My Ranking for 2016 Movies Caught in Theatres

3 movies+tvshows - wednesday

Yup! Surprise! I think I’ve posted a total of four blog posts this year, and all of them have been so whiny (personally judging my past self’s emotional turmoil). But, it has been a busy year. There were a lot of first and lasts. But I knew, if anything, I had to continue with some of the wrap-ups of the year. If not for readers (if there are any still out there) then for myself.

One that I’ve been particularly consistent in is my list and ranking of the movies I’ve watched in and outside cinemas. So, here are the ones I’ve caught this year (starting from the last place I stopped last year, so technically Dec 2015 onwards) in the order I’ve watched them:

Surprisingly, I’ve watched around the same amount of movies this year as last year. As usual, I usually choose the ones to watch in cinemas either according to their Rotten Tomato ratings, personal preference and, sometimes, I’m roped in to watch a few.

And here are my ratings for them:

  1. Train to Busan
  2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  3. 10 Cloverfield Lane
  4. Zootopia
  5. Deadpool
  6. Moana
  7. Finding Dory
  8. Kung Fu Panda 3
  9. X-Men: Apocalypse
  10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  11. Doctor Strange
  12. Captain America: Civil War
  13. Star Trek Beyond
  14. Apprentice
  15. Ghostbusters
  16. Me Before You
  17. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

To be honest, all the ones around no. 4 to 13 have about the same ranking to me. And honestly, none of them are that terrible – except for no. 15 and no. 16 (both of which I personally hate with a passion due to very different reasons – and which I know have very polarising audience opinions). Be reminded that the way I rank movies is entirely subjective. Some things I factor in include: the experience, whether I’d watch it again, whether it moves away from cliches.

I also didn’t expect that the no. 1 movie I would love so much would be a Korean zombie movie. But hey, the best movies don’t follow the most obvious tropes!

Stay tuned for my ranking of movies outside the cinema next week! (Hopefully next week!)  As well as some other yearly round-ups.

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤

Edited: Added Deadpool because I completely missed out on it.

My Ranking for 2015 Movies Caught in Theatres

3 movies+tvshows - wednesday

Hi everyone!

So, last year, around this time, I ranked the movies I watched in 2014 in cinemas. You can check it out here. This year I’ll be doing exactly the same thing. Last year I managed to watch twenty of them, this year, so far, I’ve watched fifteen. Personally, for me, the less movies I watch in theatres the better, especially if I avoid some really terrible ones – though that can’t be helped all the time.

Again, like last year, take note that the movies I’ve watched are up till now and not for the whole of 2015. Like last year, I’m missing out on the ones in December.

So this is how I’d rank these movies:

  1. Inside Out
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road
  3. Kingsman: The Secret Service
  4. Ant-Man
  5. The Martian
  6. The Theory of Everything
  7. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  8. Jurassic World
  9. Paper Towns
  10. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
  11. Pitch Perfect 2
  12. Insurgent
  13. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
  14. Into the Woods
  15. Fantastic Four

I have to say that this year there were a few surprisingly great movies I did not expect to love but completely did from the action genre, like Mad Max and Kingsman. And then there were some movies that were just downright disappointing like Scorch Trials and Fantastic Four.

Stay tuned for my list of movies I watched “out of theatres” next week! There’s a whole lot more this year and I’m honestly a lot more excited to share those ones with you guys, because I definitely struck off some great movies I’ve been wanting to watch in a long while.

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤

30DMC Day 01: The last movie you watched

Hi everyone!

So as mentioned, the 30 Day Movie Challenge starts today! *clap clap* And it kicks off with the last movie I watched. Before I begin, let me make a friendly and well-known reminder to check out Rhey of Sunshine, my fellow blogger with whom I do these challenges with!

Now, for the record, the last movie I watched is actually not this movie. But I will be doing a review of the last movie I watched for this Wednesday’s Movies+TVShows, so I will leave that one till later. So this is the second last movie I watched – and technically the last movie I watched when I wrote this post.

