Defending Goyer and *Man of Steel*

Hey! How are those New Year’s Resolutions holding out?

You know what would be nice? I think it would be great if some comics and sci-fi/fantasy fans — myself included — would resolve to do less nit-picking and especially be less short-sighted and/or uninformed in their complaints about certain people and things simply (or mostly) because it is fashionable to do so. Case in point…

David S. Goyer

David S. Goyer

I just came across two articles that I really appreciated. The first came out a few weeks ago: “In Defense of David Goyer”, by Russ Burlingame. As you probably already know, David S. Goyer is a pretty big name writer & producer in the world of comics and comics-based movies and series (e.g., Blade trilogy, Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Man of Steel, “Constantine”), among other things. He is also the recipient of a whole lot of flak, both for the content of some productions he has been involved with and for some controversial statements he has made of late.

“Somehow — possibly because it’s fashionable to snark about Man of Steel at the moment — Goyer’s name has taken on a context akin to Michael Bay’s. Certain fans will complain about Goyer’s even theoretical involvement in a project, and celebrate his failures.”

Not that he doesn’t deserve some of it. But, as Burlingame points out, much of the heat Goyer gets is unnecessarily critical and fails to take into account other considerations, such as context and the realities of the movie- and TV-making biz.

“Goyer’s work is uneven — as is almost everyone in Hollywood. Things are done in large part by committee, and you have to be a special kind of famous or marketable to truly control every aspect of your project. Even then, you’ll sometimes get a bomb — sometimes good, and sometimes not so good.”

In other words, consistency of product even by very talented people is nearly impossible to maintain over time, especially when success depends on a multitude of individuals, groups, and other factors. On the plus side, Burlingame points out the lengths to which Goyer and “Constantine” showrunner Daniel Cerone went to to ensure as much authenticity to the Hellblazer comics as possible.

You should read the rest of the article.

As a sequel of sorts to Burlingame’s article, Dennis Upkins followed up the other day with his own article that picks up on that first line I quoted above. The piece is “In Defense of Man of Steel. Frankly, I’ve considered writing something similar, since I also felt that much of the harsher criticisms the film received were unfair, especially when taking other comics and comic-based movies into consideration.

The major complaints have been:

1) This Superman Destroyed An American City!

2) This Superman Was Reckless!

3) They Made This Superman A Murderer!

4) This Superman Movie Is Too Dark!

Regarding #3, I understand that many people prefer their heroes to never kill, and in the pages of comic books, that is usually possible (if not entirely believable). But, even comics are not as “innocent” as they once were, and many harsh realities of life & death are included in today’s comic book stories. The same is true about comic-based movies. But, did Superman really have to kill General Zod? As Upkins puts it,

superman-kills-zod-man-of-steel-the-hypocritical-hate-on-man-of-steel“Regarding Zod’s death, what else was Clark supposed to do? Clark had him in a full nelson while pleading for Zod to stop the bloodshed. All the while, Zod was still trying to use his heat vision to murder innocent people while vowing to make it his mission to destroy Clark and his adopted planet.

Zod had already been imprisoned to be rehabilitated. That didn’t take. Even as Clark begged him to stop, Zod vowed he would keep coming and keep plotting to destroy the Earth.”

Normally, I’d prefer a trial and capital punishment for such atrocities as Zod committed, but the possibility of that happening was slim (assuming they could even keep him contained). Given Zod’s Kryptonian powers, technology, intelligence, genocidal malevolence and merciless determination, I agree that Superman’s decision to kill Zod was probably the right one. He obviously didn’t take it lightly, as audiences witnessed the torment and anguish he felt. Yet, despite all of this, some people act as if his actions were cavalier and totally unwarranted. The psychological ramifications may well be evident in the upcoming sequel, as will the consequences of the rest of the (presumed) death and destruction in Metropolis.

I wholeheartedly agree with all of Upkins’ points. In essence, he reveals a “double standard at play when it comes to Man of Steel and Superman in general.” He brings up various other circumstances in comics and comic-based movies in which there is a lot of death and destruction committed by heroes in the name of justice and protecting the innocent. We many not like it or approve of every incident, but it is there, and somehow it does not get the notoriety than the Man of Steel has gotten for that very thing. Why? Is it just because Supes is the “Big Blue Boy Scout” — a nickname which, ironically, was given him (and often used sardonically) for being a goody-two-shoes and a stickler for operating within the law? Is there more to it? What do you think?

Again, I encourage you to read the entire article.




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