Monday, June 17, 2013

Man of Steel

Man of Steel
seen @ UA Midway Stadium 9, Forest Hills, Queens, NY

The late-afternoon sun oppressively radiated over the gentrified neighborhood like an occupying army the day I went to see Man of Steel. The torrential downpours that blanketed the city this past week or so had ended, and I found myself strangely missing its absence, like a one-night-stand that slipped away in the early morning, taking the last hundred dollars out of your wallet and leaving you flaccid and unsatisfied and with an itchy feeling in your thighs. 

As I walked up the traffic-clogged boulevard to the movie theater, I spied dirty, limpid pools of water in the gutters, slowly drying up like the hope from a prisoner of war... and I somehow had a feeling it was an omen of things to come.

Reid met me outside the theater. He was early. I should've known he would be. When it comes to seeing movies, he's gotta have his favorite spot. 

The middle. 

Always the middle.

I've seen him dropkick screaming kids out into the aisles for taking his favorite spot. 

Me, I'm an aisle man. Always have been. He and I argue about where to sit but sometimes you've gotta make compromises. Of course, his idea of compromise tends to involve a two-by-four to the head...

We got our tickets and waited on line to get in and Reid started in on his video games again. You know the kind. The kind that have backstories longer than Gone With the Wind with controls resembling a space shuttle and that take eight hours just to complete one level. It's all he ever talks about. If he could mainline this stuff he probably would.

Me... all I ever needed was a joystick, a coupla buttons, and one... single... quarter. 

And that'd be enough.

I don't understand what kind of world we live in when a man can't enjoy his Ms. Pac-Man when he wants to anymore.

Suddenly I realized that I needed my pill again. It had been days, but walking around in all this... fresh air and dry heat... reminded me that it was only a matter of time before the symptoms would start up again. 

I had went to the usual place for my fix but they didn't have what I wanted. I had to settle for something else. 

Something less. 

It did the trick for a little while but it didn't last and I was a wreck before too long. Sweat trickled down my neck as I recalled the watery eyes, the runny nose, the rough scratchy feeling at the base of my throat like the scummiest back alley in the worst part of town. 

Oh yes, I've been down that back alley before. 

I know it well. 

I know that desperate sensation like a motherless stray dog that's been kicked around one too many times. I know the fetid stench from the refuse collecting in garbage cans and plastic bags stretched to the limit, strewn along the cobblestone floor like the dying dreams of yesterday's glories, when I was young and nieve and still believed the world was a great place and worth fighting for. 

Oh yes... I'm all too familiar with those backstreets that I call home every spring.

Damn, but I hate allergy season.

We made it into the auditorium and after the usual set of commercials came the trailers. There was one for Despicable Me 2 and another for some piece of crap called Turbo - animated kiddie movies. 

Was this a joke? 

Who did they think Man of Steel was for? 

This is a Superman movie. No little kid is gonna want to see this action-adventure science-fiction spectacular about a grown man in long underwear and a cape who shoots lasers out of his eyes and punches out other grown men in the spleen amidst acres of mass destruction with the fate of the world at stake. 

I mean, this is SERIOUS BUSINESS!

And yet, as fate, as cruel and harsh a mistress as any leather-clad dominatrix who advertises anonymously on Craig's List, would have it, there were a small number of children in the audience for this teenage-boy power fantasy epic brought to life by the director of Sucker Punch. Their cries and mumblings to indifferent, vodka'd parents trickled up and out into the auditorium like weeds from the sidewalks of an impoverished business district, abandoned due to a crumbling economy and white flight and left to the junkies and the whores.

The one behind Reid was getting his goat. I knew where this would lead. I'd experienced it before: 

Times Square, August 2011. 

Long Island City, December 2007. 

Union Square, May 2006. 

And countless other times. To say Reid has a low tolerance for rowdy kids during a movie is like saying Lindsay Lohan has a slight substance abuse problem. I think his lawyer is still appealing the decision from the last time this happened.

I was wrong this time, however. He was too dumbfounded by the movie to care too much about some attention-deficit brat. 

Good thing too, because I accidentally left the taser at home.

Over dinner afterward we talked about the movie and I was shocked. 

He actually didn't like it. 

He thought the movie fell apart in the final third. He thought there were unexplained coincidences, unnecessary macguffins, and a ridiculously high death toll.

How could he fail to understand what all true fans know: that it's only through REALISTIC interpretations of Superman and other superheroes in film will the general public finally treat superhero movies as Legitimate Cinema? Christopher Nolan clearly understood this with his Dark Knight trilogy, and the critics and the public responded as one.

The world is an abattoir and we are the lambs lining up to the slaughter to appease the whims of decadent, degenerate gods of chaos. And though there are moments of joy, kindness, generosity, brotherhood, selflessness and love...


Shit happens for no reason, and sometimes all you can do about it is brutally punch it into submission.

Just like in Man of Steel.

'Man of Steel' needs to escape Reeve's shadow
The Dark Knight Rises

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