Last night I watched Man of Steel. This morning, I woke up angry about it. Seriously, the first thought I had when I gained consciousness was “What a crappy movie.” The bar a superhero blockbuster action movie has to jump for me to find it at least moderately entertaining is so low a toddler could leap it in a single bound. As long as it has some pulse pushing action, decent special effects, acting on par with a soap opera, at least one character I like, and a reasonably coherent story, I won't feel ripped off. Especially if I am watching it at home and didn't have to buy a ticket. Somehow, Man of Steel managed to fail to amuse me.
I started losing interest before poor baby Kal El made it to Earth. Really. It lost my attention that early into the movie. Or maybe it wasn't that early. I couldn't tell you. The movie was sloooooow moving. What I do know is that I saw them weeping over the baby as they got ready to send him off, and then my brain said “Hey, this is boring, let's read a book.” I didn't even see Superman's earthly parents finding him, because the children's book I was reading was more exciting and interesting. How sad is that? Whenever it sounded like something interesting was going on in the movie, I'd put down the Kindle and watch for a few minutes, but it utterly failed to hold my interest. I just didn't care what happened to Superman, or Lois Lane, or even Earth. Zod could have succeeded with his dastardly plan, and it might have been a better movie.
Now I'm not really a Superman fan. I didn't ever read the comics or grow up thinking he was the best thing ever, so I don't much care about whether a new Superman movie stays true to the last incarnations and stories. I have watched the prior iterations, all of them many times over (even the ones that were universally derided as bad), because I am a fan of blockbuster superhero action movies. While I don't demand they be the best movies ever, I do expect them to be fun and maybe a little exciting to watch. Even some of the worst movies ever made have managed to amuse me enough to be watched a second time. Not so with Man of Steel! The S truly does stand for SUCKS.
I could go on for another thousand or so words and point out all the specific reasons I thought this movie is possibly one of the worst I have seen in a while, but I'll spare you. I have better things to do with my time than gripe about a movie being a complete disappointment. I will say this in closing … no, I will not even be bothering to watch the sequel, which I understand will be some sort of Batman vs. Superman shindig. I am a big fan of Batman (even when those movies have sucked, I have enjoyed them), and there's no way in hell I want to see what this set of filmmakers chooses to do with him. I'm going to imagine I won't like it.
As I have pointed out a few times in the past, I have a block in my mind that keeps me from channeling negative emotions and reactions into my artwork. I'm pretty sure it's because it's easier and less painful to lock that crap away in a box in the back of my mind than to let it spew out in paint and ink. If I channeled it into my work, I'd have to feel it and face it. I have been working on this problem for years and not making much progress. Hasn't stopped me from trying, even though the end result is such a failure as both art and therapy that it ends up getting painted over.
A few weeks ago, I pulled out a scrap of black primed flat canvas and started stabbing at it with large brushes and palette knives. Stabbing would be the perfect word for it too. I turned off my brain, grabbed whatever tube of paint caught my eye, and just worked on the thing until I hated it completely. Usually, that was ten minutes. I'm not even sure at this point how many of these late-night angry art sessions it's been through. Maybe ten?
A few nights ago, I was feeling particularly full of anger and angst and cranky that I hadn't gotten to work on any art that I really wanted to feel like working on, so I toddled off to the kitchen floor to stab at that canvas some more. Two new colors added and ten minutes later, I was even more cranky, because it was a thousand times more awful than it was when I started. So I grabbed my favorite palette knife and the tube of black paint and went at it for another ten minutes, at the end of which I cleaned up my tools, and without really looking at the thing, put the painting in the space it's been living.
The next day when I stumbled into the kitchen to make the morning coffee, it caught my eye and demanded attention. I saw something in it. Something I hadn't intended, hadn't planned, and hadn't noticed while I was working on it. I can see it clearly, and now I'm going to stop stabbing at the canvas like I have been and take some care with it to try to bring what I see out so others can see it too. I normally would not share a work I describe as “angry art” and usually don't share stuff that is so far from finished, but I want to share this one, because … well, I don't know why. Just because.