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September 12, 2013 / Dale Melchin

Man of Steel: Enough about Krypton, more about the rest of the movie (SPOILER ALERT!)

The writers and producers spent enough time on Kal-El’s Smallville upbringing.  They did this by, interspersing his time in Smallville with his time growing up.  I had been a little agitated by the fact they had my childhood hero go through an existential crisis.  But as it is with all of us who were born in the last 20-30 years, Superman had to find himself in this film.

In the original he knew who he was and was happy about it.   I was pleasantly surprised with the finding himself part of the story.  Once he knew himself, he knew what he needed to do.  It speaks a lot to the power of vision in a person’s life.  Once you know, you know, and once you go, you GO!

The action scenes were AWESOME. So Awesome, that I thought Michael Bay had a hand in the film.  Since it was all action, I really can’t comment on the particulars of it, but I will comment on the end action.  The thing that I loved the most… Superman was a bad ass.

The thing that I enjoyed most was the grittiness they gave Superman in the end. (Spoiler alert!)  There was an innocent family being menaced by Zod’s heat vision.  Superman made the choice to kill General Zod.  I have a hard time putting it into words, but the ethics of it are profound. Sometimes we have to take up arms against evil to protect the innocent.  Kill or be killed is sometimes necessary, but it’s a lot rarer than we think it is.  It’s also harder than we think it is.  That is evidenced by Superman’s crying out at the end.  This makes him profoundly human, and illustrates what even the toughest warrior goes through deep inside.

Lessons that can be learned from Superman

We must never let society become so socialistic that we lose the balance between the needs of the State and the Rights of the Individual.  This was Krypton’s downfall.  Had Krypton allowed more creativity, perhaps there would’ve been and even more interesting plot.  More Kryptonians are loose.  Hmmmm…  However,  Krypton paid the price for its huburis.

We must never hold so tightly to our nationalism that we are willing to destroy anything for it.  Yes, if we are being attacked by an enemy, we must do our best to make the enemy die for their cause and complete the objective, but nothing no more.  No reshaping, or master race B.S.

Zod’s downfall is shown to us in several ways.  The first was that he viewed the military as the superior element in government.  He is wrong about this.  He also viewed Krypton as being so superior that the humans were ants to be crushed.  This is completely wrong.  If two states can get a long without threat, then there is no need for fighting, two can coexist peacefully.  Zod’s lust for war and power brought about his own defeat.

With the destruction of the Genesis Chamber, and the World Engine, Krypton, in its physical form lost its chance to spring forth again.  We can debate had Zod chosen to negotiate with Superman to take another planet in the solar system, say Mars or find another way to revive Krypton if the outcome had it different.  The point is that Zod himself with his Earther’s be damned attitude led both to his destruction and the final destruction of Krypton.  This gave Zod nothing to lose in the final fight with Superman.  As a result though, Krypton lives on in Superman, and in the technology that is laying around… elsewhere.

We must do our best to honor those parents natural and adopted in our lives with the way we choose to live.  Both sets are part of our life and tried to instill in use their shared values.  Even if home life wasn’t perfect, you can still salute your biological parents for giving you life.  You can also salute your adopted (legal or by choice) parents by living a life worthy of what they tried to build into you.

We must choose to do right, on our terms.  Right and wrong are objective, don’t get me wrong.  If we are employed, we must do right by our employers, but they don’t own us, we can set boundaries.  If we have friends, we must reciprocate friendship, but we don’t always have to have them over.  We can take time for ourselves.  If you are a superhero, then do superhero things.  But the government doesn’t have to know where you hang your cape. 😉

The point is we all have causes and people tugging at us.  We must determine our calling and organize our values in terms of our calling, and live by our highest values and accomplish our highest priorities.  That means doing our duty, whatever that is.  That means being with our family.  That means spending time with our Lois’s or Ethan’s.  But we must do it in such a way that it doesn’t sacrifice our autonomy or liberty.

We must keep testing the limits!  Whether you realize it or not, Jor-El’s words are an endorsement of Kaizen which is continuous and unending improvement.

Although granted, its just after Superman gets his suit, attempts flying and crashes into a block of ice.  He keeps it in mind to start again, and he eventually gets it.

Too many times, we limit ourselves by the story we’ve told ourselves, or others have told us about ourselves.  We need to listen to that still small voice inside of us that tells us to keep going.  We can.  Even if we fail, so what…. Ooooo.  The only thing telling us that failure is the end is the voices of our past saying its final.  Its that firing telling us that its final.  Ultimately, there is no failure, there is only learning.  Failure becomes a failure, when do not correct our behavior after the mistake is made.

Regardless of what you may think or feel at the time.  Keep going.  Change directions if you need to, but keep going.  You can win.

Conclusion: Superman absolutely and objectively ROCKED!

I cannot say enough good things about this movie!  The actors rocked!  The special effects rocked!  The story line rocked!

Now, I have my misgivings about Ben Affleck being the next Batman in the Superman vs. Batman movie.  I’ll keep an open mind.  I’m stoked to see the next film even if it isn’t coming out for a couple of years!

Go watch it if you haven’t yet!  You’ll love it.  No, really go now!

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