Said movie is:

WarGames

I decided to watch this movie after reading about it in Ready Player One (which is pretty apt that I stopped the 30 Day Book Challenge with it and began this 30 Day Movie Challenge with it). Although that was not where I first heard of it. I actually first heard of it while I was exploring Imdb.com for potentially awesome 80s movies that I’ve missed out on because I was born beyond that time (and I’m somewhat sad about it because I honestly love the late 80s.)

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WarGames stars a young Matthew Broderick as David Lightman as he hacks his way into a government computer named Joshua (or WOPR) and proceeds to play a game with it called Global Thermonuclear War.

David thinks it is just a new game that the company (which also happens to be gaming programmers) has come up with. However, Joshua is actually a high tech computer made to strategise and simulate war movements against the Soviet Union.

The rest of the movie involves David attempting to stop Joshua from pressurising NORAD into DEFCON 1, a.k.a. World War 3.

It’s pretty self-evident why this sci-fi movie became a cult classic amongst 80s nerds and geeks. The iconic quote, “Shall we play a game?” has been referenced dozens of times (even in the latest Captain America movie).

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The NORAD set itself (where the military and Joshua occupy their time in the movie) is said to be the most expensive set of that time, costing around a million dollars to make. It was said to be more impressive than the actual NORAD command center at that time.

The movie also deals with very real concerns about hacking. So much so that it inspired congress to create and update the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984.

Personally I loved it, mostly ’cause there was nothing too gimmicky about it. Maybe I’ve been too surrounded by Hollywood action movies where it is all about the explosions and dramatic scenes. WarGames, to me, felt down-to-earth and seemed to hold more substance than over-performance. Plus, the final scene of the movie was everything you could hope it to be. It had the perfect ending.

If I’ve piqued your interest, here is the trailer:

Plus, watching it today, it is still very relevant, especially with computer AI out there like Siri, Watson and Deep Blue. I believe many scientists and innovators alike today who are working towards the robotics and machines of the future were first inspired by WarGames.

Till next time,

cumuloq ❤

10 Sci-Fi Movies That I Surprisingly Loved

3 movies+tvshows - wednesday

What’s this? A movie update?? But sadly just a list and not a review – ’cause I’m too lazy to do the latter.

It’s November Sci-Fi Month!#SciFiMonth

“Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself. …Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don’t know what they’re talking about.”
― Ray Bradbury

I have never actually been much of a sci-fi movie watcher – or more like I was never really aware of how much I actually really like the genre of sci-fi. Maybe it’s because I had never really been into the entire Robocop, Terminator and (don’t hate me) Star Wars kind of movies.

Lately it’s becoming more blatant, that among the comedies, action movies, cartoons and the like, a really good sci-fi can be the ultimate film indulgence, i.e.  both a medium of serious contemplation and a form of escapism. And now that special effects are becoming more awe-inspiring, sci-fi movies are definitely pushing the boundaries of what can and cannot be done on screen.

So here are some of my favourites (in order of oldest to newest):

1. Alien (1979)

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I think this is a cult favourite must-watch. I’d heard of this movie but it wasn’t until I had to actually watch it for a feminist theory class that I really got hooked into analysing it and appreciating how ahead of its time it was – and how bad-ass Ripley’s character is. Sigourney Weaver is honestly the pioneer female actress of science fiction and alien movies. And if anything, watch it for the chest ripping scene. Too many movies pay homage to it to not see the original.

2. Alien: Resurrection (1997)

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Is it sad to say that I like this one more than the original film? And that I found the hybrid alien/human to be kind of adorable? I find this one so much more watchable and thrilling – if not more generic. The underwater scene, – Ripley kicking ass in basketball – it is all good. This movie is up there as one of my favourites.

3. Run Lola Run (1998)

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Again, a film I only came to know because of one of my university courses. Lola lives out multiple possibilities, much like respawning in a video game – pushing the fabric of what is fated and what is still within an individual’s control – all just to get the money her boyfriend owes and to save his life.

