Man of Steel – the best movie I have ever seen

Last night I went to the theater with my wife and my in-laws to go and watch the new superman movie. I knew from the previews that it was going to be good, and I hoped that it would be everything I wanted it to be. It was more. Man of Steel overnight has become my favorite movie of all time. I don’t think I’ll ever experience a movie in the same depth as I just witnessed this one last night.

Over the last decade I have taken my own ‘hero’s journey’ starting with the year that I met my wife. I picked up the courage to fly 4000 miles to meet her in another country, and eventually move here and become a US citizen. None of it was easy, and I had to grow as an individual to accomplish it.

The new Superman movie embodies the classic tale of the individual vs the collective. In ‘Man of Steel’ Kypton is destroyed by collectivism, by a planned society, where once it had flourished under expansion and individual achievements.

What I enjoyed the most about the movie was the philosophy behind it. It’s the classic hero vs villain story. General Zod represents a planned society where collectivism rules, and Superman represents the individual as the hero. “what if a child decides to become more than what society had intended for him”. The movie illustrates what can be achieved when individuals are allowed to expand and societies thrive. It also illustrates the pitiful of planned societies which are strangled by bureaucracy. Not only did it play homage to the original movies and comic books, but it set the stage for future movies like it. Even if you don’t read into the philosophy as deeply as I did, it’s still a great action movie, the audience around me actually clapped at the end of it.

If you have the time this weekend, I suggest you treat yourself to this once in a lifetime movie. As for me, I’m off to by the soundtrack, and don’t be surprised if you see me in the theater again watching it.

Atlas Shrugged Part II: Amazing

I meant to go and watch Atlas Shrugged Part II on opening night. I had already been invited to multiple Atlas events. Unfortunately I was too busy and have been for the last two weeks. For some reason something just kept coming up and preventing me from going. When I went to the website on Wednesday, only two and a half short weeks after the movie coming out, I was shocked to see that none of the Cincinnati theaters were showing it any more, and that the only theater showing it was 50 miles away! I decided that I must see it before the last day of showing, but unfortunately the showing was at 12:55 and I didn’t get out of work until at least 3pm. So I decided to take a vacation day and make a day out of it.

I woke up around 8:30am Thursday Morning on November 1st and made myself some breakfast, I took the dog out, filled up his water and food bowls and headed out the door. I turned the ignition on my new jeep and stopped by the local gas station to fill her up and grab myself a cup of coffee. I headed from the gas station to the I-275 highway and proceeded toward I-75 making sure to salute the new Gary Johnson sign on the way up. The sun was out, shining brightly over a wind swept landscape which had finally cleared up after a week of Hurricane Sandy. I approached I-675 and drove past all the signs for The Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I approached the theater and saw that it was not open yet for the day as it was only 11am.

I decided to pass the time by going to the mall, I walked around and thought about all the stores, what the value of each one was, and what the current value of our currency is. I thought about the gold standard, I thought about communism, fascism and capitalism. I thought about the show I had watched the night before at my in-laws house. I thought about ‘The Men who built America’ and how the same men who built it, also sowed the seeds for its destruction. I thought about Joseph Campbell’s mythology of ‘the hero as the villain’ . It seems that many of the men who built America decided to convert from value to greed, and squeeze the life out of others instead of continuing to advance it through production of value.

It’s a very tricky thing Capitalism. Unbridled and unshackled it can produce the most amazing inventions, and carry forward the best in living conditions. When it is railroaded, it can be used for vile intentions. The latest Sherlock Holmes movie shows how countries are pitted against each other so that banks and arms manufactures can make massive profits off the bloodshed of others. It appears to have taken hold particularly in the 20th century especially during the first and second world wars.

I love capitalism and I love Ayn Rand’s Objectivism philosophy. There is a huge web of history, philosophy and facts that are left to be untangled, and political struggles to be broken until we can get back to a productive society with value at its core. Perhaps my wife is right, and next month the world won’t end, but perhaps it will have a great awakening instead.

I thought about all this as I ate terriaki chicken from one of the food vendors in the mall. I pondered the meaning of life, and what it meant to stand out alone as an individual. I watched as soldiers from the nearby army base stood in a collective group as they purchased Chick-fil-a. I felt sad that so many people form into a collective and allow others to dictate to them. I felt very alone in that mall, not because I was by myself, but because my thinking is purely individualistic. I do not think in terms of any collective. I think in terms of value. True value includes quality, cost, happiness, productivity and meaning. It is not just the cost of the items I looked at in the stores, it’s what they really mean. I’m not interested in most of the material clothing which only stands to make a statement. I’m more interested in the rugged ‘Columbia’ jackets which will hold out the cold on a freezing winter’s day. The items of value carry meaning to them. Meaning to the individual, not to the collective conscious of a brainwashed majority. I’m not out to impress anyone. I’m out to find happiness in life, and construct a better world for myself while respecting others rights to do the same.

My thoughts continued to flow as I walked outside and headed back to the Theater. At 12:30pm I walked into the recently opened doors and purchased one small individual ticket for ‘Atlas Shrugged Part II’.

I confidently walked by myself in a mostly deserted 20 screen movie theater toward the number five screening room, and took my seat at the very back, to wait and observe the magic of the new movie.

As the credits began rolling, an old couple tottered steadily toward their seats, then another couple, then an individual guy, then a lady, then another older couple. The total number of people in the theater including myself stood at 9. “at least I’m not the only one who showed up” I thought to myself.

The previews began airing, and my anticipation began to rise. Finally the movie began with an amazing airplane chase scene which actually reminded me of the opening of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. My heart rate rose slightly and I was drawn into the unfolding drama.

I was a little surprised to see that different actors played the parts of the main characters, but if anything I liked them even more. You could really see the actors bring the characters to life in a way that reflected exactly what you felt when reading the book. I thought Hank Rearden was bold headed and hard, and delivered his court speech perfectly. I liked how the movie tied in the tea party and occupy wall street movements, as well as the news segment featuring Sean Hannity.

The movie represented the world that Ayn Rand projected perfectly, and it was chilling to find a resemblance between the movie and today’s economic and moral plight. I sat at the edge of my seat through the entire film, and was flabbergasted at how well it had been made. You could really tell that the production company had put everything they had into the film, and had spent extra money on fine tuning it to deliver the message of the book.

I loved watching the first movie when it came out last year, and thought they did a good job for a low budget film, but the difference between part one and part two is night and day. Congratulations to the producers of the movie. You have my thanks. I wish I could have seen it sooner, and I will be sure to buy a copy when it is released on DVD. I am an active member of galts gulch online, and I will do whatever I can to help out with obtaining funding and promoting the third and final installment of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus.

Before I left the theater I sat through all the credits and read Ayn Rand’s warning at the end:

“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – You may know that your society is doomed.” — Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged”, 1957

I walked out into the cool fresh air and fired up the jeep once more to return home, full of thoughts and ideas, concerned about the future, but glad that the diamonds are finally starting to shine through the rough.