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The Good Guy



We'll see how it goes... Man of Steel opens Friday at the good old Village 8.

This is the first Superman flick since 2006's Superman Returns (which made close to $400 million, but do you remember what it was about?) and this time around DC and Warner Bros hand the keys over to director Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300, Sucker Punch). Working off a script by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer, (the guys behind the last three Batman/Dark Knight flicks) Snyder seems to have darkened up Krypton's prodigal son and delivered a big, loud, explosion-ridden film that should work with contemporary audiences even if it never reaches the true classic status of 1980's Superman 2.

Superman has always been a bit old fashioned, a throwback to simpler times. He's really a good guy, polite to a fault, who doesn't brood or spit wisecracks while smacking up bad guys. He just saves the day because he can.

That hasn't changed much. Man of Steel is a reboot/retelling story that pushes the outsider/freak angle of Superman's personality. Bearded (like Jesus!), he's roaming the earth dutifully saving those in need before disappearing before anyone pieces it all together. Then ace reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) figures him out after finding the Krypton ship young Kal El/Superman arrived on. There is no glasses-as-a-disguise in this one.

Like Superman 2, the villains in Man of Steel are not of this planet: General Zod (Michael Shannon, killing it) comes from Krypton and is itching to annihilate the earth if his planet-mate isn't handed over. Supes is forced to shave and get to work but not before making some friends in the army so we have "human stories" to cut to during the drawn-out climax/end fight sequences.

Man of Steel looks pretty crash-bang-awesome. Henry Cavill owns the lead role and director Snyder has always been great at creating cool visuals and mood. He wades into this one with a lot of handheld camera and a running time that's about 30 minutes too long, but it's a Superman movie and its summer so you may as well go check it out. After a decade of comic book movies ruling Hollywood, it will be interesting to see if a character created in 1938 (and the first comic book hero to dominate the silver screen) can hold up now that we've all sat through three Iron Mans, four Spider-mans, five X-mens, three Punishers, three Blades, two Ghost Riders, The Avengers, two Hulks, two Fantastic Fours, two Hellboys, three Ninja Turtles, Captain America, Daredevil, Spawn, Catwoman, Tank Girl, Jonah Hex, Thor and 10 Batman films. That's a lot of tight suits to compete with.

The download of the week, more on the anti-hero end of the spectrum, is The Filth and the Fury – Julien Temple's made-in-2000 rockumentary about The Sex Pistols. Following the band from rise to fall, and featuring tons of killer archival footage cut with contemporary interviews of the surviving members (shot cleverly in silhouette so we never get to see a geriatric Johnny Rotten) The Filth and the Fury wades not only into the Pistols mayhem and manners (or lack thereof,) but also the era that created them and the music that lives on. Punk rock wasn't invented in England but it was elevated there. During their one-album, 26-month downward spiral, The Sex Pistols and their "violence of the mind" aesthetic changed popular music and culture. And the songs hold up today. The pre-heroin Sid Viscious interviews may be a bit heartbreaking to watch, but overall The Filth and the Fury is one of the best rock-docs ever made.


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