4. Evolution (2001)

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This one is definitely sci-fi with a humorous touch. I’ve watched this more than once and the aliens in here are just awesome. I mean, come on, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Orlando Jones and Seann William Scott and Julianne Moore all together with the periodic table and Head and Shoulders jokes (spoiler)?

5. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

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“So long and thanks for all the fish!” This has definitely got to be another cult favourite. The plot follows Arthur Dent (i.e. Martin Freeman in another one of his typical roles as an English-tea-loving man with too many worries and fears of adventure) who is beamed up to space before earth is blown up to make way for a hyperspace motorway and he is thrown into (gasp) adventures beyond his wildest notions.

6. Cloverfield (2008)

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Cause at this point in time I’m too lazy to create my own description of it (except just to say that this was *bleeping* awesome):

Cloverfield follows five New Yorkers from the perspective of a hand-held video camera. The movie is exactly the length of a DV Tape and a sub-plot is established by showing bits and pieces of video previously recorded on the tape that is being recorded over. The movie starts as a monster of unknown origin destroys a building. As they go to investigate, parts of the building and the head of the Statue of Liberty come raining down. The movie follows their adventure trying to escape and save a friend, a love interest of the main character.Written by Pip Carlson

7. District 9 (2009)

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And again (and this time it’s kind of funny, ’cause I actually did write a good-length review/analysis of this film in my school paper):

In 1982, a massive star ship bearing a bedraggled alien population, nicknamed “The Prawns,” appeared over Johannesburg, South Africa. Twenty-eight years later, the initial welcome by the human population has faded. The refugee camp where the aliens were located has deteriorated into a militarized ghetto called District 9, where they are confined and exploited in squalor. In 2010, the munitions corporation, Multi-National United, is contracted to forcibly evict the population with operative Wikus van der Merwe in charge. In this operation, Wikus is exposed to a strange alien chemical and must rely on the help of his only two new ‘Prawn’ friends. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

8. Super 8 (2011)

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Okay, for this one I have to say that J.J. Abrams did an amazing job. I really didn’t expect too much from this film when I first went in to watch it – I really had no idea what exactly it was about (’cause the way it was promoted went exactly like that) but I thought it delivered really well. And it premiered Elle Fanning really well – as well (note to self: other synonyms apart from ‘well’). Also, besides being heart-stopping and entertaining, there are definitely pieces of the movie that are worth analysing. If you plan to watch it, don’t look up the plot, just watch it with the mystery of the film still intact. It will make the entire thing far more enjoyable.

9. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

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I will speak the honest truth: Star Trek (the first installment of the two) bored me to tears. Or more like I almost fell asleep within the first fifteen minutes. So when I went to watch the first one I was bracing for the ZZZs to attack me. But, remarkably, I loved it. I loved the action scene, I actually felt something for the bromance that is Kirk and Spock and (surprise, surprise) I loved Khan’s character. By the end of the movie I was thinking to myself: damn it, it may actually be one of my newest favourites.

10. Ender’s Game (2013)

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And this is the latest one that I’ve watched. Once again, I didn’t expect much – ’cause it really advertises itself as a possible wannabe young teen’s film ala Speed Racer or Zathura or (God forbid) Spy Kids 3D. But I reminded myself that it was an Orson Scott Card novel – and by golly it had a good imdb rating (See How to Save Money on Movies – shameless self-advertising) so I was convinced that it would be a lot better than the cheesy poster proclaimed it to be. Solid answer is “yes it was” – otherwise it wouldn’t be on this list.

I think the reason why sci-fi movies are starting to grow on me is because they’re surprising. I go into them expecting something slightly boring, something far too ambitious and that just does not deliver on neither character development nor climax/revelation, but they do. Also, it’s amazing how nuanced some of them are. You can go back to the same movie later on and have a completely new take on it – see things you’ve never seen before about them.

So if you haven’t checked out the above movies, do take a look into some of them!

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤

All movie synopsis credits are from the community of Imdb.com

Weekly Update: Ariana Grande, Cloudberry Kingdom and Divergent

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Hey guys!

