Disappointment in the dark: Superman and Pirates of the Caribbean


9 comments posted
if only you realized how

if only you realized how little people cared.

whatever's picture
Posted by whatever (not verified) on 12 July 2006 - 7:55pm
Another pithy comment

...from one of our most enlightened minds, apparently. Whatever indeed....

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 12 July 2006 - 9:42pm
Oh, but what about all those "feminist" movies?

You know, the stuff that attracts the Therons and Jovoviches and Beckinsdales and Jolies -- the Jane Austen movies of scifi action! :p

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 12 July 2006 - 9:59pm

This is a poorly written article. The writer does not even know the name of this summer's blockbuster pirates movie. Its not curse of the black perl, its dead man's chest. Just a point to show the obvious lack of research on the writers part.

minir4's picture
Posted by minir4 (not verified) on 13 July 2006 - 5:22pm
Huh on huh?

This is an off-topic comment that points at a minor detail and claims that somehow discredits the thesis of the post. Just a point to show the obvious lack of yarbles on the commenter's part.

The topic strike a little too close to home, minir4?

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 13 July 2006 - 6:42pm
Ahem ...

Minir4 has the tact of a baboon, but he/she/it does raise a point.

When assaying cultural commentary, it does pay to check details.

In a recent column in the DC Examiner, Herbert London criticized the new Superman for being too politically correct and drifting from his roots. I wasn't incredibly sympathetic toward his thesis to begin with, but he lost me with this sentence:

Superman was invented here; he is ours. Raised on a Midwestern farm, he is distinctly American. He came to Gotham, not to Paris. It doesn’t make sense to internationalize Superman, even if he came from a distant planet.

As we all know, Superman did not come to Gotham. He came to Metropolis. Yes, it's a small, picayune detail, but it significantly discredited London's commentary, as it betrayed a lack of knowledge about Superman.

When a writer undertakes cultural criticism, that writer implicitly asserts a knowledge of the criticized subject matter. When that person errs as London and Duck have, that writer undermines his or her thesis.


pennywit's picture
Posted by pennywit on 16 July 2006 - 7:25am
Levels of horribleness

If you'd like to see some of the worst depiction of women in fantasy, try Robert Newcomb's The Fifth Sorceress, which features a quartet of EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVIL LESBIAN SORCERESSES.



pennywit's picture
Posted by pennywit on 16 July 2006 - 8:20am
Not a woman in a refrigerator

I disagree with your analysis of Lois Lane's role in Superman Returns. While this version of Lois Lane was not an ideal, she is nevertheless a stronger character than you give her credit for.

You write:

have you ever seen a worse Lois Lane? I didn't feel she was a crack reporter, driven to nail a story down - she seemed to be there as the damsel in distress.

I disagree with this contention. To start with, I will admit that I found Lois Lane's status as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist questionable. Her failure to stand up to her boss and really fight for the stories she believed in -- the power failure, interviewing Lex Luthor -- struck me as unrealistic. Any reporter who has driven hard enough to win one of journalism's top prizes would be far more insistent about "her" story than Lois was.

However, a couple mitigating factors come into play.

First, notice that Lois Lane adamantly refuses the role that Perry White tries to thrust her into. While Perry White virtually instructs Lois Lane to sit on a rooftop with a flimsy negligee so that Superman flies by, she steadfastly refuses to do so.

Second, Lois Lane also pursues her story, even placing herself in likely physical jeopardy so that she can unravel the mystery of the EMP. Granted, this bid ends with her as a damsel in distress, but she got there by being a proactive journalist. And when she gets in trouble, she uses subterfuge to send a message to somebody who can help her. Damsel in distress? Yes. Helpless damsel? No. To my eye, the character did what she could in that situation, given that she was on a boat, held prisoner by Lex Luthor and his goons.

Also, what should one make of Lois Lane's actions after her rescue? Rather than fly to safety with her boyfriend, she forces him to turn around so that they can rescue a kryptonite-afflicted Superman from a nearly certain death. On the one hand, you could argue that she's adhering to the societal expectation that she stand by her man, be subservient, etc. On the other hand, you can also argue that she is undertaking heroic measures to aid one that she loves -- a sentiment that is noble, regardless of the genders of the individuals involved.

Kate Bosworth's incarnation of Lois Lane lacks the hard-bitten attitude that Margot Kidder brought to the role in Donner's Superman, but she is hardly a wilting flower or Superman's arm ornament. Throughout the movie, she is a self-actualized individual who takes effectively controls her own life and career.

You also write:

I got the sense from the 2006 Superman script that it could've cared less what Kate Boswell's thoughts were, or what drove her, besides the socially sanctioned love for her child.

I came away with a different impression. First, we need to stipulate that love for one's offspring is not merely "socially sanctioned" but also a desirable trait that is part and parcel of being a good parent.

Second, it's worth noting that, while we are not as privy to her thoughts as we are to Superman's, we still gain significant insight into her evolving mentality through her actions and through her writing. We get a very good sense, for example, of her mixed emotions at Superman's return from Krypton's ruins. We also see that she hasn't really made the "Jason or Superman" decision yet -- indeed, she still seems to be mulling it at the end of the movie, when superman (nee Superstalker) advises her he's "always around."

Finally, I have to say that I found Bosworth's portrayal of Lois unconvincing. In my lifetime, Lois Lane has generally been depicted as harder-edged than the uber-nice Clark Kent/Superman, a career woman who, while she has a softer side, nevertheless has the steel that makes for an investigative reporter. Margot Kidder and even Teri Hatcher projected that hard edge; Bosworth, in my opinion, fails to do so.


pennywit's picture
Posted by pennywit on 16 July 2006 - 8:44am
A real quibble

I would admit that Keira Knightly/Elizabeth Swann isn't a femminest icon of power, but that's only cause we live in a post-Buffy the Vampire World. Keira fights well with a sword, chops up some pirate henchmen, pull the ghost con on the ship. Sure she turns suddenly helpless with the gun, and does this fake fainting thing that everyone ignores. But all and all she's an action hero. Its just she's not up to Xena/Laura Croft standards of super-badassness.

TheCraig's picture
Posted by TheCraig (not verified) on 17 July 2006 - 4:23pm