers in the Halloween remake duology), Rebecca Romijn who would go on to star in a slew of tv shows like Ugly Betty and Eastwick, and who could forget Hugh Jackman our illustrious Wolverine who can steal the spotlight from the best of them (Famous for Les Miserables, but really just the X-men film franchise….).

See the characters you grew up with in wildly different interpretations in every regard except for their powers (leave that to Brett Rhatner and X-Men the Last Stand; I’m looking at you Callisto, Juggernaut, Psylocke, and… thorny guy?).

X-Men is an entertaining film but it was an adaptation of a comic book in the year 2000 and while it was impressive for its day, looking back on it there were a lot of flaws with it. Some aged well and others didn’t but in the end X-Men is still an entertaining film, just ignore everything you know about the comic books like I do when I’m watching an adaptation of a book and you’re golden!

What has always stood out for me in this series, though, is that for the most part the adaptations work (just ignore 3 and Wolverine Origins like Days of Future Past did and it’s all perfect). The characters are engaging when Hugh Jackman isn’t on screen, the plots can keep you guessing (especially if you’re apprised of the source material, the little changes make a huge difference and that can be a good thing if done properly). But most of all it did understand one thing that The Avengers will never have, a team film. For all of my jabs at Wolverine, he really is an integral character to the source material even if he debuted a decade after the series began. The X-Men films have always had a focus on team work, there aren’t any egos getting in the way of that and they trust one another implicitly. By the time you do reach the third movie, even with a roll of the eyes, their team is more a family than anything else.

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As July 14th rolls up and Fox wants us to shell out more money for a sequence that was completed months ago but held back for the reason just listed, look forward to the more than likely much better version of X-Men Days of Future Past – X-Men Days of Future Past the Rogue Cut!