So this week has been crazy, with a bit too many responsibilities for my liking. And I know the next few weeks that follow will not be any different.

And I’m not sure if you noticed, but I haven’t been posting that regularly lately. Part of it has to do with my own laziness, but the other part of it has to do with the intense amount of lag I somehow get whenever I get on WordPress. I’m not sure if you’ve been experiencing the same on your end, but it is putting me off blogging for the past few days. Sometimes when my entire browser just freezes (I just killed a mosquito), I just don’t want to return to it for a very long time. And I know that’s not fair to those who follow and expect some frequent material.

But for now, I’m just going to put all of that aside and show you guys my (last week’s) weekly favourites.

1. Song of the Week: Ariana Grande – Almost Is Never Enough ft. Nathan Sykes

I went to watch Mortal Instruments: City of Bones recently and was kinda disappointed I didn’t see this song in the movie itself. I’ve been keeping an eye on Ariana Grande’s music recently, ’cause I really believe she has a lot of potential. If there were two amazing singers that came from the child-manufactured world of Hollywood, it’s got to be Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande. Plus, she’s too pretty.

2. Youtube Video of the Week: Let’s Play – Cloudberry Kingdom Part 1

This LP made me laughing to myself like crazy, till my dad had to ask why I was laughing at my computer. I think it’s one of the most edge-of-my-seat LPs I’ve watched in a while. (And I watch a lot of LPs). There’s something about the side-scroll platform games and a group of hilarious guys playing it that make this one so special.

3. Trailer of the Week: Divergent

The trailer just came out during the VMAs so this is a fresh one, and it does look good. Summit has made its mistakes *cough* Twilight *cough* so I hope that Divergent ends up making up for it. Frankly, I’m a sucker for any dystopian teen movie. They’re my junk food in movie form.

So till next time!

cumuloq ❤

How To Save Money On Movies

3 movies+tvshows - wednesday

I am a complete sucker for movies. It’s such an easy and fun way to spend time with friends – it gives you something to talk about and discuss over during lunch or dinner, plus it’s sometimes really tempting to go see the latest blockbuster before some people or as soon as possible ’cause you just don’t want to be “that guy” who hasn’t watched the movie when all your other friends are discussing crucial details on scenes and just giving away spoilers by the bucket-load. Hence, it’s always easy to get carried away with watching dozens of movies every month on its premiere day.

Well, I don’t know about you, but it’s difficult to have to sort out your bag at the end of the year and realise how many movie ticket stubs are just lying waste in random nooks and crannies. Even worse to do a mental calculation of how much money you probably spent throughout the entire year on movies. No wait, even worse, if you have one of those apps where you have a legitimate record of how much you spend on entertainment per month.

According to this The Nest blog, the average American spent around $560 in the year 2009 on entertainment such as movies. This roundabout average is confirmed by this interesting pie chart provided by Visual Economics, which pulls up the average to around $606. That’s a lot of money spent on a movie you probably won’t remember two to three years down the road. Like, come on, tell me, do you honestly remember the entire plot (let alone the name of the main protagonist) of forgettable rom-coms such as Life as We Know It or The Ugly Truth? The correct answer here is ‘no’. No you do not.

So here are some easy steps to saving your money and time on movies that you’re probably going to end up watching for no other reason than to waste money (money that could be better spent on – anything really):

1. Have A Very Specific Understanding of What Kind of Movies You Like

This really isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Especially, when it comes to Hollywood movies which are often times formulaic.

First, understand what genres you are willing to pay money for: action, adventure, animation, biography, comedy, crime, drama, family, fantasy, history, horror, musicals, mystery, romance, sci-fi, sport, thriller, war, westerns? (Yes, I labelled all the genres available at Imdb.com.) For me, I know I’m more likely to pay money to watch an animation by Pixar than a mindless action-gun-violence sequence movie that I’ll probably forget what the plot is about in a year’s time.

