You will give the people an ideal to strive towards.
Jor-El’s words might easily apply to Zack Snyder, a man who makes $100m+ art movies, whose capacity for creation – it must be said, following the reaction to his masterpiece, Sucker Punch – exceeds the audience’s will for interpretation. And while the internet fanboys would be much more comfortable to believe in their partisan brains that this is Christopher Nolan’s Man of Steel, this is a Snyder picture through and through.
From the (frankly amazing) opening on Krypton, with its council dressed to impress 300‘s Xerxes, Snyder continues to create intertextual bridges between his worlds in order to incorporate their meanings. How inspired that the film’s villain should be the reborn Leonidas! And in an intelligent retelling of the Superman myth, the hero’s parallels to Watchmen‘s Doctor Manhattan are inevitable (and historically the reverse), but the opportunity is taken to develop ideas that played a key role in the one movie, under the lens of another. It will take me at least another viewing to interpret Sucker Punch‘s place, but the echoes are there – “For some, he was a guardian angel”, says a Lois Lane as inquisitive as the audience should be. “To others, a ghost who never quite fit in.” Certainly those who would dismiss the boom-smash finale would be wise to remember that this is a man who deconstructed the cinematic action scene, and would be quite willing to reconstruct it according to the meanings deciphered. But in terms of what most people are going to see, in terms of entertainment, there is evidence again that there are few as imaginative at the wheel of a blockbuster.
Are you ready?