You know…I did like the Man of Steel, but I found plenty to be critical of. One of the problems is we never got much of Clark building relationships with people. Now, instead of a sequel, we are getting a team up movie. Warner Brothers is desperately trying to catch up with Marvel’s cinematic success. The Nolan Bat trilogy was not made to open that door to a shared cinematic universe. Green Lantern could have been made to acknowledge the growing Super-hero universe. Man of Steel was the first film made with a larger universe in mind. But Marvel really committed to the shared Universe concept. And they planned for it to lead up to the Avengers. They started laying their groundwork in the First Iron Man through Captain America three years later, they built up characters that appeared throughout various films, and lead into the Avengers. And they managed to bring all their actors back with one exception (replacing the terrific Ed Norton with the talented Mark Ruffalo). DC has one movie and the next film they announce is a sequel to Man of Steel starring…Batman? Then a Flash movie? Because, apparently Wonder Woman is a really hard concept for DC. Then A Justice League movie. But while DC wants the successes of Marvel’s films, they want to do it without the commitment or effort of setting it all up. They are rushing it and it shows. I cannot imagine this will improve the problems of Man of Steel, it might even make them worse.
In Februaury of 2012, seventeen year old Trayvon Martin was shot dead by George Zimmerman.
When the story broke a month later, we were told by Al Sharpton (who took up the cause very publicly) that we had a story about a white man who had stalked and killed a young back boy. Sharpton was marching with the family on this principal and it was understandably infuriating. This white guy was out to kill a black kid and he did it, and the police had let him go.
Some people started to challenge the picture by attempting to paint Trayvon as a thug, based on a twitter account that quoted rap lyrics and a Facebook picture of Martin with a grill. This just made it seem worse. These were not people who knew anything about Martin, and they had, in at least one incident found a different Trayvon Martin. We were expected to take these things into account. Because the white guy George Zimmerman had some bruises. We saw the footage, grainy though it was, and he did not look all that bad.
Of course, stuff trickled out later…for one thing, George Zimmerman was not “a white guy”. He was a a mix of Caucasian and Hispanic. I am pretty sure if a white guy had shot George Zimmerman while he was wandering through the guy’s neighborhood, the story would have been about the white guy who shot a Hispanic citizen. Later photos and medical information made it pretty obvious that Zimmerman did indeed take a hard beating.
So, it was clear that Zimmerman did not simply hunt and kill Martin. There was an altercation. Who threw the first punch…that is what we do not know. But there were punches thrown, and when Zimmerman realized he was losing, he pulled out the gun and fired. A lot of the information is murky…but nothing really supports the initial claims by folks like Sharpton that Zimmerman was out to kill Martin from the start. This has muddied the discussion. I see a lot of tweets from the Pro-Martin side that seem to ignore the actual facts and information we do have in favor of questionable discussion points. One example was I saw folks commenting that the room is cold, Zimmerman is sweating…what more proof do we need??? Really? Because if I was on trial for second degree murder, I am pretty sure I would be sweating my way through the trial whether I was guilty or innocent.
And that is the real problem here. The prosecution chose to pursue second degree murder. And you know what? The evidence we have does not favor a guilty verdict. The evidence we have? The prosecution should lose. But they chose second degree murder because they thought they had to due to pressure. This was a manslaughter question. Did Zimmerman think he was in danger and overreact? There just is no evidence that the killing was the plan from the start, and what I have seen of the court proceedings so far, the jury cannot find Zimmerman guilty of the charges.
So far, the defense is guilty of a bad joke and being a bit condescending to a witness. But that is part of the job of the defense and prosecution. It certainly is not proof they are losing. I know why Sharpton pushed the story hard…after all, it would have been lost in a sea of other shooting deaths. It would never have been heard. And there are issues that needed to be addressed. And yet, at the insistence of Sharpton pushing a story with little of the facts available caused a severe muddling of information. In spite of the information we now have, I still hear folks cling to the “white guy seeking to kill black men” version being talked about as if that had not totally collapsed. Hint, that version of the story is false…trying to pretend it is true is not helping the Martins and will not bring about justice.
The prosecution made a bad choice to pursue second degree murder. It made a mess of things. And, I cannot see how they can get some justice for Martin and his family pursuing the path they opted for.
I am going to discuss specifics about the Man of Steel in this post.
Spoilers after the jump…
And lo, there was much controversy and arguing. So I it was I saw finally got around to seeing the tale Man of Steel. Zak Snyder, David Goyer and Christopher’s grimmer take on the Superman mythos.
In a lot of ways, this is a response to the toughly reviewed Superman Returns. One of the cries was “more action” and boy do we get it.