Also, have a good understanding of the crew behind some of your favourite movies. Chances are, if you loved one of their works, you’re going to love another movie they’re going to put out in the future (minus the case of M. Night Shyamalan – he’s peaked already). And this is the same for those you hate. You’ll come to realise that you prefer one director’s style over another’s. Also, look at scriptwriters. They can be crucial on whether the movie’s lines are cringe worthy or thought-provoking. This may seem like such a chore, but it really isn’t. Just look at a few of your favourite movies and note some familiar names.

Trust me, after you’ve done some movie soul-searching, you won’t be willing to spend your money on a movie which your gut is telling you you won’t like. Plus you’ll have a better idea on what makes up a good movie.

2. Do Quick Review Research Into A Potential Movie Before Deciding

I know some people may not like the idea of this as they like going into a movie with a blank slate (which is kind of impossible in today’s society), but hear me out. Sometimes some analysis of a movie’s forecast can really determine whether you want to watch a movie now or later and not only determine whether or not you’re going to spend money on a show, but also how much money.

My go-to sites for this kind of research is definitely the above-mentioned, Imdb.com, as well as Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic. As for Imdb.com, I’ll look to see whether the rating is above 6.

Usually I classify any movie above 6 at Imdb.com to be at least worthy to watch in the cinemas. Anything above 7 is worth watching closer to the release date. And if it has an astonishing 8 or 9 rating then it’s probably worth watching on the release date (you know, before spoilers come out).

As for Rotten Tomatoes, I usually classify anything with fresh tomatoes alright to watch in cinemas – but Rotten Tomatoes is always difficult to judge as critics may oppose the audience’s opinions. The best thing to go for in Rotten Tomatoes is to scroll down on the movie’s page and read some of the short reviews; look at the overall pattern on keywords and see whether the good trumps the bad or vice versa.

Metacritic is a bit more straightforward. Anything in the green zone is a yes, anything in the yellow is a toss-up and self-decision and anything in red is forgettable.

Either way, like driving down a fast highway, it’s good to know whether you’re going to be turning up the engine and enjoying an adrenalin ride or headed for a cringe-worthy traffic-induced accident waiting for you just a mile down.

3. Decide Between Opening Night, Next Few Weeks or *Cough cough*

I honestly haven’t watched anything on opening night itself in a while now. That spot is only reserved for fan girl moments when movie spoilers are my main threat to my sanity e.g. Harry Potter. But for some people, who just love the thrill of watching a movie on opening night, I suggest that you really decide on those huge blockbusters to spend your money on them. For instance, for this week’s movies, I hope no one wasted their money on R.I.P.D on opening night as much as they loved Ryan Reynolds and those kinds of movies.

Why? (And I’m speaking in respect to my own country here – not sure about yours but) the cost of tickets is the most expensive on opening night, followed by Fridays and weekends. Now, aren’t cinemas clever at making opening nights on Thursdays? This means you have to wait a good four days before you can get cheaper tickets for your movies. And, come on, who has time to watch a movie on a Monday when you’re worrying about school and work.

The best trick to have is patience and good avoidance skills. The second trick is the next step (besides the censored trick provided in the headline – but I’ll leave that option up to you).

4. Discounts, Deals, Coupons and Memberships

If you know you’re a complete movie junkie, it’s good to look into these outlets. Cinemas sometimes have deals which are actually really good and will save you a lot of money in the long run. Once again, I’m not too sure about your local cinema if you’re in a country which is not my own, but here are some tips for those who do live in my country and which you can see if your cinema has similar deals.

One of them is student discounts (if you’re a student). I don’t think I qualify for them anymore – but heck, I can always try with my student card. Student cards are really good during off-peak days. Cinemas like The Cathay in my country have student discounts every weekday before 6pm at $7 which includes a complimentary coke.

Another way is to get a membership with a cinema. This enables you special privileges (and sometimes does not cost anything), like Golden Village, which gives members tickets at $6.50 on Tuesday along with other entitlements.

But besides this there are also many other deals that cinemas can have which you can check out on the promotion section of their website.

