I enjoyed Iron Man but truth is it didn’t give me as much to think about as Man of Steel.
After seeing Dave Williams' Press Play dance show recently I thought that art’s truth is sometimes in its shadows. Press Play for a dance show had stronger text than movement at times and in one piece in particular despite the balance struck, the text stood out, the ending line suggested that the Index Finger or voting finger or finger to detonate a world-ending bomb or pull a trigger was the only thing to get us out of the “hell” we live in. It was a particularly political ending to a piece that seemed more about how much the index finger is used in our lives, how prominently it features in our communication and our actions. Seems as if he went through all of it to say that life was in fact not pleasant and that that was related to politics. The truth to me lay in the shadow.
And shadowy the cinematography of both Iron Man and Man of Steel – the lingering imagery is to me a lot of shaded area and more so in Man of Steel, the subtext is what interested me in this regard.
How much has changed for me now that the “S” on Superman’s chest is a Kryptonian symbol for Hope and not for “Superman”? I mean I never knew that and it may be because I never really read the comics. I wasn’t a super hero kind of comic book reader, Richie Rich and Archie were more my scene. It's no small detail though! I mean how many of us knew that that "S" symbolised Hope?
It becomes more important for me when the nation-saving agenda of his nemesis General Zod enters my mind. It was in fact a coup that he led against the ruling council in the name of saving his people, the Kryptonians. We accepted that those who held power were right and that Zod like all insurrectionists was the evil one, it should also be said that like many, if not all insurrectionists, he was acting in the interest of his people, the nation of Krypton.
Like a messiah comes Kal El, Superman, bearing hope on his chest. At one point in trying to convince a military official that he was trustworthy he declared that he was an American, from Kansas. Kal El came from the ruling class and General Zod, who was his political opponent in essence, did not trust him. You see Kal El was entrusted with the DNA of the species and so the fight was for control of the future of a near extinct nation, Kal El being its sole survivor after Zod’s destruction. Yes, the just guardian of Hope is now without an Opposition.
Zod or his minions may be revived in a future production as they came back from the point of no return in this movie and so can do so again but for now as long as Clark Kent, Kal El, Superman is around we can say that hope is alive, but too, will be forever under threat.