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Tuesday, May 28, 2013 

How is General Zod portrayed in new Superman movie?

Yahoo's movie section has a few videos of Michael Shannon's performance in the new Superman film. And wouldn't you know it, Shannon himself is describing his role in a way that's bound to bother:
"He’s not a villain any more than any other general fighting to protect his people," Shannon said, "He doesn’t like to just hurt people and steal diamonds; he’s focused on being successful at his job. I think the way Terrence Stamp approached it – and this isn’t any kind of criticism of his performance – there was something kind of detached about it. Pure hatred, rage, whatever … I think this [interpretation] is more ambiguous."
Wonderful. It sounds like the villain's role is being blurred here so you can't be sure at first read whether they had the guts to simply portray him as what he was to begin with - a warmonger who was banished to the Phantom Zone in the Silver Age stories because of the treason-ish crimes he'd committed against Krypton - or as a rebel warring against a system that's probably corrupt.
And screenwriter David S. Goyer has said "Man of Steel" will offer a more detailed look at life on Superman's home planet, saying, "We try to flesh out Krypton and its different political factions, its fauna, its science." With that, perhaps we can expect a richer perspective on why General Zod rebels against Krypton's leaders and takes on the earth, rather than just being an interstellar meanie.
What if we can't? I already found the news about how this movie uses darker palettes for its viewpoint, and the descriptions here are enough to wonder if this is going to go out of its way to depict Krypton as less an admirable society than need be. Even if it doesn't turn out that way, I find the cast and crew's pulling the audience's leg annoying, because, why should they think people wouldn't come to check out the film otherwise? Trash-talking the audience may have contributed to the decline of some moviegoing audiences in recent times, and the filmmakers should honestly reconsider the approach they're using.

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