5. A Desperate Friend

This is a funny little step that I’ve found has sometimes resulted in a free movie for myself – sometimes not the movie I want to watch (okay, scratch that, definitely not the movies I’ve wanted to watch) but a movie nonetheless.

You’ll sometimes hang out with a friend who hasn’t watched a movie and desperately wants to check it out. Chances are this occurrence is more likely to happen when there is a male friend and you’re a girl. He’ll really want to watch this brainless action movie which you have no attention to check out; in my case it has included Taken 2 and G.I. Joe: Retribution. You’ll refuse maybe three or four times on watching it and then he’ll come to a breaking point where he’ll offer to pay for your ticket just so he has company to see this stupid film. You oblige and voila, free movie.

My boyfriend has done this all the time to me, and in return I’ve tortured him with Breaking Moon Part I – a movie neither of us enjoyed, frankly, and Beautiful Creatures.

At the end of the day, there are many ways to ensure that you don’t waste your money on a movie you know you won’t enjoy. Save your money during the off-peak/”dry period” movie months where terrible filler movies that probably mean nothing to you occupy the cinemas (curse you Epic Movie, you were not “epic” in the least). Instead, look at all the potential awesome upcoming blockbusters that you could watch during the summer.

Lastly, if there is a movie you’re mildly interested in but don’t want to watch in cinemas, add it to a list of potential movies to watch on rainy days. Your wallet will thank you, and you will honestly thank yourself from the disappointment of walking out the cinema after paying for something that ended up being absolute crap.

I hope this was helpful in some way or another! And till next time,

cumuloq ❤

a feminist reading of Man of Steel

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warning: this post does contain a significant amount of spoilers. do not proceed reading if you have not watched the movie. also it’s less of a review and more of a self-analysis. you do not have to agree with all the points i’m arguing towards.

firstly, Man of Steel soundtrack anyone?

genesis familiarises itself with the audience in the portrayal of one man and one woman, destruction of paradise but, alongside it, creation of hope. likewise, the guise of Man of Steel follows these guidelines.

in every scene and image, there is a symbol of paternity and maternity.

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well, let’s see – take, for instance, the beginning scene of the movie in which Lara Lor-Van is giving birth to Kal. we are immediately set up with the premise of a natural birth and, from this, the image of a natural family order which balances upon the pillars of a morally just man and an equally just and loyal wife (i use the term ‘wife’ for a reason).

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from this image, we are then given parallels abundant of parties with male and female representatives: Lor-Em and Ro-Zar sitting on their thrones, the two most striking villains, General Zod and Faora-Ul, the utmost of parallels, Jonathan and Martha Kent, and then there’s also General Swanwick and Major Carrie Farris, Perry White and Jenny the journalist and, last but not least, Superman and Lois Lane. oh, and not forgetting the planets of Krypton and Earth themselves. father Krypton and mother Earth. befitting, isn’t it?

if Man of Steel were Noah’s Ark, everything will definitely go neatly two by two.

and it is from these directions that we, as the audience, are conditioned to celebrate everything natural and wholesome about the family nucleus and reject any “alien” copy of it. for example, Krypton’s dystopian reproductive (and very literal) system reminiscent of Huxley’s Brave New World where each individual is already prescribed a position and duty for the society. it is already very “natural” for us to reject the babies growing in pod-like structures in the scene where Jor-El dives into the water for the Codex.

so let’s get more into detail, shall we? the first parallel i’d like to explore is that of Superman’s birth and Earth parents. a parallel that the movie emphasises more than once.

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i think the parallel that most audience members should have been able to capture is the similar style in which Jor-El and Jonathan bite the dust (hell, they both even start with the letter ‘J’, a trademark of most comic book stories, ain’t it?) they both die a silent death. this suggests that the death of a father is like an immediate rupture of the family tree, cutting off all life attached to it for a significant amount of time, damaging emotionally the people attached to this one man …

dramatic, isn’t it? but that is what the film implies by the actions of the father figure. there is an element of sacrifice given where the father attempts to save another family member of theirs, for Jor-El it is his son, and for Jonathan it is their beloved family dog (that, come on, is so lovable – can we have a movie just on Clark Kent’s dog alone? and no, i don’t mean a remake of that terrible movie, Underdog.)

