I'm Old and I Don't Like These New Things

I've been pondering Man of Steel ever since seeing it.  It's both exciting and frustratingly terrible.  In all honesty, all I want from Superman is action.  He doesn't need TEH DRAMARZ! He just needs to race around and punch things, just straight action.  But, where I sort of got that, the absolute disregard for his surroundings and the people within them totally removed me from the story.  This is the same problem I had with Star Trek Into Darkness: gratuitous destruction with untold loss of life, and zero repercussions thereof.

I can attribute this partly to special effects being good enough that we want to destroy everything without destroying anything.  But writers and directors are forgetting, when a building blows up or falls down, there's people in there.  Most likely?  Those people just died.  Yes, they're imaginary, no this isn't real, but a kernel of self-awareness would be appreciated.  Superman should have done his damnedest to get Zod out of the city, fight over the ocean, out in the country, get away from civilization and infrastructure.  Hell, it could have made the fight more interesting with Zod trying to get back to destroy more.  It would have made his concerted effort to kill the strangers in the train station a little more gut-wrenching.  As it was, it was out of nowhere, and why didn't he just...look at them?

That isn't to say there was nothing I liked about this film, there was some really good elements I would definitely keep.  Krypton provided some neat new elements; how Kal-El is somehow special; indicating they had once been space-faring, but fell back into lavish routine (a highly advanced version of our own space exploits).  Despite I have issue with Pa Kent basically committing suicide to prove a point, his actions to try and lead his son to lead a quiet, subdued existence, does make sense.  But I would have liked to see perhaps a more heroic Pa that inspired Clark to the greatness he would eventually rise to.  Lois was very well portrayed as a smart, intrepid reporter.

Neither do I want this post to be all about Man of Steel.  I think, with the problems I have with Man of Steel, I see the larger problem with DC's current approach to their live action film prospects.  DC & WB want to capitalize on the success of The Dark Knight, but Batman is a special case.  He can be very dark, he can fit in a Godfather world, he can be a normal man with bad knees and still inspire a dark sense of hope that anyone can affect the negative aspects of our lives.  Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman are brighter, by their very nature.  They can go dark places, sure, the choices they may have to face can be dark, but establishing them in a gritty, dark, or "grounded" reality defies what makes them great in the comics.

A lot of people can probably mirror this sentiment: I loved the 90's Batman, Superman, and Justice League animated series'.  Batman & Superman took place in a clearly Art Deco inspired world, possibly in a fictionally advanced 50's era.  Why not establish a world first, then reboot all of these heroes into that world?  Give us a steam punk, Art Deco world, complete with payphone booths and classic cars and a sense of wonder to "LOOK! Up in the sky!"

Gotham and Metropolis could easily be filmed in several Art Deco hubs, such as Miami, and even Tulsa, OK.

Give us that 50's-60's vibe of George Reeves and the handsome playboy of Adam West.
I'm totally waxing nostalgic, but I don't want these portrayals, just this look.  Batman can still be based on military/police armor and gear.  Superman can still wear alien long-johns.  Amazons and Atlantians could much more easily fit in this world.  Need some tech?  Green Lantern Corps, Martians, and Kryptonian tech could make this 50's world more advanced and fantastical.  Hell, take Man of Steel and place it in the 50's, but have Supes tow the world engine up into orbit only to have it become the Justice League Satellite.

Look, Marvel's got the angle on realistic, relevant/current-issues heroes.  Meanwhile, DC has almost always been purely escapist god-things inspiring humanity in the comics.  Let them be so in the movies!

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