First, the good. I think Henry Cavill did a solid job as Superman. The film spends it’s time focusing on a Superman who is not working for the Daily Planet, but rather Clark Kent roaming the planetsaving people. It is borrowering an idea from Mark Waid’s terrific Birthright…and while not quite as nicely executed, it mkes sense to use it as a reference.
The film opens on Krypton, one like we have not seen in previous film or television adaptions. I am pleased to see they opted to break free of the influence of Donner for this film. It is a Krypton that has evolved to genetic engineering, something scientist Jor-El seeks to set his son free of. This happens in the midst of a military coup by General Zod (Michael Shannon). He and his followers are sent to the Phantom Zone, shortly before the destruction of Krypton.
Amy Adams is a tough and fearless Lois Lane who is on the trail of the mysterious hero. I liked her quite a bit in the role. She was aggressive and dedicated to finding her story. I also felt Zod and Faora were solid characters. As Superman’s parents, Russell Crowe, Ayelet Zurer, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are all quite strong. Lara’s role is short, but she is strong and full of courage. Crowe is mainly there for exposition, but he makes it work.
The visual effects were great, seeing Superman use his powers was exhilirating. I truly had fun watching him use his powers.
The tougher stuff…while I liked Costner, I had the same problem with Man of Steel as I did with Smallville. Pa Kent is obsessed with “keeping the secret” extends to “let people die”. This is troubling on a lot of levels. The action in the film is relentless, giving little time to catch our breath. The characters are also given little space to grow, so we get familar, b it new sketches, rather than full blown character moments. And the destruction becomes numbing…it is just to much.
In the end, I still enjoyed this more than Superman Returns. It is imperfect, but I still found more to like than dislike.
So, recently, a bit of controversy reared it’s ugly head. It is not the first time. Not for the same person. It is a controversy born out of jealousy and more than a little sexism.
It should be noted that two very celebrated writers currently working in comics are Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction. If you are unaware, they happen to be married. To each other. With two adorable kids. The kids do not play any role in this rather stupid controversy though. I just thought I would mention they were adorable.
The core of the supposed controversy is just how DeConnick got her job. Most recently, some guy wrote to Tom Breevort of Marvel on his tumblr blog. He was basically whining about the supposed improbability of a married couple both working for Marvel. Clearly, one of them only got the work because the other got them the work.
Where is the sexism, you ask? Clearly this guy is criticizing nepotism! I will tell you where the sexism lies. He had the audacity to pretty much accuse Matt Fraction of getting work with Marvel because he shares a bed with Kelly Sue DeConnick.
Oh wait, that is not what he insinuated. Because nobody really accuses men of sleeping their way into a job. It is an automatic assumption Fraction got his work legit, while Kelly Sue needed his help getting through the door. Brevoort pointed out this is pretty silly, DeConnick got work with other publishers before her Marvel work. And Kelly Sue notes that at one point, Matt was her guest at Marvel Functions…
I find this endlessly annoying. There was another writer who was dogged by rumors about dating her way into the business. She left the business, which is unfortunate. but it seems like we guys do not want to accept or believe women want to write comics, or are incapable of getting noticed without the help of a boyfriend in the industry.
Why? Why is it so improbably that a married couple happen to be powerhouse writers in their own right? Why the assumption that one has to be riding the other’s coattails?
DeConnick has faced this before, and she always handles it with intellectual grace. She should not have to. Frankly, a simple “fuck you” should suffice.
I get that people want to work in comics. And I get that for writers, it looks especially hard to get attention. But the assumption that who they are dating or married to is the main reason they got work is insulting. And again, it pretty much only gets leveled at women entering into the industry. It is making me tired. Kelly and Matt seem like real swell folks, and I get tired of seeing a talented writer have to defend herself against stupid insinuations. And for women, “ignoring” trolls does not kill the problem. If they do not respond, it is seen as almost validating the trolls claims.
Kelly Sue already responded terrifically via Tumblr. But I think that we need to start standing against this crap in unison. When we see this garbage we need to no longer pretend it will just go away.
In regards to breaking in?
Certainly, Kelly herself notes that it really helps to have people in the business to support you. She did have writers like Neil Gaiman and Brian Michael Bendis as cheerleaders. This is not bad. Writers like to help people…that is good news! When they see potential talent, they want to tell people they know…instead of looking at how to tear down writers, by attempting to invalidate them and their achievements, treat them with respect. Value their information. Many writers are very active online. Don’t flood them with questions…but show an interest in what they can offer the aspiring writer in advice. Be interesting. Be thoughtful. Be friendly. Be sincere. It will get you much closer to the door than hateful accusations ever will.