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in fact, the film continuously implies, through its imagery and narrative style, that the father is a guiding figure that Superman is continuously shadowed by. Jor-El’s consciousness lives on, having direct contact with the events within the film, remind Kal-El of his roots and his meaning in life; meanwhile the memories of Jonathan Kent pepper the narrative, flashback after (almost exhausting) flashback.

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even the spiritual meaning of father is taken on when Clark enters a chapel (church?) and seeks Father Leone for answers at which he prophetically tells Clark that sometimes one needs to take a leap of faith and trust will follow after.

Superman appears, in the audience’s eyes, increasingly like the little boy hiding in the closet, hiding behind his suit and cape and responsibilities. the image of Clark floating in the water after his brave act of saving the men on a wrecked oil ship, shaped like Jesus on the cross, is a telling one. it is of a boy who grew up as a symbol of hope, as a message from a father, who came to earth to help the people, yet is still world-bound.

maybe this is where Snyder’s attempts at fashioning the film more after The Dark Knight come into play – but falls short.

why? because of the confusion in the portrayal of the female image and the image of the all-powerful mother.

the female counterpart of the Krypton council, Ro-Zar, is ruthlessly eliminated by General Zod; the “motherly” elements of the Krypton planet are abused and stripped away, ‘causing the planet alongside it to implode; Lara is the epitome of Coventry Patmore’s Angel in the House and she accepts death in very much the same fashion; the image of Faora-Ul is that of a male-hating woman who ironically still follows the orders of a man, General Zod; Lana and the other girls in the bus are the more prominent images we see drowning in that bus, not the boys.

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and no, we’re not done yet. Lois Lane may seek truth and knowledge as a journalist but she inevitably falls in step by the actions and words of the men around her; similarly, Martha stands as the loyal mother image in every scene she is in yet the mother is still portrayed as helpless when standing ground to the authority of a man; Mother Earth is raped by the world engine; Jenny who freezes in fear and who gets trapped in the rubble requires – surprise, surprise – the help of men to free her; Lois Lane may have an idea of how to save the world at the end of the day (God knows how, ’cause i doubt she came up with that idea on her own – how does a girl like her know about black holes and singularity?) but it takes a man to be able to figure out how to get the key into the hole (that’s what she said?); and lastly, if it wasn’t obvious enough, Major Carrie Farris gives away the stereotypes of femininity by stating that she thinks Superman is “kinda hot”.

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alas, Man of Steel feels incomplete due to its attempts to create such a wholesome binary between the men and women, to blend violence and masculinity with sentimentality and femininity.

in the end the action plays out much like an angry little boy throwing a tantrum (cue scene of Superman hitting General Zod multiple times in the field after he attacks his mother). there is no intelligence from the side of Superman, just brute strength and emotion – a fight that in real life will not generally win. heck, the military even were by no means ‘intelligent’. it got frustrating seeing the soldiers try to shoot down the Kryptonian villains again and again, sending in helicopters and planes again and again. didn’t they realise from the first attempt that it just does not work?

one of the most striking scenes for me is when (and major spoiler here for the ones who decided to be rebellious and read on) Superman finally resorts to killing General Zod. he seeks the comfort of Lois Lane in a surprisingly motherly fashion. he is seen kneeling before her and hugging her waist like a little boy who can no longer take the hardships of the world.

inevitably the film reveals its own weakness, it is a film that requires growth. still stuck in the womb of its own parents, still living in the shadow and curse of its previous film adaptations, Man of Steel is a testament to little boys and their fantasies to be a hero, to be Superman – and their simultaneous lack of maturity to uphold the responsibilities that the role will finally bestow upon them. Superman may have lost the signature red underwear this time round, but he still wears very transparent diapers.

till next time!

cumuloq ❤

photo sources: www.totalfilm.com