Man of Steel and Now You See Me

Sean and I took in a double feature last night and came away with mixed reviews of the films we saw. Man of Steel was wonderfully science-fictional and human, full of imaginative Kryptonian technologies and glimpses at the emotional struggle of the man-who-would-be-Superman as he came into his own over many years. However, I have to point out that this is the third Superman movie of the last decade and the sixth of my lifetime, and since the 1978 Superman with Christopher Reeve there have been few blockbuster treatments of superheroines. I was pleased with Amy Adams' Lois Lane, who was more determined than plucky, but my opinion of superhero love interests is colored by my frustration at the lack of comic book films that feature female leads. In short, I'd recommend Man of Steel; I thought it was good. But I'm still holding out for a Wonder Woman film.

I wish I hadn't seen Now You See Me. This film about four stage magicians (The Four Horsemen), three heists they pull off and the cadre of people who chase and debunk them was decidedly meh. There were multiple references to an ancient society of 'real' magicians that, when revealed, consisted of a merry-go-round in Central Park and a disclosure about the identity of the 'fifth horseman' that fell altogether flat. There were four seriously smart people who risked death and imprisonment to belong to this secret society and threw away all the money they stole for the sake of it. But worst of all, the film was rife with misogyny. The single horsewoman among the magicians was plagued by insults about her weight and offers of sex that she cheerfully rebuffed in just the way her culture prescribes. The classically-pretty French Interpol agent was the target of ill-tempered questions about her professionalism and verbal abuse from the very character she compromised her integrity for at the end of the film. In all, the biggest heist of this film was the fifteen bucks it took out of my entertainment budget. Don't bother with it.

Overall, I came away from our double feature dissatisfied with the hashing and rehashing of tropes that so often substitutes for real storytelling now and the depiction of women in film that remains stagnant year after year, movie after movie. Truth told, I'm beginning to favor independent science fiction films both feature-length and short, like this one. Enjoy.