Friday, February 1, 2013

man of steal?

the ads for zack snyder's upcoming "man of steel" depict superman in handcuffs, suggesting there comes a point in the story where superman lets the united states government arrest him, presumably to show respect for humans as the rightful authorities of their own planet. it's a good idea that well represents superman's unparalleled virtue and strength of character. and it was already done beautifully in a 1996 episode of "gargoyles: the goliath chronicles."

the ep, entitled "and justice for all," features goliath being arrested after foiling a robbery. this was shortly after the gargoyles' existence was revealed to the public, and people didn't know what to think about these apparent monsters. and although goliath is strong enough to easily break handcuffs and smash prison walls, he allows himself to be incarcerated and tried in a court of law, where he is defended by a human lawyer, to show the people of manhattan that gargoyles respect their world and wish only to co-exist and help protect their new home.

i loved the nolan batman films, but i was always conflicted by their tendency to blatantly cherry-pick elements from past batman stories, rather than commit to a more original vision. this incarcerated superhero thing is a little different because "gargoyles" was in no way affiliated with superman, but it's symptomatic of this typical method of storytelling by frankensteining old ideas into a new product. is there virtue in recycling stories? and what if the original was in a saturday morning cartoon that no one remembers?

i think it's execution-dependent. the worst sin a piece of art can commit is retreading without purpose. will this $225 million feature film execute an idea any better than the children's cartoon that so enchanted me when i was 14? i guess we'll find out come june.

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